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Why I Supported Military Intervention in Syria

At the United Nations in February 2012

In a world rife with violence it is always good to hear those who vociferously denounce war. I am also against war, especially when it comes to Syria, and have been so for the past two years. But even as we helplessly watch Syria’s death toll rise to over 100,000, two million Syrian refugees flee to other countries and Bashar al-Assad gas over 1,400 innocent civilians, I cannot support any further inaction by my country. I reluctantly support a US military intervention in Syria.

In 2011, I learned of the Syrian boys who, inspired by the pro-democracy movements in Egypt and Tunisia, painted graffiti slogans calling for the people to topple the regime. Numerous youths, some of whom had nothing to do with the incident, were apprehended by security and tortured.

I later saw the disturbing video of 13 year-old Hamza’s castrated corpse covered with lacerations and electric shock burns. I watched aghast at bullet holes that pierced each side of his arms.

Hamza’s story immediately brought back memories of Emmett Till, the 14 year-old boy beaten and murdered in 1955 in Mississippi. Hamza’s parents defied orders and showed the world what the government did to their child. Emmett’s mother also showed the world how her son was brutally murdered. When I saw Syrians gather in the streets, galvanized by that horrendous video, I was reminded of the those who did the same here in the US to protest the brutality of discrimination.

For months Syrians pled for international help, which never came. Each new UN resolution on Syria, died at the hands of Russia’s and China’s vetoes. So I did what I could to raise awareness. I created a video to support peaceful Syrian protesters and I repeatedly demonstrated with Syrian Americans. The organizers handed me the microphone and asked me to speak with people passing by. I’m shy, but they insisted I spoke about the case as best I could. All I could say was that those who were not African American helped fight for my ancestors’ freedom so I must support others in the quest for their own. I argued that one needn’t be Syrian to recognize their fight for human rights. We should all demand the UN take action to stem the violence and protect innocent lives.

While Syrians vehemently denounced the regime, foreign fighters have been rushing in to take advantage of the conflict. I remember how sad it was to watch the country devolve into a civil war.

I wish I could forget the countless graphic videos uploaded to YouTube by ordinary citizens in a country where journalists are still banned. But these images haunt me despite the distance. As I sit comfortably in New York, I can only imagine how it feels to be a child in Syria right now, this very second. I worry that if we do not intervene, Bashar al-Assad will use chemical weapons again, killing even more innocent civilians. Bashar al-Assad will not stop unless someone intervenes. He has demonstrated his willingness to slaughter civilians without remorse. The US cannot continue to stand aside and watch another holocaust unfold before all of our eyes. Therefore, I reluctantly support US military intervention in Syria.

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future a program of World Pulse that provides rigorous digital media and citizen journalism training for grassroots women leaders. World Pulse lifts and unites the voices of women from some of the most unheard regions of the world.

Speaking at a demonstration 2011

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Carrie Lee's picture

Thank you for writing this.

Thank you for writing this. I love how you said-"one needn't be Syrian to recognize their fight for human rights"

My heart has ached, like yours and so many others, for the answer; what to do, how to make it stop; must we use military force? but if not, how can we let it continue? For me, personally, I am led to change my question---To how to live between the two. I posted it to my journal yesterday: http://worldpulse.com/node/77195

Many blessings,
Carrie

Nechesa's picture

feeling helpless

I recognize the helplessness in your journal entry. It's the same helplessness in my own words.

It's an all-around tragedy. May it end soon.

jacollura's picture

Thank you for posting.

I, too, am torn over how the US should intervene in Syria. But, inaction is not the answer. We cannot allow Assad to continue to murder civilians.

Nechesa's picture

being torn

Yeah, It feels weird advocating for intervention. Events have been changing so fast my oped was moot just as I was posting it. A solution to ending the violence is so unclear but I hope the international community finds it soon.

Mukut's picture

Action to end violence !

Nechesa your Op-Ed is fantastic! I understand your stand on the Syria issue. Assad is a very, very dangerous man and yes, he will not stop until there is strong intervention by the International community. Yesterday, I watched, that now Syria has agreed to hand over the chemical weapons under International scrutiny on request of Russia. Well, I just hope that whatever action is taken now, the civilians and innocents should not suffer any more.

