, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rant #1 out of what feels like at least 15.

I’ve been obsessively scouring the news this week, reading every article I can about Syria. I have a recurring nightmare that the fighting moves to Damascus and my family (the family that took me in for a year, fed me, taught me to speak Arabic and loved me as one of their own) die. I watched the updates today as Homs was re-taken by the Syrian army. I can’t think about much else (except all the other shit that I also have blog drafts about).

Over the course of the last week, the UN issued a list of Syrians they consider to have committed crimes against humanity. Well, that was useful. It’s like a bunch of cartoon characters pointing the finger at the nasty Syrian dictators, telling them they’re being mean and then turning their backs. Then they issued a few declarations, putting more pressure on the Asad regime to hold a ceasefire and let humanitarian workers in. To which the Syrian ambassador to the UN responded that they were promoting terrorism! And finally, as the international pressure mounted, the Syrian regime ignored everybody and demolished Homs.

Why even bother? Diplomatic negotiation simply will not work. This dictatorship is comfortably secure. They know nobody really cares about them as long as they keep their little disputes internal. They know they can get away with whatever they want, as they did 30 years ago. And those that do want to get involved only want to use Syria as a pawn in their power games.

The debates have been raging all week. Do we go in, do we not go in? Some commenters think that those of us who want the military to go in should be weary of war by now, or that we are perhaps naive to think that an intervention could be as ‘inexpensive’ as the one in Libya.

And now that the Syrian regime has regained control? What now? We wait and see if they will take their revenge on the innocent people of Homs, who have already been beaten and broken by relentless shelling and appalling humanitarian conditions. The reports of revenge attacks are already coming in. Gutters running red with blood. Meanwhile, we shake our heads and tell each other how terrible it all is.

Or maybe we’ll go a step further than that. Maybe? There’s no maybe about it, Question Time took us right there tonight. Just listen to this and shake your heads in disbelief. Apparently, it is not feasible for our hard-pressed armed forces to intervene in Syria. Is that because they’ve been too busy intervening in all the other conflicts that are important to our government? Then there was a comment to the effect that it was more reasonable for us to help the Libyan opposition because they were more unified and better equipped. Let me see if I got this guy’s logic: It is better for us to help a force that is actually in less need of our help? Because that’s what he said. I understand it must be easier for us to help them, did they perhaps think there would be a cleaner outcome in Libya? But please do not pretend that you are remotely interested in the welfare of innocent Syrian people when you use that argument. If you cared about them at all you would not make such appalling statements. The people who need our help more are those who have less capabilites, less resources, not more.

I haven’t even got to the good bit yet. David Starkey. He’s great, isn’t he? Apparently the French are not grateful that we liberated them from Nazi Germany. Excuse me??? Of all the debates I have seen flying through the atmosphere this week, that is the most laughable, and the most offensive. Apparently nations feel ashamed when we rescue them from death. I would tell that to the people currently being killed by their own government, but that would be difficult, what with them being dead. Perhaps we should get each Syrian to write a personal letter of thanks before we move in and stop entire cities being razed to the ground.

Or better yet, perhaps we should smuggle David Starkey into Syria and refuse to rescue him until he agrees to have a statue erected in our honour.

Everything I watched tonight disgusted me. The panelists could not agree on anything at all… until we came to the question of what to do with Syria. Then they all agreed: We do nothing. We can’t go in unless the UN says so, but they won’t because Russia and China said no, so that’s it. The UN said no. And it’s not feasible anyway. The unspoken sentiment that oozed out was that of apathy. They became so heated during the arguments surrounding the NHS. The most they could do about Syria was express polite sympathy.

I get that this is complicated. I know that using our military to invade another country is somewhat less than ideal. I have been a vehement opponent of invading Iraq and Afghanistan. But really, are you kidding me? Is this really the same situation? The Arab Spring has been all about the people of the Middle East and North Africa rising up against their own governments because they have had enough. And when their governments clamp down on them, refuse to let them even protest peacefully and kill them for doing so, in mass numbers, we should damn well do what we can to protect them. There are no excuses for sitting back and doing nothing. You want to express sympathy? Go right ahead. But do not try and tell me that you give a shit about those people. Not when you can placidly tell me on camera that it is not ‘feasible’ for us to help them.