More From Alder's Ledge

July 31, 2012

What Happened To Buddhism Being Peaceful?

Attacks on Rohingya Continue
(Part of The Darkness Visible post)

As the violence in Rakhine, Myanmar continues the Buddhist population returns to allegations that the Rohingya are invaders. The charges are obviously blatantly false. Yet the Buddhist continue to attack with both words and violent actions.

Amnesty International stated this week that though the fighting had been down ethnic lines in the beginning the latest attacks have been primarily targeting the Rohingya minority. The Burmese government has not only been complacent in allowing the attacks but has commanded the Myanmar security forces to attack Rohingya villages and raid Rohingya camps. The goal of the Burmese government has always been deportation. And amidst this recent wave of violence the Myanmar government is stepping up its policies of discrimination.

We already know that the Bangladeshi government is not much better in its treatment of the Rohingya. The Bengali forces are known to use Rohingya as slaves and forced labor. The Bengali forces often uproot Rohingya and force them over the border into Burma. And in some of the worse cases have been known to kill Rohingya found along the border.

The Rohingya trapped in Burma have for six weeks now put up with mass arrest and routine attacks by biased Burmese Police. Children who go out searching for food can be subjected to beatings. Women caught outside without a male companion around are raped and often killed. The Rohingya men who aren't forced to submit humiliation by the Burmese security forces are more often than not beaten or killed.

So where is the UN and the Western world in all this?

The UN has sent observers to see first hand what is happening in Burma. Yet the Burmese government continues to keep the world at bay as it censors most everything the UN is allowed to see in the western Rakhine region of Myanmar. Security has long been an excuse for violators of human rights while they use the victims as an excuse for the violence. But the UN fails to force the issue even while knowing this disturbing trend.

The Russians, British, and Americans have all recently joined the race with China to exploit the small Asian country of its resources. Myanmar appears more than willing to let the foreign businesses in on one condition... they don't dare say a word about human rights. And as far as China and Russia go, Burma has no worries there. So where is Obama when it comes to Burmese atrocities?

Ignoring organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, Obama has given the green light to US companies who want to outsource to Myanmar. Instead of growing jobs at home Obama seems happy to export American industry to prop up a genocidal government in Burma. And still the media back home in the US refuses to even discuss the problem as they cover the "Race for Burma". It seems none of them want to talk about Obama's complacency with murder when it comes to depressing the US economy and boosting the Burmese capabilities in conducting genocide.

Some parts of the world are watching however. Some parts of the world are preparing to act. But it isn't the groups we would want to "stop" genocide.

Pakistani Taliban members have recently claimed that they will begin attacking Burma if the Myanmar government does not put a stop to the killing of Rohingya. It appears that some of the worst human rights violators are actually prepared to act more directly than the civilized Western world. And yet even with the threat of global terrorism, the Western governments continue to hide their eyes and hope for the best.

If Taliban members do begin making attacks on Burma we could witness international acts of war coming  from both Pakistan and Myanmar alike. What could easily be stopped by intervention, either diplomatically or militarily, by the Western world and the UN is starting to boil over borders. The darkness is spreading from Myanmar and Bangladesh into India and Pakistan. The sparks are starting to fly and the tinderbox of the region is ready to ignite.

How will the West and the UN deal with war and genocide as this dark night reaches its darkest hours? Syria burns as the Sudan continues to be ravaged by war and genocide alike. Yemen starves as the Arab Spring appears ready to drag the country into Syria's pit of despair. Assam shows signs of healing and yet the Muslim world prepares to wage war to get even... Assam could erupt again. Burma is just the depth of the darkness itself. It shows us what kind of world we have become. In the middle of the night... in our darkness hour... we see how weak and vulnerable we really are.

If only to save ourselves the heartache, we have turned our backs on the Rohingya just as we have turned our eyes away from Syria. We are no more capable of standing up to our promise of "Never Again" now than we were in Bosnia... Rwanda... Cambodia... or Darfur. And from what we can see now, we aren't even trying to live up to those two hollow words.

The Roma, Jews, Armenians, Native Americans... more than we can mention... were all offered to the flames, gas, and bullets. After those crimes we were told ourselves we would never allow those crimes to happen to anyone else. We promised the world that together we could put an end to this dark chapter in our history.

Burma shows us that it is still with us. Syria screams to us that it has never left us. And Assam cries out to us to finally put an end to this dark night.

The Shallow Grave

For Assad or For Liberty?

Aleppo continues to be hammered as Assad's forces more heavy artillery into civilian neighborhoods all the while shelling other houses near by. What appears to be a scene from Dante's Inferno has engulfed the commercial hub of Syria. Businesses and homes alike are sacrificed to the mortars and artillery shells that rain from the sky day and night. Ramadan has no meaning for the terrified citizens who have remained trapped by ferocious fighting. And at the heart of all this sets one monster who refuses to leave.

The man who came first for the peaceful protesters in his nation's cities. The beast who then went after the innocent children of his countrymen. This is the creature that now threatens to level the city of Aleppo if only to save it from the rebels... his fellow Syrians.

On the other hand you have Hezbollah and Al-Quada trying to hijack what was supposed to be a movement for peace and democracy. The extremist who have found a new nation to plunder now threaten to make Aleppo Assad's grave. So now we must ask... for whom this grave now waits?

The resentment of Assad's excesses and the West's abandonment have fueled Syrian rebels to a fury Aleppo now bears. IEDs and RPGs now rule the roads of what was once a city. Damascus waits in line to be devoured next. Improvised weapons are being pitted against tanks and helicopters as the dogs of war claim the streets. The grave is being made ready.

Despite Assad's superior weapons one has to recall what the tyrant is up against. In Aleppo the Syrian Army can not send in tanks with the infantry escorts they require to operate effectively. IEDs (improvised explosive device) have made this impossible and sniper fire makes it suicidal. Instead Assad's tanks are being forced into narrow streets as RPGs (rocket propelled grenade) pick off the steel coffins one by one. Helicopter cover from overhead is threatened by small arms fire as they are forced to get in close to locate the guerrilla soldiers on the ground. It seems Assad's forces are being treated to the same threats United States soldiers faced in Iraq.

Syrian rebels have shown that they are willing to use suicide attacks in some cases if the reward is worth the cost in their eyes. In Damascus this was made evident when the rebels set of suicide bombs that are believed to have killed members of Assad's regime. These attacks even sent Assad into hiding for a couple days as the bombs continued to rock Damascus.

