When I read the sad reports of shooting by a gun-toting student at Santa Fe High School on May 19th 2018, killing 10 and injuring another 10, my mind revolted at this mindless violence exhibited by a student at his own school. US reports say it is the 22nd US School shooting since the beginning of this year and we are only in May of 2018!
I love watching Cowboy movies since my childhood and thoroughly enjoyed the scenes of horse-riding cowboys, guns strapped to their holsters and the quickness of eye and finger surprising opponents. But, that was Wild West of earlier centuries and even then there was the Sheriff, often at the expense of his own life, enforcing law & order and hanging the bad and ugly!
Come on, Texas people should sit up seriously and analyse what is going wrong with their kids. We cannot blame the violence on the streak of DNA that has travelled in the blood stream from those bygone days. We have to control this freak runaway gene from killing the innocent school children by psychologically unstable gun-men, here in this case a suspect student of the same school, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17.
When I was studying for my Masters of Public Administration in the US, I was advised by the Security Department advisory not to enter some parts of the city and by a well-wisher, that I should not be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Well, how can you ensure that. Two people of the same Sante Fe School were definitely at the wrong place at the wrong time; a Pakistani exchange student, Sabika Sheikh, who was killed, and , Substitute teacher Cynthia Tisdale who was also killed.
“Another student, Dakota Shrader, told CNN affiliate KPRC that she heard gunshots only after hearing an alarm in the school.”
“I was in the history hallway, and as soon as we heard the alarms, everybody just started leaving following the same procedure as … (a) practice fire drill,” Shrader said, breaking into tears. “And next thing you know, we just hear … three gunshots, loud explosions, and all the teachers are telling us to run.” (Courtesy: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/05/18/us/texas-school-shooting/index.html)
But, Nature had its surprise as well when a student who survived being shot in the head tweeted: “I’m so grateful and blessed that god spared me today.” Rome Shubert showed, where a bullet went in the back of his head and came out near his left ear. So, God saved him despite being shot.
“Tears of sadness, anger and pain”, are definitely appreciated as a sentiment, but some serious thought deserves to be given by the great American people on the easy availability of firearms in society and their still easier accessibility within at homes by children. I have earlier given a detailed thought in my Blog on the same site to this issue. I think it deserves to be looked at.
“Unfortunately, I have to begin by expressing our sadness and heartbreak over the deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas,” Trump said from the East Room of the White House. “This has been going on too long in our country. Too many years. Too many decades now.”
Trump said federal authorities are coordinating with local officials.
“We grieve for the terrible loss of life and send our support to everyone affected by this absolutely horrific attack,” Trump said. “(Courtesy: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/05/18/us/texas-school-shooting/index.html)
Books, must return to the children as a habit, who are today overtaken by internet and other social media. During our childhood in India, we had no mobile phones, no internet, no Television, no such thing as alternate social media. Only the radio reached us and delighted us with songs, stories, and informed us wit news. Newspapers, magazines and books were our window to the world.
We saw, travelled, understood different cultures, lived the lives of the characters we found in the books. And our world was peaceful. None of us ever suffered from an impulse of using a gun in school, which if present at home, was a licensed weapon and kept under lock and key, handled only by father during his hunts.
A little amount of control is necessary. I know after a certain age in America the child cannot even be reprimanded by parents, but, gathers life impressions from the world around him or her. Wonderful, but it is like living a little on the edge. I feel that the social impressions, bonds of family and voluntary organisations should be so strongly knit around the children that the basic core values of every American child drive him or her towards peace and camaraderie. Guns are neither playthings nor the solution to any problem, personal or societal, otherwise we would have decimated our own people very fast in every country.
Anywhere a child dies, humanity dies a hundred deaths!
News broke out on April 4th 2017 that more than 80 people have perished in a suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in north-western Syria. Worse, ONE THIRD of them were children who had not even an iota of knowledge about the political issues Syria is suffering since many years.
An air strike by Syrian forces left people gasping for breath as a reaction to the nerve agent released by bombs.
BBC reports: Quote–
“Witnesses say warplanes attacked Khan Sheikhoun, about 50km (30 miles) south of the city of Idlib, early on Tuesday, when many people were asleep. Mariam Abu Khalil, a 14-year-old resident who was awake, told the New York Times that she had seen an aircraft drop a bomb on a one-storey building.
The explosion sent a yellow mushroom cloud into the air that stung her eyes. “It was like a winter fog,” she said. She sheltered in her home, but recalled that when people started arriving to help the wounded, “they inhaled the gas and died”.
Hussein Kayal, a photographer for the pro-opposition Edlib Media Center (EMC), told the Associated Press that he was awoken by the sound of an explosion at about 06:30 (03:30 GMT). When he reached the scene, there was no smell, he said. He found people lying on the floor, unable to move and with constricted pupils.
The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations (UOSSM), which funds hospitals in rebel-held Syria, said three of its staff in Khan Sheikhoun were affected while treating patients in the streets and had to be rushed to intensive care.
Victims experienced symptoms including redness of the eyes, foaming from the mouth, constricted pupils, blue facial skin and lips, severe shortness of breath and asphyxiation, it added.
2. Josie Ensor, Beirut and Charlotte Krol, video news producer have produced a video featuring the protest of Syrian children about world inaction, which will send chills down your spine. It is available on: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/06/syrian-children-protest-worlds-inaction-chemical-attack-idlib/
President Trump sent in his air force to target the air base in Syria from which the chemical weapon strike was believed to have been conducted on April 4, 2017.
Forces of President Assad of Syria have been using chemical weapons since many years.