The videos on You tube and other channels are ghastly to watch. I hope the war and killings end soon.

Extremely proud of you. Excellent piece.

Love,

Mukut Ray

Nechesa's picture

Thank you sister girl!

Mukut, my sunshine, thank you again. You always shine a light of support and positivity.

Tash's picture

i do not support it at all!

i do not support it at all! how humanitarian is it? more people could die as big powers pompously display their nuclear toys, taking more lives at one go. Its a violation of international law and you do not end violence with violence! that's not human, Let America use some of its diplomatic skills to work on this!!!!!!!!

great work!

Kind Regards,
Patsy.

Nechesa's picture

Thanks Patsy

I was hoping someone who disagreed with me would post a comment to my post. It's a very controversial topic and I felt a little intimidated by throwing my point of view out there but I'm glad I did and I'm glad you responded.

As events are rapidly evolving, let's hope that Kerry's and Lavrov's efforts to peacefully get rid of chemical weapons in Syria work. I do believe, however, that the threat of military intervention was the impetus for Russia's sudden participation (as opposed to continual blind complicit support of the al-Assad regime).

Nechesa

Tash's picture

I respect your point of view

I respect your point of view and have friends who agree with you but i would never change my mind on this. i pray peaceful removal of chemical weapons yields Nechesa! The US and its allies can't have forgotten what happened in Afghanistan already !!

Kind Regards,
Patsy.

Iryna's picture

War can never be a solution

Nechesa, you wrote a very strong and convincing op-ed. Nonetheless I will join Patsy. This is my strongest conviction that a war can never be a solution. I live in the country where almost every family has someone who died during some war: The Second World War (we call it The Great Patriotic War), the war in Afghanistan, Chechnya... We know the face of the war. And we belive that there is nothing in this world what really deserve to support it.
Ten years after Iraq invasion only about 4 in 10 Americans who fought there believe the reasons for going to war justified the loss in blood and treasure.
It will never be like a group of soldiers will land in the middle of Damascus, arrest Bashar al-Assad and bring him to the court. No, it will be completely different. More innocent people will suffer. More soldiers will leave Syria with lifelong injuries, contusions and depression.
I agree, what is going today in Syria is out of understanding. And unfortunately there is no any "correct" answer. And we all have a right for our opinions and beliefs. Just this is one of my main principles in life: No war! When I went to the school for the first time at six years the very first lesson I had was the Lesson of Peace. So for me some things are just untouchable.
But thank you, Nechesa, for bringing this discussion here so we all can express our points of views!

Warm regards from Ukraine,
Iryna

Nechesa's picture

Thanks for sharing your point of view

Because this is such an important topic where lives are at stake I welcome fierce debate on this issue. I'm glad that my argument is moot but am again literally frustrated to tears as I watched on Sunday a video of children's mangled and bloodied bodies from a bomb dropped on their school from a jet.

Hopefully there will be an end to this massacre soon.

SanPatagonia's picture

A powerful writing

Thank you, Nechesa, for your impressive writing.

It took me to many years in the past, when I first saw a video of mutilated children after a raid attack... and I could totally relate to your point of view, even when I'm not pro-war at all, under no circumstances.
I disagree with you but I truly respect this op-ed. Taking a stand, full of awareness as shown, is a bravery I salute.

Fight for freedom is not all chanting and dancing, I know that... maybe we all do... but it's still very hard to accept it.

@SanPatagonia
Be a voice, tell a story, start the fire. | Sé una voz, cuenta una historia, enciende el fuego.

Zoepiliafas's picture

I appreciate all of the

I appreciate all of the respectful discourse. I at first felt similar to your piece - I am on the fence. I want to claim peace and alternative methods - a paradigm shift in how countries respond to one another. I think part of this is women taking up our rightful space and place in leadership roles in government.

But until that happens I wonder what the alternative to war is as we watch innocent people get brutally murdered!

Thank you for giving the community your voice and I am thankful that our community can disagree in a thoughtful and respectful way.

Hope to chat with you again soon!

Regards,

Zoe

Zoe Piliafas

Voices of Our Future Community Manager
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