Back in the United Nations the world watches as the 2.5 million residents of Aleppo either flee or bunker down. France and other Western nations have already said that Aleppo has the potential to become the next Homs style massacre. This time around however if the regime wins the civilian death toll could be counted in the hundreds of thousands instead of just the hundreds. Innocent women and children will most likely be the number one targets of the Shabiha if Assad's regime can route the rebels.

In all wars it is expected that a small number of the dead will inevitably be noncombatants. Yet in Syria the number of innocent killed at this point outnumbers the number of combatants killed by far. To make things worse, Syria's government has targeted the nation's youth in a method of systematic slaughter not seen in modern times. This is expected only to continue if Assad can take Aleppo.

Along the border refugees escaping Assad's tyranny are harassed by border patrols. In several cases it has been verified that Syrian soldiers have shot the children of refugees while allowing the parents to escape. The motive for this is clear... the message is clear... the government of Syria wishes to demoralize and crush the spirits of anyone who opposes Assad. Fleeing the country is apparently considered treason instead of remaining loyal and waiting to die like all the rest.

I have made it clear in recent post that it is my opinion that Assad is acting like the male lion who has just taken on a new pride. He is roaming the landscape looking for the cubs of those who are now to be his oppressed slaves. And like the lion... Assad is slaughtering and devouring his nations youth. Taking from the pride any form of hope that might be left.

It is now my opinion that the children trapped in Aleppo are at more risk than they have been ever before. Not only is Assad shelling the city relentlessly but he is preparing his forces for a fight to the death. The loyal Shabiha are waiting to act as the SS did in Poland. They will come in behind the Syrian Army and "mop up" the "undesirables". Women and children will be used to make an example for all the rest. For the Shabiha they are easy targets for they cannot fight back. They will be tortured and then killed. Their bodies will be beaten even after they die to make them appear worse than just a bullet to the head. This is to be a grotesque mascaraed for the conqueror... Assad. 

Many of Aleppo's 200,000 citizens who have fled will come back only to find their homes and businesses burnt to the ground. For what remains of the 2.5 million citizens of Aleppo who did not flee... Assad's reconquista will be more like the Soviets invading Berlin than it will be a return to normality. The first hellish wave of soldiers and tanks will offer only death to those trapped in the crossfire. The Shabiha will offer a burial for those who survive.

The West grows tired of seeing images like this. They claim that the Battle for Aleppo will be a decisive victory for either side. And that the war will come to an end quickly after the fall of this city. The delusions with which the West operates however only offer more images like this one.

More children will be wounded or killed as a result of Western cowardice and ineptitude. The death toll for Syria's youth will only tick higher as Western leaders like Obama kneel down to lick Assad and Putin's boots. But more disturbing than this... all hope of democracy for the youth of Syria will die as a result of a callous world that has dared to turn its back on the most visible chapter of darkness in our history.

Nobody knows what will come of Aleppo. The darkness that has been creeping over the landscape for nearly 17 months now continues to grow. Its veil blocks the light and hides all signs of hope as it devours those it now ensnares. Once again I will... neigh, I must... ask, where will this dark night take us? When will this dark night end? And how many more must perish before the world decides to act?

July 30, 2012

Assam Burns Hotter

Death Toll Ticks Upward
(Part of The Darkness Visible post)

I have tried to remain impartial while I watch as two communities fight to survive this horrible outbreak of violence in Assam. I have tried not to invest myself into another terrible conflict. But I can't in either case. My heart goes out to the vulnerable. My soul cries out for the oppressed. And in Assam I can not remain silent as the world covers its eyes once more.

Currently the Assam tragedy is a regional issue. India makes it appear as though they have everything under control. But the region is burning. The vulnerable minority in Assam, the Muslims, are being targeted. And yet the world tells us... "well they are fighting back so its partially their fault".

When did we start telling ourselves the victims of ethnic violence should go to slaughter like sheep? My ancestors didn't disappear into concentration camps like lambs waiting for the butcher. Bosnian Muslims didn't lay down wait for the axe to fall. So why should this latest victim put their heads upon the chopping block and wait for India to hack away?

I am under no illusions of India's capabilities when I state that if India's government wanted to restore order they could in a matter of days. Yet that is how the world wants to imagine it as we pretend that India is the backward hell hole Britain use to run into the ground. We seem willing to accept the Indian governments excuses for allowing the Bodo tribesmen to loot and burn Muslim villages.

I do not accept that the men like this one above are inept and incapable of stopping untrained mobs from attacking and killing unarmed civilians. That toy in his hand isn't a BB gun. It is loaded with the same ammunition used in Russian or Chinese rifles. And that shoot on sight order is supposed to give soldiers like this one the capability to enforce the curfew India set in place in Assam. Yet the world seems willing to ignore all of this while asking the Indian government why the killing is still going strong.

For me it is clear why a Hindu country is slow to act when its Muslim minority comes under attack. When Pakistan and India were divided into two separate nations the area along the border became a seemingly endless killing field. The blood poured on both sides with such hatred that no civilized army dared to step in to stop it. And it is that same grudge that continues to this day.

India is a nation surrounded by countries who do not practice Hinduism. The nuclear stalemate between it and its neighbor Pakistan shows how this division in religious beliefs floats beneath the surface. To add to this you have a porous border with Bangladesh and its Muslim population. India is surrounded by people its population doesn't seem to get along with.

So for those Muslims who live on "the wrong side of the border"... life is hard to say the least. For the Muslims in Assam life is getting hard to hold onto. The separatist groups (exp. the Bodo Liberation Tigers) in Assam want this minority population permanently expelled. They do not want to live in peace next to Bengali Muslims (ironically many of which are as much Indian in nationality as the Bodo themselves) any longer. This is a divide that must be recognized. And the violence that arises from it must be smashed with extreme force the very moment it occurs.

It is never acceptable to have women and children suffer the politics of a nation. Babies should never be born in refugee camps while their mothers fight to find food let alone medical attention. Children should never be forced to live in tents while their fathers remain missing in the fog of battle. This entire situation is headed to the same scale of tragedy that is occurring in Myanmar. And sadly, it shouldn't be happening at all.

Western government which have been helping India's economy boom should now be less worried about jobs being outsourced and more about the human cost of this drastic change in India's societies. With the changes of economic growth and social influences from the outside world the possibility of human rights violations grows. In Assam it is not clear how these factors affect the crisis. But it is clear that the Indian government is failing.

From Washington, London, Berlin, to Paris... the West needs to start upholding its promise of "Never Again" when it comes to the devastating effects of human rights violations. We can not wait for the Indian government to act. We need to spur the Indian government to act and to do so quickly.

July 26, 2012

No Good News...

...As the Darkness Spreads.
(Part of The Darkness Visible series)

Many Americans have never heard of India's state Assam. More Americans have no idea about why this state in India is important today. And yet the spread of darkness across the globe doesn't care what we know or what we think we know.

