On August 21, 2013, an estimated 1,429 civilians were killed by an odorless, colorless gas. After hearing what sounded like a bomb, innocent citizens were woken by an inability to breathe and a feeling of fire in their chest. Kids lay on the ground with seizures and uncontrollable muscle spasms. In this confusion and horror, some individuals become orphans and others died a very painful death. This silent killer was sarin gas.
In 1997 sarin gas was banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention for its horrific effects on the nervous system. By preventing the breakdown of the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine, this gas causes uncontrollable muscle movement which leads to an inability to control breathing, causing death with 10 minutes. 10 minutes may seem short but it is an agonizing amount of time for someone to endure this intense suffering and pain, and it is immeasurably long for a loved one watching one die.
The 2013 attack occurred in Damascus, Syria, killing over a thousand civilians. The chemical warfare was so horrendous that the UN Secretary of General called this “A crime against humanity.” In addition to the horrendous attack, the complete lack of medical equipment to help these individuals resulted in huge open morgues, with no place to burry those who have passed. Not only did this effect the current civilians, but it affected future generations to come. One lady who was pregnant at the time of the attack, has now given birth to a son who has seizures around 3 times a day, due to the brief exposure to the sarin gas. Though no one has officially been held accountable, the evidence strongly suggests that President Bashar al-Assad ordered this attack.
I am only blogging about this incident now because little evidence and information had been released about the attack earlier. Today, 60 Minutes had a very difficult to watch story about this attack and I felt it needed immediate attention. With cell phone footage today, viewers were able to see exactly how the events unfolded that night, and we are now aware such chemical warfare is occurring. Unfortunately, there could have been countless incidents like this that we simply do not know about.
I cannot fathom how any human being is so cruel and merciless that they would instruct this kind of killing. Watching that story on 60 Minutes made me extremely upset and aggravated. Our global society needs to understand that violence is NOT an acceptable retaliation against rebellion or differing views.
This is a link to the 60 Minutes story. Like Scott Pelley I will warn you that this may be difficult to watch, but I strongly recommend you see this. (I have not included an image in this post for this very reason)