“Don’t forget about Aleppo, Syria.”
This sentiment has been floating around Facebook statuses, newspaper op-eds and TV headlines for the past week following the broadcast of what the United Nations is calling “a meltdown of humanity” in Aleppo, Syria.
However, what happens when someone is shot and killed in the midst of the grief, suffering and horror people are feeling as they bear witness to the atrocities that are occurring in Syria?
According to the BBC, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Gennadyevich Karlov was shot and killed at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey. The perpetrator of the attack reportedly yelled, “God is great,” “We die in Aleppo, you die here,” and, “Don’t forget about Aleppo, Syria.”
Russian officials are calling the attack an act of terror.
So what exactly does this mean for the Muslim world, as we somehow try to conjure up a way to help the sisters and brothers of Syria, while also trying to grapple with a pattern of oppressive treatment that is all too familiar to Muslim communities all around the world?
We’ve seen this happen in Bosnia and Chechnya. Today, we watch as the people of Yemen are caught in a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia while the Burmese government is ethnically cleansing the Rohingya Muslims.
Unfortunately, there is no linear answer as to how people deal with grief. Although the details of the shooter have yet to be released, we do know that he sympathized with the Syrian population.
Though his violent act is inexcusable, is it really unprecedented? Muslims should not have to condemn an attack that was ignited by the oppression put forth by larger world powers—including Russia, US, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
In no way is the attack lead by the individual who shot and killed Karlov justified. However, it is telling of the array of emotions, including desperation and defeat, that much of the Muslim community is facing as they watch countries with their families and friends go up in flames.