Every day the news is flooded with reports of conflict abroad. And while the images of these bombings and mass killings certainly resonate within our hearts, the majority of us go to bed each day knowing that we'll be safe through the night. But for the people living through that violence and civil upset, life is a far different story.
Hoping to shine light on the violence and struggle that has been facing Syria for the past couple of years, Dr. Adel Korkor, a native Syrian and current Hartland resident, will present "Syria: from Uprising to Civil War and a Man-Made Disaster" from 1 to 3 p.m. on Oct. 27 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 506 N. Washington St. in Waukesha.
Korkor was born in Latakia and raised in Damascus, Syria. He travels back twice a year. "I've always paid attention to what's going on in that part of the world," said Korkor. However, when an uprising began in Syria in 2011, that focus turned into horrific images of government upheaval and suffering.
He explained that the Arab world is ruled by heavy handed governments, which ultimately invoked a civil movement of the Syrian people asking for better economic conditions through political and economic reforms. The government's response was violence, "which resulted in the conversion of what was a civil uprising into a civil war," Korkor added. Since then, the fight has become a lot more complicated, as "there are really three elements that are fighting there."
Through all of this conflict, Korkor stated that there is a great deal of humanitarian suffering going on in Syria. "It's a humanitarian disaster."
To give a better picture of the extent of the devastation, Korkor explained that 2 million people have been displaced outside of the country, 6 million have been displaced within the country, 120,000 people have died, and 100,000 more are missing.
The Syrian government has been using fire power, bombing civilian populations, and has now begun using biological weapons on its own people.
Women and children seem to be the most impacted by the war, and Korkor said that many children are suffering with the loss of their parent(s) and nightmares from witnessing bombings right outside their own door.
"There is no end in sight," he said.
During his talk, Korkor will explain Syria's situation in more depth, and will talk about how others can help. He will address how the situation went from civil disobedience to civil war to civil disobedience, "and it absolutely has to end."
He adds that the world cannot stand by watching this happen every day and not do anything about it.
Most of Korkor's family is in the United States, and the ones that are still in Syria are doing fine, he said. He explains that he thinks of everyone in Syria as his family, not just his immediate relatives.
"I think about every individual. I don't care what their religion or belief is. They are all human beings," he said.
The civil war in Syria is "important to me because I'm of Arab-American-Syrian descent," but also he said because he is a physician with passion and compassion about people and their rights, both emotionally and physically.
Perhaps most importantly, "I am a human being who cares about what's going on around the world."
For those who attend the event, "I think they need to leave with a deeper understanding of the tragedy that is taking place in Syria," said Korkor. He hopes that attendees will be motivated to do whatever they can to make a change.
The free program is cosponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Church West, the Plowshare Center and the United Unitarian Universalist Congregation.
For more information on the event, contact Kate Jolin at (262) 547-1591.
Korkor is a practicing kidney specialist in the Waukesha area. After attending medical school in his native country, Korkor left to pursue his residency and fellowship in the United States in 1974.
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