Syria sanctions amid earthquake relief are a crime against humanity

Yanis Varoufakis lamented the West’s hypocritical attitude towards Syria that has hindered relief efforts on the back of the earthquake

Turkey and Syria continue to struggle with the horrific impact of the earthquakes that hit the two countries in early February, but for different reasons.

While in Turkey’s case the finger is being pointed at the government for its lax oversight of building regulations, in Syria, their efforts have been severely hampered due to sanctions imposed on them by Western nations.

During our recent livestream on the matter, Yanis Varoufakis highlighted the magnitude of the inhumanity shown by these countries which claim to be on the side of human rights which are now persistently hindering Syria’s relief efforts.

“Let me at least begin by offering condolences to all the families, all the people out there in Turkey, in Syria that lost loved ones,” Yanis said.

“The thought of some people, very few, still being alive and not having been reached by rescuers, the days that they have endured, buried alive, the nights and the horror… This simply fills our hearts and minds with horror.

“There is no doubt that the earthquake, any earthquake, is a tragedy which causes enormous sorrow, but, as we heard from Defne, it is the thought of what preceded the earthquake: the complete lack of preparation, the violation of every building code that even the state of Turkey had imposed. And also, the sorry response of the Turkish, Syrian, European, and world authorities afterwards.

“Those are not a tragedy, those constituted a crime and the crimes of the authorities and the International Community lead not to sorrow but to intense anger in Turkey, in Syria, [and] the world over.

“I shall begin with Syria. Not that I know much because nobody knows much. And we don’t know much because Syria is sanctioned. Syria is encased in a big tall wall, built by the United States, NATO countries, European countries… It is preposterous.

“I was listening on the BBC the other day to an aid worker lamenting the fact that the NGO he was working for was sanctioned itself only a few days ago, in the United Kingdom, for having dared to gather money to crowdfund sending medicine and sending food to Syria on the basis that any organisation that raises money that will end up in Syria is still sanctioned, even after this deadly earthquake.

“So essentially, the people of Syria are left there to rot in the ruins of, first, bombed-out and, secondly, earthquake-hit buildings.

“The fact that the West, despite its pretences of caring about humanity, human rights, victims of disasters, after so many days, is continuing to prevent any kind of aid from going into the earthquake hit zones in Syria – that is a crime against humanity. It is of equal strength and significance as the invasion of Iraq by the United States and its allies.

“It is a crime against humanity, there’s nothing else to say about it.”

Watch the full discussion here


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