From the moment Cain, after killing his brother, Abel, famously asked God, “Am I my brother's keeper?” (Genesis 4:9) human beings cannot escape wrestling with the ramifications of the moral dilemma that surrounds the question. The current impasse – or even standoff, if you like – between the international community, the American public and its Congress, and Bashar al Assad on one side and President Obama on the other side, is a good test.
For two years now, innocent blood has been spilling relentlessly all around Syria in a tug of war between Bashar Assad and his opponents. It is fair to say that neither side cares much about the blood they spill or the millions forced to flee into exile. To be sure, there is nothing new here. It happened in Nazi Germany, in former Yugoslavia, in Ruanda, in Sudan – all within living memory.
The issues facing the human community right now have very little to do with who the so-called rebels are, and who Bashar al Assad is. Chances are, there may be very little likeable about the rebels – indeed those pictures which emerged yesterday, of government soldiers being executed by the rebels, do not paint a rosy picture of the rebels.
The issue right now is about innocent lives – especially women and children – that are caught in the middle. It should not have come this far; but the international community has itself to blame that the situation got as far as it has. Nevertheless, if we did not act then, it does not mean we should not act now. The recent developments make it even more imperative that we do something.
Wars are hardly real solution to feuding parties. Nobody in Syria wants to talk; actually there is no incentive to talk. If any one side believes that mass killings using chemical weapons serves their cause, the international community cannot stand by. There is innocent blood crying out, and we are wondering: “Am I my brother's keeper?”
The answer is “yes” and the carnage needs to be stopped before it gets worse. If destroying, militarily, the means of using chemical weapons will give the parties the incentive to sit down and talk, then be it. But, God forbid, that we should watch the suffering, unconcerned because “we are not our brothers' and sisters' keepers”