Ethnic violence has been growing in Assam for some time now. For about five days now the rioting in Assam has flared out of control. Bodo villagers in Assam have been reported to have sparked the riots when they killed four Bengali Muslims. The fighting really sparked when a fifth Bengali was found dead in a rice field just days later. The fact that Assam police refused to arrest anyone in connection to the killings didn't help at all.

Now the Bodo villagers are resorting to handmade weapons and are attacking Indian security forces. The local's aggression has put the death toll at 40 so far. To add to the problem, thousands of people have been either internally displaced as a result of the fighting forced back over into Bangladesh.

All of this can only be highlighted by the suffering of the most vulnerable portion of the population that is suffering once again. Children of Bengali immigrants (leaving suffering and persecution in Bangladesh) are now being forced to relive the nightmares that had brought them to Assam in the first place. As seen in the face of the child in the picture above, the suffering of these innocent victims can not be ignored.

As far as the actual fighting itself the world must take note that the fighting occurring in Assam mirrors that of what happened in Rwanda. Those who have died are already known to have been killed in hand to hand combat in which the attacker used a machete to disband the unarmed victim. This is a personal style fight. There is no way for an attacker to slaughter a victim in this manner without an incredible level of hatred being involved. This isn't as simple as shooting their victims. To use a machete you have to watch as your victim dies. All the while you are covered in their blood.

We must also understand that the region has long been home to the Bodo Liberation Tigers and their separatist goals. It is an area of India in which the ethnic tensions that sparked this outbreak have run beneath the surface for some time now. And it is a region of India in which this sort of conflict may become a regular occurrence. That is why India's Western allies should be acting now to help in any way they can to help end the fighting.

It is important for every country in the developed world not to just stop ethnic violence where and when it occurs but to also prevent it. We promised ourselves after the Holocaust that this sort of fighting would "Never Again" happen on our watch. Now we are watching as one of the world's fastest growing economies wrestles with its demons. And now we must ask ourselves... can we... will we uphold our promise of "Never Again"?

Sources Used (note not all sources are listed)

The Hindu

The National

The Globe And Mail

And We All Come Tumbling Down

Syria's Downward Spiral Continues
(Part of The Darkness Visible series) 

As the two sides wave their flags and celebrate hollow victories the death toll rises. And with each tick upwards in those numbers comes the suffering for those who upon the war if forced... Syria's innocent... the children.

In recent days the battle for Damascus has grown so fierce that the innocent civilians trapped inside the city have nowhere to go. Government troops have been keeping the city on lock down while rebel forces send reinforcements into the area. Bombs continue to rip the heart of Syria apart while bullets fill the air like rain. Government shelling has been nonstop in civilian areas so as to draw rebels out into the open. While rebel bombs have been exploding in the Government's back yard.

Is there no chance for peace?

The answer once again this week seems to be no. The fighting in Syria has no end in sight. The burning of Damascus now threatens to engulf the region. And as a result has put the world on notice... yet nobody is listening.

Washington's ears perked this week when the Assad regime stated boldly that they were willing to use chemical weapons if the outside world intervened. To make things worse, nobody in the West seems to know just what weapons Syria has at its disposal. It is thought by many that Iraq's weapons (whatever they may have been) could have easily been transported across the border when American soldiers first appeared. And then there is the question of what kind of weapons Syria has developed on its own.

We do know that the classic chemicals such as mustard gas are probably readily available to Assad and his thugs. For the unprotected civilians and the Free Syrian Army, this one type of gas alone would spell disaster. All one has to do is think back to Saddam's use of such weapons on the Kurdish population in Iraq.

We can't wait for Assad to become desperate. Even worse we can not wait of terror groups like Hezbollah to get involved in this conflict. It is evident that groups like Hezbollah would simply transport the chemical weapons out of Syria and over to the Israeli border. And in a matter of days the Syrian disaster would become a regional war that could easily spread out of control.

If Israel were to be attacked with weapons obviously leaked out of Syria it would be a spark that could draw the United States back into the Middle East. Our armed forces would be sacrificed to a war that would at that point be out of control. And the fight would be characterized by its critics as "Zionist" despite obvious Islamist aggression.

All of this could be prevented from even being a possibility if the West had just simply ignored Russian interference and acted to end Assad's genocidal regime. We should not have to rely upon murderous countries like Russia, China, or Iran to stop this bloodshed. Instead the free societies of the West should put their principles of liberty and justice to practice and if necessary back these up with the use of force.

Instead we are stuck here... watching the inferno grow as Assad continues to slaughter his own people.

July 21, 2012

No Rest for the Weary

Quislings and the Roma

For longer than any living person can recall there have been Roma in Europe. They came westward before we had any idea what laid east of Jerusalem. And they have continued to live amongst Europeans for hundreds of years. Yet in Norway the Populist would like you to believe that these are eastern invaders. That they are taking everything you own while doing nothing to benefit the society they wish to destroy. 

These same socialist parties were around when Adolf Hitler took power to the south in Germany. They have been around before World War One and every since the unification of Germany. And not surprisingly these socialist ideologues have not changed their message in all these years. They still want to kill the Jews and Gypsies no matter how polite they are forced to sound in public today.

Norway is no exception. One fifth of Norwegians voted for the populist (socialist) Progress Party. The shift toward fascism has been going on in Norway for some time now. And their "tolerant" society is starting to show just how intolerant Norwegians have become.

And as with any shift toward the "right" the climate in Oslo has become far less hospitable for the Romani. Stories in Norwegian newspapers have stretched every supposed fact almost paper thin to try and link all Norwegian Roma to Romanian immigrants. The xenophobic attitude is only bolstered by the Progress Party leader Siv Jensen as she calls for all Norwegian Roma to be deported.

The facts however point to the issue that most Romani in Norway today have lived in Western Europe for generations. These are the same families that were persecuted by the Nazis and Quislings in Norway 70+ years ago. They are the same families who suffered forced sterilization by Norwegian law right up till the 1980s and some as late as the 1990s. Yet the Norwegian socialist point to a small minority amongst the minority and claim that all of the Roma are Eastern Europeans (thus new arrivals).

Now, just one year after claiming Norway would not change due to one right-wing gunman, the Roma are faced with the threat of expulsion. Many Roma who stand to be deported have never been East of the German-Polish border. They and their ancestors have called Norway home no matter how hard it has been to do so. Yet this is what "tolerance" is to them... the Progress Party.

