THE EDITOR: The relatives and friends of the women and children held in refugee camps in Syria have been lobbying the TT Government to accommodate their return to this country.
One can empathise with these relatives’ plight and understand their distress. They are doing what needs to be done to support their loved ones. On the other hand, the Government has a duty to ensure the safety and security of the 1.4 million citizens who live here.
Recently there have been a number of letters to the newspapers calling for compassion for the women and children. One letter writer referenced the case of American basketball player Britney Griner who was arrested for an offence in Russia and returned to the US through the intervention of her government.
To refresh everyone’s memory, Griner was charged with taking CBD oil to Russia where it is illegal. She did not go to Russia to torture and kill “non-believers,” throw gay people off of rooftops, sexually enslave women and children, attempt to eliminate entire ethnic groups such as the Yazidi, nor to teach children how to make and detonate bombs.
Perhaps one of the most harrowing and gut-wrenching accounts of the ISIS horror was the testimony of a Yazidi woman to a German court. She and her five-year old daughter were enslaved by ISIS. The child had wet the bed and a jihadist tied the little girl outside in the blistering sun. While her screaming mother begged for mercy and compassion, the jihadist and his wife watched this child die a slow and torturous death.
War is hell. There are victors and losers and ISIS lost. If ISIS had won, these women would probably have remained in Syria and happily enjoyed the spoils of war won on the pain and suffering of innocent people.
The relatives and supporting organisations have indicated that if the women need to be tried and punished, so be it, but bring them home. Everyone knows that after the women return, any attempt at justice for alleged crimes will be met with screams of persecution, discrimination, oppression or even threats. We have been down this road before. The Government will fold like a piece of paper.
Maybe a compromise can be reached. Allow the Government to help get the adults and children out of the refugee camps. Since the adults apparently prefer not to live among people of different beliefs, let Human Rights Watch, the UNHCR, their relatives and supporting organisations help them settle in a Muslim-majority country where they will be happier.