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

fracking ban, New York fracking ban, Andrew Cuomo, fracking moratorium, groundwater contamination, hydraulic fracturing, Joseph Martens, Howard Zucker

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his cabinet agreed Wednesday to prohibit the widely used gas-drilling technique in the state, citing health issues and dubious economic benefits.

Cube embargo, Cuban 5, Guantanamo prison, Platt Amendment, Fidel Castro, Cuban missile crisis

For most of the half-century since the U.S. broke off diplomatic relations, Washington fought a war of economic attrition that affected millions.

Struggling homeowners are in desperate need of some new rules for the mortgage modification “Three Card Monty” shuffle.

Suppose for a moment that everyone in the Occupy movement was in a jacket and tie and behaving to the norms of corporate or cultured society. Would the police go in and beat the shit out of them?

Black Bloc, Automen, Hands Up Don't Shoot, Michael Brown, Ferguson protests, Anti-Racist Action, Francis Dupuis-Déri, affinity groups, property destruction, diversity of tactics, Eric Garner, anti-police brutality protests

To begin to discuss black blocs, there must first be an understanding of what a black bloc is.

There’s never been a better time to organize a general strike in the U.S. than right now, with both corporate owners and political leaders pillaging public resources for their own private gain.

Posted 1 day 23 hours ago

It’s no exaggeration to say that the School of the Americas has painted an entire region in blood.

Posted 6 days 22 hours ago

We are continuing where the freedom fighters of the Civil Rights Movement left off – we are a new generation of young multi­racial activists willing to take up the torch and we’re not going to stand for this anymore.

Posted 6 days 22 hours ago

Now rolling into to its fourth month, the video game consumer movement known as #GamerGate continues to evolve in scope and focus as it seeks to advocate for greater ethical standards in gaming journalism.

Posted 2 days 19 hours ago

An anti-refugee wave has swept across Berlin as the December opening of six refugee container settlements nears – with one in 10 Germans now supporting National Socialism.

Posted 6 days 22 hours ago

Dozens of land conservation bills, which were added to a defense spending bill approved on Friday, protect more than 1 million acres of national parks, wilderness areas, and wild and scenic rivers.

There’s never been a better time to organize a general strike in the U.S. than right now, with both corporate owners and political leaders pillaging public resources for their own private gain.

Politicians, a pop singer and a media tycoon were among those detained as pro-democracy demonstrators were forcibly removed from city center on Thursday.

A report released last month explores the often overlooked digital risk environment for NGOs and other groups.

Pablo Iglesias, who heads the country's rising populist party that emerged from the 15-M Movement, talks about what it takes to build mass movements.

Sign Up