Country has more to offer than a war debate

Photo courtesy of Freedom House

LATELY IT SEEMS like everyone has an opinion on the war in Syria.

Since the alleged chemical attack on the population on Aug. 21, media outlets around the world are finally giving the conflict in Syria the attention it deserved years ago. Sadly, Syria’s capital city, Damascus is now consistently ranked one of the worst cities in the world to live, the devastating memories of war on Syria’s neighbour, Iraq, are fresh in most people’s minds, and most are either reluctant to see another war unfold or simply fed up with war talk altogether.

In general, nobody likes it when innocent lives are lost. Just look at public reactions to the Boston Marathon bombing, any school shooting, or 9-11. People become outraged, fight to change laws, and persecute those they deem responsible. The problem with a war overseas, however, is that many feel like they are helpless—armed only with the facts that the media chooses to divulge. In addition, each country has its own set of problems, and people meddling in other countries’ affairs don’t solve their own.

I am half Syrian and have spent many summers lounging on the patio of my grandparents’ home in Aleppo or swimming in the Mediterranean Sea by the quaint city of Tartous. Some of those summers rank at the top of my list not because of any large, expensive tourist trap but because of the kindness and compassion of the people.

My last visit to Syria was in 2009 when a cousin of mine got married. Although the political climate was not ideal, there was no hint of war—at least not from a foreigner’s perspective. However, people all over the world tend to steer clear of certain controversial topics and those generally include war and politics.

It’s the people of Syria that make the country so special—not the government, climate, oil, or any other export. They are caring, loving individuals who are completely undeserving of such hardships. Arabs are regular, hard-working people who bleed, laugh, and die the same as everyone else.

There is no such thing as evil people or an evil religion.

I can only hope and pray that this situation improves for the people, so that Syria can slowly begin to rebuild itself into the majestic country it once was.