Reading the names of Syria’s dead


#Over100000Names_120314Did you know that two months ago the United Nations stopped counting the number of people killed in Syria’s ongoing civil war?

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights reportedly said it could no longer verify the accuracy of the figures provided by civil society organizations.

If figures are important to you, one of those NGOs, the widely-quoted Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, says that more than 136,000 people have been killed, including 82 on Monday this week. UNICEF reports that 5.5 million children have been affected by the conflict, and 2 million need some form of psychological support.

If you’re like me, these figures have become meaningless, each one just another weight piled on my growing frustration at the world’s ability to stop this slaughter.

I could again rail at the utter failure of my government, and all governments, to take meaningful action, but what would be the point?

Still, something has to be done, and until Saturday a group of people gathered in front of the White House are taking a symbolic but powerful step: they will be reading the names of 100,000 people killed in this war.

“How does one remember? How does a community vow never to forget? In an effort to answer these impossible questions, the Over 100,000 dead in Syria. How many more? oral memorial was created,” says a Facebook page dedicated to the reading.

I don’t think it’s too late to participate if you’re in DC, or can get there.

Read more in this New York Times blog.

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