Ending mass killings-A A +A
Friday, January 4, 2013
FOR the past few days, I have been trying to pursue my annual ritual of reviewing life in the past year and writing down goals for 2013. But I couldn’t do it after reading the latest news on the death toll in Syria’s civil war.
According to the United Nations Commission for Human Rights, the death toll has risen to more than 60,000 since the conflict began in March 2011.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay noted that "the number of casualties is much higher than we expected, and is truly shocking."
What started out as peaceful protests seeking political change has become a full-blown civil war because of the adamant behavior of President Bashar Assad, who continues to cling on to power. He reacted with iron-fist hostility using the full-might of the military to quell the rebellion without regard to the growing number of civilian deaths.
The major power players in world politics cannot make up their minds on what to do, thus Assad remains focused in his armed campaign to overcome the growing number of opposition that has obtained support in arms and ammunition from countries who believe in their cause.
Why shouldn’t countries intervene? Why should we be concerned? When a leader turns the gun on the people he is sworn to serve, then something is very wrong.
I have always seen Ferdinand Marcos in bad light because of the institutional corruption, the human rights abuses and the curtailment of freedoms but there was some good in the man, and that is, he prevented bloodshed in Edsa where nearly a million gathered to seek his ouster. The US had a part in that peaceful transition of power.
But in these times, the US no longer holds as much clout as it used to have. Russia and more particularly China have balanced the world’s most powerful country in terms of weaponry and infantry.
What can we do? Assad will continue to murder his people to keep himself in power.
Thus, President Barack Obama must use his inaugural speech to tell Assad that his time is nearly up.
If Obama does that, then he will not only prevent more bloodshed in Syria but will place the US in a high moral ground, earning goodwill among many nations in the world. Russia and China will realize that they must heed the call from nearly all nations in the world for an end to senseless killings.
Countries must unite under the flag of the United Nations. We must never allow leaders to get away with mass murder. Not in the past, not today, not in the future.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 05, 2013.