Tuesday, August 27, 2013

On the Syrian Situation: Immediate Response, Yes; War, No

I agree with Bob Dreyfuss's response (which seems to me also the response of Pope Francis) to the credible reports that the Syrian government used chemical weapons recently on citizens in a suburb of Damascus: it is imperative that the rest of the world respond to this shocking act. But war is not the solution. As Dreyfuss points out, Doctors Without Borders appear to confirm the use of poisonous gas against Syrian citizens last week, and mass deaths resulting from the gas attacks. 

I am persuaded, by the way, that the reports attributing the deployment of chemical weapons to the Syrian government are correct. I cannot get out of my mind (and my heart) this CBS news video that I saw last Thursday at Huffington Post, the day after the attacks, which purports to show a Syrian mother embracing her children who died in the gas attack.

One of the moral consequences of the development of online technology is that it permits the immediate transmission of video evidence like this from the other side of the planet, evidence that convicts and involves me. Having watched that video, I now have no choice except to concern myself with what's going on in Syria. 

I have to take a stand. 

No mother should ever have to take leave of her children in this way.

The graphic: German artist Käthe Kollwitz's famous lithograph, "Seed for the Planting Must Not Be Ground Up" (1942). It is a protest against war quoting a line of Goethe, and showing a mother sheltering her children in her arms.

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