When Planet Earth shrugged
By Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood
The scale of the tragedy unfolding in the freezing environs of Turkey and Syria where more that 23,000 people have died in the horrific earthquake, can barely be imagined by us.
Sitting merely six hours away by plane and in the comfort of our couches, we are still petrified by the scenes of destruction and awestruck by the miracles of rescue.
What a wonderful humanitarian signal Bahrain has sent to the world when His Majesty King Hamad immediately ordered a rescue delegation to go to Turkey and Syria.
The team of 36 individuals will include medics and experienced rescue and relief workers which the Royal Humanitari an Foundation has brought together.
Of course, the RHF, under my good friend Dr. Mustafa Al Sayed’s experienced hand is no stranger to earthquake relief.
Always guided by His Majesty’s concern and the directives of the RHF HH Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Humanitarian Foundation, Dr. Al Sayed has delivered aid to Pakistan and Nepal in the aftermath of terrible natural disasters.
The good people of Bahrain have rushed to support all aid work and the Turkish embassy has been working round the clock with volunteers to sort, pack and dispatch the aid in kind.
But another tragedy is building up even today in North-west Syria, the the most affected region in that country.
The quake is being seen as a “Turkish” disaster and victims in Syria are being literally left in the cold by prevailing sanctions against Syria.
Arab countries must not only reach out and protect our Syrian Arab brothers and sisters from the indifference and callous disregard of the West which has put petty politics before humanism.
We must use all our political clout to jointly lobby for a change of attitude so that innocent civilians, vulnerable children, elderly, women and the sick are given the help to recover.
The world – especially the West - needs to put humanitarian imperatives first, even if this means temporarily abandoning longstanding political positions.
Planet Earth has shrugged its shoulders – we cannot afford to do the same!
Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood is the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Tribune and the President of the Arab-African Unity Organisation for Relief, Human Rights and Counterterrorism