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Why I am not Crying for the Father of this Boy

This poor young boy’s death is a tragedy that is felt by each and every person with a heart beating in his chest.  My heart also goes out to the child’s mother and sister who survived while trying to cross the sea from Turkey onto the Greek Aegean island of Kos.  However my heart does not go out for her husband and those like him.  Why is it so hard for me to have sympathy for this man?  After all, he lost two of his sons and that alone is a life shattering tragedy.  He was trying to escape the fierce war that rages in his home country of Syria.  He, along with thousands of others, are trying to bring their children to safer places and this is understandable.  However once the women and children have reached safety it is upon the men to return to Syria.  Yet, once they reach Europe… 

Upon closer inspection, his father like so many other Syrian men have abandoned the thousands of small Syrian babies just like his poor son to the fate of Bashar Assad and allies.  Those other less fortunate Syrian children don’t even have funds to attempt a trip to Europe as their resources would probably run out before they even crossed the Turkish border.  Is the life of the boy in the now iconic photo more precious than those who will die today and tomorrow by way of Assad’s barrel bombs?  I think it is a crime that his father and countless other able bodied Syrian men like him are begging like tiny babies to go to Europe, unconscionably abandoning his country and it’s defenseless population to fend for itself against the merciless Bashar Assad and his arsenal of barrel bombs.

The Syrian war will not end due to the collection of millions of signatures on an e-petition for Bashar to step down nor will it end if the refugee camps are flowing with water and food for the refugees.  It will only end when Assad is forced from power.  That will only happen when the oppressed rise up and say: “No more!” and take action.  The time for demonstrations and pleas to the deaf ears of the United Nations has passed for the Syrian people. 

I walk the streets of Idlib and Aleppo and see so many helpless children, the elderly, and others that have been abandoned by the “men” of Syria running top speed to Europe.  ISIS is a plague to the righteous Syrian revolution against oppression but there are so many others who have flocked to Syria from all different countries who are not a part of their murderous brigade to fill the void and help the oppressed.  Yet many of them have been labeled terrorists by their home countries for carrying arms against the murderous Syrian regime and would be jailed if they ever returned home.  Who is more of a disappointment to their home country; the father of this boy who abandoned his own people, or the foreigner who shed his blood to force Bashar and his barrel bombs from power? Which of the two has the sympathy of the world and which has it’s scorn?

There is much condemnation from many corners of the globe for some European nations who have failed to open their doors to these destitute refugees.  Hungarian Prime minister Viktor Orban said on Thursday: We don’t want to, and I think we have a right to decide that we do not want a large number of Muslim people in our country.  We do not like the consequences of having a large number of Muslim communities that we see in other countries, and I do not see any reason for anyone else to force us to create ways of living together in Hungary that we do not want to see. That is a historical experience for us.  His despicable comments can only be topped by the silence of the oil rich Gulf states.  Viktor Orban has no affiliation to these migrants, either territorially or religiously.  I guess the refugees membership to the human race doesn’t carry a lot of sway with him.

As for the Gulf states of Saudi Arabia UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and Bahrain they are, supposed to be, the brothers and sisters in religion to these destitute Muslims coming from war-torn Syria.  Yet they do nothing for them, just as they do nothing for the oppressed Rohingya of Burma.  Let me qualify my statement.  I don’t mean that water, blankets, and food were not sent to help these oppressed people.  However, the main item that they require is not on the above mentioned list.  They need a safe place to live and a country to call home, even if it is temporary.  What is stopping gas-rich Qatar from opening it’s borders to these migrants, either Muslim or non Muslim?  What has kept Kuwait back from facilitating and allowing the starved Rohingya children from taking up residency in their country?  Does the United Arab Emirates not have enough funds to provide a place to live for these people on their land?  They certainly have enough to lavishly spend on their own tiny populations.  While migrant workers from Pakistan and India could spend an eternity working  in the various Gulf nations to build their country, yet they would never be offered citizenship and would always be just one or two steps away “asked to leave” the country.  A simple dispute between the local Gulf sponsor and a foreign worker can spell disaster for an entire family.

Muslim leaders like the new Saudi King Salman takes vacations with a 1,000 person entourage to Vallauris, France while funds and housing are sorely needed for his Muslim brethren.  I am not in a position to say that Salman is using state funding for his vastly expensive summer vacation because I have no proof of this.  Perhaps it was paid for by his own personal funds.  However, assuming that it was paid for by permissible means, is this the proper etiquette of the Custodian of the two Haramain while the Rohingya and Syrians die at sea as they are denied entry by country after country?  I think not.

Finally I’d like to share an idea with you.  If I had the ear of the Gulf leaders I would ask them to facilitate transportation to their lands for Syrian women, children, and the elderly for a period of 5 years.  Housing should be paid for by the state and they should be looked after in an appropriate fashion.  After all, Islamically the funding that comes by way of oil and natural gas sales is the wealth of all Muslims and not just for those in a small locality.  However Syrian men should be barred from living in these refugee camps.  Syrian men should be forced to go back to their country and sort out the Syrian crises.  Why should they be allowed to abandon their country and it’s people and then be a burden on another society at the same time?

It is time the men of Syria kissed their wives and children and headed back home to force the current government from power and provide a stable and lasting home for their families.  After all, if they don’t do it then who will?

About Bilal Abdul Kareem

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