The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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September 17, 2013

We face war of indifference on Syria

NBC's saving gameshow timeslot amid Obama address speaks volumes

As President Obama prepared to address the nation and articulate a plan for intervention in Syria, NBC rushed to assure its viewers that the Ryan Seacrest-hosted game show, “The Million Second Quiz”, would not be interrupted.

As detailed by the National Broadcast Company, the president would speak for only fifteen minutes, thus viewers could watch their televisions with full confidence that the entirety of the hyped-up program would be fully protected. While there was suspense as to whether or not NBC would follow through on its promise of an unbroken telecast, the presidential coverage stayed within the agreed upon time slot, viewers were able to watch their regularly scheduled program, and all was well in the world.

In the meantime, all is not well in the world. If there is such a thing as hell on earth, one could find it within the borders of Syria, as each day seems to be worse than the one that came before it. The state of affairs under President Bashar al-Assad continues to decline, and the loss of human life is beyond staggering. Since its recent civil war began, Syria has become dramatically fragmented and its national identity has all but disappeared.

As a result, it would seem that citizens either align with the government or with the resistance, the Alawhites, the Sunni’s, or the Shiites, Aleppo residents, or Damascus dwellers. Through it all, according to the United Nations over 100,000 people have died, and due in part to the reluctance of foreign nations to fully respond, it remains likely that death tolls – especially among women and children – will continue to rise for the foreseeable future.

While some in the U.S. are passionately committed to making peace in Syria, far too many are neutral in the face of injustice by way of disinterest and distraction. In other words, we often choose private entertainment over public engagement. In what can be described as a heartbreaking state of affairs, instead of contributing to the international peace process on behalf of the most poor and vulnerable members of our global society, we seem to be overly intoxicated with distraction, diversion, and delusion.

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