How many of you really know what Aleppo is? Be honest now.
Assuming you do know what Aleppo is, how many people in America just heard about it for the first time today, because it’s trending on Twitter?
A lot of them, I am assuming. It’s trending because Libertarian Gary Johnson was asked about Aleppo this morning, and had no goddamn idea what Aleppo was.
WATCH: Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson asks Mike Barnicle, "What is Aleppo?" https://t.co/BcG5hufHYf— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 8, 2016
Mike Barnicle was kind of a dick about it because Gary Johnson doesn’t sell very many Lysol Disinfectant Wipes to the MSNBC audience, but it’s true, a guy running for President really should know what Aleppo is, even if most Americans do not.
This is Aleppo. pic.twitter.com/iLMwihSOSi— Matt Viser (@mviser) September 8, 2016
That picture barely tells the story, and while I knew what Aleppo was, it took this story to enlighten me to just how horrific the situation is there. From HuffPo:
The government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad has been battling rebel groups since 2012 for control of what was once Syria’s largest city and its business hub. None of the international attempts to put in place “cessation of hostilities” agreements have worked, mainly because Russia continues to support the Assad regime with airstrikes.
The city is under constant fire. “Death provides a relief for those civilians living here,” aid worker Rami Adham told The Huffington Post earlier this year. “I’ve heard numerous times people congratulating each other on the loss of certain relatives.”
Constant streams of airstrikes [from the Russia supported Assad regime]. and a total lack of food, shelter and medical supplies have turned Aleppo into a totally uninhabitable place. For those civilians who survive the strikes, they’re often required to leave their homes in search of relative safety.
Sometimes, military attacks have displaced upwards of 25,000 people in one night.
Twenty-five thousand in one night, while President Obama faces constant criticism from the anti-immigration camp for allowing 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States in a year, which is a drop in the bucket for a refugee population where “death provides a relief.”
I’m no fan of Gary Johnson, and it’s easy to be smug here, but it counts as a good day when one of the worst humanitarian crises in the history of civilization finally gets some attention, even if it’s for the wrong reasons.
Of course Aleppo is trending because a politician was dumb, not because it's ground zero of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) September 8, 2016
What can we do about it? Not much, unfortunately. Even if we could rally some aid to Aleppo, there’s no way to get it there. The main road has been blockaded, and there’s so much death and destruction there that it’s not safe to move aid in. But while Gary Johnson may not know what Aleppo is (and chances are, neither does Trump), we do know that Putin is supporting these airstrikes, and we know with whom Putin is friendly.
So, thanks, Gary Johnson: Your ignorance has prompted thousands of people to enlighten themselves on a situation so as to avoid being similarly humiliated.