Tragic as these numbers are – the worst for nearly a century – factored into them is that Syria has lost the most precious assets of poor countries, most of the doctors and other professionals who had been painstakingly and expensively educated during the last century. However reprehensible the Syrian government may be in terms of democracy, it not only gives the refugees and its minorities protection but has maintained that part of Syria which it controls as a secular and religiously ecumenical state. [ . . . ]
Even more “costly” are the psychological traumas: a whole generation of Syrians have been subjected to either or both the loss of their homes, security and hope or their respect for and trust in their fellow human beings. Others will probably eventually suffer from the memory of what they, themselves, have done during the fighting. Comparisons are trivial and probably meaningless, but what has been enacted – is being enacted – in Syria resembles the horror of the Japanese butchery of Nanjing in World War II and the massacres in the 1994 Hutu-Tutsi conflict in Rwanda.
In short, millions of lives have been wrenched out from under the thin veneer of civilization to which we all cling and have been thrown into the bestiality that the great observer of the brutal English civil war of his time, Thomas Hobbes, memorably described as the “state of nature.”
From William R. Polk’s “Understanding Syria” (via Sic Semper Tyrannis).