Friday, February 19, 2016

Syria - what can we do to end the tragedy?

Paul Aarts being interviewed by young people.
Paul Aarts on Syria and the Middle East

On Wednesday 18 February 2016, we had a very informative meeting about the situation in Syria and the surrounding Middle Eastern countries. Our 'guide' was Paul Aarts who gave a panoramic overview of the various groups and countries engaged in geopolitical warfare, in which all have their own agenda and interests.

In the discussion after Paul's introduction various participants raised the question of what we, or "the world", could do to end this tragedy.

Also, there was a participant who asked why we, in the Netherlands, are not demonstrating against the bombing in Syria by Dutch air force.

A good question!

What can we do?

So far the question about Dutch bombing in Syria has led to a brief exchange between me and another participant of the Golfgroep who has a lot of experience as prominent member of the peace movement.

As soon as we come up with something that might make sense, I will report here.

What banner should we carry? 

A slogan suggested by my experienced peace 'fighter' was: "Drop food packages instead of bombs".

In a newsletter of PAX (peace movement organisation in the Netherlands) that I received this morning, I read that PAX advocates an arms embargo for Saudi Arabia... Should there not be a more general arms embargo for the whole region around Syria? Is there a possibility that something can be done to reduce the availability and use of arms in the region?

What else can we do?

What else can be done to reduce the misery of common people who are suffering from the fights and the bombings?

If anyone knows of peace promotion inititiatives -- at the level of movements pressurising governments -- in other countries, please let me know.