Did We Forget To Be Human?

The news from Ghouta takes a backseat to the affair between Donald Trump & Stormy Daniels in the U.S. media.  An extra-marital affair, a payoff, misuse of campaign funds, are all juicier news to the average consumer of news in the U.S. than 1,000 dead and 4,800 wounded so far in 2018 in a nation on the other side of the globe.  Even our leaders turn a blind eye, caring more about partisan bickering and filling their own campaign coffers than human lives.

For those who still think that Ghouta is something to eat, a bit of clarification:

Ghouta is a suburb of Damascus, Syria, the last rebel-held enclave close to the Syrian capital, that has been bombarded by Bashar al-Assad’s forces for weeks on end, with Russian air support.  Perhaps the pictures can explain it better than my words.

Many of the dead are children.  People are bleeding to death, starving to death in the streets.  An estimated 400,000 are trapped with nowhere to go and no way to get there if there were some safe haven.

“France and Britain convene an emergency meeting of the Security Council and press for enforcement of last month’s Resolution 2401, calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities. In this effort, the United States is nowhere, silent, AWOL, as President Vladimir Putin and his Syrian sidekick do their worst. The message to Moscow is clear: Donald Trump’s America does not care about Syria, or war crimes, or human rights. Russian cynicism and American absence produce disaster.

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, calls Putin. He dispatches his foreign minister to Moscow and Tehran in an attempt to stop the slaughter. Trump, to whom moral indignation — indeed morality itself — is a stranger, does not care. His Middle East foreign policy has two components: Back Israel, bash Iran. With respect to Putin, he is compromised, or enamored, to the point of incapacity. Let Syria burn.” Roger Cohen, New York Times, 09 March 2018

Perhaps a personal story might make it more real:

Marwan Habaq and his infant daughter, Yasmina, would spend hours at home watching their fish swimming in circles in a tank at home. Mr. Habaq bought the fish before the war. As supplies dwindled, fish food was harder to find. But nine fish survived.

“Me and Yasmina loved the fish, but my wife used to get jealous, because we were paying more attention to the fish than her,” he said.

Yasmina also loved her stuffed toy, a bright red bumblebee bought by her father.

“Usually babies react to colorful stuff, and Yasmina did the same,” he said.

When the airstrikes intensified, Mr. Habaq and his wife grabbed their daughter and fled into the basement, leaving the aquarium and stuffed bumblebee upstairs.

On Feb. 23, their home was bombed. His voice broke as he described the wreckage.

“Every corner of the house was dear to me, but Yasmina’s stuff was the most precious,” he said. He found the bumblebee, half scorched.

As for the aquarium: “I only found one burned fish under the rubble, the rest were ashes.”

There are many, many other stories, and this is not the worst of them.

The new isolationist stance of the U.S. has gone too far when we, as a once-powerful nation, turn our back on this level of grief and suffering.  These are human beings, each with people who love them, each with lives to live, each with stories to tell.  They are not just statistics to be relegated to page 15 of the New York Times.  Ghouta is not a Hungarian stew!  Ghouta is a city with nearly a half-million people, every one of whose lives are in danger at this very moment.

For now, Yasmina and her family are alive.  Many others are not.  Meanwhile, the U.S. media salivates over news of Stormy Daniels and Donald Trump.  Every “news” story has the word ‘Trump’ in the headlines.  And we sit back eating our morning Cheerios while reading the salacious gossip, hanging on Trump’s every insignificant tweet.  Across the globe, people are starving, wandering amidst the rubble searching for loved ones, for a scrap of food or a bit of water.  And the bombs keep coming.

54 thoughts on “Did We Forget To Be Human?

