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.
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.
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.