Nearly 2 million Syrian refugees have registered with the U.N. and fled their country across the borders into Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.
African-Americans were very outspoken in criticizing the United States for not intervening in Rwanda, but the current humanitarian crisis is not inducing that same support.
Poll after poll shows that a majority of Americans oppose Syrian intervention. African-Americans, like most Americans, strongly oppose intervention in Syria. Some have even expressed sympathy for Assad, but some of those same black Americans — including members of the Congressional Black Caucus – decried our nation’s lack of action during the Rwandan crisis of the mid-1990s.
There is no doubt that there is a humanitarian crisis in Syria. The question is whether military strikes are the appropriate way to respond and if so, whether Americans will support that action, in light of the past decade of wars in the middle east.
African-Americans may be more reluctant to support action in Syria after the past decade, and because the United States didn’t get involved in Rwanda where nearly a million innocent civilians perished. President Clinton later expressed remorse for not doing enough to help prevent the Rwandan genocide, but our lack of response and the tragic deaths just don’t seem to hit as close to home as the myriad crises right here in Chicago and Philadelphia, as African-American children are dying and unable to get adequate educations.
Many Americans care about tragedies abroad, but do not want the United States to use our money and resources abroad, while our country is still in sequestration and congressional ineptitude doesn’t allow action on jobs and infrastructure. It’s like trying to put out the fire at your neighbor’s house when your house is still on fire.
The fact that there are so many domestic issues that have gone unaddressed make it much more difficult for Americans to support, particularly African-Americans who have heard repeatedly that America is “broke” and yet has plenty of money to drop bombs in the middle east.