  1. Mr. Assad does not have a brutal reign. The Syrians are trying to save their country. Mr. Assad was duly elected in 2014. There were international observers on site, to ensure a fair election. It is Israel and their puppets, Like Britain, France and USA even Turkey that have been trying to destabilize the country. Israel wants another annexed country.They are trying through groups like White Helmets, BBC, who are duplicitous. Cheers Jamie

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have to disagree with you on this one, Jamie. al-Assad has committed murder and atrocities against the people of Syria almost from the time he was elected. We, the U.S., funded the rebels, and I still believe it was, if not the right thing, the more nearly right thing than supporting al-Assad’s regime. He has used toxic chemical warfare against innocent men, women and children. He has bombed his own hospitals. What kind of monster does that??? My neighbors, and in fact many families in my neighborhood, are Syrian refugees. I have listened to their stories of horror and I believe them, for they were there. Yes, my friend, al-Assad is indeed a brutal ruler, guilty of crimes against humanity in the tens of thousands.



        • True … which is one of the things I cannot understand about conservatives. For the most part, they claim to be good ‘Christians’ with such upstanding morals and values, and yet … and yet they can turn their backs on the atrocities that are happening all over the world, and sometimes even in their own backyards!

          On an unrelated note, would you do ma a favour and check out the comment by James Singer on my piece about the NRA suing Florida? I was dumbfounded by his comment. He also left a nasty comment on a comment by another reader, but I deleted that one, for I do not tolerate disrespect toward any of my readers. I only left his comment to me because I wanted others to see it. Sigh. Hugs, my friend!!! I will email you later today … I’ve had some problems this week and been getting behind again. 😦

          Liked by 1 person

            • I guess I was naive, for when he first showed up, I thought we might be able to have ‘civil discourse’, honest conversations intended to enlighten one another. But, when I took a look at his blog after his comment, I realized that he is not interested in conversation, but only in yelling his views from the highest rooftop and slamming anybody who doesn’t share his views. It’s interesting that none of his posts have any ‘likes’ or comments, so I assume he has no readership! I have begun blocking his comments, for today he left other rude comments for two more of my readers. I have no use, no time, for that type of thing.

              Liked by 1 person

          • I just went to see Singer’s comment, er… epistle… what a blowhard! He accused you of “ad hominem” argumentation, but it was perfectly okay for him to attack you. Sigh… I’m glad I don’t get many trolls on my site. Good response to him! Take things slow and easy when you aren’t feeling good. Your faithful readership won’t disappear if you take some time. Singer’s response is proof that the gun supporters are starting to get uneasy.

            Liked by 1 person

            • This is about the third time I’ve picked up somebody like him, and it is definitely off-putting. I have a tough enough shell that it doesn’t frighten me or drive me to tears, but it makes me angry, especially when he questions my integrity, for I work hard to research and try to make sure my facts are in order. Anyway, today, he made crude and rude replies to both Roger and Jerry, and so I blocked his comments. I had hoped for civil discourse, but his only interest, apparently, is slamming any who don’t agree with him. Yes, you’re lucky, but then your work isn’t very controversial, which probably helps keep the trolls away.

              I don’t really feel bad, but I am just so tired that it’s almost a chore to even eat. And, I have been having quite a bit of pain in my eyes whenever there is bright light. But, I’m okay … just need to get back on my feet and stop all this lollygagging about! 😀

              Liked by 1 person

              • Gee, you sound like my Anne! She gets upset if she doesn’t have a productive day. I keep reminding her that we’re retired… may as well whistle in the wind. I understand how important your daily blogging is to you, but nothing is more important than your eyes and general health. Hugs.

                You’re right, I don’t post controversial stuff as a rule. Although, I’m waiting for a racist troll to take me to task for highlighting the great contributions of Black and Indigenous Canadians. Shrug. You handle your trolls very well indeed!

                Liked by 1 person

                • Yes, I think Anne and I would get on quite well! I am just never happy to sit and do nothing when I know things need to be done. But, I am taking it a bit easier, for my energy just isn’t what it should be, and my eyes are definitely concerning. I still see quite well, so that keeps me encouraged. Thanks for caring!

                  I cannot imagine that anyone would take you to task for highlighting the achievements of the Black and Indigenous Canadians, but then there are always a few bigots. If anybody does, let me know and I will smite them!!! 😀 Hugs!!!