Roma however are not alone. Norway's Islamaphobic right wing also wishes to expel any Muslims they can get their hands on to. This means that any "asylum seekers" in Oslo are under threat to be sent back to countries either currently hostile to them or in a state of civil war. Muslims in Norway who would not be sent back are constantly waiting for a French style "burka ban" in which they loose their freedom to observe their religion. (In France Muslim women caught wearing a headscarf of any type can be detained by police. Depending on the officer they could face a fine.)

All that is left now is for the world to wait and watch to see if Norway will revert back to its Quisling past. Nazism took barely two weeks to capture Oslo. This time around it may take longer.... but it is still pressing along as the radical right rears its ugly head once again.

July 20, 2012

Rewarding Evil

Obama's Support Of Genocide

On July 11Th the Obama administration got what it has been pushing for as the United States began to lift restrictions on trade with Myanmar. Obama's White House has been pushing the country into bed with the ruthless dictatorship in Burma every since Obama took office. The irony of allowing our free society to fraternize with a country as cold and callous as Myanmar can not be overstated. And yet Obama wishes to play Mr Nice Guy with a government that currently committing genocide.

For over two months now the pogrom of the Rohingya people has been grinding along without mercy. The Burmese government has distributed machetes to the supposedly peaceful Buddhist Rakhine. Myanmar's military has played an active roll in hunting down the defenseless Rohingya and has committed countless massacres of innocent civilians. But all of this was to be expected in a place as hellish as Myanmar.

In recent post I have pointed out the blatant disregard Europe has shown when dealing with Aung San Suu Kyi as they pamper the murderer. It is disheartening to watch the supposedly liberal and humane West bowing to a genocidal regime. And yet here we are...

The 'Kalar' (the slur Burmese use for the Rahingya) are being killed without remorse. This is a push by the current Juntas to rid Myanmar of its most vulnerable minority. And the world is trying desperately not to notice.

These victims died in massacres without names. They were not given the respect one would give an animal being sent to butcher. They were simply killed for being "dark skinned" and of a different faith. So remind us again Hillary Clinton why we want to lift our embargo on Myanmar? How much gold and plunder is worth ignoring this?

Obama has offered his support once again to the wrong side of history. We are a nation who has to constantly ignore how we slaughtered entire races of men to take the Old West. We are a people who live on land stolen from those who got here first. And now we are a country who is willing to ignore the suffering of others if the price is right.

Myanmar has spent decades killing its own people. The Rohingya have suffered without the world even noticing or daring to take notice for as long as they have been alive. Now the world is getting smaller. The backyard killings of a tiny country such as Myanmar can no longer be ignored. They are on your television (when the media dares to talk about it). They are on your phone (when YouTube's cat videos ironically lead you to something more worth watching). They are on your computer (when Google fails to censor the unpleasant). And they are spreading across the globe.

Syria is burning. Myanmar is bleeding. And the West is slipping into bed with the people doing the killing. How long can we remain silent? How many more pictures and videos of these victims do you have to see? Its time you wake up and start to speak out. After all, it is much like that old poem goes...

First they came for Libya,
I was not Libyan so I said nothing.
Then they came for Syria,
CBS didn't tell me about it so I forgot.
Next they came for the Rohingya,
School didn't even teach me about Burma.
Now they come for Me.
And there isn't anyone left to speak up.

(I have posted that actual poem here so many times it doesn't take much scrolling down to find it.)

July 19, 2012

Thunder in Damascus

And the Flames Go Higher

Over the course of this week Damascus has gone from and blaze to an inferno. Free Syrian fighters (the rebel forces) have been setting off bombs all over the city and attacking Assad's forces right at the heart of Syria. The boys wearing tennis shoes seem to be running circles around the thugs in jackboots.

Three top officials in the Assad regime have been killed in an apparent suicide attack. The bravery, and desperation, of the opposition suddenly has Assad in hiding. For a couple days now nobody has seen or heard from the Nero of Damascus. And yet his forces are rallying for a fresh offensive on the rebellion.

A push using foreign tanks and helicopters has already begun. This has been complimented by a media offensive by government backed news outlets. Several pro-Assad media sources are reporting that Western forces have been captured in Syria recently. The most boisterous claim has been that 13 French "Captains" have been captured in Damascus. This is obviously an attempt to establish a reason for why the war isn't going in Assad's favor.

There is nothing more terrifying than a threat of death that you have no ability to predict... no ability to prevent. And that is exactly what the rebels in Syria have brought to the table with deadly efficiency. In many of the skirmishes over the last couple days the rebels have drawn the Syrian Army out into kill zones where the bombs were laying in wait. At other times they have just left the IEDs out on the road where Syrian tanks are common. Any way about it, the guy in the driver's seat can't be feeling comfortable anymore.

When we were fighting this threat in Iraq our forces grew to hate this threat. It seems cowardly in Western philosophy of how war should be fought. But in a popular uprising where the rebels are civilian combatants pitted against professional soldiers... it seems to have its place.

The only draw back of this weapon is the collateral damage. Don't think for a minute that the rebels are placing these things where other civilians aren't present. These are weapons that are indiscriminate killers. It could be a tank that rolls over the trip line or a child on a bicycle. The blast is still the same. The target is who ever happens to be in its path.

So while I wait to see what these blast will bring for the rebels in Syria.... I pray for those still caught in the crossfire. May G-d have mercy on those still trapped in Assad's shadow.

Sources Used (note that not all sources are cited)

The New York Times


July 13, 2012

Falling Away Into The Night

How Many More Have To Die?
(Part of The Darkness Visible series)

This morning Assad's death squads waited to move in for the kill. Ahead of the Shabiha came the artillery barrage. Then came the helicopters. But the siege was not enough to satisfy the beast. Assad needed to send in his "ghost" to finish off the so called rebels.

Tremseh is a small Sunni village surrounded by Alawite villages. It is obvious why Assad targeted this village. This is just more evidence that Assad's regime is exercising a genocidal philosophy to push their version of Islam onto the masses. As an Alawite himself, Assad has shown no mercy for the Sunni majority in his country. And it is becoming more blatantly obvious that he believes that the Sunnis are the reason for his imminent demise and fall from power.

The villagers of Tremseh had no way of defending themselves. They could only hide and wait for the bombs to drop. One by one they were picked off as the artillery laid siege to their humble homes. Then came the death machines from above. There was no running away. This was murder... genocide.

So where the hell was the precious UN? Is it supposed to be acceptable to those who died that we only document what happened to them? How the hell do observers stop this bloody mess? Perhaps it would have made the victims of the Nazis more comfortable if a UN observer had been at the doorway to the gas chambers? At least then the UN could pat them on the back and tell them everything is going to be alright.

