By Kelly Edwards
A recently new song came on the radio called “Some Nights” by Fun. In the song the main chorus repeats: “What do I stand for?”
For me, this emphasized the importance of discovering one’s values and beliefs. This has greatly influenced this post because to understand the Syrian conflict, you must first understand the motives. For the average American the Syria civil war is an ongoing headline rather than an ongoing battle. The Syrian conflict started in March of 2011, but most Americans can’t tell you why or what the Syrian opposition is fighting for. An estimated 26,000 people have died and over 250,000 Syrians have fled to the neighboring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordon (USA Today).
Bashar al-Assad inherited his father’s dictatorship. In the 1960s the Syrian Ba’ath Party gained political power, a party with a strong Alawite following. As a minority in Syria, the Alawites gained preferential treatment under the Assad regime. The majority of Syrians are Sunni; this creates a government of the minority leading the majority. While the international community and opposition demand he to step down, Assad has made no intentions of doing so.
In March 2011, demonstrators in Dera’a demanded that political prisoners be released. Things quickly escalated as security forces became aggressive, this led to the deaths of many civilian protestors throughout the week. One month later, after Assad lifted the country’s state of emergency, he deployed tanks into disorderly cities where protesters were killed as security forces shot into the crowd. During the summer of 2011 the Assad regime learned they were no longer facing peaceful protests but an armed uprising whose mission was to overthrow al-Assad.
Armed rebel groups began fighting under the banner of Free Syrian Army. By October 2011, the opposition became organized and the Syrian National Council was formed. The international response has been horrified by the growing violence in Syria. Unlike Libya the United Nation’s Security Council failure to step in is due to the vetoes by Russia and China.
Syrian rebels fight for freedom and the resignation of a corrupt government. I challenge you to consider the following lyrics from “Some Nights” by Fun: “What do I stand for?”
What will you fight for? Stand up for? What do you stand for?