By Shannon Nia Alomar (Staff Writer) “Between war and diplomacy, I choose diplomacy, so let’s move on to questions,” said David Wildman, executive secretary for Human Rights and Racial Justice with the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Global Ministries.
Rounding out the Center for Civic Engagement’s (CCE) International Scene Lectures for the fall semester, Wildman gave his opinion on the crisis in Syria for the Hofstra community on Wednesday during common hour. He continued to say he knew the importance of delving into the details surrounding Syria and the U.S. intervention proposition.
Wildman started off his presentation with a reference to the humanitarian conditions in Syria.
“The population in Syria is about 2.1 million and that can be compared to the population in the New York City-Metropolitan area,” he said during his lecture. “Imagine if one third of the NYC residents could not return to their homes due to destructive actions, such as the ones in Syria.”
He went on to provide examples that gave the audience an overall depiction of the hardships Syrian civilians are facing during this time.
According to a United Nations (UN) report Wildman referenced in his speech, “There is no military solution to this conflict.” Wildman agreed with the statement.
In terms of the U.S. stepping in and trying to “alleviate” the battle in Syria, Wildman believes the whole ordeal has greatly shifted the U.S. diplomacy definition. He mentioned how the need for speedy updates and news in our American society often leads to temporary relief, but in relation to the resolution of diplomatic affairs, the formation of a “long-haul” plan must be created.
The urgency for all sides, politically and socially, to come together and talk out these modern issues is key, Wildman believes, in disbanding chemical weaponry all over the world. The harm these devices of mass destruction can have on civilians should be more of a concern to the authority groups, than the need to support unnecessary military action and intervenient.
Blaine Volpe, sophomore economic and political science major, was excited to hear Wildman mention the need for the U.S. not to use military action in Syria. He believes that students should be aware of this.
“Hofstra is a very politically engaged university and I believe everyone should be up-to-date on these issues…even if they are international,” Volpe said.
Wildman feels that youth should be engaged with issues in Syria to prevent this from happening anywhere else in the world.
“If these countries continue to hold onto and utilize chemical weapons, it will be bad for all of us,” Wildman said. “That is why the citizens, including the youth, need to speak up and out to the government working towards disbanding chemical weapons so situations, like the one in Syria, does not happen to any other country.”
A peace vigil was held directly after the lecture in front of Hofstra Hall. Although the vigil did not directly pertain to the Syrian dilemma, the hostess of the event provided the audience members an opportunity to partake in a solidarity standing to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the United States intervention in Afghanistan.