Qusai Zakarya is by all definitions an incredible human being. After surviving the 2013 chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburb of Moadamiya, he became a tireless public opponent of the oppressive Assad regime and rallied worldwide support during a 33-day hunger strike that called attention to the illegal siege of cities across Syria.
The resilient spirit of the Syrian people is nowhere more evident than in the group of doctors and lawyers I recently spent an evening with in the Middle East. Their capacity to find joy in life, even during this horrific conflict, is remarkable.
Physicians across the world share deeply held convictions and characteristics. We believe in the value of hard work and discipline, are devoted to our patients, respect scientific rigor, and are committed to continuous learning.
As I read about the latest in a string of attacks on Syrian field hospitals and medical staff – this time a car bomb that killed 14 people and wounded 70 in a Syrian town on the Turkish border – the classic and morbid U2 song, which memorializes violence against civilian protesters in Northern Ireland, echoed in my head.
As members of the Syrian government, opposition forces, and international actors gather for Geneva II – the latest round of peace negotiations – it is crucial that all parties prioritize the end of systematic violations on medical care and targeted blockades of civilian communities.