#LetsTalkAboutIt: The Syria Issue

#LetsTalkAboutIt: The Syria Issue

Let’s talk, as many people are at the moment, about Syria. This country is part of the Middle East as well call it, the cradle of civilisation. Recently, everyone has decided, that the best way to deal with our conflicting views on the right path is to commit escalating atrocities on both sides. However, I would like us to take a few moments to reflect on what has come before we make judgements on how to proceed in the future. For as Cicero claimed, ‘to be ignorant of what has happened in the past, is to always remain a child’.

So, the Middle East. This part of the world is no stranger to warfare. Ever since ancient times, Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Neo-Babylonians and Hittites amongst others have fought and fought for possession of this land. These fights were no doubt long and bloody and claimed many lives. The same is true of later periods, where the Islamic Caliphates, driven from Mecca full of zeal, extended their rule over the entirety of North Africa and the Middle East, creating Caliphates which spread Islam as the primary religion and added to the fabric of these regions.

But this Late Antique period introduced a new phenomenon to the mix; previous wars had been over the possession of land, a common hors d’oeuvre in the meal which is often made of warfare. These Caliphates brought that to these wars but also something else: their religion. This meant enacting a cultural change, as well as an administrative one. For the Byzantine Empire, this change in particular was unacceptable. This part of the world was Christian, always had been and should always remain so and any “aggressor” religions should be crushed. It sounds like a good idea- let’s delete all other parts of the landscapes religious fabric, like Judaism, Mithraism, Zoroastrianism or any of the others. Unfortunately this idea continued in the middle ages with the various sects of Christianity. And that is still the attitude of many today. But the world is too varied, and cultures and religions too mixed, for such hatred and divisive attitudes to exist and to still preserve humanity in its current condition. Yet still fanatics on either side continue to ruin the part for the rest of us.

So what does this all have to do with modern Syria? Well the press recently has been as manic as a commentator at a boxing match. And in the blue corner, is ISIS, ISIL, IS, whatever you want to call them, and opposing them in the red corner is, well everyone else, but mainly the UN top 10. I believe that IS are religious fanatics, yet their fanaticism is driven by base instincts: greed and power. Our western religious fanatics are driven by the same thing hence why their aggression levels towards each other are so high as they see each other as a dire threat. Yet the national medias of every country is trying to see this as an Islamic vs Christian war, when actually it is power in the Middle East which is at the heart of things.

Here lies the crux of the problem. The US in particular, in maintaining its pseudo-machismo image of the world’s current police force, which it obviously totally needs guys, has got its panties all in a twist and decided that the time to act is now. The reason for this is again media-driven American media, in particular, those more looney parts of the far right media *cough* Fox Media *cough cough cough* have convinced the less educated parts of the States that it is Muslims killing good Christians and threatening their freedoms. They have used the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris of last month as their evidence for this argument; but they are wrong. It was not just Christians which died in those attacks. One thing is certain when terrorism strikes – it does not perceive religion, colour or race. When those awful people killed in France, and when the UN nations bomb innocents in Syria and other places, it is people of all races colours and creeds which die.

Regrettably the US is, like many countries, full of morons. I believe that none is more moronic than Donald J Trump, who might be the stupidest man on earth since homo neanderthals roamed the planet. His agenda is also power in promoting the “violence of Muslims.” Using the exact same tactics as Hitler in the 1930s, he is latching onto a national fear of terrorism and death and using it for his own gain by galvinising a scared populace in America, and persuading them that their freedoms and rights are at threat.  So Obama and his government are forced by this agenda of American nationalism, justified all the while by the Wolfowitz doctrine, to bomb Syria in an attempt to defeat ISIS. And of course, to protect key allies in the region like Israel and the Saudis.

So Americans and now many people in Europe are adopting this hatred towards Muslims. However, everyone forgets that there are millions of Muslims worldwide and in many countries, including the US. Don’t throw them in with the IS lot, they clearly are not cut from the same cloth. Every Muslim I know is normal just like me or you, not like some fanatical IS beheader. Is every feminist a radical man-hater? Is every ginger lacking in a soul? No, of course not. But the American media has pushed this former agenda and here we are now, where Obama has authorised military strikes. A report in The Independent last week declared that IS’s “financial minister” had been killed in airstrikes. Really well done guys. No honestly, really well done. Because the person everyone misses the most is the sweaty bean counter in accounts.

And here comes our personal shame. The UK then decided that its “special” relationship with the US wasn’t quite special enough and thought another war would go down well (good one, go talk to Blair about that). Despite a huge amount of public pressure to say no to airstrikes, the government does what it does best, which is ignore us and authorised them anyway. A couple of weeks ago the first RAF planes ran their preliminary bomb raids against IS targets. The British intervention is nothing more than a knee-jerk response to the Paris attacks mentioned before. So many deaths coming from one incident. And this is an issue because ISIS wants this publicity and by us then bombing more civilians, IS has more propaganda to show the evils and depravity of the West to ignorant uneducated young men in the area in an attempt to get them to join the cause. For every strategic target we hit, we also hit dozens of innocents. Dave, you are making things worse, not better.

So smarty pants, I now hear you baying in my ear, desperate for me to put down the wounded animal that is this article; what is the solution? What do we do about these arrogant people who feel that they have the right to intervene in the affairs of other people’s countries, killing innocents and causing havoc and pain? Well, as people, we have to take back control of our own governments. And then we’ll deal with the ISIS terrorists as well. Because make no mistake, I say that by authorising these attacks, Dave and his cronies, including any other party’s MPs who voted for the strikes (looking at you Hilary Benn), are essentially authorising the deaths of hundreds of people who do not deserve it, despite their public’s staunch opposition. And, to borrow Alan Moore for a second, ‘people should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people.’ Well, this government has clearly shown their disdain for the will of the people.

Back to my solution – it is simple. Ignore ISIS. Send aid to everyone we possibly can, Syrian rebels fighting them directly, the Turkish keeping them off their borders, the Iraqi army. But when I say aid, I mean supplies for the innocent, shelter, food, water, clothing, and other humanitarian aid, not weapons. Use our immense pressure as leaders of the ‘free world’ to get the other Arab nations in the Middle East to take in refugees, and take in more ourselves. And you know what will happen? ISIS, which is like the vicious bully at school, except with an RPG, will get bored that nobody cares what happens to it anymore and its victims will be well taken care of. It will not have any targets for its suicide bombing when faced with a western wall of indifference. Its members will tire with nothing to do. Not having a real administration, when faced with actually running the land they have taken, they will break down and their ranks will disintegrate. But if we provoke them more, they will rise to it. They want the attention, they want that chance to show the world who they are. For god’s sake Dave, Obama, even Hollande. You say you’re Christian. Just for once, turn the other cheek and help the needy. Don’t fight the bully. Ignore him.  

Written by,

Ben Thomas


Photographs via The Independent, The Guardian, RedditReport.com, Getty Images, Demotix.com,  Metro and Old Magnet Instagram

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