When Syria's babies are killed their cradles scream, "Freedom!"
Heartbreaking images have been coming out of Syria since the beginning of the uprising sixteen months ago. They represent a crucial documentation of some of the worst violence against civilians we have seen during the historic Arab awakening we have been following with angst and high hopes. In every conflict, there exists a gut-wrenching point where the atrocities are too much to stomach and the images too graphic to fathom. In the Syrian uprising, the Houla massacre this past weekend represents that turning point for Syria and the Baathist regime of President Bashar al Assad.
Working in media for a long time and bearing witness to some of the world's worst atrocities, one is bound to run into graphic images, aftermath of massacres, ugly scenes depicting what human hatred is capable of and how barbaric behavior is worst expressed.
Unfortunately, the last three decades have had a sad share of atrocities which we bestowed on various names to differentiate them. We've had genocides, ethnic cleansing, terrorism, incursions, invasions, war on terror, war crimes, crimes against humanity and many other names that mean nothing to anyone who lost a loved one in any conflict zone from Sierra Leone to Bosnia to Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, and now Syria.
Just as in any of the above conflicts and many others, the world community watches and does nothing more than condemn and express shock when it should be working hand in hand with various partners (local, regional and international) to end the violence, save the lives of innocent people caught in the middle and punish the aggressors.
Instead, we find the United States holding talks with arch rival Iran, while their proxies put on diabolic dramatics in Lebanon fit only for an absurd play but believed as reality by the extremely ignorant. And the Gulf states turn a blind eye as if the violence is occurring on a different planet. The price of all the gimmicks is a delayed resolution to the Syria conflict and a nod of approval for more massacres in more cities as the Assad Regime buys itself more time, the only resource for its salvation at this point.
Meanwhile, hearts bleed for the victims, especially the youngest ones, some of them not much older than the uprising itself. Angels butchered senselessly before they had a chance at life or politics or patriotism. As we mourn the loss of innocent civilians, the unexplainable death of babies and infants is unbearable.
The only consolation, if one is even possible, is that when they all arrive to their final resting place, they will tell tales of freedom and heroism about those who dared to stand up and fight the previously untouchable dictatorship. They will share the hope that demonstrators across Syria have felt and that reverberated all the way to their tiny beds, cribs and rocking cradles.
In death as in life, that feeling of pride is all theirs, and no one can take it away from them. No regime, no dictator, no military, no guns, no knives and certainly no grave!