More From Alder's Ledge

December 20, 2012

If They Were Christians Would We Help?

From Syria to Burma
(The Darkness Visible series)

(Just Another Funeral in Syria) 

Over the past few months I have found it hard to not ask myself if things would be different if the current genocide victims were not Muslim. From Syria (where Assad, an Alawi, slaughters Sunni Muslims) to Burma (where the Buddhist regime targets Muslims for extermination) the victims all have one thing in common. Their faith. 

The response given by the United Nations and the Western governments that help guide it has reminded me since the start of how the UN responded to Bosnia. In 1992 the Serbian forces within Bosnia decided that the Muslims had to die to help create a "Greater Serbia". The United Nations responded just as one might have expected. Their actions helped further the cause of the Christian Serbs while punishing the Bosnian Muslims. No arms were allowed to be distributed to the Bosnian forces so as to help defend themselves and their families. Aid to the Bosnian community was seemingly given under the conditions that Bosnian Muslims would not defend themselves but commit to damned attempts at "diplomacy". All the while Serbs were allowed to funnel arms and ammunition across the border from Serbia so as to fuel their war upon Islam. 

The entire time I spent studying Srebrenica I couldn't help but ask myself... if the dead weren't Muslims would the West care? 

In Syria today the Alawi, a minute percentage of the population, have taken every action to reduce the Shiite population while securing power for the Shia minority. Dehumanization began from the very start of the protest against Assad. But it wasn't the rebels who were comparing their opposition to cockroaches. Instead it was Assad who was laying the ground work for genocide. And it was Assad who began working his way through the steps of genocide as if reading them from a book. Yet in Syria today the UN and US can be seen as only helping the Shia die in a little more comfortable ways than Assad would wish. They do not seem willing to stop the bleeding. 

Children are massacred in waves of violence not seen in the region since Saddam's campaign to annihilate the Kurds. Yet the UN did nothing more than ask Angelina Jolie to come and visit the refugee camps... across the border in safety. Aid has been slow (it wasn't till recently that America secured 1.5 billion in aid... with vast restrictions on its use of course) and at times has been left rotting on docks in neighboring countries so as to never arrive. The only thing that the UN seems competent to deliver has been the dirty white tents that help cameras capture the appearance of UN aid. Most aid has arrived through private organizations that have stretched themselves to the limit so as to save at least some of the refugees who have fled. 

Those left in Syria have been subjected to mortars, artillery, jet and helicopter attacks, and scud missiles that may be used to deliver chemical weapons. The dead are buried wherever a spare patch of ground can be found. Water, food, and electricity are subject to Assad's desire to either starve a region out or reward a region for their loyalty. All of these are seemingly random since Assad has begun to see rebels behind every rock and around every corner. 

So why does the West not act to help end the genocide in Syria? 

(Humanitarian Aid Remains Behind Blockades While Rohingya Starve To Death)

In Burma the Buddhist regime has been praised almost religiously by the West as the governments of Europe and America prepare to race in and claim as much of the economy as they can before China gets it all. In doing business with the Myanmar government the governments of the West are funding genocide. For decades now, of and on, the Burmese have been attempting to slaughter the Rohingya minority and all other Muslim groups. Under the Junta regime the Rohingya were not only dehumanized but often massacred. This latest burst of genocidal slaughter was just an extension of the decades of systematic slaughter the Junta perpetrated. 

As the violence spread the Rohingya were rounded up into camps where the Burmese military was seen attacking the Rohingya who attempted to flee. When it wasn't the military killing Rohingya it was the Rakhine mobs that the police let through from time to time to keep the Rohingya terrorized. In effect the Myanmar government was establishing concentration camps like those the Serbs established for the Bosnian Muslims. Yet the West refused to call these "refugee" camps what they truly were. Instead we now find ourselves in a place where Rohingya are banned from leaving the camps and aid is blockaded from entering the camps. 

Food and water have been restricted while the Burmese Muslims are starved to death. Babies, some seen on previous post, are left forever harmed by this cruelty... if they survive at all. Yet the West fails to go beyond their business prospects in Myanmar. 

Once again I have to ask, if the Rohingya were not Muslims would the West care anymore?

Many "humanitarians" in the media and Western culture have spent years upon years trying to get governments to help the victims in Darfur and the Congo. The obvious difference in this post is that the victims in this case are predominately Christians. And the attackers are predominately Muslims. This is not to say that genocide in these two cases should not be protested or should not be stopped. But it is painfully clear that those speaking out for the victims share a fairly obvious link to the victims themselves. Their faith.

With this we should all take a look at the reasons for why we get involved. And more importantly we should take a real hard look at the reasons why we tend not to get involved. Both are the sources for our inaction when faced with genocide. And both have effects that last for generations. By not taking action to help those in need we show our true selves... our greatest weaknesses... and most of all our prejudices.

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