TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

August 30, 2013

Patience for peace in Syria


The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — As next-door neighbors to the house that just caught on, how would it be if we would carry lawn chairs to the side of the house facing our neighbors burning house so that we could sit there and watch their house burn? Our neighbor is frantically trying to get his garden hose hooked up while his wife is screaming for help. Our heartless behavior would be totally unconscionable.  

For the world to sit on the sidelines of Syria viewing millions fleeing their homes, millions in want of drinking water, food and medicine and 100,000 killed (many by noxious gas), that too is totally unconscionable. Most of the world is sitting. We can be proud of the U.S.A’s support of U.N.’s relief programs and also of International Red Cross in Syria. Yet to date what is being done for the suffering Syrians amidst their civil war is shamefully little.

If we could bridle our U.S. habit of using military action as the first and foremost response to human suffering throughout the world, we might experience a better track record; that of quieting instead of escalating the strife. Patiently working with the U.N. for negotiating peace and rescuing the suffering, should be our first and pervasive commitment. U.S. is presently providing arms and ammunition for the forces opposing Assad’s regime which might be viewed as fanning the fire in our neighbor’s house.

To feel compassionately compelled to assist Syria’s suffering is the moral obligation of the world community. Nations turning their backs on this outcry of inhumane abuse, injustice, suffering and death is a stark affront to human  dignity, intelligence and conscience.

An ongoing wrench in the works for pursuing peace in Syria  is the persistent vetoing by Russia and China of any U.S. proposal to U.N.’s Security Council.

This brings to my mind the heart rendering song, “Where is Love?”  in the play Oliver — sung by Oliver, alone, hungry and orphaned.

For the world community to be smothered and controlled by bureaucracies run by godless hate and vengeance is a most frustrating disgrace.

Would that we all could be smothered and controlled by the grace of God to do the will of God — love our neighbors.

“If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. [Pro. 21:13]

The Rev. John Burkhart  Ph.D, is a retired Episcopal priest and professor of psychology

jandmburkhart@yahoo.com blog at inspirationsandideas