Photo: AP
'Number of deaths in Syrian civil war is nearing 140,000. Where are the protests?'
Photo: AP
Sever Plocker

West doesn't care about Syrians

Op-ed: Europe's indifference to bodies piling up in Syria eliminates its right to lecture anyone, anywhere

The number of deaths in the Syrian civil war is nearing 140,000. At least 80% of them were murdered by the forces loyal to the current Syrian regime. The mass slaughter is taking place in the heart of the Arab world and just a stone's throw away from the progressive European-Western world. The silence of both of them, the Arab and European indifference to the mountains of bodies piling up in Syria's fields and on its cities' streets effectively eliminates their right to lecture anyone, anywhere around the globe.



The governments in Syria's neighboring Arab countries are collapsing under the burden of refugees, and that's where their interest in what is happening in that country ends. A dozen casualties in protests in Egypt shock the enlightened Arab public opinion; 140,000 deaths in Syria don’t appeal to them.


The Arab street, which is famous for its quick responses, hardly moved; the television channels, which inflamed their viewers during the days of the Arab Spring, broke for commercials and futile discussions in the studios. Who is in favor of mass murder? Who is against it? Who abstains? The majority abstained.


And where are the tens of thousands of protestors near Syria's embassies in Europe's capitals? The British liberal Left, which knew how to launch major protests on different international issues, held its peace and put its feet in the water. The Left in Paris, Rome, Berlin, Copenhagen did the same. Peace, tranquility. There are no belligerent emergency conferences in universities, no organizations calling on every sensible person with a conscience to sever ties with the government of mass murder in Damascus.


The London-based Independent newspaper is not filling its front page every day with real photographed horror stories from the killing fields in Syria, as it used to do, with sick exaggeration, during the days of Operation Defensive Shield in the second intifada.


In general, the reports from Syria have moved from the front pages of leading media outlets to their inside pages. The use of chemical weapons was the only thing that shifted the public opinion spotlight for a while to what is going on there, and that was only because of the historic memory from World War I.


Assad, whose hands are stained with blood up to his shoulders, even got a friendly pat on the shoulder when he agreed to destroy his chemical abilities. And why did he agree? Because for a tiny moment, for one second, he thought Obama was ready to use force against him. And all he understands is the language of force. It's not Putin's compromise diplomacy which led the Syrian regime to give up on its chemical weapons, but Obama's threat diplomacy. And a little fear of the edgy Israel.


And where is Israel? We have also developed a thick skin. We are also no longer shocked by the murder of another 800 Syrians, including children, including women, on one single weekend. True, Israel's special situation prevents it from aiding the victims of the Syrian massacre apart from taking the injured into its hospitals, which is being done generously. True, Syria is an enemy state. And yet, our representatives in all international institutions should incessantly and tirelessly put the killing sprees of the Syrian regime on the agenda, even if we look and sound like a voice crying in the wilderness.


There is no point in going into detail about the moral cowardice of the leaders of the Arab public in Israel in regards to what is happening in Syria. It's outrageous, it's disgusting, it's miserable.


Prof. Emmanuel Sivan argues that the West's (relative) indifference to the horrors of the war in Bosnia sowed the seeds of Muslim rage which produced the World Trade Center terrorists. A similar phenomenon is taking place in Syria right now: The enlightened world's powerlessness to help the moderate and democratic rebels is leading to radicalization within their ranks and a growing infiltration of Islamic fanaticism. The revolt of the enlightened is turning into the revolt of the haters.


Ultimately, the Western elites never cared, and still don’t care, about the fate of the villagers in Syria or the oppressed in Tripoli. They don't care about the Arabs unless it has to with the Jewish-Palestinian conflict, and even then it's not because of the Palestinians but because of the Jews.


פרסום ראשון: 01.15.14, 00:06
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