The following is a slightly modified version of a Facebook post written last night at 10:24pm by ZFA Director of Media and Advocacy Emily Gian. Join the conversation on Facebook here.
Just a few hours ago, I received an alert on my phone about a suspected chemical attack by the Syrian government in the northwest Syrian province of Idlib. In the brief time since then, the number of deaths reported from the attack has varied between 58 to 100 with dozens of them being children.
Reports are also coming through that there have been further attacks on the hospitals that are treating the victims.
My heart and my head cannot fathom such a thing, particularly when children are involved. And while trying to make sense if it, and find some more information (would you believe it is not the top news story here in Australia?), every photograph depicting the incident is of children stripped down to their underwear as rescuers attempt to hose them down or children wearing face masks being treated.
I cannot look but I cannot look away.
I think about my own children sleeping peacefully upstairs and my eyes well up with tears. I have chosen not to use any pictures of the Syrian children here because they are too graphic.
And then on the other hand I think to myself, perhaps people need to see these images so they can truly understand what is going on. But the truth is, when images of three-year-old Syrian Alan Kurdi face down on the shores of Turkey came to light in September 2015, nothing much changed in the world after the initial outrage. And in August 2016, when images of five year old Syrian Omran Daqneesh emerged of him sitting in an ambulance, his face and body covered in ash after an air strike on his building in Aleppo, nothing changed.
So why would today’s alleged chemical attack be any different?
I think that perhaps now might not be the appropriate time for me to mention the conflict between Israel and Palestine: that it would be insensitive to bring it up but I am going to anyway because I have to.
Quite frankly, I am sick and tired of writing post after post about the United Nations and their obsession with demonising Israel.
Or about the media.
Or Israel’s detractors all the world over.
I am sick and tired of reading about another UN Security Council meeting where Israel is singled out six times and Syria not mentioned at all.
Or that the Security Council has the audacity to pass a resolution on Jerusalem but cannot get to the bottom of what is happening in Syria. It makes me sick. Reports say France is calling for an emergency session of the UN Security Council but every single country that sits on that Council should be doing the same.
I am sick and tired of the vacuous thinking that equates a country fighting an existential threat from terrorists who indiscriminately bomb its civilian targets with the mass-murdering regime in Damascus because the slightest comparison is not only hideous in itself, but because of the inherent hypocrisy in the way it is applied.
By this I mean that I know where almost all of those who marched in the streets to protest against Israel’s conduct during military operations in Gaza, will not be tomorrow morning.
They will not be marching through Sydney or Melbourne’s CBD to protest the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
They will not be expressing their outrage at Syria’s murderous regime and its partners in crime – Iran and the terrorist Hezbollah.
The truth is that they do not care.
How long do we have to put up with images of children suffering before the world wakes up and takes real action?