Driving to my mother’s house, my nine-year-old boy was indignant. He sat at the front with his knees up, listening attentively to Radio 4. Being the son of a news man, he was already developing that habit of listening to ‘The World at One’. The international community, namely America, Britain and France, had launched air strikes overnight hitting three Syrian targets. It was done to signal their disapproval of the use of chemical weapons in Douma, Syria.

‘Dad,’ he said with the frankness that came from not grasping diplomacy yet, ‘if Assad is bad, don’t we need to stop him? This is why I would never want to be president.’

I was pleased at his aspirations. He was already considering the presidency of another country, and more importantly, the implications of wielding power. I agreed with him, how could the world sit and watch as children my daughter’s age were frothing at the mouth and screaming. I glanced in the mirror and she was writhing, pretending to be in immense pain due to her tummy ache. How could Ghouta and Douma have turned into such scenes of insanity? Ghouta used to be the place where one sat under shady trees barbecuing meat next to the Barada river during hot spring days. Those were idyllic times. Sure, I wanted to stop the chemical attack, who wouldn’t want to stop the perpetrators?

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