Aleppo is an alarm bell: the international system has failed

Seventeen years ago, Kofi Annan stood before the United Nations and apologized.

The then-secretary-general acknowledged that the UN had failed the people of Rwanda during the 100-day genocide in which almost a million people were killed, and pledged to ensure that the UN would “never again” fail to protect a civilian population from genocide or mass slaughter.

In Aleppo today, Annan’s promise is inaudible beneath the roar of bombs and the whimpers of children trapped under rubble, their faces caked with blood and dust.

After years of images from this atrocious war being screened around the world, they are faces we know well.

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