Saturday, 23 November 2013

An inconvenient truth about Syria diplomatic 'triumph': WMDs bad; WHDs tolerable

There are many inconvenient truths in this world. Like elephants in rooms or the new clothes of emperors, they pollute the neatness of the narratives we contrive, as individuals, as the media, politicians, nations or international organisations. The inconvenient truth of our age is that despite, or perhaps because of the alleged 'diplomatic triumph' in Syria, through which President Assad's Weapons of Mass Destruction are to be destroyed, civilians' rights and often lives continue to be snuffed out by his regime's Weapons of Human Destruction (WHDs).

An inconvenient truth cannot be suppressed, as we were reminded last week in a brilliant piece by The Times's Tom Coghlan chronicling the text messages of a brave rebel fighter ("Gassed, shelled and starved: my life on the Syrian front line"). His harrowing words describe the gradual starvation his community is suffering due to a regime-inspired siege in Damascus. 

Journalists, bloggers and most importantly, Syrians using social media, must be congratulated for shining a light on the inconvenient truth that our response (if it can be called that) to a regime that has used chemical weapons on civilians, does not address Assad's continuing use of Weapons of Human Destruction. The WHDs have not fallen silent, and it seems that the world's plan to put them out of action, the Geneva II talks, face many challenges. Meanwhile, the civilians of Syria continue to be shot, blown up, starved or simply allowed to perish for lack of humanitarian aid caused by sieges like the one so dramatically described.

We should remember that the uprising against Assad began with peaceful protests and demands for democratic rights and freedoms that we in the West take for granted, which were brutally suppressed. Nefarious regimes are learning that the world might splutter into belated diplomatic action over WMDs, but seems unwilling to do more than express outrage at the continuing use of WHDs. Inconvenient truths are immutable. What can be changed is our collective response to them. While we ponder this from the comfort of our homes, time is running for civilians inside Syria and those millions in refugee camps outside.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.