Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Aug 28th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

sam farr2As the conflict in Syria continues to unfold, what is your stance on U.S. involvement?

I was an early opponent to military intervention in Syria. The atrocities of the Assad regime are crimes against humanity and in direct violation of international law. However, without an overt threat to our national security and without a clearly defined, achievable goal to end the Syrian people’s suffering, I find it difficult to justify engaging our military in another nation’s civil war with no clear endgame.

But I do not think we should ignore the plight of the Syrian people. The goal of the United States should be to bring stability and peace to the region. I am afraid that committing the United States to a military strike would have unintended consequences that fan the flames of war and increase the suffering of the Syrian people.

From day one, I have believed that diplomacy is the path we must relentlessly pursue, and I was heartened by President Barack Obama’s recent re-commitment to that path. Over the weekend, we took a big step forward in that process when Russia and the United States agreed on a plan to bring the Syrian chemical weapons under international control. 

While I am hopeful that diplomacy will remove the threat posed by chemical weapons in Syria, I am still well aware that this is a complicated process that—at best—will only partially ease the pain of the Syrian people. Two years of civil war has torn the country apart, leaving millions of Syrians without a home and threatening the stability of the entire region.

The ongoing conflict in Syria has forced the displacement of more than 6.8 million people—almost one-third of the country’s population. Of those displaced, nearly 2 million refugees have fled to neighboring countries. The sudden influx of people has placed a severe strain on the resources of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, and other parts of North Africa.

Due to overcrowding, the capacity in many of the refugee camps is insufficient to meet the ever-rising humanitarian need and many are living outside of the camps. The problem continues to grow worse each day. Since January, an average of 200,000 refugees has fled Syria each month. Last week, the number of refugees crossing the Jordanian border increased tenfold to almost 900 people a day.

This large of a population of refugees and internally displaced people (those forced to flee their homes in Syria) is a threat to basic human rights and the stability of an already fragile Middle East. People displaced from their communities, without safe access to food, shelter or healthcare, are especially vulnerable to violence and recruitment by armed actors, among other threats of war. Poor living conditions and dwindling resources in the camps have created potential for further unrest beyond Syria’s borders.

The United States has already committed some aid but there is still much more that must be done. When our country put out the call to punish the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons, the international community responded, and we are now working with Russia and the UN Security Council to develop a plan to peacefully remove the chemical weapons from Assad’s control. 

Our bottom line can and should be peace, for the people of Syria and for the region as a whole. Those in Washington who believe the suffering of the Syrian people is cause for a military strike should also be advocating just as loudly for humanitarian aid.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Meaning of ‘LIFE’

With a new documentary film about his work, and huge exhibits on both coasts, acclaimed Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting is having a landmark year. But his crusade for conservation doesn’t leave much time for looking back

 

Seasons of Opportunity

Everything in our world has a specific time (a season) in which to accomplish a specific work—a “season” that begins (opportunity) and ends (time’s up). I can feel the season is changing. The leaves turning colors, the air cooler, sunbeams casting shadows in different places. It feels like a seasonal change has begun in the northern hemisphere. Christmas is in four months, and 2015 is swiftly speeding by. Soon it will be autumn and time for the many Festivals of Light. Each season offers new opportunities. Then the season ends and new seasons take its place. Humanity, too, is given “seasons” of opportunity. We are in one of those opportunities now, to bring something new (Uranus) into our world, especially in the United States. Times of opportunity can be seen in the astrology chart. In the U.S. chart, Uranus (change) joins Chiron (wound/healing). This symbolizes a need to heal the wounds of humanity. Uranus offers new archetypes, new ways of doing things. The Uranus/Chiron (Aries/Pisces) message is, “The people of the U.S. are suffering. New actions are needed to bring healing and well-being to humanity. So the U.S. can fulfill its spiritual task of standing within the light and leading humanity within and toward the light.” Thursday, Aquarius Moon, Mercury enters Libra. The message, “To bring forth the new order in the world, begin with acts of Goodwill.” Goodwill produces right relations with everyone and everything. The result is a world of progressive well-being and peacefulness (which is neither passive nor the opposite of war). Saturday is the full moon, the solar light of Virgo streaming into the Earth. Our waiting now begins, for the birth of new light at winter solstice. The mother (hiding the light of the soul, the holy child), identifying the feminine principle, says, “I am the mother and the child. I, God (Father), I Matter (Mother), We are One.”

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

His Dinner With David

Author + reporter = brainy talk in ‘End of the Tour’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Land of Plenty

Farm to Fork benefit dinner for UCSC’s Agroecology Center, plus a zippy salsa from Teresa’s Salsa that loves every food it meets

 

If you knew you had one week to live, what would you do?

Make peace with myself, which would allow me to be at peace with others. Diane Fisher, Santa Cruz, Network Engineer

 

Comanche Cellars

Michael Simons, owner and winemaker of Comanche Cellars, once had a trusted steed called Comanche, which was part of his paper route and his rodeo circuit, from the tender age of 10. In memory of this beautiful horse, he named his winery Comanche, and Comanche’s shoes grace the label of each handcrafted bottle.

 

Cantine Winepub

Aptos wine and tapas spot keeps it casual