They Did Not Die, We Died, The World's Conscience Died

A few days ago, children and families of Syria died, gassed for a political gain. We have seen this before and we claim to have vowed, "never again." We teach that to our kids in schools but as adults, we don't live up to what we preach. We are hypocrites. Truth is we only care about our own causes and to hell with what directly doesn't affect our own interests.

As gay rights activists, do you only support your rights and not that of others? As a Muslim, are you just going to narrow your concerns around anti-Islam/Muslim hate? And people of the Jewish faith, are you only going to care about your history and the survival of your people and the security of Israel?

When images of dead bodies, by the hundreds of Syrian men, women and children of all ages spread on the internet, what did you feel? Did you even stop to feel?

The pin-drop silence was deafening, especially from people I expected better.

What happened to the voices of the moral Left who are always railing about human rights for all, claiming to rise above political correctness in support of the principle of justice? Apparently not in this case, because acknowledging the gassing of innocent people means another military involvement by the American government is a likely scenario. And for some folks on the left, well, too bad Syria, your human rights are simply not convenient or beneficial for America.

With the exception of a few small demonstrations in Turkey, France, Jordan and Los Angeles, the silence from the Muslim world is most obvious. Had it been an American drone that dropped the gas cylinders or any Western entity for that matter, the whole Muslim world would have erupted in rage.

To my Jewish cousins, given the Holocaust, I imagine you would have been especially vigilant when it comes to the "gassing of innocents." You too have been silent, and if it is confirmation that you are waiting on, I would hope that the Jewish community would be as vociferous in its condemnation as it would be if it were happening to Jews.

Most importantly to the Syrians, no matter whose side you are on, it is time to put down your arms, and sit at the negotiating table. I am sure you recognize that your Revolution of Dignity and Freedom has been hijacked. Your beautiful ancient land has now become the war-ground of sectarianism and of foreign powers. It is no longer about the right to free yourself from a brutal dictator, no longer about Syrians for Syria.

And to you the Assad supporters, the Russians, the Chinese, Iran, seeing the dead bodies of innocent children, has that empowered you? How do you even sleep at night?

I end with part of a Native American Lakota tribe prayer, Chief Yellow Lark, 1887.

I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy -- Myself. Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes. So when life fades, as the fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame.

My brothers, sisters of humanity, the Muslims, the Jews, Christians, all faiths and the un-faithed; the politicians and President Obama, our collective hands are bloody. May our shame be overcome with our action, may we not allow the images of dead children to be the symbol of our conscience -- dead.

The title is from Bassam Jazairi's Facebook status update August 21, 2013.