Inept, toothless international community, stand aside so citizens can stop the daily mass murders in Syria
by Nita Wiggins
Statements of outrage and condemnation will never move Russia nor China, intractable supporters of the maniacal, murderous dictator in Syria.
Civil society can force governments into action, though, by refusing to participate (and I don’t mean sanctions) with the two countries, the knowing accomplices to the heinous crimes being committed by Bashar al-Assad.
“Human Rights Watch has documented at least 12 cases of children detained under inhumane conditions and tortured, as well as children shot while in their homes or on the street. Human Rights Watch has also documented government use of schools as detention centers, military bases or barracks, and sniper posts, as well as the arrest of children from schools,” said the watchdog organization in a Feb. 3 release.
Here’s a painful and revealing irony: One day after the scathing HRW report, the Russian and Chinese delegates to the UN voted against all the other Security Council nations and with Mr. al-Assad’s Syrian regime. The exact language of the resolution called for the “government forces and armed opposition groups to stop all violence and reprisals … and halt the 10-month crackdown…”
This civic crisis reawakens a song lyric released by Sting in 1985.
There is no monopoly in common sense ~ On either side of the political fence
We share the same biology ~ Regardless of ideology
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too
The resounding answer is of course.
“In many cases, security forces have targeted children just as they have targeted adults,” said Lois Whitman, children’s rights director at Human Rights Watch, in the latest report.
Obviously, it’s not just children who are the casualties of government riflemen and tank-driving soldiers. Activists estimate that 7,000 civilians have been killed in the clashes, which can be traced to January 2011.
If civil society can’t stomach any more of this, here is how to wield its considerable power.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup (soccer) was awarded to Russia in December 2010. What if civilized countries, those that admittedly have their flaws but the generally abhor snider assassinations in the streets and in their schools, decided an alternate location for the World Cup?
How about this week, announce the relocation of the World Cup from the Russian venues? Leave Team Russia, Team China, and Team Syria to create and play in their own world event.
The losers in the bid process for the Soccer World Cup were the joint proposals from Belgium and the Netherlands, from Spain and Portugal, and from England.
Make the bold decision to move the tournament – by this Saturday.
Make the move irrevocable.
This is better than the Moscow Olympic boycott by the U.S. in 1980. Not one athlete will lose his human right to pursue happiness by representing his nation in competition.
What do the football associations in the countries that lost the bid say about this? And because of the proximity of all five of those jilted countries, couldn’t they all participate? They’d stage the early-going of the tournament on the European continent itself. And, why not move into the new London Olympic venue for the latter rounds and the title game?
The economic boon that was going to Russia with the World Cup — the prize for being a responsible part of the international community — could instead land in the economically struggling EU countries.
Still not sure about this activism from civil society? Is it too militant?
Think about a 13-year-old from Deraa. Maybe Hamza al-Khatib played football in his southern Syria town. Maybe his dreams included earning a roster spot on the international team. In 2018, he would have been 19 — an age at which a football protégé might play in his first Cup.
If Hamza did not aspire to take the pitch in Russia himself, he’d probably watch some matches.
Maybe he’d thought of becoming a diplomat to tame some of the world’s crises. Or, maybe he’d envisioned himself in economics class at Deraa University, right there near his home.
Instead, on April 29, 2011, the Syrian government crushed all of his options. According to the boy’s family, he was captured by Mr. al-Assad’s forces. Nearly one month later, his badly mutilated corpse was returned.
The Guardian of London wrote:
“Hamza was tortured and his swollen body showed bullet wounds on his arms, black eyes, cuts, marks consistent with electric shock devices, bruises and whip marks. His neck had been broken and his penis cut off,” said the article from May 31, 2011.
(Read the whole, graphic description and create the image in your mind.)
Aljazeera reported that his skull showed evidence of a drilling through the forehead.
The closing questions:
Who must take the lead? If not us, then who? If not now, then when?
Below, you’ll find names of corporate sponsors and football associations that could Save Syria, if you urge them to do so.
The World Cup is about the millions (dare I say billions) to be made– multinational corporations jockey for sponsorship deals to exploit new markets.
But, how much will you enjoy your Carlsberg and Budweiser products during Russia’s World Cup when you remember the blood that flowed?
How many parents who can watch their 13-year-olds play Microsoft’s Kinect Sports and then tuck them into bed tonight won’t think of what Russian and Chinese complicity has cost other families?
Move the Cup out of Russia and revel in the joys of living with a clear civic conscious.
China will be dealt with in another essay. But for the moment, consider: If China were in competition for the next Olympics, wouldn’t this week’s support of the al-Assad dictatorship knock out the country’s chances?
Nita Wiggins is an American journalist and educator.
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This document was put together using the Co-op America guide. This can be found at http://www.coopamerica.org/programs/boycotts/
(Excerpt from FIFA.com) Budweiser will serve as the “Official Beer” of the FIFA World Cup™, whilst Anheuser-Busch InBev will also have the opportunity to leverage its portfolio of beers by extending local sponsorship rights to its leading brands in selected football markets, including, but not limited to Brahma (Brazil), Hasseröder (Germany), Jupiler (Belgium and the Netherlands), Quilmes (Argentina) and Harbin (China), as it did during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
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(Excerpt from the website) One of the sponsors of England’s failed 2018 World Cup bid has called on FIFA to give £1million to grass-roots football as compensation for an ‘unfair’ bidding process.
Supermarket chain Morrisons have also instructed lawyers in Switzerland, where FIFA are based, to ‘examine options’ over whether compensation can be claimed.
Morrisons chief executive is Dalton Philips.
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