By Alexandra Puffer
When Syrian civilians became victims of chemical weapons, Internet hits like Buzzfeed and Twitter took photos and videos of the atrocities and put the evidence into the palms of America’s youth.
After the use of chemical weapons in Syria was confirmed, nations worldwide began to look for answers to some important questions. Questions arose such as pinning which political party in Syria issued the attack that injured and killed hundreds of innocent Syrians, and what the role of the United Nations and United States would take in helping the Syrian people in working to eliminate the threat of more chemical attacks globally.
Social media has become a popular way for students to keep track of all that is going on in the world, especially in Syria.
Communications professor and director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Dr. Jabbar Al-Obaidi urges students to not take these advancements in communication for granted, but instead use social media to connect with other students abroad and to expose themselves to foreign media.
“Get your news from outside of the American media,” said Dr. Al-Obaidi. “We need to broaden your perspective. Connect on social media with young people, all people, and people from the Middle East, and ask questions. Listen and have a respectful exchange of ideas.”
Within the Syrian crisis, Dr. Al-Obaidi considers a big part of international conflict to be a lack of understanding and willingness to negotiate and keep focus. In deciding which country or government is right or wrong, nations often lose the initial and most important focus – and right now that is to help Syrians.
“I think in political engagement, negotiation with consistency will really help to bring this Syrian issue to a more positive ending,” said Dr. Al-Obaidi. “It is not about who is right and who is wrong, it is about what is the best for the country and humanity.”
Dr. Al-Obaidi also offered that through negotiation, a definitive ending and compromise could be established, where as through war an ending is hardly ever concrete in sight.
The Bridgewater State campus is rich in diversity and acceptance of cultures from all over the world and this is where real conflict resolution can start.
Jaimin Patel is an Aviation Science student from Gujarat, India, expected to graduate in 2015 . He thinks the United States should help enforce the rights of Syrians because the United States has always stood up for the rights of people.
“Here I am, always welcomed and Bridgewater State has been a great place for me the last couple of years,” Patel said. “I have a great connection with the people of Bridgewater State.”
“Never believe that people outside of the United States hate the United States,” Dr. Alo-Obaidi said. “That is not true. Stay open.”
Alexandra Puffer is The Comment’s Digital Editor. Follow her on Twitter at @AlexandraPuffer or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.