Syrian Refugees in Jordan Decry American Plans to Attack

Search form

Syrian Refugees in Jordan Decry American Plans to Attack

Syrian Refugees in Jordan Decry American Plans to Attack
Wed, 9/4/2013 - by Joseph Mayton

SAN FRANCISCO — Abu Ghazi is a man who brings smiles to people’s faces. Last December, while giving inexpensive haircuts and shaves to passersby, including journalists who spent time with him and his family, he made almost all those watching laugh. Today, some nine months removed from the onset of that freezing winter, Abu Ghazi has little to smile at.

With the Obama administration pressing Congress to approve its plans to attack the Syrian government, Abu Ghazi and his family are not convinced the strikes will bring anything but more hardship and a “trail of blood.”

Speaking by cell phone to Occupy.com from inside the massive Zaatari refugee camp – now Jordan’s third-largest city – the 30-something barber wants nothing to do with violence. He’s says he's seen enough.

“I don’t know why the world wants to fight this situation with more bombs, bullets and caskets,” he says, with the background mumbling as dozens have surrounded the phone, now on speaker, as he discusses the sentiments of those in the camp.

“We are tired. Our families are tired. We have seen people we know and love shot in front of us. Now, having been here one year, we want to see an end to the war that is making our home so far away,” he adds.

Zaatari camp is within eyesight of the Syrian border and the border town of Dara’a, home to some of the bloodiest battles and bombing campaigns unleashed by the Bashar al-Assad regime against civilians. Last December, Abu Ghazi and his cousin, Mohamed – a taxi driver from Dara’a who had been living in Damascus with his wife and children – watched as fighter jets soared near the city. This is the reason, they say, that they now call a Jordanian refugee camp home.

Jumping on the line, Mohamed, who speaks some English, says that across the camp, in the schools and the bathrooms, all talk has turned to Obama and America. He is not pleased that the U.S. is planning to bomb his native country and argues it will lead to widening violence between the rebel forces and Assad’s military.

“We know our country best. There was a time when we wanted the international community to intervene and save us from death, but now it is too late. How many people had to die before something happened? It is bad, very bad,” he says, his voice blunt and without the vitality it had when this reporter spoke with him only months before.

He, like Abu Ghazi and others, are waiting impatiently as Congress debates whether or not to bomb the country. They are all expecting the approval to come, and the deaths to follow.

“How much blood is on America’s hands? On Obama’s hands? They kill in Yemen, they kill in Pakistan and Iraq. Now they will kill in Syria. Fighting war with more war will leave us Syrians dead. It isn’t what we want,” Mohamed adds.

The conversation turns to daily life in the camps and the struggle to make do with what little the refugees have. A library has been erected and schools function, but there is little downtime. It is fall now, and with winter approaching, the Syrians fear that without much-needed assistance they will experience more deaths. Last year, refugees died as a result of the cold, and the same is expected this year.

But the impending U.S. attack on Syria returns to the forefront. The men standing around Abu Ghazi and Mohamed jump into the conversation, over and over. They want to know why the Americans are preparing for war when the country has already found itself in the midst of a bloody civil war.

“It won’t stop the killing, on both sides,” says one man. “I know it will make both sides use the attacks as a means to launch more violence and killing. We all know chemical weapons were being used, but is that the final reason that Obama wants to bomb? He doesn’t care about our children, our wives, our people. If he did, this would have happened years ago.”

Resounding “yeses” are heard as the line abruptly cuts off. This is life in Zaatari, where refugees wait to hear on a weekly basis from their families who still remain in Syria, expecting the news of a relative's death. Now, as the Obama administration prepares for a military campaign, they again sit on the sidelines, waiting anxiously to see what new carnage will arrive in their home country only a few miles away.

Article Tabs

stagnant wages, rising inequality, wealth inequality, income inequality, low wages

The widening chasm between workers’ pay and productivity is “the central component of the wage stagnation story” in the U.S., according to an Economic Policy Institute report issued ahead of the Labor Day weekend.

