Recently reports came out suggesting that the Syrian military plans to use chemical weapons against the Syrian people. While a person can recover from small quantities of the gas, in larger quantities it can cause lasting health effects or death. An organization that I am part off , STAND, is launching a campaign to push President Obama’s administration to respond in order to save more lives from being lost. This past September members from Ohio University’s Global Leadership Center, including myself, along with the students from Lebanese International meet with OU’s chapter of STAND in order to bring their attention to the Syrian conflict and inform them on the issue. At the time it was believed that between 17,000 and 30,000 people had died and it was discovered that even children were being detain and tortured. During that meeting, we debated whether or not the conflict can be considered a genocide, but now, after an estimated 40,000 people (some argue more) have been needlessly slaughtered, I don’t care if it fits perfectly into the internationally recognized definition. This is a genocide. While other parties are involved, it is really a genocide of the Syrian people by the Syrian people.
The American government and the international community have failed to act, partially due to the complexity of the situation, but also because of politically motivation. With the new information about the chemical warfare, however, we can no longer stand by and watch people die. Obama stated that if Assad’s regime uses chemical weapons, then the U.S. will get involved. While I usually support Obama, this statement is embarrassing and disappointing. So many lives have already been lost, do more really have to die before we step in. I know that our military involvement in other countries is not something that many people want to see continue, but how can we waste out money and our military on negative missions like airstrikes that punish countries for wrongs that occurred over a decade ago and abstain from actually saving lives. The STAND campaign is urging people to act and pressure the government to finally act. We cannot do much on our own but the letter and plan that they have combined are a starting point. Please visit: http://www.standnow.org/blog/our-response-recent-developments-syria to get involved.