Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: We must highlight the Syrian tragedy more in 2014 | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A view of Salah al-Din neighbourhood in central Aleppo August 22, 2013. (REUTERS/Loubna Mrie.)

In my last op-ed of the year, allow me to take the opportunity to resist colluding with the rest of the world regarding what is happening in Syria. There is a vital need to undertake creative and exceptional efforts to ensure that the situation in Syria returns to the headlines. The situation in the country is not only intimidating to the Syrian people themselves but also the rest of the world as atrocities continue to take place on the ground.

The media, myself included, must resist the Syrians’ forced complacency towards the presupposition that their deaths no longer stirs international uproar.

The regime’s missiles, barrel bombs, and chemical weapons, not to mention their massacres’ and torture, are no longer news. Not even Syrian children dying of hunger or cold is news. The images of this now only reaches those who desire to frustrate themselves by witnessing scenes that many others appear to have forgotten.

The Syrians have now realized that the footage they shot during the first and second years of the revolution no longer affect public opinion as much as they did in the past. In the meantime, there’s a universal antipathy towards the deaths in Syria.

This apathy is political, moral and journalistic.

It is as if there’s been a global decision that we have had enough of Syrian news, despite all the death, destruction and suffering. It is enough to look at the reaction, or rather lack of reaction, to the images of the victims of the barrel bombs in Aleppo over the past two weeks.

It’s true that the slaughter carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other terrorists still stirs attention. Those who are shocked by ISIS’s atrocities, but who remain apathetic to the regime’s horrifying acts, appear to hold the repugnant idea that the Assad regime, despite its bloodthirstiness, remains the best option for regional stability.

The Syrian regime has exerted significant efforts to promote its version of the events in Syria. Or rather, shall we say that it has exerted efforts to promote its lies? Damascus has only worked to spread the word about ISIS and other similar groups in order to draw attention away from the Syrians being killed by their “secular” barrel bombs.

Despite all this, the Syrian people have not given up.

Over the past year, many cameras have recorded Syrian deaths. 2013 was the toughest year as the Syrian regime’s brutality has only increased. Cameras became the most important factor during moments of violence and murder. Sometimes, murder was even carried out for the sole purpose of videotaping it and broadcasting it to the world at large.

So who is responsible for the general disregard of the painful deaths in Syria?

Is it simple human nature which can become accustomed to anything, even heinous murder? Or is this due to a political and journalistic inability to keep the Syrian people’s cause alive?

We must make sure that the Syrian tragedy is not forgotten in 2014.