One of the main goals of the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) was to stigmatize the use of these weapons so that even states that are not parties to the treaties would be reluctant to use them. In Libya, when forces loyal to Gaddhafi used cluster munitions, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton referred to that use as “inhumanity” despite the fact that the United States has refused to sign the CCM (Arms Control Association). So when Human Rights Watch published a report documenting the use of cluster munitions by the Assad regime against Syrian civilians, it was international news (Huffington Post). I heard the report about Syria’s use of cluster munitions during a news blurb on NPR during rush hour, and the reason it was news because of the strength of the stigma.
Part of the reason I started this blog was the birth of my daughter and the realization that many, many fathers in the world would have fears for their daughters that I would never have, including a fear of landmines. It is to one of those fathers I wish to speak to now. Specifically to the father of this little girl, who is almost the same age as my own:
You did not need to take this photo. We know that Assad has attacked his own people, that he has used indiscriminate weapons, that he has put children in extreme danger.
But Assad did not put that bomb in your daughter’s hands. You did. You have put your own child in greater danger than the dictator you wish to defame had done, and you did it deliberately. By trying to shame Assad, you have brought greater shame upon yourself. These photos are not necessary and expose your children to horrific harm. You have failed in your most basic duty as a father, to protect your daughter from harm. Do not make this mistake again. And to every other father, learn from this. Your responsibility is to your children. Protect them and do not endanger them like this.
Michael P. Moore, October 20, 2012