Cry freedom! Alsukuut yew'atey al mewfaaweka: Silence gives consent.
A year ago, Syrians flooded the country streets, defiant against violent repression. No matter; when the spirit is broken open, the threat of death via the rally cry for freedom is closer to freedom than if nothing happened. Syrian government opposition became one of many milestones of a humanity breaking from a cage the day the masses united to stand against Assad.
Since then, thousands have been murdered, injured and targeted. Among the most infamous of victims in this deadly standoff for freedom and dignity have been children. The Assad regime defends its tactics with flat affect as the international community continues to pressure the UN Security Council. Negotiations seem to be a carefully tread match of wit, discretion and gravitas. I imagine in the halls of the UN the delegations are resolved; hold the line. Look at the bigger picture. To world leaders, more is at stake than the mere scale of carnage that has recently increased on the heel of the one year anniversary of the uprising. This is more than about the martyred, dead, murdered, disappeared, forced migrants, jailed, tortured, maimed, isolated and assassinated. Or is it?
No one will say, at least publicly, that the lives of Syrians are disposable. In a world full of nuclear arms, climate change, global economic, political, ethical and social disparities, one can easily gain a skewed view of the priorities of humanity. But wait, hold the line. Look at the bigger picture. Repressive regimes are symptoms of a larger world culture to control, manipulate, wage war and exploit. Add in a regime with nuclear capabilities being courted by a country not so fond of the ultimate unilateral power that the United States wields, and you have a growing match of egos.
Activists applying pressure to all big players in the Russian roulette game that are the tense peace talks with Syria are justified in doing so. We need all people working their roles to apply proper pressure to governments, influence delegations and stand in solidarity with the masses of Syria. Everyone has a human right to peaceful assembly, bar none. Hold the line, look at the bigger picture. You and I have a role in this too.
The challenge with large scale issues is that if you are not one working directly within and/or have authority to make significant decisions, it feels a lot like "what's the point?" The point is that you and I, he and she, we and they, are interconnected. The symptoms worldwide may look different, but the problem of the greater world culture is still the same. If we want violence to stop, we have to cultivate peace.
Cultivating peace takes a lot of forethought and a lot of gusto to go through with. It means you have to change how you speak, how you think and how you respond. Peace is not an esoteric concept to make you feel good when you have a bad day. It is a conscious, moment to moment lifetime process with immediate benefits. Whereas the activism around Syria must continue until war is no longer waged on Syrians, those not directly involved in Syrian affairs should take heed to living the life that Syrians are dying to taste.
Stand in solidarity with Syrians. It is as simple and profound as attending a vigil to honor the lives lost, as examining your biases to systematically de-construct them and committing to treating people with more respect. Every interaction we have matters. We cannot stand in solidarity with Syrians if we cannot hold the line with people we cannot even learn to deeply respect. It is how the Assad's of the world came to be; they experienced a world view of mistreatment and privilege to yield as unadulterated power.
Hold the line. Look at the bigger picture. You must get into the habit of being what you want to change in the world. Stand with Syrians for peace. Where you are, right now, there is something to do. It does not matter if you are an expert on the Syrian conflict. The ways of the world require cooperation from every one of us to change it, or, maintain it as it is. It is your choice, what say you?
Take the lead on world change like Darakshan Raja and Maha Hilal did with this petition on Change.org to keep American Syrians safe from deportation. Lend your volunteer efforts for effective action for Syria with Avaaz. Discover and practice peace as a star in your community through EOTO World's POP program. Host a roundtable discussion and lobby for peace. Follow the conflict from a variety of domestic and foreign media. Above all, hold the line.
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