by Alex Symington…….
I don’t want to write about the Paris attacks, but I feel compelled because, like effective therapy, writing and talking about a horror make it real and once made real it can be exorcised.
Upon learning the identity of those responsible for these vile murders, as if on cue, France’s President Hollande vowed “to retaliate with a pitiless war on the terrorists.” Really? Just what has the West been doing up to this point in time? Baking cakes and sending flowers? Can we, for once, try a different approach? We kill them, they kill us…This is an eternal dance.
Nicolas Henin, author of Jihad Academy, The Rise of Islamic State, was held hostage by ISIS for ten months in Syria. He learned that the Islamic State longs to provoke retaliation. “We should not fall into the trap.” He asks the questions, “While we are trying to destroy Isis, what of the 500,000 civilians still living and trapped in Raqqa? What of their safety? What of the very real prospect that by failing to think this through, we turn many of them into extremists? The priority must be to protect these people, not to take more bombs to Syria.”
Maybe if our Western “leaders” cracked opened a history book they would see they just keep making the same hubristic mistakes, over and over again. Remember “Mission Accomplished?” The arrogance was stupefying! 1.2 million Iraqi dead as a result and it is not hard to see why the West is hated.
A terrorist criminal check list might look like this:
1. Murder people indiscriminately, check!
2. Leader of murdered victims vows retaliation where more innocents will die, check!
3. More innocents being killed by Westerners creates more sympathy for the terrorists, check!
Bonus: Local reactionary vigilantes harass, vandalize and/or kill innocent local Muslims, thereby creating more local radicalized Muslims, check!
Like a puppet on a string, Hollande does the bidding of a handful of monsters and like the US and the UK completely ignores those who bankroll these charming individuals. Well, surprise surprise, it is none other than our dear friends, the Saudis! Remember our favorite Saudi, Osama bin Laden? I sure do. Maybe I’m just not sophisticated enough to understand the intricacies and subtle nuances of the US/Saudi-Hooker/Pimp relationship we have or is it Dope Fiend/Dealer? Either way, the reality is we are in league with a government that publicly chops off heads as a punishment for adultery and has institutionalized misogyny while funding the likes of ISIS and al Qaeda who really really don’t like you and me. Most recently as of last Tuesday the US state department has approved the sale of $1.3bn of bombs to Saudi Arabia. I guess our Imperial/Corporate/Military/Industrial ghouls need the money, but I have to wonder who will be on the receiving end of these bombs.
On history…Remember when the Middle East was arbitrarily cut up like a slab of baklava during WW1? No? Don’t feel bad, it would seem neither do our “leaders.” In 1916 the British and French took it upon themselves to draw imaginary lines in the sand and divvy up the Middle East between them. In essence colonizing regions of highly complex religious, cultural and tribal differences and lumping them together for the convenience of shared exploitation. What had taken thousands of years to form organically was shattered overnight by the thoughtless blind greed of the West.
The sins of the grandfathers and fathers have come back to haunt us in the form of ISIS. This “Party of Death” as historian Simon Schama calls them is the result of Western meddling over the last hundred years and most recently with the US led Bush/Cheney invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan that continues under Barack Obama and, to listen to the Republican candidates for POTUS, to be continued and expanded upon by them, if given the opportunity. We haven’t learned a damned thing, have we? Nothing in this world, good or evil, comes about in a vacuum.
In an article by John B. Judis in The New Republic , he has gone to the source. “The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) publishes a weekly webzine, The Islamic State Report. The latest issue is headlined “Smashing the Borders of the Tawaghit.” (“Tawaghit” are non-Muslim creations.) ISIS, citing the Sykes-Picot Treaty of 1916 between the British and French, boasts that it is destroying the “partitioning of Muslim lands by crusader powers.”
Judis writes about the significant historic events that formed the present day Middle East and quotes The Islamic State Report article that details the meddling of the West in the region with annoying accuracy. Shooting the messenger might make some feel very good in this case, but that would not negate the facts or the history.
Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK said, “It is important to condemn the specific terrorist murders in France, but that is not enough. The U.S. government must break with the intolerant and murderous monarchy out of which al-Qaeda and ISIS have spawned. And we call on all groups that take Saudi money—from think tanks to universities to NGOs to PR firms—to stop accepting Saudi funds. Breaking with the Saudi regime is one concrete, non-violent act we can take to stop the spread of extremism and make the world a safer place.”
We in the West are way past due for some serious collective introspection. Hard questions need to be asked and past behavior revisited and examined closely. We need to be smarter than terror. We need to change from a culture of the knee-jerk to enlightenment and imagination if we are ever to evolve and climb out of our primordial quagmire. A good place to start would be by divorcing ourselves from the likes of Saudi Arabia and other “friends” financing radical Islam and promoting senseless death to anyone that doesn’t hold with their particular brand of theocracy. These people are not our friends. We’ve made sure of that.
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