Come on you bloody idiots... wake up! No amount of smurfs on the ground in Damascus is going to stop the killing unless you put guns in their hands and tanks at their backs. Let the "peace keepers" use whatever force is necessary to stop this damned mad man from repeating the same bloody sins you let happen time and time again. Did your precious observers do anything to stop Sarajevo? No! And they aren't helping here.

More than 200 hundred dead in one attack is more than 200 hundred than needed to die. But I digress...

The fact is that Syria had already begun making promises that it would stop the use of "heavy weapons" (artillery, attack helicopters, and tanks for example) in populated areas. It now has shown the UN that it has no fear of violating such agreements even as its government was setting down to discuss a peace plan with Kofi Annan. Yet the United Nations has failed to use any real measures to put an end to 17 months of brutal government oppression.

It took the UN less than a month to start putting pressure on Gaddafi and less than two weeks to use military force when it looked like Gaddafi might win. So where is France and Obama now that it has been made obvious that only minimal military intervention can topple Middle Eastern dictators?

The fact that Iran sets right next door seems to point to the reason why Obama and his spineless European companions lack the guts to fight Assad's weakened regime. It appears that the UN is far too afraid of making the "Syrian question" into a regional war. Yet in doing so it also goes to prove that Obama and his tin hat smurf friends willingly forget that Ahmadinejad isn't all that well loved in his own country either.

After all, Ahmadinejad had to use snipers to put down the last protest the outside world was able to see thanks to YouTube.

Then once again we must face the fact that Russia has been allowed to gain far to much control over UN policy even despite the fact that Russia violates human rights across the globe. Chechnya being the easiest case of this such violation. And then we have to consider the fact that it is Russia who has been selling arms all around the globe to dictators and terrorist (Assad being the latest of many).

So what needs to be done to fix the incompetence and help make us more readily capable of living up to our promise "Never Again"?

We need to cut countries such as Syria (who was recently considered for a position with the UN's Human Rights committee), China, Russia, Myanmar, Iran, and other well known violators out of the process. We can not stop genocide if we are letting those who commit it define how we combat it.

Next we need to stop believing the outdated ideal that a nation can do whatever it wants to its own people as long as it keeps it within its own borders. This was the exact reason that Cambodia was able to be taken to Hell and back while the West closed their eyes. It is not reasonable to assume that people like Assad or Pol Pott have the best interest of their citizens at heart when massacres are occurring within the nations borders.

But first, before we can get our countries to agree to these two major points, we need to get our nations to wake up. We need to get our leaders to sit up straight and start acting like men rather than mice. It is never acceptable for those in command to bow their heads to tyrants and tell us to do the same.

If we accept the weaknesses in our system... in our leaders... in ourselves... this is what happens.

The time to act is now. Do your part and help save Syria.

                 "Execute the President".... not her.

July 12, 2012

Gutless, Cowardice, Apathetic

Failure of Humanity in Syria
(Part of The Darkness Visible series)

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it. - Albert Einstein 

In time we will be able to look back at Syria and wonder how the world could afford to set on the sidelines and watch as the innocent paid the price for one man's depraved lust for power. It will be with the same eyes and the same state of mind with which we look back on Bosnia, Rwanda, Cambodia, and all those other wretched chapters of our past. No words or mere thoughts of good intentions that may have been will dull the fact that we did not act. And the United Nations will be made no greater an organization by their failure to stop the slaughter. 

In the eyes of those children who have already passed before us... we are no less monsters than the man who sent them to their deaths. 

Today we ask once more... and forever more it seems... can we not stop the bleeding of a generation? Can we not save at least some of what Assad's regime has set forth to destroy? Or will all of Syria be offered up as a sacrifice to the rule of tyranny and made the graveyard of democracy? 

Setting here in the Midwest I feel myself surrounded by people who fear Syria. Their ideas of what it is to be Syrian are comprised of their fears of what it means to be Muslim. Behind the veil through which we look at Syria from here I know lays a nation of far different people than what has been described to me. But for lack of words, and lack of knowledge it may seem, I have no better way to describe the people my heart feels so strongly for. 

Not to long ago while talking to one of the few people I know who cares about Syria and its people I was shocked by one line in our conversation. It was simple really. Yet those words passed through my mind no more awkward than they had before as I pondered what they meant over and over again. 

"Its funny you are the one who is talking about this."

 My friend is a good G-d fearing Christian man. And thankfully, from all I know about him, that love of G-d seems to prevent him from ignoring the tragedy laid out before us. So despite our differing religious affiliation there really isn't anything different about us. So I had to wonder why it seems odd for a Jew to fight for Syria. 

Perhaps it has nothing to do with religion at all. Maybe what is odd here isn't a matter of belief but more perplexing in the fact it has more to do with geography. 

The world seems smaller and smaller to me every day. One day I will be researching Syria and Assad and then the next (through the power of the Internet) I'm off to Myanmar to study what little is available on the Rohingya. Every now and then I do seem to come back to my original fixation however... the Roma of Europe. But no matter where the human rights violations occur... I'm stuck here in the middle of nowhere. 

And it is that exact point of the globe I have the most trouble relating to... the middle of nowhere. 

Looking around the Midwest it is hard to imagine what we looked like just one generation ago. New cultures and ethnic groups move here everyday. And with them come new religions, food, and dress. But it seems like once people arrive here... the rest of the world drifts away. 

And that is where my conflict with the United States, and my home in it, begins. 

How is it that as Syria burns the media here seems content to cover every last little thing Obama does? Do we really need to know who's living room he was setting in in an attempt to win a few more cheap votes? Do we really need to know what Michelle Obama is up to every day? Isn't the death of even just one Syrian child more important that what the cast of Jersey Shore is doing? 

Not so much in American society. Instead we focus on the most obscure parts of our daily lives in every attempt to avoid the suffering of others. In the entire 17 months of the Syrian tragedy I have seen perhaps (and this is generous) 15 minutes of news coverage. And that is not excluding the national nightly news groups.

A minute of news coverage for every month... if we round up and add to minutes. Is that the best we can do?

Then there is the lack of willingness on the part of people here to even talk about Syria. In almost every conversation I have had (many of which I had to hijack and guide to the subject) I'm the only one doing any of the talking. Annoying my friends and family I am sure. But that isn't the point. 

We don't want to focus on Syria now either out of lack of understanding or fear that it might be to depressing. So when are we going to address the issue? Maybe we will just wait till our children are being taught about it in school 10 or 15 years down the road... if they are ever taught about it at all. 

Genocide is never a subject people want to talk about. It is a subject of conversation that is often given excuse after lame excuse to justify. I have personally been told time and time again that it is just part of the human condition. That everybody and every culture has done it and it is bound to happen again. 

