US Sapling Foundation host a series of global lectures and seminars knows as “TED” which is an acronym for “Technology, Entertainment, and Design”, it aims to promote ideas who deserves to be promoted about these fields but later is expanded to include questions of all life’s sides and calls for a new ways for thinking and dealing with these questions and it also brings new points of views and ideas for the subjects too.
In mid-2014 TED hosted Professor Barry Andrews the ex-Irish politician and the ex-Modern History professor in Dublin University and the current executive manager of “Goal” Foundation and he spoke on “why no one cares about Syria?”
Barry Andrews considers that this question by Syrians who are affected by the human crisis despite it can be rephrased in a typical way.
For example, after NATO intervened in Libya as an international respond while the international community had no idea or action to stop the human crisis, protesters in Kafranbel village in Idlib province shared a paint showing the Libyan oil tank for 109$ and next to it a Syrian blood tank for 0$, because Syrians don’t have much of oil or resources it is why the West did nothing in Syria since the start of the uprising according to many Syrians.
There are also other typical ideas among Syrians such as the West doesn’t want to get rid of Assad regime because he’s Israel’s best neighbor, one of the most typical and widely-believed opinion is that the west is racist toward us and thinks we don’t deserve freedom and dignity so that’s why the West doesn’t care to give us them.
Barry Andrews says he is doing this talk to explore why the West and especially the Europeans don’t care about Syria, Andrews thinks he can’t answer this question despite he is asking it, despite Syrians have been asking it for years but in Dublin University this question is new and can’t be asked and answered simply.
Andrews sets up at the beginning of his talk a will to argue about this question which may show a moral crisis of the Europeans minds when interacting with others’ tragedies, he was talking while a photo of 2 children in Aleppo city who lost their family after the bombardment targeted their house and were standing over the house or the grave as he called.
Andrews compares in his talk between the human crisis in Philippines after the typhoon hit the country and with the human crisis in Syria due to the war, saying that a US aid agency gathered 95M $ as aid for the Philippines as 5000 victims died while failed to gather more than 20M $ for Syrian crisis which caused the death of hundreds of thousands of civilians and still kills more.
The main difference according to Andrews is not the number of the victims, the loss of any human life is a tragedy in the Philippines or in Syria, but the difference between both crisis is that the first one is due to a natural disaster that can’t be avoided while the second is made by humans and can be avoided, Andrews adds to that the European racism against Middle Eastern people and how they see it as a “politically complicated and full of bad people killing each other”.
Andrews wonders if it is possible that Europeans are less companionate with the victims of artificial or war victims? Is it possible that Europeans can’t isolate the political view from the human values? And also, is it possible that the Europeans thinks that the two Syrian children on the screen deserve less compassion with two Philippian children because their family was killed in an airstrike while the others were killed by a natural disaster the Phillippians couldn’t avoid by a civil movement for example? Andrews continues saying “is it normal that we (Europeans) have selective compassion?”.
The question Andrews asked is typical one despite its soft phrase, this question tells us to relook at the way of how the traditional European mind sees the other, to look at the justice and punishment and other moral values which appears that the Europeans took a stand about it since years ago.
Regardless the real reasons behind why no one cares about Syria, and regardless the importance of these questions asked by Andrews on European communities, but this question deserves to be asked as the first time it this question was discussed seriously is when it was given a white voice and face.
Worth to mention that Andrews’ talk “Why no one cares about Syria” has less than 40k views on YouTube while another talk titled “Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model” has more than 4m views
Andrews’ TED talk link: