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