September 6, 2013 | 11:30 am
Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
Eyal Edlin from Herzliya, Israel, decided he can no longer stand still to the horrors in Syria. So he opened a Facebook page, "Israelis for the children of Syria" (ישראלים למען ילדי סוריה) and alongside the IL4Syria organization, went on a journey to shake up and wake up the world and get people out of their indifference regarding the situation in Syria. The group, counting more than 3500 members in just over a week since it opened, drew the media's attention in Israel and worldwide. In an interview to "Israelife," Edlin talked about his new mission.
What drove you to open this group?
"Not too long ago, I went on a trip to Poland where I visited some of the death camps and concentration camps where Jews were butchered by the Nazis. On this trip, we talked about the killers, but also about those who stood aside and ignored. Let things happened while looking the other way. That was why the genocide continued to happen for so long. We blame the world for remaining silent and not interfering during the Holocaust, for example, we blame the U.S for flying above Auschwitz Birkenau and not bombing the place. Now, we live in a reality where for over two years a systematic killing of helpless children and grownups occur. Under the ruling of the current regime, people are being tortured and murdered and later their bodies are being dumped, so they don't even receive a proper burial. Now, there is also the use of Chemical weapon, which is something we cannot ignore, cannot be silent about. I reached a place where I see us becoming those who look the other way, those we talked about all those years. I decided I can't stand it anymore, and I can't let it happen, so I started this group together with IL4Syrians, and we protest in front of the embassies of China and Russia."
Why China and Russia of all countries?
"Because we are all mankind. When a country commits crimes against mankind, the whole world must unite against it. This is our moral duty. Unfortunately, while most of the leading countries of the world gathered against Assad, Russia and China had not. They even tried to put a spoke in any planned action against this terrible situation. Iran is also a part of this group, but there is no point in talking to them. That is why we aimed to the Chinese and Russian embassies and that was where we protested. We now live in a world where crimes against humanity are held, and we mustn't stand aside. History is being written nowadays and it will judge the nations and countries on how they acted and behaved during this time. We cry and scream for the ones whose voices cannot be heard."
"Last Friday, hundreds of us protested in front of the embassies. Even though we weren't that many, we were a wide range of people: Jews, Muslims, religious, secular, left- winged, right- winged. It was beautiful. We all stood at the same front and said the same words. This is a cross-nation saying. During the first week of our activity, we received a wide media coverage. We interviewed to BBC, to Reuters, to a big Chinese network, and to Israeli news channels and talk shows.
Do you think you changed something? Made a difference?
"Unfortunately, I don't think we're going to save the children, but we cannot stay silent, either. We must make a statement- the citizens of Israel cannot tolerate the situation in Syria. We all saw the horrifying pictured of dead children, we cannot ignore it! We must shout as loud as we can, and the purpose is for this shout to echo to the rest of the world. We must do all in our power to influence the decision makers to take action."
And now, after you shouted and made your statement, do you feel you've reached your peak?
"Absolutely not. President Obama's reaction is being delayed, so we might need to protest in front of the U.S embassy as well. It is important to state that we do not call for a certain tactic. There is no right or wrong as to the way of action. A military action might be the right thing to do, and severe sanctions might also be a right thing to do. All we ask is for the world to take action and stop being passive."
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