The last straw

In this citizen journalism image made and provided by the Kfar Suseh Coordinating of the Syrian Revolution on Monday June 18, 2012. (AP Photo/The Kfar Suseh Coordinating Of The Syrian Revolution)

If Kofi Annan hadn’t received the message before now, it should have been loud and clear on Friday, when the weekly protests in Syria were held under the slogan “Topple Annan, the servant of Russia and Iran.”

The tragic irony was that the protest came on the heels of the biggest massacre of the Syrian uprising, in a village near Hama, claiming the lives of over 200 people.

The spectacle of Annan traveling from place to place in a hopeless quest to spur action to end the killings in Syria has simply become too much to bear. He has already admitted failure but stubbornly pledged to press on.

If the veteran diplomat has any sense of responsibility, he should simply resign and stop the charade.

The Syrian regime has denied responsibility for the massacre in the village of Tremseh, and engaged in its usual practice of blaming “armed terrorists” for the carnage. Moreover, the authorities in Damascus refuse to give access to the site of the killing so that an investigation can take place.

Annan appears to have been repeatedly misled by Syrian officials as he engages them in “dialogue.” He is either naive or an accomplice in the latest atrocity.

His performance raises questions as to how he was chosen for his current post as envoy, and indeed how he managed to head the United Nations, since his record in U.N. service has not exactly been filled with successes.

Meanwhile, condemnations from all quarters have been ringing out after the latest violence, with Annan leading the chorus.

Perhaps some foreign officials still believe that oral declarations of outrage somehow contribute to defusing tension, but Friday’s protests in Syria prove that the Syrian people have had enough of the hypocrisy and foot-dragging.

Some observers have regularly criticized the Syrian opposition and the protesters for failing to be united. But if there is one thing they have been united on, it is the call for effective action by the international community.

But Annan and his accomplices have failed miserably on this front, and have continued to string along the Syrians, and people watching around the world.

As the Syrian protesters have said repeatedly, they are fed up with seeing the regime receive deadline after deadline from Annan and others to change its behavior, but with no effective means of backing such ultimatums.

For now, all roads run through the Security Council, and Russia has made it known that it sees no reason to allow the passage of a resolution that will pressure its ally. Until then, if Annan or other officials are sincere in their stated goals of stopping the carnage in Syria, they should try something new, immediately, or else step aside and stop wasting people’s lives with their endless meetings and statements. How many massacres will it take before serious action is finally taken?

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 14, 2012, on page 7.




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