What Would Captain Kirk Do About Aleppo?

I sat down to write, but felt torn by two completely different topics: the horrible humanitarian crisis in Syria, or the fiftieth anniversary of Star Trek. I realize, the conflict I experience between these two disparate topics makes me sound incredibly shallow.

I’ve been disturbed by the images coming out of Aleppo. The heart-wrenching photos of children, injured and orphaned amid the rubble that was once their home, sicken me. But I feel helpless to do anything about it. My knowledge of the drama playing out in Syria is, I suspect like most Americans, sketchy at best. My ignorance, combined with my inability to render aid, causes me to tuck my concerns about these tiny war refugees, however haunting, into the further recesses of my mind.

Besides, it’s better to write what you know. It’s the fiftieth anniversary of a childhood fav, Star Trek. While I wouldn’t consider myself a full-fledged Trekkie, I love the original episodes in all their geeky glory. The captain and his crew provide a nostalgia that comforts me in lieu of the reality I see on the nightly news. James T. Kirk always manages to outwit any opponent or complicated situation, especially when aided by his logical side-kick, Spock.

Then there’s Gary Johnson, poor guy. He looked like a deer in the headlights when asked about Aleppo; forcing many Americans to Google it. No one wants to look that dumb. But, who among us could pass the geography test on the second largest city in Syria? Still, if you want to be President of the Unites States, you kind of have to be smarter than the average bear. Well, that’s the theory; I guess we’ll see how this election turns out.

If Captain Kirk were asked a similar question, “What should be done about, Remus?” He would know from his Starfleet academy training, not to mention his friendship with a Vulcan, that the planet Remus is occupied by the Romulans – a group who rebelled against their peace-loving Vulcan heritage and fled to the planet Romulus. Once there, they took over the neighboring planet, Remus, and subsequently oppressed the natives. Kirk, backed up by his crew and the United Federation of Planets, would deal with any situation that cropped up on Remus, or Romulus for that matter. The bad guys would be identified and dealt with before the hour was up. Then, we would all sleep better for knowing it.

Meanwhile back on Earth, Aleppo is the definition of FUBAR.

syriaIt represents the epicenter of the five-year Syrian civil war. There are many different factions controlling the city’s borders, which have all but been closed to humanitarian aid. These factions include the government controlled forces, led by Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria. He’s the guy who used chemical weapons on his own people. His army is aided by the likes of Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, and Al-Qaida.

Okay. Got it. Bad actors. So the rebels are good guys?

Not exactly, the rebels include ex-Assad soldiers and Syrian citizens who want Assad out. But they are a small group who has welcomed the aid of over one hundred additional groups; each with their own agenda and reasons for wanting to see Assad’s government toppled. The U.S. is offering “aid” to the rebels, even though not all the groups in league with the Free Syrian Army are our friends (ISIS for example).

Wait, we’re helping support the side that includes ISIS?

Not exactly, but the U.S. is doing what it can to aid rebel forces without sending troops. Russia claims their only “aid” to Assad forces is in rooting out ISIS.

If Captain Kirk were here, he’d call “bull crap” on both arguments. He’d point out that each military powerhouse was playing a game of war with secret agendas, while the people of Syria suffer. Then he’d round up everyone with a weapon and transport them to the planet Romulus to let the fighting Vulcans sort it out as punishment for oppressing the people of Remus.

I’m probably getting way over my head here. My knowledge of Star Trek trivia isn’t that much better than my understanding of the complicated issues in Syria. The point is; I dream, however fanciful my imagination may be, of a time when the people of Earth come together to live in peace, where children grow up in safety with equal opportunities to seek out new life and new civilizations and boldly go where no one has gone before. I want all monsters to be identified and forced to wear lizard costumes, and good guys to carry phasers set to stun until the truth can be sorted out in any conflict.  Is that too much to ask?


  1. janice
    Sep 24, 2016

    Karry, I love this article. Actually, I love all your writing. It is remarkable how you weaved these two very different stories into one fabulous, thought-provoking piece. Keep writing 🙂 Janice

  2. Lori
    Nov 7, 2016


    You always write such thoughtful pieces on your blog. You capture many of t I enjoy reading it and I hope we can achieve world peace. Star Trek was really a vision for the future in a humanitarian sense, not just a technological one.


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