By Shalin Shah, senior, Chattanooga, TN—“We must have global vigilance. And never again must we be shy in the face of the evidence”- President Bill Clinton to the people of Rwanda, March 25, 1998.
I must admit that I was stunned and disgusted by the Echo Editorial regarding the President and intervention in Syria on Sept. 16.
Have we so lost our humanity that we can argue that intervention was not necessary in Rwanda, where over 800,000 people lost their lives? It is a damning indictment of our complete selfishness, ignorance and callousness towards other people that it could be suggested that intervention in Rwanda was not necessary and that we are too late to intervene in Syria.
Today, we witness again another catastrophe. The country is different, the tools of murder are not machetes but chemical weapons and tanks, but the final result of the violence in Syria is still the same: the mass murder of innocent people.
Our President, our Secretary of State and the United Nations have repeatedly appealed and shown us evidence of war crimes which directly implicate the government of Bashar al- Assad. We know that the usage of sarin gas against innocent people occurred in Syria, a clear violation of a universally held international law.
We, the citizens of the civilized nations of the world have already decided that these chemical weapons are forbidden and a threat to our allies and our citizens. What is the point of being blessed with the greatest armed forces in the history of mankind if we do not protect the unalienable rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness that are endowed upon all people by their Creator? We see in the Syrian people the expression of the rights that we hold to be self-evident that when government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right and duty of the people to alter or abolish it.
Military intervention in Syria is not intended to be a solution to the ongoing civil war. It is necessary that the civilized world must take action to stop crimes against humanity and protect the interests of civilization. We may not know the cost of intervention, but we need only to reflect on the genocide in Rwanda to see what non-intervention would look like.