"Why is it always the innocents who suffer most, when you high lords play your game of thrones?" - Varys, A Game of Thrones
This week's post differs substantially from what I believe will be the usual format. Typically, I will provide some historical background to a given topic, then include my own analysis and supporting theories on my stated opinions. Throughout, I encourage informed and civil discussion and disagreement. This post, however, is much more of a call to action. It is a reminder of those who are truly suffering in the region, and a suggestion for what we can do to help. I have been considering starting this blog for some time now, but this issue has ultimately motivated me to take action. It is my hope that it motivates you as well...
To date, the Syrian Civil War has claimed the lives of an estimated 191,000 people and displaced over 3.2 million individuals, according to the United National High Commissioner for Refugees. To put that in perspective, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the population of the Twin Cities metro area at around 3.4 million. To say that this has become a crisis is a gross understatement, this is a monumental tragedy in the making. These refugees, both internally displaced within Syria and those who have fled the country, often lack the most basic necessities of food, clothing, and shelter. Needless to say, basic healthcare, education, and meaningful employment have now become luxuries for those devastated by war.
To make matters worse, relief organizations such as the World Food Programme are running desperately short on the funding essential to maintaining their basic operations. Without a sudden influx of roughly $64 million, the WFP will have to suspend its program of food assistance to nearly 1.7 million of these refugees. With winter beginning to set in throughout the region, the loss of this assistance will almost undoubtedly prove disastrous.
As a society, it is my belief that we have an obligation to provide a basic means of survival for those who are truly unable to provide for themselves. The holiday season is an ideal time to remember those less fortunate and espouse the virtues of goodwill and charity. Even a small contribution to refugee aid programs is a step in the right direction. The worst thing we can do is to simply ignore the problem. Syria's refugee population is on the brink of becoming a lost generation. They are becoming a generation without permanent residence and broken by war, hunger, and the apathy of the rest of the world. Though it may be easy to forget these refugees as we become consumed by our own worries and inconveniences, one thing is certain: the Syrians will remember...
Article on the World Food Programme and Syrian Assistance: http://www.wfp.org/news/news-release/wfp-forced-suspend-syrian-refugee-food-assistance-warns-terrible-impact-winter-nea
UNHCR Syria Overview: http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php