                  Liked by 1 person

                    • Awww, thanks John! For some reason, I’ve rather been in the mood to smite somebody for a year or so now 😀 My eyes are doing a bit better tonight, so I’m encouraged! I haven’t forgotten that I owe you an email, and that I am to write a guest post … just have to get back up to speed here. Thanks for your patience … and your well-wishes! Hugs!!!

                      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill, we have lost our moral compass. We used to be more concerned and invested in helping others, but now we berate the UN and other peacekeeping efforts. We have done little to help others like the folks in Ghouta or Rohingas in Myanmar, ignored refugees, unwelcomed immigrant children and have not stood up for Civil Rights of the disenfranchised here. The US can no longer claim to be a shining light on the hill if we choose to act this way. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sadly, you are so right, my friend. And this, really, we cannot blame on Trump, though he certainly hasn’t helped matters. But it began before even him. What do you think was the trigger that made people less humanitarian, less caring? Was it a single incident, such as the Arab Spring leading to the refugee crisis? I ponder these things, but so far have no answers. I don’t much like what the human race is turning into, though.


      • Jill, I think it is due to segmented news and social media. Leonard Pitts wrote this week of a minister who lost his daughter in the Texas church shooting having to defend that his daughter was indeed killed to a conspiracy nut saying it was all staged. How do you argue with such cold hearted ignorance? Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • Quite so. Just as the grieving parents of children who died at Sandy Hook have had people accusing and pointing the finger at them all these years. Yes, surely social media with its uneducated, highly-partisan volatile rhetoric is in part to blame. I think if we dig even deeper, we look to our education system that has ceased teaching people how to actually think for themselves, else they might be more prone to question what they read on Twitter, Facebook, etc. I guess the only question that matters, though, is can we fix it? Can we work our way back to being a more humanitarian society who once again cares for our fellow humans? I’m skeptical.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Jill we have to remember the times in our own history where the people of the community rose up to vocally and physically oppose actions that seemed to be normal and ok before then. We can do it again, if enough people want to. Do enough want to, well according to all polls yes. But it will take all of us to pull that wagon. Hugs

            Liked by 1 person

  3. This is not the first time world politics have resulted in the slaughter of innocents, and it won’t be the last, not until there is a genuine world government with teeth. The UN was supposed to be that global watchdog, but it can barely gum its food.

    If there is such a thing as evil, then it is loose in the world. I can only hope that once these old, vain, venal men die off, younger, less corrupt men and women will have a chance to bring peace again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree, that once this generation of fat old white men is gone, I hope humanity and common sense come into play for a change. But y’know, my friend, look at how many centuries, millennium, mankind has been on this earth. And we still … STILL … haven’t learned to care about our fellow man regardless of skin colour. STILL haven’t learned to get along and not fight, not be greedy. It seems that if we were going to figure it all out, we would have done so by now, don’t you think? I really don’t mean to spread a wet blanket on it all, but … I just don’t see anything that makes me think we are one iota smarter today than we were 1,000 years ago. If anything, I think we may be dumbing-down. At least the U.S. certainly is, for our ranking in education has dropped dramatically over the past decade. We mollycoddle kids in schools and praise them no matter what they do, rather than teaching them to think for themselves and be accountable for their actions. Okay, I shall step gingerly down from this soapbox now … 🦁

      Liked by 1 person

      • -hugs- On bad days I share your cynicism; some people have empathy and some don’t, and the genes for both keep on repeating, generation after generation. But think about the times when a better world became possible without bloodshed? The Berlin Wall coming down? The end of appartheid in South Africa? Two young, idealistic young men taking over in Canada and France. Sometimes out better halves do triumph. I just wish it were more often. And please don’t get me started on ‘education’. The US is not alone in letting some half-baked theory turn whole generations into…-cough- Yes. 😦

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Dear Jill,

    This is a story that requires more coverage but I hate this story because of the US part in this horror. This inhumanity is a by-product of President Trump playing footsies with Russia. We’ve turned our back on the rebels who fought against the brutal reign of President Assad, and even the Kurds who have saved our butts on numerous occasions.

