Friday, April 07, 2017

And Where Will This End?

Last evening Twitter was suddenly swamped with the news that the United States had attacked a Syrian military airbase, launching 50-plus Tomahawk cruise missiles. This was a reprisal for a heinous attack by Syrian forces which used deadly Sarin gas to kill a hundred civilians, including small children. Informed Syria watchers agree that this gas attack was not a military action in any real sense. It was a warning, a statement of deadly force and domestic terror by the dictator Assad.

We were all outraged and stricken by the images of those who choked to death. I admit that I felt an initial jolt of satisfaction when I heard of the American strike. Then I asked myself what this will solve. Canada has supported this action, as have other nations, but we have plenty of evidence that military retaliation brings about little in the way of change. Bashar Assad should be removed from power, but it is the families of those killed at the airbase who are mourning today.

In the Twitter responses a number of Americans asked why a president who assured voters that he wouldn't get embroiled in military action in Syria did so. More importantly, many wondered why an administration which won't allow Syrian children into the States as refugees chose to take this action, seemingly because Assad had killed "beautiful babies." The estimate is that 55,000 Syrian children have died during the six-year civil war. Thousands more have been injured, hundreds of thousands traumatized.

Image result for Bloodied syrian boy

When we had the potluck to welcome our latest Syrian arrivals at Bridge St. UC recently all twelve of the children from the four families were present, running around, playing in the gym. They shouldn't have to be here in Canada, but at least they are out of immediate danger and have the possibility of a meaningful life.

As we make our way through Palm Sunday and Holy Week we will be reminded of God's alternative to military might and retributive violence in the person of Jesus. Somehow we must ask how this counter-story to "might makes right" has currency in the world we live in.


1 comment:

Frank said...

This episode did leave me wondering just what distinguishes a child killed by sarin gas from one killed by a barrel bomb.

What is the strategy here (everyone is asking)?
Or does everyone just wait to see what will provoke a lethal reaction from Pres. Trump down the road?