Are we really meant to believe that? That sounds an awful lot like the old "if everybody else was doing it would you" line doesn't it? 

So the question I guess all this brings up is just how can someone from the middle of nowhere USA help save Syria? 

Cold hard cash. After all money speaks a lot more loudly than just hollow words. And it goes a lot further than good intentions. 

Here are some of the sites you can visit if you are interested in helping Syrian refugees. This is the most direct approach to helping needy families who have already fled the country and made it to Lebanon or Turkey. It will help these families remain in the countries that currently keep them out of the reach of Assad's thugs.

Global Giving

UNHCR UN Refugee Agency

Mercy USA

If you are not comfortable giving money there are other ways you can help end the suffering in Syria. This way requires a little more work. And may not be as affective... but it sends a message to Washington.

Contact your state representative in Washington and tell him/her that you want the United States to get involved and end the crisis in Syria. For those of you in the middle of nowhere here are a few contacts to start with. 

Congressman Mike Pence 

Washington DC
100 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-3021 office
(202) 225-3382 fax 
1134 Meridian Plaza
Anderson, IN 46016
(765) 640-2919 office
(765) 640-2922 fax 
50 North 5th Street
Richmond, IN 47374
(765) 962-2883 office
(765) 962-3225 fax  
107 West Charles Street
Muncie, IN 47305
(765) 747-5566 office
(765) 747-5586 fax

Congressman Pete Visclosky 

Washington Office
2256 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone (202) 225-2461
Fax (202) 225-2493

Merrillville, Indiana Office 
7895 Broadway, Suite A
Merrillville, Indiana 46410
Phone (219) 795-1844 or
(888) 423-7383
Fax (219) 795-1850

Congressman Marlin Stutzman

Washington, DC Office

Representative Marlin Stutzman 
1728 Longworth HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515

Phone: (202) 225-4436
Fax: (202) 226-9870

Winona Lake Office

Representative Marlin Stutzman 
700 Park Ave.
Winona Lake, IN 46590

Phone: (574) 269-1940
Fax: (574) 269-3112

Kendallville Office

Representative Marlin Stutzman 
874 North Lima Road, Suite B
Kendallville, IN 46755

Phone: (260) 599-0554
Fax: (260) 599-0557

Fort Wayne Office

Representative Marlin Stutzman 
1300 South Harrison Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46802

Phone: (260) 424-3041
Fax: (260) 424-4042

July 10, 2012

Till The Cup Spills Over

The Creeping Darkness
(Part of The Darkness Visible Series)

               (Lebanese Child Injured in Syrian Artillery Attacks)

Assad's regime of thugs and criminals began shelling the northern border of Lebanon overnight in attempts to stop the flow of refugees into Lebanon. Soldiers, and what is presumed to be Shabiha, patrolled the "illegal crossing" points where refugees have been fleeing to safety. The armed men opened fire on anyone they presumed to be "rebels" or just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This occurred just as the Lebanese military began building up its presence along the border with Syria. Several Lebanese soldiers reported being fired upon and returning fire on the sources of the attacks. Yet none dared to cross the border to route the attackers.

Checkpoints set up by the Lebanon government were also fired upon by both armed infantry and artillery. Fortunately the failed attacks did not manage to wound or kill any Lebanese soldiers. But the attacks do constitute legitimate acts of war... acts of war that Lebanon has been to timid to call out Assad on.

Assad's regime seems to be willingly ignoring the fact that Lebanon's armed forces were attempting to stop the flow of illegal weapons and armed combatants from flowing into Syria... not out of Syria. This was the mandate set up by Beirut when it beefed up its presence on the border with its neighbor. Unlike Turkey, Lebanon is not about to use its military to stop the massacres happening just on the other side of its border.

All the while a new ally has tossed its support to Assad and his criminal recklessness. Hugo Chavez announced that his regime in Venezuela will be sending diesel and other fuels to Syria. This fuel is meant to keep the Syrian military up and running. It is meant to help keep Assad's genocide grinding along as the Syrian people suffer under the mad man's boot.

Chavez appears to know about the murdering of innocent children, the beating of women, and the butchering of Syrian men. But once again the tin hat dictator of Venezuela seems ready to support tyrants if it will gain him the attention of governments he says he hates. So it only seems appropriate that one narcissist would pat the back of another.

And all this occurs as the UN keep running around toting its "peace plan" to the West. This is a peace plan that continues to loose its teeth every time Kofi Annan opens his mouth. It was meant originally to remove Assad and help obtain the rights the rebels are fighting for. Now it has been scaled back to only address the "most violent" areas in Syria and does not fully demand Assad to step out of Syrian politics.

To add to the growing problems in and around Syria, Putin is beginning to demand that Russia be allowed to hold the "peace talks" in Syria. This flies in the face of reason when one thinks about just how much money Russia has been making by selling Syria weapons. Then to add to the tilt in the scales this arrangement would cause... Russia just sent warships to help the Syrian Navy in "patrols" along the coast of Syria. So how can Putin's regime honestly claim to be impartial when it comes to Assad and his policy of murder and mayhem?

It is time for the West to wake up... if not long past the time to do so. We can not let this creeping darkness continue to spread. We must remove Assad and make him an example for all those who would exploit the innocent. We must save Syria. 

Source Documents Used (note that not all sources used are listed)

The Daily Star Lebanon

Khaleej Times

The Wall Street Journal



July 9, 2012

The Beast Shows Its Teeth

Assad's Military Prepared To Defend It's Genocide
(Part of The Darkness Visible Series)

Even as Kofi Annan visited Syria to hammer out a peace plan al-Assad would agree to the military continued to shell Syrian citizens. Then to top off their show of force, the Syrian naval forces along with the Syrian air force began using live ammunition in "military exercises". This was both an attempt to show Assad's willingness to attack UN fighter jets or a UN naval blockade and to attack any rebel targets along the coast.

Once again bombs fell on rebel villages and town just out of sight of Damascus as the capital city itself continued to burn. And once again the UN proved itself incompetent as Annan timidly pleaded with Assad to step down. Yet despite promises and good will intentions it is still very unlikely that Assad will leave without much more ruthless blood shed.

In recent days Assad has talked to foreign reporters and claims that he is not afraid of dying like Gaddafi if his country is to fall under UN jets. He also claimed that he will not be held accountable like the dictator of Egypt if he does end up willingly stepping down from his role as tyrant. And yet Annan still seems to be drinking the kool-aid as he sucks down the lies Assad keep spouting to the West.

Human Rights Watch has pointed out that Assad's regime is using at least 27 different facilities across the country to torture and butcher their own citizens. There have been more reports of torture than any one organization can catalog and document. And yet once again Kofi Annan pretends that once Assad is gone the country will be free of this disturbing form of oppression.

