All the world’s news headlines now are focusing on a similar issue: how Aleppo in Syria is being brutally ravaged and its civilians being slaughtered, burnt and raped. The pro-Assad militia, backed by Russia and Iran, are largely responsible for this. But somehow, the tragedy is also being facilitated by the lack of strong action by, and political pressure from other countries around the world, who collectively, could have made a huge difference.
All the parties, groups and countries involved in this rather complex war are driven by different interests. The most unfortunate ones nevertheless, are the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians who are trapped – children, women, elderly and men – starving and dying, and having nowhere to go and nothing to do except for waiting for their final moment. A ceasefire and evacuation plan which was brokered by Turkey yesterday seemed to have sent us a short wave of relief, but newer reports on the situation indicate that there is still a lot of vagueness and uncertainty whether the plan will actually be successfully carried out.
Helpless Syrians in Aleppo now have no one to trust, no shoulder to cry on. Everyone appears to be either helpless or indifferent to their plea. The first irony: Many loud voices chanting human rights slogans have become suddenly, mysteriously silent. The second irony: Many Muslim-majority government leaders show a wishy-washy attitude, perhaps because they are too occupied with saving themselves from the mess in their own countries, which they have created with their own hands. So now who is left? No one but pro-active and enlightened ordinary men and women whose hearts are filled with compassion, love for the truth, and hatred for injustice and oppression.
The tragedy in Aleppo today is despicable. So despicable that no word is left to describe it. Despicable not only because Assad and his allies are murdering innocent civilians in a gruesome manner, but because the whole world can only watch – despite the cries, despite the plea, despite the screams for help. That is what happens when something is dead – our conscience.
So let the battle continue. Our battle to strive in the right cause, too, shall continue.
This article is written by,
Dr Raudah Mohd Yunus,
Researcher and Activist, Asean Young Leaders Forum Malaysia.