Op-Ed: Are We Doing Enough for Syria?

As the crisis in Syria winds its way off of our newsreels and is replaced with the Nairobi attack and the government shutdown, I would argue that this is actually the time that we should be most engaged in the Syrian conflict. As governments around the world question the validity of the chemical weapons agreement reached recently and wonder whether to take further action against Syria, UNICEF is hard at work.

The UN expects there to be 3.5 million Syrian refugees by the end of this year. That’s about the same number as the population of Connecticut. What if our entire state was displaced by 2014? It’s a terrifying thought. Even worse, the numbers climb daily, approximately 2,500 children cross the Syrian border every day, fleeing a war-torn country and seeking safety in foreign places. Most of the refugees are currently living in camps in countries that have also had internal conflict in the recent past, such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.

Syrian refugees on a bus in Turkey.

Syrian refugees on a bus in Turkey.

The wounded that make it safely to refugee camps need medication and supplies to take them through operations and through recovery. These supplies are needed for a specific, allotted time. But, what about the refugees who suffer from diabetes or continual afflictions that require regular medication? They need a constant supply, and UNICEF and other human rights organizations are doing their best to guarantee this.

UNICEF Executive Director, Antony Lake, told the BBC that government donations to their organization have been incredibly disappointing. Talk of invasion and allies and opposition against terrorism have been whispered for weeks, but there has been a staggering neglect for those fleeing the conflict, those that are in desperate need of supplies. On the other hand, with the donations UNICEF has received, they have been able to immunize 2 million children and supply 10 million victims with water. Unfortunately, this generosity is not enough. The crisis in Syria is worsening.

Children who have been displaced cannot wait for the war to be over to resume their lives. Their education needs to begin again, and one million textbooks were delivered to the UNICEF camp to supply the million children who have been forced to relocate. Half of the children in Lebanese schools are Syrian. Children in Jordan that would normally be engaged in classroom activities are drawing pictures of war and atrocities they have witnessed. Recently, the European Union has donated $45 million towards Syrian child protection and to promote education in the refugee camps. Hopefully, with education and with the life experience they have gained through this horrible and outrageous ordeal, these children will harken a brighter and more positive future for Syria. We must hope the children who have witnessed the human rights abuses in their mother country will work towards a greater future, where it’s not the government versus the people, but rather the government and the people working together..

Focusing on chemical weapons is important, but of equal import are the victims of the attacks – victims of chemical weapons or any other kind of weapon. Victims who are wounded or displaced need our attention as well. It’s hard to imagine these facts and figures on the page as real people, but they are. And they deserve our support.

— Megan Evershed, World News Correspondent

Posted by on October 9, 2013. Filed under FSPA,Op-Ed. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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