As children disappear into the night only to return ready to be buried by their parents Assad's wife claims that "all Syrian children" have the right to live free of fear. These "rebels" are often found to be under the age of 13 and yet are beaten to death by Assad's thugs. Their corpses are returned only to nurture a culture of fear across Syria. The goal is to kill off the next generation of dissenters. Yet people like Kofi Annan in the west claim that "dissent is patriotic".

In the picture above Hana (12 years old) flashes the V for victory. Her sister, Eva (13 years old), was beaten with her. Both were lucky to live. And yet still, Annan and the UN are hesitant to address the issue of torture and murdering of children when it comes to Assad.

Now we are watching as Assad's war spills over into neighboring Lebanon. In Tripoli the majority population happens to all be Sunni Muslims (the same group that makes the majority in Syria). And as if to mirror Syria, the minority population in Tripoli is comprised of Alawites (the religious cult that Assad belongs to). So just as the battle lines were drawn in Syria... so to are they being drawn in Lebanon. This has only been made more obvious by the endless stream of refugees coming out of Syria... another point that Annan seems unwilling to address when it comes to Assad.

So where are we headed if the UN remains unwilling to take on the beast head to head? How are we ever going to end this long bitter night and bring some hope to those suffering under Assad?

Obviously there is reason to believe that the UN is starting to look a little more seriously at enforcing "No Fly Zones" over Syria. This was made even more clear as the Syrian military beefs itself up to defend their genocide. It is even more obvious now that Assad is beginning to talk to the West... even if it is just saber rattling for the time being.

Yet even if Assad's jets are grounded we are left with the continued artillery barrages on defenseless civilian neighborhoods. So how do we stop the attacks without entering into a war with Assad himself? We can't.

We have to realize that to end this genocide we will be taking the Middle East to the brink of all out war. Iran will stand and fight if they think the West is moving in next door and taking down their favorite ally (for the time being). After all, Iran has far to much invested in making Syria an Islamic Republic. Then to add to the deadly duo, Hamas in Lebanon will send in whatever ragtag support it can offer to stopping the "Zionist threat". And finally... we will have to deal with Russian and Chinese support for the Syrian resistance. Putin himself says that Syria needs peace only if Assad remains.

So once again we must ask ourselves where will this never ending spread of darkness end? We are watching as European countries continue to deport their Romani populations and harass the remaining Roma. We are watching as the European doll Aung San Suu Kyi's government slaughters the Rohingya of Myanmar. We are watching as Syria burns under the oppressing weight of the Assad Regime and its nation's children are bleeding to death. So where will this long night's reach end?

The darkness is spreading faster than it has ever before in my lifetime. I have lived long enough to see Rwanda and Bosnia. Darfur was there for a some time the worse genocide we had to worry about. But now... now the world community is simply covering its eyes and ignoring as the world around us plunges into darkness.

Currently, just off the top of my head, I can list more countries and communities of people at risk of or dying in genocides around the globe. So I'm going to ask one last time today... how far are we going to let this darkness spread?

All this reminds me of that poem...

First they came for the communist,
and I did not speak because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the unions,
and I did not speak because I wasn't a unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
again I did not speak because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for Me,
but there was nobody left to speak out for me.

Do your part and speak out for the Syrian people. They are dying for their freedoms. Their children are being taken away only to be killed. This is genocide. Speak up, share this on your FaceBook or Twitter... scream for those who have died and those about to die.

Sources Used For This Post (please note that not all sources are listed)

Human Rights Watch

BBC News

July 6, 2012

The Long Night Begins

As the Light Recedes

(Part of: The Darkness Visible Series)

As Syria burns the world covers its eyes and hopes to that everything will be alright when the new day dawns. Yet this night has been dragging on for over a year now. And the war for our humanity has been lost as we break our necks to look away. This is a sign of what the Rohingya have to look forward to as a new night begins.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has pleaded with Aung San Suu Kyi to help bring about peace in the battle ridden western region of Myanmar (Burma). Their attempts are meant to bring about some form of protection for the Rohingya people who are being targeted for extermination. But nothing is happening. The world remains silent as Europe drools over their new pet (Suu Kyi). And the United States remains incompetent as Obama fights to hold onto power. The darkness continues to spread.

As of July 6Th there have been 10 foreign aid workers detained by the bias Myanmar government. Many of these were smurfs (UN) who made the mistake of helping the wrong group... the targeted group. Now they are waiting release and most likely expulsion from the country. The reason is clear. Myanmar wants to keep the Rohingya helpless and vulnerable. This makes it easier for Myanmar police and military to begin rounding up Rohingya for massacres.

While Suu Kyi denies that the Rohingya in the Rakhine state are being specifically targeted the Myanmar government admits that it did commit mass arrest of Rohingya on Wednesday. The most recent mass arrest (or round ups) is estimated just above 100 Rohingya. Somewhere around 10 fleeing Rohingya were shot or killed in other ways as the police and security forces went through villages looking for victims.

And yet the Rohingyas' plight does not end at the Myanmar border. The government of Bangladesh has been sending fleeing Rohingya back into Myanmar. It has been a long standing policy of Bangladesh to use military force to expel Rohingya from Bangladesh into Myanmar. Thus creating even more ethnic tension in the region as Bengali Rohingya are forced out of their homes into the Rakhine State across the border. And creating massive populations of internally displaced peoples across the border in Myanmar.

It has also been Myanmar's policy to refuse Burmese Rohingya citizenship in their own country of origin. This complicates the already tense relations between the Buddhist population and their Muslim neighbors. To make things worse, the Rohingya are routinely used as slave labor by the Myanmar military and police forces. This is a slap in the face due to the fact that the military is then used to oppress and murder the Rohingya Muslims.

For the Rohingya that make it even further away from the conflict live only slightly better lives. In Malaysia the refugee Rohingya live day to day lives waiting for the day that the government of Malaysia will send them back to Myanmar. The reason for their deportation? Malaysia refuses to accept the Rohingya as refugees and claims that without a Burmese birth certificate or passport the Rohingya are to be deemed illegal immigrants. Thus they are subject to deportation back to a country that routinely commits pogroms against them.

As for now, a month into the latest ethnic violence, the long night seems to be just beginning. The darkness is spreading. And the outside world seems content to pull the wool over their own eyes. Is there no sense of humanity left in the West? Can we not find it in us to act on behalf of those left helpless? Or will the darkness engulf us all?

