|REPORT Let’s Talk- 9/6/13
Using the platform of Google Hangout
Topic: What are your thoughts on a US military intervention in Syria?
We want to share with you about a recent online dialogue we had. The conversation started by introductions. Three participants were from NYC and two from California. Our facilitator reminded the participants regarding some of the principles of dialogue such as listening for understanding; speaking from your heart and being open to new learning. She highlighted the importance of keeping those principles in mind during our conversation, in order to have a good quality dialogue.
Participants were asked to start the conversation by saying the ideas that first come to their minds when they read the topic. All stated their discontent with the possibility of a US military intervention in Syria. One cautioned that civilians will be killed from a US military intervention. Another was concerned about the use of chemical weapons and the need of doing something to stop it. Yet none felt that a military intervention would be the best solution. One member stated that for the first time in our national dialogue Republicans and Democrats seemed to be thinking in similar ways with one another either of being opposed to military intervention in Syria or being in favor. . Perhaps a line of dialogue is being passed in the country.
In our Google Hangout some alternative actions were suggested such as: the need for high level dialogue among states, development of UN sanctions and a proposing to Syria to sign the ban of using chemical weapons. It was agreed that acts of war should only be considered when all diplomatic and legal maneuvers had been unsuccessful.
One participant, a specialist in social media, reported an intense wave of posts and tweets related to this issue in the last weeks. She believes that a big portion of the population have used social media platforms as a form of having their voices saying ‘No” to a US strike in Syria.
One participant felt strongly that violence only begets more violence. A military intervention in Syria would certainly not reduce violence and would kill more Syrian civilians. It would exacerbate more conflict and generate more violence in that region. One member wondered what may be other real interests behind a military intervention in Syria. It seems that the benefit would be to the arms industry.
Finally, the participants were asked to summarize the conversation with a short final statement. All participants stated the need to press politicians and the government to seek alternatives to a military intervention. Other actions mentioned were to talk to friends, to people in the Congress and to send letters to the president asking them to choose diplomatic solutions rather than military solutions.