Never again, maybe


Hatred holds an illusive form.  It cannot be identified by the color of its skin, its mental capacity, or its faith; only by the discrimination of a certain person or group is it recognized.  The spectrum ranges from an offset glare at another girl’s new boots to the genocide of a targeted people, the latter of which some believe isn’t a possibility in today’s society.  It would be great if this were true, if the world could be released from the threat of mass persecution and death, however, events transpiring in Syria over the past few years say otherwise.  Even when conflict is spotted, action is reluctant to show up, evident in Rwanda, Bosnia, and other mass killings brushed off the solemn shoulders of prosperous countries.  Hundreds of warnings have been published depicting the events leading up to atrocities like the Holocaust, yet many seem oblivious to the fact that these actions could still happen even 75 years later.

Syrian children are forced to spend part of their turbulent childhoods in refugee camps and constant danger, not unlike the children of The Holocaust.

Syrian children are forced to spend part of their turbulent childhoods in refugee camps and constant danger, not unlike the children of The Holocaust.

Holocaust Boy

Many Holocaust survivors, adults and children, had to live in displaced persons camps after being liberated. Most had no homes and belongings, much like Syrians today.

One ex-bureaucrat, code-named Caesar, has brought light to the war crimes committed by Syrian leaders, which all too familiarly coincide with ones carried out by the Nazi regime years ago.  Images he smuggled out of the country on his way to asylum show the cruel treatment of those rejecting Assad’s control.  War prisoners, protesters and those simply unfavored by the government are shipped to seemingly ordinary hospitals; inside, they face torture of endless possibilities, then the corpses are stockpiled to be disposed of.  Many bodies had numbers
scribbled on their skin to denote their identity and the branch responsible for their demise, very reminiscent of the codes tattooed on Nazi victims.  This industrial-style killing should at least raise the eyebrows of leaders around the world, however, censored coverage from media outlets grants the public limited knowledge to events taking place, allowing officials to remain lock-lipped.

Syrian group

Syrian refugee children are looking for a way to safety much like the Jewish children during World War II.

One result of the war in Syria that has gained an audience, due to it affecting other countries, is the amount of refugees seeking a life outside of Syria, yet many have been rejected from nations or are not guaranteed basic necessities like in Jordan.  This neighboring country opened its doors to those searching for an escape, but it has proven inadequate in providing for the newcomers.  The absence of hope felt by resettled Syrians in Jordan leave 49% debating going back to their homeland, despite the devastation and torment they’ll face.  Almost all refugees live below the poverty line, unable to get legal jobs in cities, and are

stuffed into overcrowded camps stricken with crime and filth.  The World Food Program had to make large cuts in provisions, on allowing the equivalent of $14 to person for food per month, not lasting more than ten days, and funds are only accessible to one-third of the displaced.

Holocaust group

Jewish children of all ages attempted to escape Nazi persecution during World War II, similar to the experiences of Syrians today. Photo courtesy United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Whether it be the totalitarian rule of president Bashar al-Assad or the now rising Islamic State, Syrian civilians want out.  Over the past four years of internal war, over 200,000 have been killed in the brutality, a majority of those being citizens, and half of the entire population has been displaced from their homes in desperate need for humanitarian assistance.  Those numbers cannot change, the damage has been dealt, however countries with the resources to assist victims need to stand up.  Studies show that if the U.S. will resettle a portion of refugees, the economy will actually improve despite the fears of immigrants taking American jobs or interfering with American life.  Countries with high refugee populations that have allowed them to work, like Turkey, show that Syrians accept low-skilled occupations which creates a greater demand for higher skilled, and higher waged jobs for their existing population.  There is a stereotype that displaced people are lazy and bank on organizations to provide for them, but the world must remember that they are not homeless by choice.  They fled or were pushed out of their homes to escape death or inhuman treatment, and are mostly eager to have some sort of job to provide for their family.  Overcrowding is also less of an issue than what it is made out to be; if the U.S. takes in 10,000 refugees, it will just increase the total population by .003%, and will likely spread throughout the country.  The world cannot reject those trying to escape devastation like they did in the 30’s and 40’s when Jews and other minorities wanted to leave German occupation

The world’s eye is set upon Syria at the moment, approaching the situation with miniscule efforts, however, this is not the only place where pre-genocidal activities are taking place.  Tensions from the Israel-Palestine conflict show similar trends, and censorship from North Korean officials shroud the world from what is actually transpiring, much like how Nazi leaders tried to fool the Red Cross commission visiting the Theresienstadt ghetto.  If nations really mean “Never Again” after the Holocaust, the public needs to be educated on what leads to mass killing in order to prevent them from happening once more, and as first hand accounts wither away, the urgency for awareness grows more dire every day.