A friend sent me a link to this clip on YouTube, which apparently shows Syrian security forces shooting down peaceful demonstrators. It takes a strong stomach to watch this—it is not for the faint of heart. The sights of protesters, some of them little more than children, awash in blood is beyond revolting. I admit that I stopped watching about halfway through when I saw images of a man with the lower half of his face shot away. Yes, this is horrible stuff: be warned. There is a big difference between seeing Hollywood special effects and seeing the real thing.
But it is worth seeing at least a few seconds to get a flavor of what is going on in Syria. What makes it truly wrenching is that all the way the people are shouting “Salmiyeh,” which, my friend tells me, is Arabic for “peaceful.” It’s a way of calling, “We are peaceful” or “We are unarmed.” But of course Bashar Assad’s goons don’t care about that. Imagine the kind of monsters who open fire on peaceful demonstrators.
Given that the U.S. launched a military intervention in Libya to prevent such slaughter from occurring in Benghazi, what, I wonder, will we do about these atrocities in Syria where more than a hundred people have been killed in this weekend alone? Again no one is advocating military intervention, but why aren’t we leading an international push to sanction the Assad regime, to freeze its assets, and to bring war crimes charges against its leaders? Why, at the very least, aren’t we recalling our ambassador from Damascus? How can President Obama champion the rights of Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans—and turn his back on the people of Syria who are in open revolt against one of the region’s most anti-American dictators? Perhaps if the president watches this video clip, he will be spurred into action.