Sunday, 22 November 2015

All Just A Little Case of History Repeating

 Since I switched on the news last Friday night and saw the tragic events unfold in Paris, I have been trying to find a way to articulate my thoughts on the horror that made the extremism of ISIS all to real for us in the West, and the subsequent reactions all too worrisome for those who still remember the road to Baghdad.

It is important before anything else is said, to reassert that the terror attacks which took place in Paris are abhorrent and beyond the rational thinking of any decent person who has any regard of human life. I, like many; have felt a sense of shock and sadness that a city so revered for beauty and romance could play host to such indiscriminate violence. That is not to say that the coverage of this event should not be analysed. Only the day before, in Beirut 43 people lost their lives with over 200 wounded in an attack claimed by ISIS as an attempt to remove Shia Muslims and to attack Hezbollah who have been a direct threat to Daesh on the Syrian border. In spite of this no flags were adopted on social media for Lebanon, a country which has faced far more destruction and decimation in recent years than anyone could possibly fathom. There were no national anthems played at football grounds or lighting up of monuments in their nations colours. Commentators on social media and even in some mainstream outlets were right to point out that in the last 4 years over 200,000 people have been killed in the ongoing war in Syria, not to mention the thousands injured and displaced. The equivalent to the atrocity in Paris happening every day for four years. It is right that this has been raised, it is right that we should remember that these attacks are happening daily and mostly unreported. They are also not all the fault of ISIS. Just over a week ago,Israeli soldiers dressed in fake beards and with one pretending to be a pregnant woman raided a hospital on the West Bank to kill Abdallah Azzam al-Shalalda who was lying injured in bed and his cousin who had come to visit him.These kind of atrocities happen daily and are almost never reported by our media. It is right that this is raised, but it should never diminish the plight suffered by those who the media deems to shine its spotlight on. It is also worth highlighting the attacks in Beirut and the death toll in Syria to destroy this myth that ISIS is here to destroy Western Civilisation. There is no doubt that it wishes to do this, but it also wishes to destroy the very freedoms and lives it claims to fight for. The ISIS stronghold in Raqqa, which was the target of French retaliation, never chose the caliphate, rather had it enforced upon them once the government forces were defeated. Most live in permanent fear of falling foul of the Hisbah. This is why the rhetoric of the media, in stirring up racial and religious hatred is so vile. It is not the refugees who are attacking our civilisation, they are seeking refuge from the very people whom the Daily Mail claim they represent. Nor should Muslims feel any need to apologise for the actions of ISIS anymore than Christians should apologise for the Klu Klux Klan. We need to recognise that the media will not tell us the full truth, beyond that we also have to accept our own responsibility as invaders of a region which we destroyed, pillaged and left to rot, that the radicalism of Islamic extremists are not a foreign idea heading for our shores, rather one of our own doing as a country too old not to know the dangers in invading far away soil. The main question is where do we go from here? Herein lies the reason it has taken so long to write this article. How do we attempt to unravel, to begin to deal with a situation like ISIS? No military in the history of the world has ever before had to deal with the threat posed by Islamic extremists. There is no nation, no strategic attack point, no breath and water to attack against a violent vehicle of hate which only grows further the more it is attacked. That recruits further the more is is ridiculed. That is why the attacks on mosques and Muslim citizens of our lands only entice more of the youth to be radicalised against the harmony, democracy and fairness we purport to fight for. The Islamophobia which is now becoming more blatant in these last few weeks, is cannon fodder for those corporations and big businesses who see the Middle East as a cash playpen. It is the headline Farage craves and one that gives Donald Trump a bump in the polls. But why? Why in an intense period of suffering, which shows the violence and inhumanity of weaponised man with aftermaths of events that show the very humanity and goodness of human kind at its core, when selflessness and heroism come to the fore, why is the final word always given to those who seek unconsidered and unadulterated revenge? Who consider these events as a strategic move in either an election or a geopolitical game? The reason is because those on the left more often than not fail to counter a simple lie with cold hard facts. Instead of this we hide behind statements of anti war and anti racism, not considering for one moment that the old man down the road calling for an end to immigration might actually have a genuine fear based on a clear message spread through right wing parties and the media. I have been disappointed in many left wing organisations lazy attitude towards events by simply bringing out the old tired lines of anti racism and anti war. Yes of course this is what we believe but what next? How do we convince? What is our plan? As a member of the SSP I am delighted to read comments from our National Spokesperson condemning the French attacks on the city of Raqqa. In his comments Colin Fox was right to say that... “While condemning the indiscriminate slaughter of innocent people in Paris last weekend, the SSP does not see the indiscriminate slaughter of Syrian civilians as the appropriate response. It is not what the people of France or anywhere else are after. But that is what the urban airstrikes in Syria are principally achieving.” But then what? There has to be an alternative given. We cannot keep failing in this regard. To his credit Jeremy Corbyn has at least tried to explain the significance of certain measures but even he has now fallen foul of offending the MSM by condemning the potential attacks by multiple Western countries. Our great task is to come together to determine what we can possibly do to end the tyranny of ISIS not only in Western attacks but in their continuous presence. How can this be achieved without loss of life to millions of Syrians and Iraqi civilians whose only crime was their place of birth? ISIS will never be defeated by bombing attacks or even boots on ground. They have cells which are often impenetrable. Boots on ground or bombing of Middle Eastern countries only heightens the belief that the West are the enemy. The only way to disrupt and damage their operations is to end the funding of the group. This would mean a further diplomatic thawing with Iran to oversea the region and a complete distancing from Saudi Arabia which has been complicit in training, financing and radicalising a generation of angry young Muslims while surreptitiously working with major Western powers. We need to encourage an Arabic alliance to fight the extremists. If it is required we should offer training and finance to purchase required weaponry for combat. What should never have to be the case is a Western face flying in the sky above or a Western boot on the ground. To do so would be a fatal mistake. George Santayana said that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. We all remember the war in Iraq, we all do not want to have a repeat. But we also have to recognise that a position of anti -tolerance and anti-war is not only inadequate but also a fairytale. We as a movement need to create a viable alternative to the media and right wing narrative of hatred and war. But that will only happen with actual persuasive arguments of building a lasting peace. Sometimes this might even involve getting our hands dirty.