Saturday, 8 September 2012

The situation in Daraya, Syria

I don't really know if this belongs in my systems practice blog - but I don't really know where it belongs (actually, maybe this is a challenge with systems thinking... which section of the bookshop do you look? well, all of them!)

I've just finished reading a book called Dancing in the Glory of Monsters by Jason Stearns. It gives a complex overview of the wars that have consumed millions of lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1994. The author states "one of the main goals of this book is to tackle 'Congo reductionism'" (Stearns 2011). It is a fantastic book that carefully examines all the factors that had a bearing on the decisions that were taken, and the behaviours of the individual actors throughout the period. I have an overwhelming desire to draw up a causal loop diagram! If I wasn't supposed to be writing an assignment for my studies, I would probably do this. The point I am making here is that I have a need to understand why people can behave in this way to other people. It is deep within me and has been with me since I first read Primo Levi's autobiography If this is a Man when I was about seventeen. This is important to me.

Anyway, with all of that fresh in my mind, this morning I turned to the newspaper to see what was happening in the world, and I read an article about a massacre in Daraya, Syria.

I am deeply ashamed to say that I  am almost oblivious to these things that are happening in Syria. Last week, more than 200 people were massacred, and I don't know about it, I don't understand it, and I don't even know how to go about understanding it.

I wonder whether I have a defence mechanism that kicks in, where my brain tries to protect me from the complexity of a situation, until it can be explained? I cannot really explain why I have avoided trying to understand the situation in Syria - I knew it was happening, but somehow it has remained as a peripheral issue that, until today, has not pricked my conscience.

I don't know what my conclusion is here - I just wanted to record my realisation that I ought to have done something, and I haven't.