Ferguson protests, Michael Brown, police brutality, police violence, military-style policing, Loretta Lynch, Darren Wilson

A DOJ report released Thursday denounces poor community-police relations, ineffective communication among law enforcement groups, police orders that infringed 1st Amendment rights, and military-style tactics that antagonized demonstrators.

Guatemala protests, Otto Pérez Molina, immunity from prosecution, Guatemalan Spring, Rigoberta Menchú, human rights violations, Guatemalan Civil War, Guatemala atrocities, School of the Americas

The popular, months-long protest movement led by ordinary people – which some have called the "Guatemalan Spring" – brought justice to the highest echelons of government.

low federal deficit, Federal Reserve, quantitative easing, Public Banking Institute, Reconstruction Finance Corporation

Liberals are celebrating the news that the federal deficit is $59 billion lower this year than last year and defending Obama's record in the process – but making an argument for decreased public investment is doing conservatives’ work for them.

wealth inequality, income inequality, destructive capitalism

From the failure to create jobs to the inability to rescue the environment or provide adequate housing and education, the catastrophe of modern day capitalism is more and more evident by the day – and something's got to give.

household debt, student debt, credit card debt, debt illegitimacy, International Citizen debt Audit Network, odious debt, debt resistance, positive money, negative-interest currency

No street protests are necessary, no confrontations with riot police, to stop payment on a credit card or student loan – the financial system is vulnerable to a few million mouse clicks.

Posted 6 days 20 hours ago
Guatemala protests, Otto Pérez Molina, #RenunciaYa, anti-corruption protests, CICIG, Guatemala massacres

Pressure to impeach President Otto Pérez Molina for his involvement in a major corruption scandal that has thrown the country into political crisis is mounting.

Posted 6 days 20 hours ago
Japan Self-Defense Forces, Tokyo protests, Japan security bill

Tens of thousands of people have gathered in front of Japanese parliament to protest against security bills they believe to be unconstitutional, allowing Japanese soldiers to fight overseas in defense of national interests.

Posted 4 days 4 hours ago
350.org, The Academy of Sciences, fossil fuel divestment

The Natural History Museum and 350.org launched a collaborative campaign calling on the country’s top science and natural history museums to dump all stocks in oil, coal and gas.

Posted 6 days 20 hours ago
whistleblowers, Thomas Drake, Edward Snowden, Diane Roark, Ed Loomis, J. Kirk Wiebe, William Binney, NSA secrets, NSA revelations, National Security Agency, THINTHREAD, Michael Hayden, Keith Alexander, TRAILBLAZER, Whistleblower Protection Act

The NSA wasn't interested in having its faults pointed out – so it sent the DOJ after the whistleblowers.

Posted 6 days 20 hours ago
whistleblowers, Thomas Drake, Edward Snowden, Diane Roark, Ed Loomis, J. Kirk Wiebe, William Binney, NSA secrets, NSA revelations, National Security Agency, THINTHREAD, Michael Hayden, Keith Alexander, TRAILBLAZER, Whistleblower Protection Act

The NSA wasn't interested in having its faults pointed out – so it sent the DOJ after the whistleblowers.

Japan Self-Defense Forces, Tokyo protests, Japan security bill

Tens of thousands of people have gathered in front of Japanese parliament to protest against security bills they believe to be unconstitutional, allowing Japanese soldiers to fight overseas in defense of national interests.

Jeremy Corbyn, New Labour, U.K. anti-austerity movement, austerity policies

As the left-wing MP prepares to seize the reigns of his party, he is riding massive popularity on a mandate to reject austerity policies, make education free, re-nationalize the railways and energy companies, and rebuild universal healthcare.

Beirut protests, You Stink! movement

Demonstrators have gathered for weeks in downtown Beirut calling for the resignation of officials responsible for the current waste crisis and demanding new elections.

Freddie Gray, Baltimore protests, police brutality, police violence, Fortress Investment Group, Imperial Capital, The Abell Foundation, purchasing debt, foreclosures

Wall Street hedge fund Fortress Investment Group and L.A.-based Imperial Capital bought up hundreds of small debts — from unpaid water bills to delinquent property taxes — and could take property worth tens of millions of dollars if families can’t pay.

Sign Up