Syria – a World in Transition

The source of this photo is by The author is Zyzzzzzy. From Wikimedia Commons.

We probably do not understand the essence of what goes on in a country like Syria.

This week, for example, Syria’s First Lady admitted that she would never leave the country for fear of causing the people to lose faith in her husband, even though she was being offered immunity and cover for her children. As reported on the Russia-24 News channel:

Asma al-Assad: “I never thought of being anywhere else at all … Yes, I was offered the opportunity to leave Syria, or rather, to run from Syria.

“These attractive offers included guarantees of safety and protection for my children, and even financial security.

“But, it doesn’t take a genius to work out what these people were really after. It was never about my wellbeing or my children – it was a deliberate attempt to shatter people’s confidence in their president.”

It certainly demonstrates the determination of the country’s leaders and supporters to maintain a sense of calm and direction amidst the terrible troubles that are taking place in the area. It is an admirable stance to take, but the hangover from conflicts like Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq throughout history still prevails as does the desire for Russia, the US and UN representatives to reach a common goal to give the country’s residents what they truly need.

Just under 18 million people still live in the war-torn country and it doesn’t take a UN initiative to realise that there simply may not be enough supplies and infrastructure to help such a large volume of people adjust to life outside Syria.

There is a network of activists inside Syria, according to The Violations Documentation Centre, which records the deaths of those killed in the area. Since March 2011, there have been three stages of conflict – shootings, mortar fire and air strikes, some of which have been undertaken by both Russian and Syrian forces recently.

By its own assessment, the UN claims that 17.9 million people still live in Syria, with between 6.5 and 7 million of those classed as ‘internally displaced’, having tried to find alternate, safer accommodation.

Unemployment is estimated to be around 35%, with nearly 70% of the population living in extreme poverty. It is hard for those of us used to life in the West and the developed world to understand these figures and put them into context, but one can definitely sense the desire to survive and live in the hope of a better future, which the First Lady is doing her best to create in her determination to remain at her husband’s side.

The local farming industry, a key factor in the development and evolution of Syria as a nation – and probably one of the key elements of the infrastructure of the country – has suffered because of the conflict and it is a crying shame that governments worldwide are not trying to do more to preserve the integrity and dignity of those who wield farming tools rather than weapons and missiles.

Even more shocking is the fact that food has been used as a weapon of war, with the local government cutting subsidies in light of the war when they had stable systems in place for the welfare system. The price of basics like bread, milk and sugar has increased a thousandfold in key areas.

Islamic State, also known as ‘IS’, is another key factor that has transcended the essence of what Al Queada did in the past. Whereas Al-Qaeda relied on donations, Islamic State is more representative of a true state. The recent film Jim – The James Foley Story, showed the story behind one of the most gruesome beheadings of a soldier, an act of notorious exhibitionism that has reached a tragic zenith as the country continues to move into the future.

Ultimately, what the situation boils down to is a misunderstanding and misinterpretation at times from various factions. War and politics continue to divide and unite as time goes on, but it will probably take a variety of constructive reasoning and long-term planning to ensure that the Syrian people get the breaks and luck that they definitely do deserve. Inevitably, there will be periods where the world will make a stand on certain things, as has been happening for the last 25 years in the aforementioned areas of concern; however, will there be a time and place for matters to be truly resolved – if indeed these can be resolved at all?

John Higgins

Global Seven News


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