This past Thursday, President Trump ordered 59 missiles to a Syrian airbase in retaliation to their government’s usage of chemical weapons against its citizens. The strike was the first direct military action taken by the US against Syrian President Assad’s regime, during the civil war that has been going on for more than six years. It’s a major escalation of the US’s presence in the region. The Syrian government called it “disgraceful” and Russia condemned the strike as an “act of aggression.”
Needless to say, Twitter went into a frenzy as Americans feared retaliation. That night, “#AmericaIsOverParty” trended with plenty of memes and jokes about “World War 3”. There are so many issues with this, the first being ignorance. People tweeted things like “If you gave Hillary a chance, this wouldn’t have happened” and even tweeted at Obama, jokingly asking for help. Yes, Trump’s order was especially short-sighted and will have consequences, but what these people don’t know is that, contrary to their tweets, Obama has launched airstrikes in Syria before, and Hillary Clinton is in support of them.
There were tweets that said things such as “I said I wanted to die, but not like this” and “I’m so scared, I don’t wanna get drafted”. These people are tweeting about a war that won’t even happen, from the other side of the world, in the safety of their own homes. Meanwhile, Syrian children don’t even know what peace looks like.
Even if they are only jokes, it’s disgusting that people are joking about this in the first place. The fact that it took the threat of another world war for people to start caring about this issue is just plain selfishness. Since the Syrian Civil War began, an estimated 207,000 civilians have been killed by government attacks, 24,000 of them being children. About 11 million refugees have fled since the war first started, now displaced all over the world. There are people dying every single day due to the government’s attacks, most recently those very chemical attacks that people suffocating to death. Earlier was the Battle of Aleppo, that took place in a once beautiful city, now completely in ruin. It’s a horrific reality that’s been going on for far too long, and the fact that people haven’t realized this yet is disturbing.
However, this in no way represents all young Americans. In fact, most of them are aware of the situation, and a lot are trying to help. You can be an advocate too, even by just getting educated on the conflict and speaking out about it instead of adding onto a hashtag just to get retweets.
Here are some dedicated organizations you can support:
- Save the Children
- UN World Food Programme
- Mercy Corps
- International Rescue Committee
- Doctors Without Borders
- I Am Syria
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article mentioned the White Helmets as an organisation to support. This was corrected, as the White Helmets have been proven to collaborate with Al-Qaida affiliates in Syria and stage videos of rescues to garner support.