Can this really be happening? In the 21st century? Only a few hundred kilometers from where I’m sitting writing this piece? Can it be that only hours ago a tyrant used chemical weapons against his own people who were rebelling in the capital’s suburbs against his tyranny? Can it be that during this gorgeous summer, Arab women and children are being gassed to death by an Arab dictator?

The eye refuses to believe the pictures the iPad is transmitting. The mind cannot grasp the reports the iPhone is delivering. After the taboos of using artillery, helicopters and missiles on civilians have been broken, the taboo of using unconventional weapons has apparently been shattered as well. According to news reports, not far from us, in the same Damascus with which we sought to make peace, Arabs are murdering Arabs with chemical weapons.

True, more than 100,000 people have already been slaughtered in Syria. For two years our northern neighbor has been bleeding in a way that the Israelis and Palestinians haven’t bled in a hundred years of conflict. And there has already been a chemical weapons incident that the world didn’t really want to acknowledge.

But now it’s highly probable that a horrifying and unprecedented attack took place east of Damascus. If this is the case, Syrian President Bashar Assad and the Arab Spring have crossed the black line. The glorious Arab uprising that the West enthusiastically supported has become an apocalyptic event.

No decent person can ignore what’s happening. What is supposed to be an enlightened world cannot remain silent. Each day, the Syrian civil war is taking on the chilling connotations of the Spanish Civil War. It heralds the end of an era and delineates the coming era.

It’s not only innocent victims being buried in Damascus, but the concept of enlightened Arab nationalism and the hope that the West has a conscience. Women and children who were apparently gassed to death are being buried in Damascus, along with the ideal of an international community and the illusion of international law.

If civilians can be gassed to death in 2013, we face the end of the world. It’s the end of the world that purports to be moral and enlightened. It’s the end of the world that sought to establish a reasonable international order of which the Middle East would be part.

Many in the West and Israel despise Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But what’s happening in Syria proves the validity of Netanyahu’s warning that the greatest danger to world peace in the 21st century is the combination of unconventional weapons and unconventional regimes. Lunatics really are insane. Barbarians are really barbaric. Huns will be Huns.

Those who act mercifully toward Huns bear direct responsibility for the fact that nuclear weapons are being built in Iran, chemical weapons are being used in Syria and doomsday weapons threaten the future of the Middle East. Those who underestimate the inherent danger of the Huns bear direct responsibility for the deaths of today’s victims, the Syrians, and tomorrow’s victims, the Israelis, Europeans and Americans.

It’s time to break free of the moral relativism, multicultural hypocrisy and political correctness that prevent us from seeing our evil neighborhood as it really is. A terrible warning siren is being sounded in Damascus. Do we hear it? Does the world hear it?