Lethal unitary chemical agents and munitions are extremely volatile and they constitute a class of hazardous chemical weapons that have been stockpiled by many nations. Unitary agents are effective on their own and do not require mixing with other agents. The most dangerous of these are nerve agents, GA, GB, GD, and VX as well as vesicant (blister) agents, which are formulations of sulfur mustard such as H, HT, and HD. They all are liquids at normal room temperature, but become gaseous when released. Widely used during the First World War, the effects of so-called mustard gas, phosgene gas and others caused lung searing, blindness, death and maiming.”
The OPCW administers the terms of the CWC to 192 signatories, which represents 98% of the global population. As of June 2016, 66,368 of 72,525 metric tonnes, (92% of CW stockpiles), have been verified as destroyed. The OPCW has conducted 6,327 inspections at 235 chemical weapon-related sites and 2,255 industrial sites. These inspections have affected the sovereign territory of 86 States Parties since April 1997. Worldwide, 4,732 industrial facilities are subject to inspection under provisions of the CWC.
5. WHAT AN AMAZING CIVILIZATION SYRIA WAS, ONCE UPON A TIME?
Syria was an ancient civilization! In fact it used to be called the cradle of civilization! It ranked along with the Egyptian and Indus Valley civilizations to dazzle the emerging world of that time with advancements in knowledge and urban living.
Joshua J. Marka freelance writer and part-time Professor of Philosophy at Marist College, New York, who has lived in Greece and Germany and traveled through Egypt, teaches ancient history, writing, literature, and philosophy. He writes in Ancient History Encyclopedia about the Syrian civilization (published on 17 June 2014):
“Syria is a country located in the Middle East on the shore of Mediterranean Sea and bordered, from the north down to the west, by Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, and Lebanon. It is one of the oldest inhabited regions in the world with archaeological finds dating the first human habitation at c. 700,000 years ago. The Dederiyeh Cave near Aleppo has produced a number of significant finds, such as bones, placing Neanderthals in the region at that time and shows continual occupation of the site over a substantial period. The first evidence of modern humans appears c. 100,000 years ago as evidenced by finds of human skeletons, ceramics, and crude tools. The historian Soden notes that, “Scholars have sought to deduce especially important developments, for example, folk migrations, from cultural changes which can be read in archaeological remains, particularly in ceramic materials…Yet there can be frequent and substantial changes in the ceramic style, even if no other people has come onto the scene” (13). It is clear, however, that an agrarian civilization was already thriving in the region prior to the domestication of animals c. 10,000 BCE.
SYRIA WAS AN IMPORTANT TRADE REGION WITH PORTS ON THE MEDITERRANEAN, PRIZED BY A SUCCESSION OF MESOPOTAMIAN EMPIRES.
THE NAME & EARLY HISTORY
In its early written history, the region was known as Eber Nari (‘across the river’) by the Mesopotamians and included modern-day Syria, Lebanon, and Israel (collectively known as The Levant). Eber Nari is referenced in the biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah as well as in reports by the scribes of Assyrian and Persian kings. The modern name of Syria is claimed by some scholars to have derived from Herodotus’ habit of referring to the whole of Mesopotamia as ‘Assyria‘ and, after the Assyrian Empire fell in 612 BCE, the western part continued to be called ‘Assyria’ until after the Seleucid Empire when it became known as ‘Syria’. This theory has been contested by the claim that the name comes from Hebrew, and the people of the land were referred to as ‘Siryons’ by the Hebrews because of their soldiers’ metal armor (‘Siryon’ meaning armor, specifically chain mail, in Hebrew).
Early settlements in the area, such as Tell Brak, date back to at least 6000 BCE. It has long been understood that civilization began in southern Mesopotamia in the region of Sumer and then spread north.
The two most important cities in ancient Syria were Mari and Ebla, both founded after the cities of Sumer (Mari in the 5th and Ebla in the 3rd millennium BCE) and both of which used Sumerian script, worshipped Sumerian deities, and dressed in Sumerian fashion. Both of these urban centers were repositories of vast cuneiform tablet collections, written in Akkadian and Sumerian, which recorded the history, daily life, and business transactions of the people and included personal letters. When Ebla was excavated in 1974 CE the palace was found to have been burned and, as with Ashurbanipal’s famous library at Nineveh, the fire baked the clay tablets and preserved them. At Mari, following its destruction by Hammurabi of Babylon in 1759 BCE, the tablets were buried under the rubble and remained intact until their discovery in 1930 CE. Together, the tablets of Mari and Ebla provided archaeologists with a relatively complete understanding of life in Mesopotamia in the 3rd millennium BCE.”
The video below has been posted by the Permanent Mission of the Syrian Arab Republic to United Nations, and encapsulates the Syrian civilization!
6. Now, the question arises why and how such beautiful civilizations are coming to an end with the use of weapons of mass destruction including chemical nerve gases? And why political issues are not been resolved by peaceful negotiation?
Is it because undeserving politicians are catapulted to the top?
Is it because half the world is not bothered about what happens to the other half?
Is it because humanity only reacts when own kin has died ?
Is it because people of the world are increasingly becoming selfish?
Is it because UN has no real teeth?
Is it because the world has failed to lay down standards of decent governance to be followed by all nations? Why can’t such a protocol be in place?
Why can’t a country whose political administration has failed, be taken over by a Global Board of Governance, formed under the United Nations safeguarding the lives, rights, language, culture, and privileges of the people?
Should a rogue administration be allowed to remain in power?
The world needs a certain discipline and a certain policing at the highest level. The world needs peace in the hearts of rulers, not greed and hunger for power.
The world needs more prayers than ever before!
LET PEACE PREVAIL AS WE REMEMBER THE CHILDREN OF SYRIA WHO DIED IN THE CHEMICAL WEAPON ATTACK!