Syria Town Meeting

A meeting was held on September 9th, 2013 by the members of a Syrian town to discuss the civil war going on in their country. The town members are very frightened by their governments use of chemical weapons and they discussed the best ways to handle the situation. The first topic the members talked about was the root of the war which everyone understood and had a good grasp on. A few years ago there was a regional movement trying to over throw the government by protesting ¬†called the Arab Spring. The Arab Spring was mostly in Tunisia and Egypt but the town members believe that this could have inspired Syrians to start protesting and try to overthrow their government. The protesters were fighting for a democratic government but the president, Bashar al Assad, would not allow that and he still won’t. The protesters are now known as the rebels and the civil war is between them and their government. Now the government has been accused of attacking the rebels and Syrians with chemical weapons in Damascus. The United Nations are very worried about them using chemical weapons because they are banned from the world. So now countries in the United Nations are debating whether or not to go to Syria and intervene. The town members believe it is very important for everyone to feel safe and not be scared to be in their own country, but at the same time fight for what they believe is right. They didn’t talk about all of the deaths that have occurred since the civil war has started.

During the meeting the citizens discussed four main options. These options were to either flee, join in arms, protest, or stay put. They discussed fleeing first. More than two million people have already fled the country. Once you flee there are refugee camps to stay at temporarily in Lebanon and other surrounding countries. When fleeing was discussed the members said it would be safe to flee because you would be far away from the chemical weapons and war. The downside of fleeing is that you have to leave your job, home, etc and start over new. It is best to have a plan before you flee. Next the town members talked about joining in arms. This means staying in Syria and fighting for what you believe is right. The pros of joining in arms would be that you are fighting for your country and loved ones. The cons are that you would have to leave your family and you never have 100% assurance that you will be safe. The third option of protesting was discussed next. Some people believe it is not a good idea to protest again because that goes back to the root of the problem. Also the government would get even more mad. One person said that if you are going to stay in Syria and protest you might as well join the arms because it is just as dangerous. The group thought it was a good idea to protest over the internet. You would be spreading the word about the conflict by sharing pictures and videos but it is safe at the same time. Protesting over the internet could help Syria because other countries can see whats going on and intervene. The final option discussed was to stay put in Syria which everyone thought is risky. You would be putting your life in danger of the attacks and violence. The town members came to an agreement that fleeing or protesting over the internet are the best options in this scenario.

After observing this town meeting I heard many good ideas and thoroughly understand all the options the Syrians have. Overall the meeting went very well. The discussion was the most productive when the members talked about the cause of the civil war and protesting. While talking about protesting everyone contributed new ideas and shared their thoughts on protesting over the internet verse protesting on the streets. The least productive part of the meeting was when they discussed the current situation with the chemical weapons. No one really talked about who they think used the chemical weapons and why. I agree with the towns people that fleeing the country is the most viable option. It is definitely the safest option because you would avoid all of the violence and if you have a plan and try to get a job right away it shouldn’t be hard. On the contrary, I believe that staying put in Syria is the least viable option. The chances of you being able to keep your job and stay safe are very slim. There are more attacks being held now putting you at higher risk of getting hurt. Right now Syrians should be doing whatever they can to stay safe whether its fleeing the country or joining in arms. Everyone around the world is going to be watching how this civil war unfolds.

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