Arendt on the Syrian conflict, and action proposed by Western countries.
The sheer confidence with which plans are being prepared to bomb Syria should alarm many who care about human suffering in war zones. We have Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers, human rights organisations and activists, former comrades now mortal enemies calling for war on Syria because the Syrian government reportedly has used chemical weapons against its own people.
What is the problem here? The use of chemical weapons, or weapons of mass destruction? The only country to have used atomic bombs on civilian populations anywhere is taking the leading role in this matter. A president who is still on the plantation leads it. The master of ceremonies, the commander-in-chief is a house slave and nothing more. He is a puppet a string for the interests of the 1%. His positions on everything that he has touched since he came to office has been proof of “No we won’t”. He protects the interests of the 1% wherever he looks. This is a war for and on behalf of the 1%. It is an utter disgrace on the followers of “I have a Dream” have even given him a platform to continue the nightmare that his presidency has proven to be. As he is preparing to go to war the followers of Dr King should have shunned him and his rotten Secretary of State. Dr King took issue with the militarism of his own country. From the platform of the 50th Anniversary of the march on Washington he wants to claim the moral high ground to make war. He has never defended anyone who does not serve empire. That is what you get when you have people who ride the backs of those who actually fought in struggles. Yes, I am taking sides in this issue. Malcolm X was right.
The Secretary of State is making a mockery of his opposition to the Vietnam War. In struggles you need some of these privileged people because they have skills but you have to watch them very carefully. In fact you need thousands to hold them down.
In our own case we have politicians who have not learnt that we had been taken to war in Iraq on false premises. Kofi Annan had called that war illegal. That the documents from Number 10 have remained classified is indicative that the Iraq war is drenched in blood. This bombing of Syria will be the same. If chemical weapons had been used by the Syrian government, and it is indeed possible, it only makes it more imperative that a political solution be found. If the use of weapons is an outrage then our outrage should be universal. What is so sickening is that the same politicians who now beat the drums of war did not have the guts to condemn the use of chemical weapons in Gaza and Fallujah. They knew of the chemical weapons used by Saddam against the Kurds and Iranians in the 1980s and they did not say a word. Some of them were researchers in Mrs Thatcher’s office. When your lackeys inflict horror you look the other way. When Israel bombs the Palestinians and the Lebanese to hell and back then the same outraged politicians stand in line to sing the praises of that racist state. If we thought that the Coalition partners were bad when it came to tuition fees we have now heard enough to see that some leading members should take out EDL memberships.
Those who are crying out for military intervention in Syria invoke the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). They claim that R2P manages the tension between the UN Charter protection of the state of Syria as a sovereign entity and the duty of the “international community” under the Genocide Convention of 1948. The alleged bombing of the civilian population in Syria is also a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention on the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons.
As noted above, all of these positions are fine in principle as long as they are universally applied. That means they should be applied in all cases where there are allegations of potential genocide or the use of chemical weapons. Take Bahrain where a murderous regime and it allies are butchering the majority of the population on a daily basis. The silence is more deafening that the audience at the last rendition of Wagner’s Ring cycle by Daniel Barenboim and the Berlin orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall. That silence was amazing and appreciated. This one fills one with disgust. It is the sick feeling that one experiences when expediency rears its ugly head.
R2P has indeed become a legal cover for regime change especially for regimes, which are not part of the “international community” but have been depicted as axes of evil and resistance. Hence as Kissinger would say that our allies have protection from our exasperation. If you are with the mafia then you have the right to break bones. If you are not with the mafia then they will break your bones.
In Syria only a political solution will save the population from living in hell for twenty years or more. Look at Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. They are unlikely to be stable for at least a generation more. The majority of these people are Muslims. Unfortunately Muslims just fail to learn from the Seerah and Sunnah of the Mercy unto all the Worlds (Peace be upon Him). In those blessed days, there were people who were to be executed even if they were clinging to the Kaabah whilst pleading for forgiveness. When the time came a majority were pardoned. Even Abu Sufyan, who had led the opposition to Islam for more than a decade, was pardoned. People died, husbands and fathers died yet, the category of Al-mu’allafata quloobuhum (those whose hearts are to be reconciled) were given a stake in the new society. Why are Muslims unable to learn from this but they are running from pillar to post, from Washington to London, to Paris and Riyadh? Indeed an axis of evil if ever there was one. Muslims can forgive their colonial and imperial masters but are harsh with one another. Muslims are encouraged to go to peace processes with enemies who are not Muslims, enemies who are stealing as they are dealing; yet those same Muslims will not sit down with one another. We cannot be the best of people brought forth by Him. We must be less than that.
It is not R2P that will save Syria and the region. On the contrary it will be the return to their own values and doing the hard work of reconciliation. They have to sit down, in the smoke-filled rooms, with mandates from their multiply hostile factions and find solutions. Yes, Syria can be bombed and the resistance might win thereafter but they will have lit a fire of hatred that will burn for a long time. By then the house slave would have been recalled to his Maker. In Rwanda Hutus and Tutsis managed to find one another after a million people were butchered, women and young boys and girls raped and orphaned. We cannot do the same because we take our cue from Riyadh. Takfeer is the obstacle. R2P cannot put out those fires. Perhaps the conflagration will spread and maybe Israel will expel the Palestinian population, as all the states in the region will be either too weak or unwilling to stand up for Palestine. Then the region will be remade in the image of disaster capitalism. Where there is war there is money to be made.
On a passing note many of those who opposed the war on Iraq are today asking for imperial war to be made on Syria. Christopher Hitchens would indeed smile in his “grave”. Yes, 2011 has been a Rubicon for many war activists. They became handmaidens of empire. To those who tried to follow the Takfiri way look at the Taliban project in Afghanistan. It is a mess with or without outside interference. To those who take the “Allahu Ghaayatunaa wal Quranu dustoorunaa, waljihadu sabilunaa” way it is an utter disgrace that you have not learnt from the experience in Egypt. Zionism and imperialism the handmaidens of R2P have never been, not now and never will be your ally. You will always be a field slave. Morsi learnt that lesson the hard way. His comrades are lining up to learn the same stupid lesson. They want to be stung by the same bee twice. They want to live on the plantation. In an environment of manufactured consent R2P is a Trojan horse. The master of ceremonies is a house slave of empire (the 1%).
For now, joining demonstrations and contacting MPs might be useful things to do. We have to hold the government to account. The Prime Minister believes that this is playing with a games console. Politics is a mess often. There are those who believe that we have to join the political parties in order to have influence. For God’s sake you can have no influence politically. This is a con game. This is a circus and you, the Muslim who wants to be a parliamentarian will be a clown without a licence. Go and do grassroots work that builds resilient communities. The only difference is that you will not be paid in this world for trying, at grassroots level, in an extra-parliamentary fashion to make the world a little better. Wars against Muslims and oppressed people are granted legal cover in the House of Shame. Not that Parliament cares about the end-game. The day that the Conservatives and Labour, especially, stand up to the Israeli bombing of Palestinians and work to bring justice to Palestinians that day the House of Shame will be a House of Parliament. If you see something that is wrong change it with your hand, if you cannot do that then speak out, if that is not possible at least hate it in your heart. That however, is the weakest manifestation of the faith (Hadith). Indifference is not an option. To the followers of Christopher Hitchens I say, I thought that selling out to empire was not your thing. But you do like your bread buttered on all sides. You will inherit nothing less than a destroyed Syria. Broken hearts take a long time, if ever, to fix.