Who Wants Peace?
More than half of the population of Syria is displaced, with over four million refugees outside of the country and eight million displaced within the country. They want peace, they need peace. Lebanon and Jordan, with millions of Syrian refugees, want peace. Who totally rejects the idea of peace? ISIS. Who is, at best, ambivalent about peace? Seemingly every other country in the world, including the US, Israel, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia.
It is very difficult to overcome our obsession with war and its tools. As Pope Francis said to the U.S. Congress, “Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is money, money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.”
The media’s images of humiliated, exhausted refugees have left the screen for the moment, replaced by images of Russian warplanes. Rather than pretend our hands are clean and demonize the Russians, this is the opportune moment for a renewed call for a peace conference of all Syrian factions and all involved countries. “Assad must go” is not a precondition. “Assad must stay” is not a precondition. The voices of those who want peace must be heard – that is the precondition.
The US and Russia must decide they want peace and use their influence to get all parties to the table, and those that refuse to come will be isolated and face a united front.