Alexander Pannett 6.45am
What can you do without freedom? When the world seems silent to your prevails?
The people of Homs, Syria’s third largest city, are currently suffering the seventh day of a brutal and criminal assault from President Assad’s un-repentant thugs.
Hundreds of civilians have been killed by indiscriminate artillery and mortar fire. This is on top of the 11-month crackdown against protestors who are campaigning for democracy and human rights in Syria that has left thousands dead.
The UN Security Council has shown itself to be impotent in the face of Russia’s machiavellian veto of any resolution condemning the Syrian violence. The Arab League has so far been unable to pressure the regime into stopping the atrocities.
Whilst many observers believe that Assad’s support is melting away it is clear he will not go until he has trailed his bloody claws across the Syrian people. Unlike in Libya, the Syrian people cannot expect Western intervention without backing from the international community. The disaster of Iraq is too fresh in everyone’s memories to countenance unilateral Western action. For now.
The best peaceful alternative to direct intervention is to apply increasing diplomatic and economic coercion on Syria until the regime breaks.
The European Union has just declared that it will impose harsher sanctions against Assad to encourage his fall. The Arab League ministers are also meeting this weekend to discuss what further actions they can take against Assad. It will be a further opportunity to build international pressure on the Syrian government and other governments who are supporting it.
In the UK, human rights organisations have been mobilising to raise awareness. Amnesty International are urging authorities across the Middle East and North Africa to:
“Uphold the right to peaceful protest and to freedom of expression, association, assembly and information.
Investigate deaths, injuries, and detentions ensuring those responsible are brought to account.
Immediately begin human rights reforms including giving people the right to participate fully in the political process.”
You too can play your part this weekend in expressing your support for the voiceless. Amnesty International are holding a demonstration in Trafalgar Square on Saturday from 12 noon until 2pm to raise awareness of the human rights abuses. See here for further details.
Attend and show your anger at those who would suppress the fight against injustice and the human rights revolution.
Hannah Arendt, the political theorist, once said that “the sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be either good or evil.”
Well. It is time to make up our minds. And shout about it.