In the Wake of Crisis, Let's Not Forget Syria

What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Reach for your smartphone maybe, exit your warm, comfortable bed and head to the bathroom to prepare for the promising day ahead of you? Now consider the perspective of a person 5,600 miles away. Most Syrians come back into consciousness after an unrestful night’s sleep, probably displaced from their home, immediately thankful for having survived another day as their surrounding society becomes increasingly volatile. 

While us students reluctantly head to class complaining about the inconvenience of our education, unaware of the opportunity were afforded, the average Syrian struggles to get through the day without being hit by a shell from gunfire or piece of shrapnel from a bomb. The war in Syria has driven nearly nine million people from their homes - a third of which have fled the country desperate to seek refuge from the conflict that has overtaken their nation and claimed around 150,000 lives. 

It is easy to lose sight of the impending crisis in Syria, especially in the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut. We are increasingly recognizing ISIS as a global threat and subsequently worrying about the safety of our own country. This is an undoubtedly fair consideration. It is imperative that we concern ourselves with the safety and security of our families and fellow citizens. What this fear does not legitimize, however, is the neglect of innocent civilians for whom terrorism is encroaching at this very moment. 

We become so caught up in our “first world problems”: who is dating who, what the latest fashion trend is and other needless matters, that we forget to acknowledge the thousands of people drowning in the Mediterranean in an attempt to escape the horror that has overtaken their homes. In worrying about our everyday superfluous issues, we not only absolve ourselves of the humanitarian responsibilities we owe to those overseas, but we forget that these issues affect us too. 

 

 

Speaking from an existentialist line of thinking, we must recognize that nobody controls their origins. We had no control over the fact that we came into being in a privileged country, just like no child asked to be born in a refugee camp surrounded by turmoil and war - a war that one of their family members will likely become a casualty of.

With this consideration, you may be thinking, what can I, a Manhattan College student do to help? The worst thing we can do is think we are voiceless on an issue like this. Because you are afforded the luxury of reading this article on your laptop or your smartphone in a comfortable and safe environment; because you, we, have the resources and capability of making our voices heard, it is our duty to do so. Take action. Stay informed, develop your opinions. Donate to the Red Cross, other Syrian Relief organizations and to the clothing drive for Syrian Refugees here at Manhattan College. Remember that just because we may not feel the effects of the Syrian war directly, when the basic rights of citizens are compromised anywhere, humanity everywhere is threatened.