Since the beginning of winter, there have been increasing reports of the dire humanitarian conditions in the displaced persons camps in Syria and in the Syrian refugee camps in the neighboring countries. On January 15, 2019, it was reported that 15 displaced Syrian children, 13 of them under the age of one year, have died of cold and due to inadequate health care.
Websites identified with the Syrian opposition have posted articles and cartoons expressing harsh criticism of the indifference of the world, and in particular the Arab world, toward the suffering of the displaced and refugee Syrians. The cartoons showed Syrian children dying in the camps, and the articles slammed Arab sheikhs and clerics who do nothing for the refugees' sake. Prominent among these articles were two by Fuad Hamira and 'Abd Al-Razzaq Dhiab, both of whom write on the opposition website zamanalwsl.net. They accused the Arab countries and the heads of the Syrian opposition itself of exploiting the refugees' suffering, and of leading lives of luxury while doing nothing tangible to help them.
The following are excerpts from their articles.
"Syrian refugee child" lies dead in the snow beside the corpse of the "human conscience" (Al-Arabi Al-Jadid, London, January 17, 2019)
Fuad Hamira: Less Than $100 Million Would Have Saved The Syrian Refugees From This Suffering
Fuad Hamira wrote: "Thousands of Syrians in refugee tent camps are drowning in mud and rain. Dozens of satellite channels, news agencies and papers report on this humanitarian disaster and even trade in the pain of our people sitting in the tents. Yes, this is trading in human feelings, and we are all [somewhere] on the spectrum between indifference; settling for wringing our hands, lamenting and cursing, and expecting the UN and its aid organizations [to do something about it]. And if the UN drags its feet, as it usually does, we direct curses and invective at it. That's all we do, and nobody thinks to ask about the money of the oil princes and of the clerics who have grown rich by peddling Islam, or about the Arab investors and businessmen, in particular the Syrians. Where are the businessmen who cry crocodile tears over the Syrian blood and the situation the Syrians have reached? Why do we not see them making lofty statements about humanity today? They clearly [think that] extending aid to our people, who are freezing and hungry in their tents, will bring them no benefit this time.
"Less than $100 million would have been enough to save our people from this disaster, which cannot be described in words. That is a paltry sum for any prince who goes on cruises or funds one of the television channels of the religion-mongering clerics. It is an almost negligible sum for all the hotel magnates and investors who [engage in] humanitarian projects all over the world, as long as it is far from their own people and compatriots, [yet] miss no opportunity to weep over the Syrians and their plight. The news budget of a single Arab channel for a month would be enough to end this disaster or at least ease the suffering and save children from dying of cold or drowning in pools of mud...
"I know that these are just words in a worthless article... I know that nobody will take the initiative and do anything more than "like" a Facebook page about the tent [camps] – and herein lies the deadly truth. We must open our eyes wide and notice what the religious leaders, the leaders of the opposition, and the tycoons are doing to us: they are trading in our blood, our hunger and our death, which have become [nothing but means] of stirring up emotions on the screens of satellite channels. [Channels] that barricade themselves in the depraved [activity of] defending their regimes, justifying their mistakes, describing their folly as a new kind of genius, turning their defeats into victories and their crimes into acts of heroism, and describing [these] puny leaders as giants who intimidate even the most arrogant heads of state...
"I do not mean to [emphasize] that those dying in the tents or drowning in frost and mud are Syrians. Not at all. They are human beings, members of the human race... whom nobody is trying to save because there are no dollars behind them."
Opening their aid packages, the refugees find only social media responses to their plight. (annabaa.org, January 16, 2019)
'Abd Al-Razzaq Dhiab: The Heads Of The Syrian Opposition Appropriate The Funds Intended For The Refugees
'Abd Al-Razzaq Dhiab wrote: "This is not the only time and not the only winter that has exhausted the shivering bodies [of the refugees], for there was a series of harsh winters, and repeated pleas for help went unheeded. Nobody paid attention to the deaths, to the weeping, to the tears that mingled with the raindrops or to the people who are living in the mud of a country that is sighing alone amid the wind, poverty and neglect.
"At a certain distance from all this sorrow are bitter questions that stick in our throat: Why did [these people] reach this state? Why were they abandoned, exposed to the sky, to deal alone with all the torment and degradation? And most importantly: the funds that were handed over to those who see themselves as the patrons and spokesmen of these wretches, could they not have made their lives less painful and harsh? I am talking of all the [Syrian] interim governments, [Syrian] platforms [supported by foreign countries], [political] parties, factions and friendly Arab countries, [our purported] allies in this horrible disaster. Over the years, vast funds have made their way into the pockets of the ambassadors for these miserable people. [The refugees] fled their homes and their country after being besieged and starved, while the warehouses of the [fighting] factions, and those of the governments and the [National] Coalition [for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces] and its allies filled with equipment and food, and their members toured the world capitals, traveling in luxury and staying [at the best] hotels.
"Many investments of millions of dollars were handed to those who pretended to weep over the suffering and wounded [Syrian] citizen, some of whom took ski [vacations] while floodwaters were sweeping [the refugees] to an unknown fate. Are not the new houses [of these ambassadors built with] the funds that belong to those drowning [wretches]?
"The homes of the political leaders, military commanders and media moguls are surely over-heated, and their bank accounts are drowning in dollars. They will surely continue to exploit the death, the cold and the hunger, while pretending to weep for the souls of the dead. They have an encyclopedia of lies with which to fill the [screens] of the existing and future satellite channels and the newspapers that nobody reads but their fans.
"Had these [people], lolling in warmth, left some of the funds in their organizations' coffers for those drowning in rainwater and mud, Allah may have forgiven some of their mistakes or crimes against the people they deceived. Those paltry funds may have saved some of the people who are likely to meet a bitter end in this cold snap."