Source Document Used For This Post (note not all sources are cited)


The Wall Street Journal

July 5, 2012

A Lion Amongst The Sheep

The Devourer

In the battle for Syria's fate the hell of war has no limits. This is a fight that has plunged the country into the abyss of war... the fires of genocide. With on man and his minority ruling class in charge it is obvious that the fight is lopsided. Yet the world stands at the sidelines waiting... rubbing their hands together and licking their lips as they wait to see what "opportunity" might arise.

The Shabiha slink about in the night looking for children to steal away. Taken into the darkness these children are beaten to death after hours of torture. It isn't till the night is over that the innocent bodies are returned to their terrified parents. This is meant to scare and intimidate the communities from which the children are taken. It is also meant to deprive the opposition of their next generation. It is a genocidal technique used in every recorded genocide.

The lion takes over a pride by roaming about the female lions and forcing them to succumb to his sexual urges. In his attempt to create more offspring in his own image the lion does not overlook the previous generation. Hunting his own pride for offspring not his own.... the lion kills and often consumes the innocent cubs. No matter how hard the mother tries to hide her young, the new male will hunt them till they are all dead.

al-Assad is nothing short of a lion. He is not human. He is not, contrary to his soldier's commands, G-d on earth. Assad is simply a depraved animal looking to destroy the future of his own country. His primal lust contort reality in Syrian minds. You either try to hide from him... or you roll over and plead for mercy.

Innocent little bodies lay in burial shrouds as the world watches. Yet we do nothing.

A beaten and bruised body of an innocent man stands before your eyes as his tormentors scream at him "al-Assad is your G-d". Still we seem not even blink.

What will it take before the world acts? How many more little children have to sacrificed to the beast of Damascus? How many little lambs need to be killed for the world to be called to action?

Houla was just the most notable case of Assad's brutality. In cities across Syria the Nero of Damascus is burning the country to the ground. His forces are the reason people are dying. The opposition, no matter how organized, has no ability to fight back against artillery barrages, helicopter attacks, or jets dropping bombs in the middle of the night. Every attack Assad makes is a massacre.

And then there is Assad's "ghost soldiers"... the ruthless mob he calls the Shabiha.

These are beasts by no other name. They kill innocent women and children so that the security forces in Syria can say that they have kept their hands clean. In no other terms these Shabiha are starved pit bulls who have no idea what a leash is. They are simply directed into an area and told to "have at it". Anyone who happens to be there is attacked and possibly killed. Innocence has no meaning when the thugs come into a village or city.

In Libya the west deposed a dictator who used black African labor as slave labor. Those the Libyan leader Gaddafi deemed to be less than human were butchered as the country slipped into chaos. They were used as human shields as the UN forces bombed Gaddafi into submission. And they were killed by the "rebels" as the country was secured under militia control.

But the West had no problem with helping support genocidal trends in Libya. So why are we still identifying the genocidal tendencies of the Assad regime and doing nothing? Is there just no reward at the end of this fatal game? Does the end just simply not justify the means?

I'm starting to believe that the West just doesn't care to save innocent souls unless they happen to be Christian or white. After all, we didn't bother to stop Serbia from killing Muslims in concentration camps right on the back door of Europe. We failed to even notice Pol Pott and his genocide while trying to take Cambodia back to "year zero". And we really failed to lift a finger to stop the killings in Rwanda as the Hutu minority took to machetes in their attempt to slaughter every Tutsi in Rwanda. G-d knows we haven't done a damned thing to stop the genocide in Darfur... but we did make plenty of "good educational" documentaries about the slaughter.

So once again... how many of Syria's youth need to die before the West decides to uphold its promise of "Never Again"?

Perhaps it is just the fact that the big bad wolf we call Russia is supporting (and profiting) off the genocide in Syria. But in any case I guess I should just thank G-d the West decided to stop the Nazi's and the Croats back when my ancestors needed their help. Because it is clear today that it is nearly impossible to force the mighty West to act when it comes to stopping genocide when and where it is happening today.

A special thanks to CNN for at the very least showing these videos. But for heavens sakes CNN... stop blurring the faces. Just show the damned videos so that the world may actually see the faces of the voiceless. That they might look into the eyes of those who need us most. Please just show this videos every day all day so that when this thing finally ends the world can not say again... "well we just didn't know what was going on."

July 3, 2012

One Mans Freedom Fighter...

Another Man's Terrorist.

It wasn't that long ago in the span of world history that a ragtag band of militias and bandits took what they needed from government to overthrow tyranny. Their fight was deemed in time to be righteous in the fact that it secured the liberty for millions. Yet at the time the tyrants they sought to cast off deemed them to be traitors and barbarians.

Many people today forget the horrors perpetrated upon the innocent during the American Revolution. We seem to imagine the British as professionals and proper soldiers. When yet in reality the British used mercenary thugs and scotched earth policies to put down the revolution. An untold number of American civilians were sacrificed to the cause of oppression Great Britain wanted to enforce. Innocent women and children were butchered as the men were tortured and executed.

And in spite of all this we fought on. Our flag was raised and our heads were held high in the face of a beast we could no longer tolerate. As the war raged on our will was forged in the fires of a hell we could no longer escape. This was a fight that engulfed our homes, our families, our country... yet we fought on seemingly alone.

In Syria a war much like that of our own is being waged. Innocent women and children are being sacrificed to Assad's thugs as their husbands, brothers, and fathers fight on in the face of a tyrannical beast they could no longer live under. All the while the world stands on the side lines and waits to see what will come from this fiery hell of a war. This is not a civil war... this is a fight for freedom... a battle for liberty... this is the struggle of the Syrian people to live as G-d intended.

No man should ever be made to bow to the boot of a dictator. No woman should be forced to watch her children laid to rest at the hands of a monster. And no child should have to plead not to be beaten to death by Shabiha thugs.

In recent days the UN has attempted to talk the guns out of the Syrian Free Army's hands. The UN has asked politely for Assad to step down and come to the table for peace talks. And not surprisingly the war continues even as the UN pretends to be working for peace. This seems to be a war with no end in sight.

So as you set down to your Fourth of July barbecues and watch the fireworks go up that night keep in mind that not all people get to enjoy this celebration of freedom we do. Remember for a moment those who are still dying for a chance to live free. After all, is it not our constitution that says so grandly that "All men are created equal..."? I don't recall any small print that claims "only if they live in our country".

Say a little prayer if that is all you can find in your heart to do. But if you feel a little bolder than that, share these post on your FaceBook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts. And if that doesn't help you sleep better at night, tell your congressmen or state representative that you want the United States to help save Syria and for once get rid of Assad.

Happy Fourth of July America. And for your in Syria... Allah Yekhaleek, our prayers are with you even if our country is not.