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The Tragedy of Our Century: Atlanta Responds to Syrian Crisis

The Tragedy of Our Century: Atlanta Responds to Syrian Crisis

Author Alaa Elassar by

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Last Friday, December 16th, Atlanta Muslims and non-Muslims rallied in front of the CNN center in Atlanta and came together in solidarity for the innocent Syrians slaughtered, beaten, and abandoned. With raised voices, sincere intentions, and sworn oaths to bring back justice, protesters urged citizens to call on the U.S. and UN to take universal action to stop airstrikes on Syrian people, allow humanitarian aid to reach tragedy-stricken neighborhoods, and reach out to congressmen and women or other representatives to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria.

Following a cease fire plan that would have allowed rebel fighters and Syrian civilians to exit the Syrian city of Aleppo by just one day, pro-government forces resumed air strikes and shellings last Wednesday. The truce was announced by Russia and rebel groups. Turkey, a key state backer of the opposition to Assad, supported the negotiations. The renewing of the violence put a tragic end to an envisionment that the four year long battle for Aleppo was almost over. The collapse of the ceasefire deal was backed up by the Russian military, Iraqi militias, iranian forces, and Lebanese Hizballah militants. After half a decade of devastating misfortune for the Syrian people and with an end to the massacre was just over the horizon.

However, the failed truce resulted in the worst violence among the four years of battling in Aleppo. Reports were made of soldiers shooting civilians on site as pro-government forces killed 82 civilians, among them 11 women and 13 children. Although there may be a glimpse of hope for a reinstatement of the ceasefire in the far future, Assad’s victory in Aleppo now seems assured regardless. With the UN reporting hundreds of men missing after fleeing to government held sections of Aleppo, fears remain among the thousands of civilians trapped in rebel sectors. With the fate of those missing unknown, civilians are an unsure if they had been detained, forcibly disappeared by the regime, or murdered altogether.

National and international Islamic organizations also partially based here in Atlanta have spoken out. The Al-Maghrib Institute, with our local chapter here in Atlanta being Qabeelat Salaam, hosted a webinar run by Sheikh Yasir Qadi and Omar Suleiman named "Emergency Syria Appeal" last Sunday. The fundraiser was held in conjunction with Islamic Relief and thousands of thousands of donations were made.

If you missed the rally at CNN or the fundraising webinar, it is not too late to take action. This weekend, starting Friday December 23rd and ending Sunday December 25th, ICNA-MAS Southeast will be in Atlanta at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly at the Galleria. Hosting speakers including Waleed Basyouni and Saad Tasleem, Syria is among this year’s focuses at ICNA-MAS. There will be sessions on our duties and obligations towards Syria as well as suffrage of Muslims in other suffering countries.

And even beyond that, take the opportunity to contact your representatives in the government to express your disdain and contempt for the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Tell our government to take immediate actions to stop these atrocities. You can do this here and here.

What is happening in Syria is more than just a genocide. It has transformed into a holocaust. The fact is that we are now in the 21st century; a world defined by social media and technology, a world where information can fit in the palm of your hands, a world where you can see and hear the victims and their horror stories in real time.

And in this advanced, well equipped world, we as a nation are standing doing nothing. We do not see crowds of people marching for the innocent men and women in Syria. We do not hear shouts for the slaughtered children. We do not know of nations uniting in opposition of the genociding unfolding in front of us. The UN holds meetings of security councils and wiping away tears at images of the dead. But the countries with the power, the United States, Germany, France, the U.K., all remain silent at the sounds of bombs and the images of the massacred. The hypocrisy of our world calls for our actions. Without battling the injustice our people are facing beyond our borders, the fate of the Syrian people does not stand a chance of changing.

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