WASHINGTON, 30 January 2014 -- President Obama missed a significant opportunity Tuesday night to encourage the American people to engage in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis – Syria. Despite mentioning the violent conflict three times in his 65-minute State of the Union speech, he remained silent on the human face of the crisis. Over the past three years, more than 130,000 men, women, and children have reportedly been killed – that’s like wiping a city slightly bigger than Alexandria, Virginia completely off the map. 9.5 million people have fled their homes.
The President’s silence contrasted with the tireless efforts of so many in the U.S. government who have been raising awareness about the crisis. Despite their work, and that of humanitarian organizations like World Vision working on the ground serving children and their families, most Americans remain unresponsive to the millions suffering from the violence.
President Obama can still use the unique voice of the presidency to remind our country about the suffering of ordinary Syrians and to encourage Americans to continue our proud tradition of reaching out to vulnerable people, regardless of where they live. The needs continue to outpace the humanitarian response. If Americans and others around the world are generous, if governments prioritize Syria even more and use all diplomatic means to peacefully resolve the conflict, together we can help prevent a lost generation of Syrian children.
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