Syria’s children are freezing to death and Gazans are drowning as Arab billionaires turn a blind eye – by Abdel Bari Atwan
In refugee camps across Jordan and Turkey Syrian children are freezing to death and their peers in the Gaza Strip are drowning while the Arab countries, most notably the wealthy ones, insist on turning a blind eye to their plight.
The Gaza Strip has been suffering without electricity for several months now and life has completely paralyzed because of the Arab-Israeli suffocating siege that has been imposed on nearly two million innocents while this year’s winter storms and floods have worsened the situation. The Hamas led government which rules the Strip do not have either the expertise, the necessary funds or the capabilities to deal with this crisis; they had to resort to old fishing boats to rescue homeless Gazans who climbed the rooftops of their flooded homes to cry for help.
There are nearly 150 member States in the Friends of the Syrian People Group, mostly from wealthy European and Arab countries, yet more than four million Syrian refugees are suffering inside and outside of Syria from hunger, disease, fear and lack of any reassuring solution in the near future.
Billions of Arabs’ dollars are invested in the « death industry » in Syria to finance the fighting factions who will topple Syria’s dictatorial regime and billions are spent to purchase the latest military equipment to arm them. But when the screaming children in the refugee camps freeze to death, the wealthy and their governments are nowhere to be seen.
The funds are allocated only for murder, not for life. Logically those who manage to deliver weapons to the fighters should not fail to deliver medical aid, food and blankets to the children of Aleppo, Homs, Rastan, Ruqqa, Idlib and all the other Syrian cities. Assuming this humanitarian mission is impossible for them to complete they could at least be able to deliver the necessary relief materials and heating equipment to the Syrians in refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey, where there are no military confrontations or explosives.
Yesterday The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces appealed to the world to « raise the level of emergency aid and food for Syrians in need, whether inside Syria or abroad, in order to protect the children and the elderly from dying in cold » whilst activists have broadcasted online images of a child’s corpse with his arms pulled up in the air – « probably frozen, » – yet we did not hear a response.
The Syrian people are slaughtered and murdered by all the fighting parties within Syria and they are insulted and humiliated by their Arab brothers in the Arab countries, which reaffirms that the destruction of this country and to humiliate its people has always been the prime goal.
In a statement on Friday Amnesty International criticised the EU failure to play a concrete role to host more Syrian refugees. It also criticised the measures they have taken on their borders to reduce the number of Syrian refugees who try to infiltrate their territories and described them as « shameful. » Amnesty International’s stance is « honourable » to criticise Western « infidel » countries but what about Arab « Muslim » countries mainly those who want to introduce democracy and human rights to Syria. We ask them, how many Syrian refugees did you host and how do your border guards treat Syrians fleeing death to escape their lives? These are States that accommodate millions of foreign workers from more than 180 non-Arab nationalities.
Gulf countries are donating billions of dollars in oil grants to Egypt to resolve the fuel crisis there which is an honourable humane act that we all acknowledge. Yet how come these States do not demand the Egyptian authorities, from a humanitarian point of view, the passage of some limited gas quantities to operate Gaza’s sole power station to illuminate the homes of the two million Muslim Arab « Sunnis » there?
The Gaza Strip has drowned in darkness and floods while Syria’s children and elders are freezing to death marking the most disgraceful stain in the history of this nation. Those who do not answer the calls of the deprived while they can, will never be able to free homelands or to respect the minimum human rights in their country or any other.
This is a translation of the Arabic text published by Today’s Opinion on 14 December, 2013