    What this president is allowing for is so shameful. Human rights is no longer a US priority. How can anyone close their eyes to this level of cruelty?

    I think I need to take a shower and to take a break for real. Unfortunately, I was sidetracked.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Jill,

      I have tried to retweet your tweets with no success. For some reason I am blocked from being able to go this which is perfectly okay if that is your intent. I am able to click on the “like” option.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gronda — I am a neophyte when it comes to Twitter! I was getting notifications saying that you were re-tweeting my posts, so I just assumed that all was well, but after receiving this message from you, I looked into my settings, and I still don’t understand what was amiss, but I changed some of the privacy settings and I see it is working right now. I still don’t understand, because David and John were able to re-tweet my posts. I promise I didn’t intentionally block you from doing so, for I appreciate all the exposure I can get! Thanks a million for re-tweeting and for letting me know there was a problem! Hopefully it is all fixed now! Hugs!!!

        Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right … this story deserves much more coverage! Apparently not very many have any interest, though. I hate the situation, and especially detest the role the U.S. has played. And, I hate realizing that even if these people could find a way out of Ghouta, they would not be welcomed as refugees to the U.S., or likely any other country these days.

      I don’t know how people can close their eyes to it, how they can fail to care about fellow human beings. I just don’t know, don’t understand it, and don’t think I want to understand, either. People seem only to care about what directly affects them at any given moment. Like you, by the time I finished with this one, I was ready for a shower and a long vacation to a desert island with no means of communication. My luck, somebody would fly over in a plane and drop fliers with Trump’s picture on them.

      Hugs, dear Gronda.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sat on a teaching a few weeks ago & It went like this….

    In the Book of Isaiah 17:1,
    Ezekiel 38,
    Luke 21:28 & John 14:29

    Russia wants the oil in Israel and Iran wants the destruction of the Jews.
    When Damascus, Syria is totally destroyed and the process is already started then they are going to attack Israel. Folks this is bigger than Trump and it looks like we have almost arrived.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes, the situation in Ghouta is dire. But it is understandable that people pay more attention to what is happening more locally.

    The problem with Ghouta, is that there isn’t much we can do about it — especially since Trump has, in effect, given Russia and Syria carte blanche in that region.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It may well be true that there isn’t anything we can do about it, but I think it is important that we not forget about it, not forget those poor people, and that we remember to care, to occasionally shed a tear for lives lost.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. hello Jill. I am glad you wrote this and I share your outrage and dismay. However we both know the two main factors for the silence of the USA. First is as you mentioned tRump is clearly compromised by Russia and dares not rock the boat he is in with Putin. The second big point is the following mindset. “They are not us, nor like us”. That is so wrong headed I can not really address it. However in the news this week is the situation in Puerto Rico is getting worse. Electricity is spotty at best and is not restored to the entire island. They are running out of water. They are our fellow countryman, but not according to those that use race and ethnicity as their measure of citizenship. There has been an attempt to draw all assistance away from the island and to deny their existence as members of our country by this government. I hate that way of thinking, but that is what 33% or more of the country believes and fights for. Best wishes. Hugs

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hey Scottie! I agree with your first two points, and would add a third: “if it isn’t happening to me, or to somebody I care for, then why should I care?” I hear those very words out of the mouths of people I once thought I knew to be kind, compassionate human beings. I live in a community that is about 30% refugees, mainly from Syria & Iraq. They are wonderful people, and my immediate neighbors have become great friends with whom we often share meals and help each other out in many ways. An old friend, a former co-worker, had the unmitigated gall to tell me that I better watch my back because they would eventually kill me. Needless to say, she is no longer a friend.

      And yes, the treatment we have given our fellow-citizens in Puerto Rico is abominable. But then, so is the treatment some of the very people who support Trump give to citizens living here in the continental U.S. whose skin just happens to be black. ‘Tis why I ask if we have forgotten how to be human. Seems like some have, doesn’t it?

      Liked by 2 people

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