“In the light of one million murdered people (…) at this crucial moment in history, our actions should not be guided by career or economic interests nor by religious or philosophic differences…”
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The Syrian War : Why All of Us Should Be Bothered
The reason why all of us, Asians, Africans, Americans or Europeans, should be bothered about what happened in recent years in Syria, is not ISIS. It is also not the question of being pro- or anti-Putin, pro- or anti-Assad, or of being anti-American or pro-American, anti-Western or pro-Western. Is is also not the question of being left or being right.
The reason why all of us should be bothered is, that since the start of the Syrian War (2011-), one of the fundamental principles of our civilization is under attack like it has almost never been under attack before. An attack that puts every country at risk of genocidal massacres. An attack that, with other words, threatens our and our children’s future, no matter where on this earth. It is the attack on the principle of humanity.
The Principle of Humanity
The principle of humanity, in the sense of “having concern for the pain or suffering of others, being good, just and fair” (source : wiktionary.org), is shared by all major religions : Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and by humanist philosophy.
In modern times it became enshrined in national and international law.
The right of people to be protected against murder, cruel and inhuman treatment, for example, finds its origin in the principle of humanity. Equally the obligation to make crimes stop, if one has the means to do so.
The principle of humanity was integrated in international law to protect during armed conflicts the civilian populations, the prisoners of war, the sick and the wounded, and, to some extent, also the fighting soldiers. International law clearly defines which violations of the principle of humanity have to be marked as war crimes and which ones as crimes against humanity.
The Attack on the Principle of Humanity During the Syrian War
The attack on the principle of humanity during the Syrian War took place on different levels.
First of all within Syria. Countless war crimes and crimes against humanity turned the conflict, that started as the oppression of a democracy movement in 2011, into a slow genocidal massacre, with between one to two million deaths.
Secondly within the United Nations. From the very onset of the conflict, Putin’s Russia and Xi Jinping’s China abused their veto right to stop almost every attempt to find a peaceful political solution, to investigate war crimes or to let the warring parties obey the principles of humanity.
Thirdly internationally. According to the principle of humanity as enshrined in international law, all those who finance, arm, fight alongside with those committing, or willingly and knowingly omit to act against, war crimes or crimes against humanity, bear equal criminal responsibility as those who tortured, dropped the bombs or wielded the knives… As a consequence, the leaders of many countries and many businessmen acted against humanity and thus in a criminal manner.
It is, for example, an objective verifiable fact, that political leaders of Western countries (Europe, N.-America, Japan, Australia, India, S.-Korea, S.-Africa…) committed crimes against humanity by systematically refusing to do whatever was in their power to make the crimes in Syria stop. They refused to do so in order to preserve good commercial relationships with Russia and China. They did not do this out of necessity. They did do this solely to favor the profitability of some multi-nationals. That is why they sacrificed the lives of more than one million people. As a consequence do these political leaders probably bear serious criminal liability, prosecutable in courts. An inconvenient truth not brought to the public attention by the media.
The genocidal extent of the Syrian war mirrors, with other words, not only the biggest crime scene, but also the biggest international political scandal/crime of our epoch. It also mirrors one of the biggest failures of civil society of our epoch. Because it were not only the media, but also the universities, the worker unions and most religious leaders that failed to avert the attack on the principle of humanity on so many levels.
If we do not bring to justice those responsible for the Syrian killing fields, if we do not amend the institutional shortcomings, a similar genocidal massacre could happen again anytime, anywhere.
What Can and Should We Do ?
Out of what we discussed before, it is obvious that only suing the criminals from inside Syria will not protect us. But that is where all the international attention is focused on, and with little chance of success.
Almost as important as suing the criminals from inside Syria, will be prosecuting those who financed, armed, fought alongside with those committing, or willingly and knowingly omitted to act against, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Suing responsible European politicians will have one of the biggest chances of success.
Thirdly will we have to change the way the United Nations operates. No country should have the right to veto efforts to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity or to veto efforts to make them stop.
Fourthly will we have to reform the International Criminal Court. The International Criminal Court depends in many cases on the United Nations Security Council to be able to investigate international crimes. The ICC should have universal jurisdiction and should be able to decide independently whether to prosecute or not.
Aims of The Syrian Petition
The Syrian Petition wants to bring those three topics : reform of the United Nations, of the International Criminal Court and prosecution of politicians and businessmen who committed crimes against humanity, on the national and international political agendas.
To that purpose did we launch an international petition in 4 languages calling for prosecution of those responsible for the crimes committed in Syria. The petition focuses not on the individual torturer or bomb-thrower, but on the politicians and businessmen who are probably responsible for the fact that the Syrian genocidal massacre could take place. The petition is ongoing and we invite everybody to sign and help the petition spread. Missing is a Spanish, Arabic, Russian and Chinese translation. Any help to translate or improve the petition is welcome.
Secondly do we effectively want to prosecute probable responsible European leaders. This is the best way to trigger a public debate and achieve some kind of justice for the more than one million victims.
The reform of the United Nations and the International Criminal Court will demand an international coordinated effort of a longer haul. It is necessary that the topic will be internationally put on the national political agendas.
Fourthly do we want to inform people about international law. As a translation of the principle of humanity, has it been established to protect us, ordinary citizens, against war crimes and crimes against humanity. We hope that by creating awareness around the fact that an attack on international law is an attack on all of us, civil society and the society as a whole, will become more vigilant in order to avert future Syrias.
Let Us Unite
The Syrian War is in its importance only matched by the Spanish civil war (1936-1939).
Then, the lack of international solidarity with those fighting for democracy and with those prosecuted in out of control spiraling super powers, pretty much for commercial reasons, triggered the biggest human disaster in the history of mankind, with tens of millions of deaths as a result.
Today, our actions or non-actions will determine our and our children’s future. We call upon civil society, religious leaders, union leaders, university leaders, artists, sport celebrities, and every ordinary citizen to wake up, to take their responsibility and to join forces with us in order to avert similar or worse things to happen.
Nobody, no organization or religious force, can do this alone. We have to unite. Unite around the principle of humanity.
December 01, 2017