Down through history, dictators and other such types have always launched slaughter sprees when needed to maintain hold on power, no big deal — in Syria nowadays, however, the horror virally gobsmacks the face of the world.
And it’s bad.
This morning, two journalists — one French, the other an American working for the UK’s Sunday Times — were killed along with two dozen Syrians in the continuous onslaught on the city of Homs.
Near the border with Turkey, reportedly young men were captured, then executed: “Military forces chased civilians in these villages, arrested them and killed them without hesitation. They concentrated on male youths and whoever did not manage to escape was to be killed…Responsibility for this massacre lies with the general commander of the military and armed forces, Bashar al-Assad.”
(Illustration found here).
Although the US official stance has been one of caution, yesterday the Obama administration hinted that supplying arms to the Syrian opposition could be on the table — a “political solution” is the ultimate route, officials said, but White House spokes-guy Jay Carney opened the door a little bit, saying “we don’t rule out additional measures,” which could mean weapons to the ordinary folk now being gunned down.
One of the young Syrians who’d been posting video online on the violence was killed yesterday.
From the New York Times and Rami al-Sayed’s last posted message:
Baba Amr is being exterminated.
Do not tell me our hearts are with you because I know that.
We need campaigns everywhere across the world and inside the country.
People should protest in front of embassies and everywhere. Because in hours, there will be no more Baba Amr.
And I expect this message to be my last.
A horror apparently without an end.
And this via War in Context on the minute-to-minute nightmare:
The corpse, already waxy, wrapped in its shroud, a crown of plastic flowers around its head, lies in a corner of the mosque.
Kneeling next to the coffin, a boy in tears, his brother, strokes his face with infinite tenderness.
The dead boy was 13.
The night before, around 11 oâ€™clock, he was breaking wood in front of his doorstep.
His father, eyes swollen, but upright and dignified among his friends and relatives, tells me what happened:
â€œHe probably shone his mobile phone to see what he was doing.
And the sniper killed him.â€
It was neither an accident nor chance.
Their street is constantly under fire from this sniper, who, based in the neighbourhood school, practises on cats when he has no other targets.
â€œWe donâ€™t even dare take out the rubbish any more,â€ a neighbour adds.
Another man shows me, on his mobile phone, the corpse of his brother, killed while he was protecting his 11-year-old son, before explaining to me that he had to break down the walls between his house and his neighboursâ€™ to get out without exposing himself to gunfire.
One wonders about the mental shape of Assad — but he does, of course, carry those necessary genes for butchery.
What does he expect now?
Even if he kills every opposition voice, what then?
Next year, can he and his lovely wife visit the US, go to Disneyland?
Even in a modern, high-tech world, pure slaughter is still…