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One Small Step for Mankind

March 1, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—Over 50,000 human lives have been lost already in the last three weeks from the earthquakes in Turkiye and Syria. Food, clean drinking water, medicine, protection from the elements—such things become the overriding reality. Yet, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price explained a different reality: “We think it’s important still that countries remember that this humanitarian plight, this humanitarian emergency, long predates the earthquake from earlier this year. The humanitarian emergency that the Syrian people have faced for more than a decade now is largely a manmade one ... owing to the actions of the Assad regime, the brutality that the regime has inflicted on its people.” Therefore, “it’s important that the Assad regime’s track record not be forgotten even as we prioritize this humanitarian response.”

Despite relief agencies insisting on the U.S. to put the immediate necessity of saving human lives front and center, Price’s bizarre remarks about what considers the “humanitarian emergency” is not punctured by such an overriding reality of the immediate human need to remove all impediments. As a Feb. 10 joint statement of experts issued by the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner put it: “Genuine solidarity with earthquake survivors calls for lifting sanction-induced restrictions.” It explained why the U.S.’s actions were totally inadequate and called for immediate action by the international community to enable effective emergency response and recovery.

“This includes the lifting of all economic and financial restrictions caused by unilateral sanctions against Syria, during this time of sorrow and human suffering.... For such interventions to be effective, there is a need for an enabling environment for international cooperation and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance, including of food, medicines, medical equipment, and construction material, among others, as well as unimpeded financial flows to support such assistance, all of which are constrained by current sanctions regimes against countries, such as Syria....

“Even during natural disasters, when hundreds of thousands of lives are at stake, it is gravely concerning that humanitarian actors face persisting challenges due to sanctions, including with regard to procurement procedures and bank transfers. It is reported that the Syrian diaspora is unable to provide financial support through remittances or other means of funding. It is imperative for the international community and in particular sanctioning states to undertake prompt action by putting an end to unilateral sanctions against Syria, a country deprived of critical infrastructure and in dire need of recovery and reconstruction, following the decade-long war.”

The Intercept” news organization on Feb. 19 published an article laying out what Price has come to endorse: Calls for aiding the victims in Syria run up against the need to “help” Syrians by destroying the elected government of Bashar Assad. Sanctions “protect Syrians from further harm by denying the government resources to rearm and launch a military campaign against the millions of people who live in opposition-held areas most affected by the quake. The regime has inflicted thousands of times more damage on the country than the recent earthquake.”

One wonders whether one’s heart or one’s mind suffers the most damage from such tripe. Compare that to a normal discussion among adults with functioning hearts and minds. France’s statesman Jacques Cheminade, one of the guests on CGTN’s panel dialogue, “China-Europe Ties—Exploring New Heights,” co-hosted by Guan Xin and Helga Zepp-LaRouche, expressed a normal, straightforward, and too-rarely-articulated proposal:

“We all know that an epochal change is taking place on the whole planet. Xi Jinping has proposed a Global Security Initiative and a Global Development Initiative. So, I would add a Global Cultural Initiative, to share the culture of explorers, a cooperation of all cultures, each bringing the best to the others. It means also to explore the culture of the others; we are all in the same boat. So, let’s also explore together as Europeans and Chinese, the cultures of the Global South, from Indonesia to Brazil, from India to Mexico, or to Africa. It’s the best approach to promote a mutual understanding and trust for the advantage of us all; for the advantage of the other.”

And should your neighbor invite you to sink back into impotent cynicism, try this experiment on the subject of putting an end to the long-running monkey show in the U.S. Congress. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has introduced a privileged resolution into the House, one that requires a vote, putting legislators on the record in the next two weeks, on completely ending the U.S.’s military occupation of part of Syria, bringing every U.S. soldier home. It’s truthful, it should be done, and it invites your legislator into a non-fantasy world. There was a time when the United States responded to a call to take one small step for man, and understand it as one giant leap for mankind.

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