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NewsInternational Desk
We can solve the Syrian civil war with non-violence!
By Lee Ha-eun  |  caugrace@gmail.com
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승인 2012.11.05  18:32:52
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn

The Syrian civil war is an ongoing armed conflict. Beginning on January 26th 2011, the Syrian citizens protested consistently against the government. They demanded the resignation of the President Bashar al-Assad. The protests were an anti-government rebellion. The Syrian government deployed the Syrian Army to quell the conflict and more than thousands of people were killed and wounded. The bloodshed is still happening today.

The reason why the civil uprising happened goes way back to the government of Hafiz al-Assad. Hafiz al-Assad, the president of Syria between 1971 and 2000 excluded opposing parties and candidates in the election and ruled Syria for nearly 30 years. The Syrian people suffered during his long regime. The best examples are the Hama massacre and 1999 Latakia protests. In 1982, the Hama massacre occurred in order to quell a revolt by the Muslim Brotherhood against the Hafiz al-Assad’s government. Between eight and ten thousand Syrian civilians were killed.

The 1999 Latakia protests were violent protests. The violent events occurred because of a long-running struggle between Hafez al-Assad and his younger brother Riffat. Two people were killed because the Syrian police and Riffat’s supporters had fire exchanges. Even though the fact is denied by the government, hundreds of people were killed or injured. People are still protesting as an anti-government movement because many civilians were killed and oppressed in the violent events under the long thirty-year reign. The protesters are now calling for democracy and greater freedom. They eagerly demand the fall of the regime but the situation is that Mr. Assad has made his clear decision that he would not step down.

l  What is happening in Syria?

The situation in Syria is getting worse and worse. Many people were killed and wounded and also suffered from hardships such as hunger and inflation. CNN reported that tragedy swept the land of Syria. At least 343 people were killed on September 26th. This has been the worst situation ever since the anti-government protests which demanded the resignation of President al-Assad last march. Also, it reported that the Syrian civil war deteriorated rapidly. CNN said that there were about 200 civilians in the 343 killed and the number would likely increase if we add the dead people who are unidentified.

The Syrian civil war has been continuing for eighteen months, and children are suffering from atrocities such as torture, kidnap and hunger. ‘Save the Children’, an internationally non-governmental organization that promotes children’s rights, warned of child atrocities in Syria. Also the organization published a report themed ‘The Unknown Atrocities-stories About the Syrian Children’. It has documented cases of abuse and violence against children in Syria.

In the report, one Syrian child named Hassan (14) described horrible scenes saying, “Some dead bodies were shattered.” In addition, another Syrian child said that he was handicapped. He said that about one hundred young men who don’t have proper identification were arrested, including him, and were locked up for a week.

The economic conditions are also getting worse in Syria. Syrians are suffering from poverty, rising food prices and unemployment. The IMF, (International Monetary Fund), announced that Syria’s economy has contracted 2% since 2011 and also the Syrian pound has plummeted by more than 60% against the dollar. Remarkably, inflation has also increased which puts citizens into even more hardships. To make matters worse, unemployment has risen to more than 20% since the conflict began.

l  How does the Syrian civil war influence the world?

As Syria plays a major role in the Middle East, civil war and conflicts in Syria badly influence neighboring countries such as Lebanon and Israel. The influence is called ‘Knock-on effect’. The term, usually called as ‘Domino effect’ occurs when a small change causes a similar change nearby, which then will cause another similar change and finally influence each other. In this case, the Syrian civil war has strong influence on hardships in Lebanon and Israel. Israel’s leaders are worried about Syria’s stockpiles of chemical weapons falling into the hands of rogue groups equally opposed to Israel. Moreover, there is concern that the collapse of the Syrian government could lead to a civil war in Lebanon.

The Arab League, which is a regional organization of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa and Southwest Asia (Middle East), showed a changing attitude toward the Syrian civil war. The Arab league was silent at first, however it pursued changes in movement and reforms. For example, the Arab League held a conference with foreign ministers in Qatar Doha and demanded the president al-Assad be ousted from power. Even though this conference did not bring a big outcome, this is a brave movement of the Arab League.

 

l   What is the effort of international communities?

An international conference to solve these problems was held in Geneva on June 30th. The ministerial conference was participated by all the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (Russia, U.S., Great Britain, China and France), and also Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar. They discussed a peace plan by the UN and Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan to end the bloodshed in Syria. Russia and the other western nations that had troubles over the Syria civil war agreed on the conference. The conference has great significance in the way that many other countries participate in the conference and cooperate to solve the conflict.

The Office of the United Nation High Commissioner of Refugee (UNHCR) said that the number of refugees has doubled recently. They stay in a refugee camp which is located in Za’tari, Jordan. UNHCR provides the refugees with shelter, food, water and medical services. In addition, they install tents and make vacant lots to enlarge the refugee camp. A spokesperson said “Although the Syria civil war is getting worse, UNHCR makes efforts in relief activities.”

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general said “The Syria civil war can lead to catastrophe that threatens the peace in a global world.” He also called on international communities to make efforts to stop the war in Syria. Ban Ki-moon emphasizes all kinds of communication channel to prevent conflict of military force. He said that the Syria civil war could be solved peacefully if violent action does not occur.

History has shown that violence breeds violence. A number of people were killed and injured because of the violent power which also arouses international threats. The best solution for the Syria civil war is ‘non-violence’. Mahatma Gandhi insisted on non-violent civil disobedience. The non-violent activism of Gandhi influenced Martin Luther King who led African-American Civil Rights Movement. Mahatma Gandhi once, said “I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” The Syria civil war can be solved by applying the non-violence spirit of Gandhi.

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