To begin, this article is in no way meant to insult the people of Syria, the donors of the item in question (or their family or heritage) or to incite hate toward any religion or ethnicity in any way, shape or form. In fact, the purpose of this article is just the opposite. It is to show our unity and support with the people of Syria.
If you go to the Global Citizens Plaza on campus, you’ll find many flags from nations all across the globe showing Chapman’s commitment to molding well-rounded and internationally-aware young people. I couldn’t agree more with that message. However, I think flying the flag of the Bashar Assad regime is nothing short of repulsive to us, but more importantly, to the thousands of women and children who have been killed by Assad’s government.
The flag that flies on campus (while it was donated to honor people of Syrian heritage) is still the flag that is flown by the soldiers who serve the brutal ruling Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, led by Assad. This flag represents a government that has used chemical warfare. Its most recent attack killed 86 people, 27 of which were children.
This is a government that, in its perverse quest to preserve its grasp on power, along with employing chemical warfare, indiscriminately kills civilians via “barrel-bombing” as well. According to a report by Amnesty International, even peaceful protesters are targets of government-sponsored detention and torture, where methods such as being beaten with silicon cables are used.
It is disgusting that the U.S., with the strongest military on the planet, has stood on the sidelines during the four years that this madness has unfolded, and is only just now beginning to take limited action. Don’t get me wrong, the Tomahawk cruise missile strikes marked the first time I agreed with a policy decision made by President Donald Trump, but it’s too little, too late. Much more needs to be done, like giving effective military support to the Kurds in the forms of boots on the ground, a formal declaration from Congress and internationally protected safe zones for civilians, along with many other steps, which I would need several articles to explain in depth. Bottom line, we should all feel hatred toward ourselves for allowing this to happen, myself included.
For a long time, I felt Assad was a subhuman creature, enslaved to his own lust for power, but I still believed it was better that the U.S. let him stay in power. Our history with regime change in the Middle East has been abysmal.
A perfect example of this is what happened in Libya. Strongman Muammar Gaddafi was removed by U.S. and allied forces and was soon replaced by radical fundamentalists who have proved to be far more brutal and insane than he was.
Shame on me. Irish philosopher Edmund Burke so accurately stated: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
Evil has happened for four years under our watch and it’s continuing to happen. Only now are we doing anything. I proudly support Trump’s military intervention in Syria. Here at Chapman, there isn’t a whole lot we can do, militarily speaking that is, to exercise effective change. But we can show solidarity and support for the innocents slain by taking down that flag.
Again, I have no issue with those who donated the flag or anyone of Syrian descent. But a flag of a mass-killing government has no right to be flown and should be removed by the university immediately. Then, when the great day comes when Assad has been removed and brought to justice, we can all proudly fly the flag of a new and liberated Syria.