Earlier this weekend I saw a headline concerning the conflict in Syria that read “Syria Ceasefire: Regime Agrees to Holiday Truce.” I remember thinking, “Finally! At least (even if not for good) people will be able to enjoy the holiday in peace.”
The conflict in Syria stems from sectarian differences among Alawis, who belong to a branch of the Shia sect of Islam, and people of the Sunni sect.
Firstly, what is the term holiday? To many Americans the term is synonymous with “a day off of work.” But what is a holiday? We, as a society, have altered the word as time has passed. What do we associate a legitimate (my apologies go out to Labor Day and the 4th of July) holiday with? I associate the word with Christmas, Easter, and other holy days that various religious groups adhere to. I’m sure I am not the only one. Thus, the word “holiday” has somehow formed from the two words “holy” and “day.” A time where one can enjoy being with family and friends and ultimately celebrate life.
Syrians were hoping the truce would last throughout the four day holiday; however their hopes were shattered when a car bomb went off at a public square in Damascus. People were gathered at the square to celebrate Eid, the holiday for which the truce was called.
Furthermore, amid the “truce” between Syrian Rebels and government forces bullets began to fly in response to the bombing. If I am not mistaken, aren’t these two groups warring because of religious differences? If one adheres to their religion so much so that they are willing to kill for it, then why is it that those same people cannot commit to a truce for a holiday. Even in the cold heat of World War I American and German forces put their differences aside to share Christmas together.
I also realize this attempted truce comes after a very high profile assassination; however the point I want to reiterate is if people can kill in the name of religion, then there is no reason why those people cannot honor their religion by laying down their arms in a truce so that some normalcy may be gained on a holy day.
Those who died or were injured in Damascus Friday morning were celebrating their religion. The sad irony in all of this is that those people killed also died for their religion at the hands of people who have been dying for their own religion for the past year and a half.