It seems that, at home and abroad, people are struggling to maintain their most basic human rights – including the rights to their very own lives. 

On Thursday, activists in Syria published a list of 42 victims – mostly women and children – who were killed when a rocket hit their shelter in the village of Beit Sawa last week. Only seven people who were in the shelter survived, according to a Thursday article in The New York Times. 

The United Nations Security Council, with opposition from Russia, failed to pass a resolution Thursday that would have imposed a 30-day ceasefire in Syria to allow humanitarian aid to a besieged Damascus suburb. With the reports of the rocket attack, the death toll this week in the rebel-held suburb, eastern Ghouta, rose to more than 300. 

Britain’s representative, Stephen Hickey, described the conditions in eastern Ghouta as “hell on earth,” according to the article. Hickey also said the suffering of the civilians brought shame on all of humanity. But, to say we are appalled or that no words can describe the horror or even that we will do better next time is ineffective and weak. 

The UN has accepted that it no longer has a role in Syria. With Russia’s veto, any meaningful resolution was obstructed when agreements were already hard to come by with the Assad regime, which stands accused of using sarin gas – again – despite resolutions demanding the surrender of all chemical weapons. 

Unless the West is ready to force a no-fly zone by taking Russian-backed jets out of the sky over Ghouta, we will remain complacent in this genocide. 

And it’s the appointed mediators of the UN who are the real problem here. These are the people who should have been able to shed light on this situation. They should have been able to achieve the ceasefire. They should have prevented the loss of more human life. 

Instead, they have “no words” to offer. 

So far, Assad has lost an airfield and finds diplomatic agreements and international banking transactions to be exceptionally taxing. Nothing else has changed, nor will it if those with the power to help are too busy ripping each other apart over mass shootings and gun control issues. 

This is not to minimize the repeated discussion of “never again,” but this is to call out the indifference that plagues the West. If it isn’t in our country, we don’t care how many die. 

We are simply apathetic. The Western world will act when – and only when – the carnage in Syria extends to threaten its own cities. 

The fantasy that our outrage or “thoughts and prayers” could reduce these massacres gives the people of Ghouta false hope that we may send aid. 

We aren’t helping them, nor do we have any intention to do so. When the UN was established, it was a beacon of hope for the world. Now, it’s looking like just another failed experiment. 

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