Yesterday a video footage went viral on social media; the video shows Abbas, a Lebanese child, encouraged by his parents and his family beating Khalid, a Syrian child refugee.
The incident is not limited to the identity or the nationality of either of the children; it is a crime against childhood and against both children as one of them was denied his basic rights of safety and protection whereas the culture of violence was instilled in the other. However, the context of the incident that took place in Lebanon in particular bears great significance. First the reality which the Syrian refugee children are living: according to the UNHCR over than half a million Syrian children are refugees in Lebanon; less than 90 thousand of them only go to school, whereas the rest of them are either workers, homeless, or in refugee camps. In addition, these children –despite the efforts being made by civil society organizations to protect them and their rights- are subject to violations; this calamity -Khalid and Abbas incident- is not the first, and it will not be the last as long as the concerned parties go on with their silence and ineffective resolutions.
Another significance of this incident is the widespread sectarian mobilization it inflected since the abusing family is from the Shiite Sect, to which the pro-Assad Hezbollah and other militias fighting for Alassad belong. The fact indicates the level of the escalating tension in the region as the conflict has been turned into seeking 1400-old-year vengeances, and as each party has been legitimizing sending fighters into a war of attrition in order to serve none but their own ends.
Alassad, Nasrallah, their militias, their thugs, and any other tyrant in the region were once an “Abbas” before grudges were nursed among them and sectarian resentment were instilled in them. Other leaked video footages showing Assad army torturing Syrians who have been calling for their freedom for three years. are not much different from this one: the whole world is watching, just as Abbas’s family is.
The incident, horrifying as it is, represents the reality we are living today; unless we let go of the sectarianism that the regime constantly fuels whereas the politics of major powers in the region perpetuate, we may as well prayer service for the death of Syria, and then it does not matter what doctrine it follows…