Extend Your Attention Span for Syria

Read time: 2 minutes

Syria is not in our headlines everyday. When I do see any articles, I avoid clicking on them because I know what it says.

Another airstrike.

More casualties.

Absolute terror.

I knew about the Netflix documentary The White Helmets for a while now and I avoided watching it. It’s only 45 minutes long but I avoided it for weeks. I knew it was going to be good but I also knew it was going to be deeply horrifying. The documentary short is about the first responders in Syria that have saved over 58,000 lives since 2013. They are civilians who have dedicated their lives pull both dead and living bodies out of rubble as the daily strikes continue. Well, I finally watched it.

Incredible stories.

Sad beyond reason.

Induces an ugly cry that lasts as long as the documentary.

I’m glad I watched.

The way we have shielded ourselves from this horror in America is fascinating. It’s something I will woefully look back on and hesitate to tell my future children about.

“I’m sorry, I can’t say much about the Syrian genocide because we were too busy talking about the dumbest and most backwards Presidential election in 2016.”

We also probably don’t talk about this everyday because we don’t even know what’s going on. Everyone’s involvement in this war is convoluted and ambiguous. You shouldn't be embarrassed about not knowing. No one understands the lines anymore (although this video from Vox was helpful).

There’s something else we’re all not admitting here in America. Deep down in our hearts, we know that there’s a huge chance that we’re the bad guys this time. We don’t know the extent of our government's involvement in this war, we don’t want to welcome refugees, and worst of all, we don’t want to acknowledge our educate ourselves on it.

What’s going on in Aleppo is as traumatic and rampant as the Orlando nightclub shooting. Except for Syrians, the massacres are a daily occurrence. This is not a comparison of casualties, this is a comparison of fear. The number of people waking up everyday wondering if today is their last outweighs any tragedy we are facing here. Daily terror is not an abstract concept for them like it is for us. Our inability to admit this is also sickening. We are not entitled to ignore what’s going on Syria. We are not entitled to safety over them.

I didn’t watch The White Helmets last night. I watched it two weeks ago and I am still completely shaken up. If I were to die today and have to answer to God, I know I would be ashamed of my inaction. Please watch this short, please do your best to care, and please donate to these incredible heroes. That’s the least we can do from our desks right now.