Syria: How Could It Come to This?

Attribution: Source: Own work - Author: Ggia - From Wikimedia Commons

When did the United Kingdom, the United States and France decide they had moral pre-eminence? Growing racial tensions from deep-rooted imperialism and a current political system which can often be deemed contradictory are exemplified by bombing Syria. We cannot take the position of leaders of the benevolent West if we refuse to accept more refugees.

It is a vicious cycle. Syria has been torn apart by war, with civilians paying the price and left in its destruction. Images of dead children on beaches flood Twitter, with many people in the Western world asking, “How could we let this happen?” It is not a question of consent but intent. We didn’t let this happen; we made this happen. The United Kingdom’s insistence on intervening in what – from the point of view of Europe but not elsewhere – is the Middle East has heightened tensions and divisiveness. The supposed implementation of democracies like Iraq is supported by false accusations such as “weapons of mass destruction”. We still live in this kind of media reporting, except now we have a name for it – fake news.

As we are continually distracted by Brexit and diplomacy via Twitter, it is important to keep in mind the plight of millions of refugees internationally. Adding to the established violence is the kind of political development that hinders our compassion. Closing our borders, isolating ourselves and believing in the existence of the ‘other’ allows us to close our eyes. We criticise and then we forget. We continually forget. Discussion, debate and compromise is where we find our answer. It can feel like an endless pursuit but is no more reckless than endangering further lives. War can act as a catalyst to maintaining the status quo. Is this a world we want to maintain? Conversation opens up new and invigorating futures.

Quite simply, we have a responsibility now more than ever to help refugees. We cannot walk blindly into an Orwellian future. War is not peace; it is death and destruction and can cause devastating effects on our own democracy for many generations. Whilst it’s somewhat ironic to quote Churchill at the end of this piece, he summarised the pursuit of politics succinctly: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried.” If the West must lead, let it be as an example of pacifism and compassion.

Catherine McNaughton

Global Seven News

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