Thinking about Syria

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What am I to think about the developments in the U.S. regarding Syria? We appear to be slouching closer to some type of military action and I am personally distraught at the thought.

I abhor violence, plain and simple. I cannot condone any action that the U.S. may take in regard to Syria that involves violence. But…

How can I turn a blind eye to the plight of the Syrian people? More than 100,000 Syrians have died in this civil war. If a similar proportion of Americans died, we’d be talking about almost 1.5 million deaths. Think of the effect that losing 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001, has had on this country: What would happen to America if 500 times that many people died? That is what is happening in Syria.

Over 2 million Syrians have fled their homeland and are living as refugees in neighboring countries. That’s 9 percent of Syria’s total population, the proportional equivalent of nearly 30 million Americans. How can I stay deaf to the cries of these victims? My heart is troubled to the point of breaking for the Syrian people and compassion is pouring forth from my heart in torrents. It is a tragedy of epic scale and – even if peace broke out today – a calamity that the country will have a very difficult time recovering from.

I believe that the U.S. and other countries should do something, but is violence the best answer? The Dalai Lama has said that there is such a thing as a justifiable war, but that one cannot know if it was justified until afterwards. “War is violence and violence is unpredictable. Therefore, it is better to avoid it if possible, and never to presume that we know beforehand whether the outcome of a particular war will be beneficial or not.” He has also said, “Now the concept of violence, the concept of war, is outdated…Violence never seems now to produce positive results.”

That is where my heart lies, with the path of peace. But peace does not appear to be making sufficient headway to end the crisis in Syria. Is it possible to be more “forcibly peacful” without crossing a boundary into a realm of non-peace? I fear it is not. A violent reaction from the U.S. appears more and more likely, and I am heartbroken at the prospect.

dalai lama 4

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4 responses »

  1. I share your grief . . . and I cannot think of any action that will prevent more and more violence from occurring. The only thing I feel I can do is continue sending metta and more metta to the Syrian peopl . . . Namaste

  2. I was very angry about the chemical attack on innocent people and children, and my knee-jerk reaction was to go an punish Assad. Then I thought about it. Is there really any value in blowing up more bombs? Or blowing up chemical weapons which might poison more people? When I stopped to breathe I realized that we really should be putting our efforts into helping the two million refugees that are hungry and without hope. They need our help. War is already perpetuating itself, we don’t need to participate in that. It’s wrong, and we need to speak out about the wrongs, but we won’t make things better by going to war.

  3. Not sure. We’re talking about air strikes against the Syrian government, nothing on the ground. Are we going to just stand by and watch thousands of families gassed and say we’re doing it in the name of peace?

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