Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Silence of Their Friends. The Hypocrisy of the Middle East Children's Alliance

International relief organizations are warning of the risk of mass starvation across Syria, with 4 million people at risk.   According to the Moadamiyeh Media Center, six people have died of starvation in recent days- two women and four children ages. 15 other children are in intensive care in clinics, suffering from malnutrition.

From Save the Children UK, from Hunger in a War Zone.

 The devastation caused by the conflict has forced almost 7 million people into poverty.  Deprived of their income and assets, and with food prices rocketing, thousands of parents have been pitched from lives of relative comfort into destitution. While inflation is estimated to be around 50%,  food-price inflation is as high as 100%. impoverished by the conflict and faced with this rampant inflation, 40% of families across seven governorates report that they lack enough food; what used to be a comfortable state salary is now insufficient to buy enough basic food for families in areas like Deir-ez-Zor.

With food so scarce and so expensive, half of an average family’s expenditure is now on on basic food. This is already proving unsustainable for many families. According to one survey, one family in five is spending over a week a month without any food in the house because they cannot afford any.  More and more families are sinking into destitution and debt, selling off what little they still have and sliding nearer the point when they simply cannot feed their children.
"The world has stood and watched as the children of Syria have been shot, shelled and traumatized by the horror of war," said Roger Hearn, Save the Children's regional director for the Middle East. "The conflict has already left thousands of children dead, and is now threatening their means of staying alive."

The witness statements gathered by Save the Children paint a bleak picture of the devastation wrought by the 2 1/2 year long civil war.
  • It was very dangerous for me and my children — we had no food and were always hungry. When this hunger had continued for two months and we were very weak, that is when we decided to flee. We realized we would starve if we stayed in Syria. – Roula, mother
  • The price of food doubled in my village and we couldn't afford to eat at all. Milk, bread, everything — doubled. The children became very hungry all the time. And with no nutrients, they also became sick. – Jinan, mother of Siba, 3
  • Because of a lack of food, my children didn't grow as they should. They started losing weight, and it was all we could do to keep them alive. – Maryam, mother of two

Faced with this colossal  humanitarian crisis, you would expect the  Bay Area  "Human rights" organizations to have mobilized. 

It hasn't happened.

The Middle East Children's Alliance pays scant attention to the plight of Syrian children on their website, instead promoting  its usual unvaried menu of anti-Israel programming 

September 25, 2013 7:00pm Berkeley, CA: "Welcome to Hebron" Film Screening

October 05, 2013  6:30pm - 9:30pm A Cultural Benefit for Children in Palestine Traumatized by War

October 17, 2013  7:00pm - 10:00pm Children's Rights in Palestine & The U.S. as a Dishonest Broker

MECA pays mere lip service to the suffering of the children in Syria. There are no links to the Save the Children Report.  There is no programming to alert the world to the suffering of the children of Syria. There are no protests, no marches, no 10-K runs to raise funds. For MECA,  what defines worthy victims are their perceived oppressors.

There is something fundamentally dishonest about an organization  called the "Middle East Children's Alliance" that can look the other way in the face of such suffering. There is something fundamentally vile about an organization  that picks and chooses its morality based on the racist equation "Can we blame Israel for this?"

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