The emaciated, desperate figures queuing for food amid the ruined buildings look like characters in a post-apocalyptic film, rather than real people surviving in a wasteland less than five hours flight from Dublin.
Over decades world leaders have spoken at anniversary gatherings for the liberation of Nazi concentration camps and reiterated “never again”. Now those with power and authority worldwide cannot say “we didn’t know”.
The solution to the Syrian crisis is a long way off, but it is paramount that world leaders support the UN in short-term responses to this appalling suffering.
Get the people out of those death camps ASAP. Offer political, financial and military support to the UN humanitarian organisations to create safe corridors for trapped people. Then let rich countries step up to the plate and offer the escapees asylum until they can go back home.
I was working with the UN in Bosnia and witnessed how sufficient pressure from powerful leaders can successfully evacuate people from desperate situations. Many of us in the West feel powerless in the face of such suffering but we can do our little bit. We can lobby our local politicians to bring up the plight of Syrian civilians in the Dáil so that our leaders can play a part in pressuring the powerful to “do something”. World Leaders, never say “never again” — unless you mean it.