Neiman: Have we abandoned Syria? To whom should we give it?

Neiman: Have we abandoned Syria? To whom should we give it?

For a short while at least, there is a cease-fire in Aleppo, and time for the world to witness the exodus of refugees fleeing whoever it is that will take over their ruined city next.

It is heart-breaking to see. Syria’s civil war has left behind a nation that I cannot imagine any despot would actually want to rule. Every media image is of ruin and destruction.

How is it that anyone at all has survived the battle for Aleppo? How is it that after the refugees leave, that there could be anyone left, other than more fighters trying to level the last two rocks still standing one upon another, in the hopes there may be someone left behind them that they could kill?

And yet we are told by pundits and agency spokespeople that somehow the West has abandoned Aleppo, Aleppo in particular and Syria in general. This must be some sort of attempt to paint us with the guilt of the butchery of Bashar al-Assad and his ally Vladimir Putin on one side, versus the rebels and the collection of violent religious fanatics and ethnic warlords who are their allies.

There is no one in this battle that I as an ordinary Canadian can support. Only the many thousands of victims — and they include the doctors and aid agencies who were targeted by Assad’s barrel bombs, Putin’s missiles — and for all I know, rebel suicide bombers.

So don’t tell me I have abandoned Aleppo. I don’t see that Canada has anything with which to save it that wouldn’t be bombed to oblivion the minute it arrived.

Instead, dear pundits and spokespeople, tell us who on the ground there can save Syria; someone who is not a plundering serial murderer or megalomaniacal monster with an extreme religious agenda.

The United Nations agency that monitors refugees globally puts the current registered refugee count at 4.8 million from the Syrian conflict. That’s just the ones who got counted and put into camps in the hopes of resettlement in places like Canada.

What country can survive losing 4.8 million people, including their doctors, lawyers, teachers, builders, entrepreneurs and all the rest? That’s from a population estimated in 2011 at 23 million (which included more than 2 million refugees from places like Palestine and Iraq). By 2016, the group World Population Review estimated Syria’s population at just over 18 million.

For its part, Aleppo held about 2.1 million people in 2004. There’s no telling what the population is now, but aid agencies tell us that 5,000 people flee Syria every day. CNN news agency tells us that about 400,000 people have died in the fighting in Syria since the civil war began — a lot of them in Aleppo, which was Syria’s largest city.

What’s left there to fight over? And what fault is it of mine, or of Western democracies, that Bashir al-Assad and Vladimir Putin are butchers, or that anyone connected with rebel or ISIS groups should even be considered an improvement over them?

But it is a Canadian trait to constantly apologize. So forgive me for not wanting Canada to get involved in this game, other than to take in and support as many refugees as we can.

And forgive me also for not feeling guilty about having “abandoned” Syria.

Assad and all the rest have caused many graves to be dug; they are also eventually digging graves for themselves.

We cannot stop them or hinder them. And we will not assume blame for them, either.

Follow Greg Neiman’s blog at Reasdersadvocate.blogspot.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda (Contributed photo).
Alberta’s government reaffirms $100-million commitment for the first phase of Red Deer hospital’s expansion

Alberta Infrastructure did not provide a timeline for the money’s distribution

Guy Pelletier, RDC’s board of governors chair, said the post secondary is still on the path to becoming a polytechnic institution. (File photo by Advocate staff)
RDC is confident it is still on a polytechnic path

Maintaining spectrum of programs is key

NDP leader Rachel Notley is calling on the UCP to make a public inquiry into the COVID-19 outbreak at Olymel. (Facebook screenshot)
Notley calls for Olymel inquiry as plant reopens

Union also asks for further consideration to delay opening

Britanney Povey, Jeffery Kraft's cousin, was among many friends and family who turned up outside the Red Deer courthouse on Thursday to call for a long sentence for Tyler John Campbell, who killed Kraft in December 2019.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
UPDATE: Judge rejects seven-year sentence for killer of Ponoka man

Tyler John Campbell pleaded guilty to manslaughter in December 2019 shooting

(Contributed image).
Deadline extended for arts scholarship applications for Red Deer-area students

Red Deer Arts Council will accept applications until March 15

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser at Health Canada, holds a press conference in Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. Canada’s chief medical adviser says her department is constantly receiving and reviewing any data on vaccines and COVID-19 variants and will be quickly ready to authorize needed boosters when they’re ready. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Health Canada says vaccine boosters will be approved more easily

OTTAWA — Health Canada says it won’t require new clinical trial data… Continue reading

Unifor national president Jerry Dias speaks during a press conference in Toronto on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. Dias says Air Canada is pledging passenger refunds as negotiations over federal aid for airlines drag on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Unifor’s Dias says Air Canada holding to refund pledge as aid negotiations drag on

OTTAWA — Unifor president Jerry Dias says Air Canada continues to promise… Continue reading

Lionel Desmond (front row, far right) was part of the 2nd battalion, of the Royal Canadian Regiment, based at CFB Gagetown and shown in this 2007 handout photo taken in Panjwai district in between patrol base Wilson and Masum Ghar in Afghanistan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Facebook-Trev Bungay MANDATORY CREDIT
Desmond inquiry: social worker reveals details about former soldier’s family life

PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. — An inquiry in Nova Scotia is hearing testimony… Continue reading

Seniors arrive for their COVID-19 vaccination at a clinic in Olympic Stadium in Montreal on March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Nova Scotia eases COVID-19 restrictions; cases creep up in Ontario

Nova Scotia is easing public-health restrictions in and around Halifax, while new… Continue reading

Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna stands near a bus as she waits to start an announcement at a public transit garage in Ottawa, Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Liberals tap $2.5B of promised transit dollars for zero-emission buses

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are setting aside some of the billions… Continue reading

Canada’s Eliot Grondin looks on after competing in a men’s snowboard cross heat at the Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Grondin continued his strong season with his first career World Cup snowboard cross victory on Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canadian Eliot Grondin captures gold at World Cup snowboard cross event

BAKURIANI, Georgia — Canada’s Eliot Grondin continued his strong season with his… Continue reading

Most Read