“…Public pressure on western governments to do more to help has, if anything, declined as the war has raged endlessly. Sympathetic western opinion has been dulled by a pervasive sense of hopelessness.” – Simon Tisdall for the Guardian, 11 Feb 2018.
If there is anything that the past week has shown us, it’s that the Syrian war is very much raging on into it’s 8th year.
The siege on Eastern Ghouta is considered to be the bloodiest episode of this horrific war in years, with over 229 people killed in the last 4 days including 58 children, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Most of the photos that foreign correspondents are receiving from Eastern Ghouta are considered too graphic to publish. (In fact if you look up the #EasternGhouta hashtag on Instagram, chances are half of the images will have been blurred out by the Instagram servers.) It’s like hell on earth.
Simon Tisdall provides a clear and important overview of the entire Syrian conflict (and the west’s failure to stop it) in this article – but his brief mention of the sense of ‘hopelessness’ / significant decline of pressure from western nations to act is what really struck a chord for me when I read it today.
With a conflict that has become as epic and as unbelievably complicated as the Syrian war, it’s easy (as western civilians) to feel as though there is nothing we can do about it. I think that’s why it becomes easier and easier to tune out or ignore the news of another siege, another chemical weapon attack, or another massacre of innocent civilians caught in the conflict – because knowing about it but feeling helpless to change anything is a terrible feeling. That’s how we grow numb. That’s how hopelessness sets in.