By Phil Kyles
There are crises all around the world occurring right now. Knowing about the world is an essential part of being aware of your surroundings and invokes a sense of appreciation of the situation in the United States.
I am speaking predominantly about Syria. There is a civil war there and many college kids, supposedly learning about the world in which they live, are completely oblivious.
The conflict, which began in local demonstrations around March 15, 2011, continues onward in the form of a civil war and is part of a larger movement called the Arab Spring.
It is basically a war between President Assad’s forces and the rebels, which are a contingent group of defects and members of the Syrian Liberation Army wanting to overthrow the present government. Such reasons of claimed rampant corruption, unequal distribution of wealth, dictatorship, censorship and a large percentage of the population being young and educated without jobs sparked the uproar.
This is concerning on two points: One being that Islamic militants are joining the fight potentially creating a new recruiting ground for al-Qaeda once the fight is resolved. Secondly, the political uncertainty of the region could tip away from democracy and toward a terrorist controlled organization.
All politics aside, this conflict is brutal.
Civilians are being targeted every day by the oppressive Assad government forces with the shelling of residential areas, mass executions and also, to some extent, by the stray rounds of the rebels.
Recently, 200 bodies were found in a town close to Damascus. They were not armed. They were executed.
Amazingly in response to the humanitarian report, President Assad’s news network promoted the killings by reporting the town was “purified of terrorist remnants.”
College students should feel for the members of the Arab Spring because it is mostly composed of young adults just like us, struggling to make the future their own.
Just think if you were a young college-aged student facing poverty and brutal oppression, would you fight given the circumstances? Would you risk your life?
The answer to these questions is quite difficult but is being made by many young men and women in Syria. They are fighting against a better-armed force, risking their lives in exchange for the idea of an acceptable government with the possibility to fail. It is simply amazing, inspiring and is reminiscent of the man standing in front of the tank in the Tiananmen Square protest of China.
In reviewing the images being broadcast out of the war zones, the viewer observes a since of chaos, but also a general momentum of the rebel force. The rebels are not giving up because if they do, they will surely face retribution by Assad’s forces.
So, what should students at Eastern take from this?
They should be aware that struggles occur every day around the world, and we are lucky that such violence and critical action is not needed in our country. Sure, things could be better, but as history shows, things are often much more worse for many others.
If you have some time, click around the Internet and view some of the images and stories coming out of this conflict. Keep your eyes on Syria as it is a pivotal point in Middle-Eastern diplomacy and could play a key role in United States involvement within the region.