ARZU KAYA URANLI

Let’s talk the talk, walk the walk for Syrian children

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow,” said Albert »»

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow,” said Albert Einstein. However, when we look at the situation in Syria today we cannot say lessons have been learned.

My heart has been bleeding for the children in Syria for months now. A video I saw on CNN is etched in my memory. Since then, I cannot help but see Syrian children fleeing from bombs in the streets, surrounded by debris, dust and blood everywhere -- terrified and panicked. Since then, when I take my children to a park, pool or anywhere fun, my most enjoyable moments -- while listening to my children’s cheerful laughter -- are broken by the memory of the Syrian children’s earsplitting screams. They are still ringing in my ears. Since we didn’t know -- and still don’t -- how this cruelty will stop, I can’t get the thought of those children out of my mind. I wondered what kinds of trauma they suffered and how it would affect their future. Unfortunately, nothing has improved since then.

The international community hasn’t been able to find an agreed-upon solution for more than a year while over 10,000 Syrian civilians have lost their lives. We’ve been watching but we haven’t done anything concrete to help them out. That’s unbearable for me as a human being.

In April we thought there was a window of hope when the 15 members of the UN Security Council held two rounds of negotiations on Syria, and Russia finally decided to stop supporting President Bashar al-Assad. The US was hopeful as Russia was supportive of Kofi Annan’s plan for Syria, which advised the Syrian government to stop the violence against civilians, move heavy weapons out of cities, allow access to humanitarian aid workers, allow the domestic and international press to work, speed up the release of political prisoners and establish a valid political dialogue. Nothing has changed since April. Actually, according to the UN, the situation in Syria has gotten worse and violence in the region has increased since April. Last week, the UN’s deputy envoy for Syria, Jean-Marie Guehenno, told ABC News that the April 12 cease-fire agreement and Annan’s six-point peace plan “[are] clearly not being implemented.”

However, the US is still banking its hopes on the UN. Last week, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton indicated that she has great hope that an upcoming UN Security Council meeting in Geneva might be a “turning point’ in the Syrian crisis.

“If Kofi Annan is able to lay down a political transition roadmap that is endorsed by countries including Russia and China, for example, that sends a very different message,” Clinton said. “That’s the first time the international community will have really evidenced a direction that I think Assad will have to respond to.”

The proposal that will be discussed in Geneva between the five permanent members of the security council as well as regional powers Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar, comes while violence continues in Syria.

Last week, an unarmed Turkish military jet was shot down by the Syrians while it was on a training mission and flying over international waters. NATO, another international organization, condemned Syria for shooting down the Turkish jet last Friday. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called the action “unacceptable” and “another example of the Syrian authorities’ disregard for international norms, peace and security and human life.”

But so what? After all this talk, who will volunteer to stop Assad’s brutality in Syria? How will the international community keep Russia and China involved in this peace process? It is still uncertain if Russia will agree to any changeover plan that promises the removal of Assad. Nobody thinks that Russia would abandon Assad. Then what?

“The world suffers a lot. Not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people,” Napoleon Bonaparte once said. So maybe the leaders of our time misunderstand the statement. It’s only good to talk about immoral actions, and bad to find a solution and to start taking action.

Enough is enough. Syria has to find peace right away. The international community has had enough talk about Syria and it’s time for the walk.

2012-07-01

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Columnist:: ARZU KAYA URANLI