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Window of tragedy

Students recall wars as Arab Spring revolution continues in Syria

Published: Monday, June 18, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 20:07

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Window of tragedy

Students recall wars as Arab Spring revolution continues in Syria

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Eleven-year-old Ali el-Sayed played dead to remain alive during the Houla massacre last month when gunmen entered his home and shot his family. Sayed’s story speaks for the 108 citizens who were murdered May 25 at the hands of the Syrian government. It gives us a small window to see the Syrian uprising.The Houla massacre is one incidence of the growing violence in Syria. The conflict was born out of an attempt to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. The rebellion sprung out of the Arab Spring, which the government responded with crushing violence.

Assad continues to deny responsibility for the violence, blaming events such as the Houla massacre on foreign terrorists. However, it is his band of ghosts, Shabia, that leave the people of Syria in fear for their lives, and people in the Western world to sit by and watch.

The U.N. sent unarmed peace monitors to enforce a cease-fire. Although the number of monitors grew to 300, it had no effect on

the violence.

The situation continues to worsen. The increasing violence over the past few weeks led the U.N. to suspend troops from action as

of Saturday.

Many speculate this announcement is a sign that the peace plan is failing, and that further action must be taken.

On Sunday, the chief U.N. observer in Syria appealed to the warring parties to enable civilians trapped by the escalating violence to leave conflict zones.

“The parties must reconsider their position and allow women, children, the elderly and the injured to leave conflict zones, without any preconditions and ensure their safety,” Gen. Robert Mood, head of the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria said in a statement.

He said attempts to extract civilians from the line of fire over the past week in the city of Homs have been unsuccessful.

The U.N. Security Council established the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria in April to monitor the cessation of violence in Syria, as well as monitor and support the fullimplementation of a six-point peace plan put forward by the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League for the Syrian Crisis, Kofi Annan.

The plan calls for an end to violence, access for humanitarian agencies to provide relief to those in need, the release of detainees, the start of inclusive political dialogue that takes into account the aspirations of the Syrian people, and unrestricted access to the country for the international media.

The U.N. estimates that more than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria and tens of thousands displaced since the uprising against Assad began some 16 months ago.

The U.S. and its allies have been discussing a Syrian-led political transition to avoid a civil war. These efforts have been complicated over the past week with information about the source of weaponry. U.S. officials said Russia is arming Assad’s military with helicopters and other weaponry as a longtime ally of Syria.

Texas A&M University students are watching to see what is done to aid


“This is a horrible injustice that we must speak out against. We have been given so much; let’s stand for those who have none,” said Amber Cassady, senior communication major.

While there is no consensus on a plan to stop the violence, many lament the violence.

“They are killing innocent people and from what I read they must be torturing them as well. The most disturbing part for me was when they found a child with its arms cut off,” Jackie Garcia, TAMU UNICEF president said. “The U.N. is trying to peacefully make it stop and I really hope they do. No one deserves to die brutally the way these people are. And if it is the government, then that is just sad that the civilians can’t even depend on their own government.”

While diplomats ponder how to address the conflict in Syria, dust lingers from 2011’s Arab Spring revolutions in Libya and Egypt.

Some say the U.S. should aid Syria similarly to how it aided Libya in 2011 during its revolution.

On Sunday, the top U.N. envoy in Libya voiced his concern at renewed fighting in several localities that led to a number of deaths, injuries and displacement, and called on authorities to address the causes of the conflicts and protect civilians, according to a U.N. news release.

“It is of the utmost importance that the government acts swiftly to de-escalate these conflicts and to ensure the protection and well-being of civilians,” Ian Martin, special representative of the secretary-general and head of the U.N. Support Mission in Libya, said in a statement.

Martin told the U.N. Security Council in May armed clashes between various groups tested the reach and authority of the government’s security apparatus and ability to impose the rule of law.

Human rights, transitional justice and national reconciliation are among other issues that experts say must be addressed during the ongoing democratic transition in Libya, where Muammar Gadhafi ruled for more than 40 years until a pro-democracy uprising last year led to civil war and the deposing of his regime.

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