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OPINION: Chemical Attack in Syria Kills Dozens

By Nisha Desai, Reporter

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Sobbing children.  Blood streaming through fingers.  A child clutching an oxygen mask like a lifeboat in an ocean of violent currents.  These were the images that greeted me on the news Sunday evening, breaking my heart and shattering it into a million pieces.  I didn’t know what to say, or what to think, as I saw the photos of vulnerable children being treated in the hospital, each one of them forever scarred by this horrific attack.

The children that I saw were only a few of dozens of Syrian citizens that were brutally attacked this past weekend.  The Syrian government unleashed a series of chemical weapons that targeted the suburb of rebel-held Douma, killing at least 42 people and injuring many others, who were sprawled out lifelessly on apartment floors and stairwells with white foam dripping from their mouths.  Dozens of others suffocated in basements of buildings that had collapsed on them, adding to the death count. Afterwards, many people who seemed fine initially were rushed to the hospital due to burning eyes and breathing difficulties.

The video footage shows the countless children gathered in clinics, rocking back and forth with their arms wrapped around their knees.  A little girl clenches her fists and sobs uncontrollably, watching helplessly as just a few medical workers rush around the room to help dozens of wounded people.  Others just stare frantically at the camera, unable to speak as the device pans around the room, capturing every inch of their unremitting horror and misery.

It’s hard to believe that these horrific attacks have been going on since 2011.  Seven years of pain. Seven years of aching fear between the acts of violence, worrying that you were next.  Clasping your hands tightly and praying at night that your children would never stop seeing the light of day, only to be plagued by countless nightmares of broken bodies lying in the streets, faces made unrecognizable by the crimson red pools of blood.  Even after you woke up drenched with sweat, your ears would still ring with the memory of blood-curdling screams that ripped your heart into shreds. These were the thoughts that raced through my brain when I imagined being a Syrian citizen.

Every year, the death count has gone up, reaching 400,000 as of now.  Think about that number for a second. 400,000. 400,000 people killed at the hands of their own government.  400,000 innocent lives turned to dust. How many more innocent lives need to be destroyed before someone steps in to fix it?

But it can’t be just one person. Syria’s neighbors, along with other countries across the globe, need to band together. We need to show a united front and make sure the Syrian government stops killing innocent civilians. We can’t back down and be afraid to get involved in a conflict that could happen anywhere, not just in Syria.

As Americans, we have a duty to spread this message. We need to show the rest of the world that unity matters.  By using our voices, we can initiate a change.

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