Syria, Etc.

Lina Sergie Attar in Politico:

ScreenHunter_1327 Aug. 23 01.17Our recent history tells us that the revolutions of the Arab Spring broke the walls of fear and silence, especially in Syria, where people began speaking, writing and chanting about the injustices they endured as they demanded freedom and dignity. Then, the years past, the losses mounted and the world grew more and more indifferent; it was three full years ago that President Obama pledged to intervene if the Syrian government crossed the “red line” of using chemical weapons, a promise he has broken. Some Syrians began to recede into silence, out of not only fear, and later, exhaustion, but collective trauma. In many ways, the realities Syrians faced had become simply inexpressible.

Now, the everyday violence and death Syrians witness is no longer recorded in full force unless events surpass the daily “acceptable” quota of death—like it did on August 16 in Douma, after more than 100 people were killed by a regime aerial attack on a crowded marketplace. These kinds of mass tragedies, like the chemical weapons attack in 2013 and the Daraya massacre in 2012, capture the world’s attention—headlines, outrage, condemnation—for a few moments before Syria’s suffering once again fades to white noise. When the country has been reduced to smoldering ashes and its people have been forced into a mass exodus to new countries and new homes, our capacity to document—to speak or write and chant—dwindles. History collapses into a simple etcetera.

More here. [Thanks to Idrees Ahmad.]