Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bloodshed in Syria: Houla's horror | The Economist

Where’s UUSC?

COULD the massacre on Friday of over 100 people in Houla, an area of several villages close to Syria's third city of Homs, mark a turning point in Syria's bloody uprising? Politicians around the world expressed outrage after the UN confirmed that 49 children, many under the age of 10, were among the dead, their bodies shown in pictures and video footage. The UN Security Council met on Sunday evening to condemn the killings while the American secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, called for an end to president Bashar Assad's "rule by murder".

This is one of the most brutal incidents in recent months and the bloodiest since UN envoy Kofi Annan's six-point plan to end Syria's fourteen-month crisis officially came into effect in April. Residents of Houla say the army shelled the area before men dressed in military clothing, believed to be regime loyalist gangs from neighbouring Alawite (the sect to which the Assad family belongs) villages, raided the area, using guns and knives to carry out summary executions.

Bloodshed in Syria: Houla's horror | The Economist


Red Sphynx said...

What would you have the UUSC do in this situation? Does the UUSC have some particular connection, expertise or skills that would make them especially effective here? Do you think that either side would welcome them as mediators? Is their a Unitarian community is Syria we could aid?

I'd just as soon see the UUSC concentrate on problems which are nearer to home, or where it has historical ties, or faith ties.

Bill Baar said...

UUSC involved itself in Egypt. This is far worse. http://www.examiner.com/article/uusc-partnered-with-grassroots-group-egyptian-revolution

UUSC’s role

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), a human rights-advocacy organization that partners with grassroots organizations around the world, worked with Hands Across the Middle East Support Alliance (HAMSA) to help drive organizational efforts in Cairo. HAMSA, a U.S.-based group that works to improve civil rights in the Middle East, mobilized activists and bloggers in the United States and in Egypt. The nature of social media enabled groups like “We Are All Khaled Said” not only to spread information rapidly, but also to provide a discussion forum allowing for tactical refinement on the fly.

Writing last Friday in the Huffington Post, UUSC President William F. Schulz noted that the revolution “would have been a lot more difficult without Facebook, Twitter, and texting.” Schulz, the former executive director of Amnesty International, warned however that what Egypt’s military — which is now using Facebook to promote its own causes — does with its newfound power is an open question. “Those who care about democracy and human rights could do much worse than to redouble their efforts to spread online technology and protect Internet freedom,” he wrote.

The UUSC’s work is grounded in Unitarian Universalist principles, including justice equity, and compassion in human relations and a free and responsible search for truth and meaning. UU congregations across New Jersey last December participated in UUSC’s “Guest at Your Table” fundraising drive. The drive ended Jan. 9 — but as with any not-for-profit organization, it’s never too late to support UUSC’s work, which includes collaborating with partners like HAMSA (see slideshow) that are striving to bring real democratic change to the Middle East.

The next domino might be even more unthinkable than Egypt

The next domino is falling. Time to act.