Syria In Agony: It is such a mess. And all the horrors that fill our screens are the progeny of the West’s intervention. Every hostage beheaded. Every gay man hurled to his death from a high place. Every 9-year-old girl traded in the slave-markets of Raqqa and Mosul. Every screaming reproach and accusation wrenched from the victims of IS and Assad, alike, is ours to answer. Only the West possessed the power to break this world, and only the West can fix it.
WINSTON PETERS wants the men of Syria to fight for their homeland. By all means, he says, let us give succour and safe haven to the women and children of that bloody dystopia. But, let us not offer a permanent residence to Syria’s misery. Not unless the world is ready to swallow every last Syrian. To leave their home a desert – and call it peace.
The Left finds it easy to dismiss Winston and his gnomic pronouncements. They look at him the way they’ve always looked at people who wear suits to protest planning meetings – with a mixture of disbelief and suspicion. That prominent leftists are now willing to vouch for him only pushes the comrades’ eyebrows higher. “Don’t let the flash suits put you off,” say Matt and Andrew, “Winston’s okay. A little old fashioned, yes, but don’t worry, we all hate the same people.”
Okay, but, really! How are we supposed to take Peters seriously when he comes out with stuff like this? Send the Syrian men back to fight? FFS - the guy’s an idiot!
But when our tears for little Aylan have dried. When the global news cycle has rolled over enough times for the images of the Middle East’s wretched human refuse to have lost their power to shock and shift public opinion. What then? When the razor-wire fences have all been made people-proof. When the sleeping dogs of European racism have all been kicked awake and are howling down the bleeding-hearts and do-gooders. What will we do then?
Because the great engine of all this grief; the motor of all this misery, will not have stopped. Not for a moment will the death machine that is the Syrian civil war have ceased to pump out its torrents of innocent blood. Four million human-beings have already been driven beyond Syria’s borders by the combined efforts of Bashar al-Assad’s Baathists, the Islamic State, and whatever loose assortment of Saudi-funded and US-trained jihadis are currently passing themselves off as the Free Syrian Army. That just leaves another 20 million souls to decant into the already overflowing vessels of Syria’s immediate neighbours.
Who cannot possibly take so many, and so will drive these new waves of refugees northward and westward, following the trail of tears to the European Union. Which, in spite of its name, will offer only increasingly divided counsels – and higher walls.
Yes, the injustice of all this rises to heaven on a reeking cloud of Western mendacity. Having broken the Middle East and North Africa into a thousand pieces, the United States and its Nato allies now refuse to own the desolation their own hands have wrought. They smashed Afghanistan for no better reason than to sate the Great Hegemon’s thirst for vengeance after 9/11. Then they invaded Iraq – this time in pursuit of some delusional NeoCons’ dream of inculcating capitalist democracy in a made-up country with virtually no history of either capitalism or responsible government.
It is such a mess. And all the horrors that fill our screens are the progeny of the West’s intervention. Every hostage beheaded. Every gay man hurled to his death from a high place. Every 9-year-old girl traded in the slave-markets of Raqqa and Mosul. Every screaming reproach and accusation wrenched from the victims of IS and Assad, alike, is ours to answer. Only the West possessed the power to break this world, and only the West can fix it.
But not just the West. The Russian Federation and the Peoples Republic of China must also be part of the solution. A truly global force, assembled under the banner of the United Nations. Hundreds-of-thousands of soldiers: men and women of all colours and creeds, drawn from every continent, to cauterise the bleeding wound that is Syria. And in their wake the agents of international justice – for the sake of ruined Palmyra and its martyred guardian; for the sake of tiny, helpless, innocent Aylan.
And in the vanguard of that mighty host, the young men of Syria: leading the attack; hewing down the flags of tyranny; setting their nation free.
It’s all Winston Peters is trying to say: that Syria cannot be saved by emptying it of Syrians.
This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Wednesday, 9 September 2015.