Letter: Sympathy for the Syrian people

A Syrian boy shouts slogans against Bashar al-Assad

A Syrian boy shouts slogans against Bashar al-Assad in front of a flag of the armed Islamic opposition group, the Nusra front, during a demonstration in the Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria. (Sept. 21, 2012) (Credit: AP)

Tonight on the TV news, I saw a young Syrian boy in a Jordanian refugee camp ["Britain rejects a strike on Syria," News, Aug. 29]. He was emaciated and no longer able to walk. His mom was crying at his side, and his father was dead. Before the war, he received physical therapy and medical treatment, and he was able to walk and play.

I saw mothers and children dead, exposed to chemical weapons.

The Syrian people hold a special place in my heart. In 2010, my 22-year-old daughter found herself employed as a new teacher at the Damascus Community School, teaching social studies, and she loved it. She embraced the culture and met with nothing but kindness.

But there were significant differences compared to home. She reminded me to "watch what you say on Skype, Mom." We had code words for the ambassador, who was "sweatpants," and the Syrian president, who was "Batman."

She had to teach American history with a Syrian government twist. She was told to rip pages out of the textbook, which she admitted to me she didn't do. She had a bag packed, ready to evacuate at anytime.

Yet she recognized that the people were not their government.

For a long time I've struggled with the idea of America taking an active role in the Syrian civil war. Don't we do enough in this world? Sadly, though, the time has come. President Bashar Assad has crossed the line. We can't turn our backs on the good people of Syria.

Marybeth Greiner, East Moriches

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