Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Plague Spreads

Palymra, Syria
The news from the middle east this morning is particularly grim as the forces of ISIL/ISIS have captured a second city in about a week. The New York Times reports the capture in an article titled 
ISIS Fighters Seize Control of Syrian City of Palmyra, and Ancient Ruins.
With the fall of Palmyra, Syria, the world is bracing for the destruction of antiquities which document the history of modern civilizations which have preceded us and which no longer exist. The Greeks, the Romans, the Persians to name three. 

My concern, however, is for the people who live there. The press reports that executions are common when ISIS/ISIL capture a city. And not just a few, but hundreds of people are murdered when the plague on the region sweeps through a city. 

The reports from Ramadi were especially grim after the city's capture. A CNN report contained the following description.

"On the first day that ISIS took over the city, they executed a 3-year-old girl whose father was fighting against ISIS. And he later died in battle," he [the Anbar Government Spokesman] told CNN.

ISIS has a grim track record of ruthlessly slaughtering opponents it captures.

"Anybody who supported the government will probably be executed within the next 24 hours," said Baer. "Their families will be driven out. It will be a bloodbath over the next couple of days. All the soldiers who were captured will be executed."

While I agree that the loss of historical antiquities is tragic, the murders of uncountable numbers of people is criminal and should be the lead story. We have become desensitized to the immorality of the slaughter of people in the wake of ISIS/ISIL occupations.

Let's focus upon the human costs first and worry about the antiquities secondly. 

People suffer and feel pain. Antiquities make no sound. We need to hear the cries of the innocents and the prisoners as they are brutally murdered. These are the crimes to which we should respond.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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