I can’t let the recent Paris and Belgian terror attacks pass without making some comment.
The seed of French difficulty lies in the Sykes-Pichot agreement after the Great War, when Britain and France carved up the Levant between them. France took possession of Lebanon and Syria.
Under Turkish Ottoman rule the middle east was stable. Perhaps not exactly happy, but stable and mostly content.
Since Western powers took control of the Levant the Middle East has been a disaster. At what stage do Western “Powers” hold up their hands and admit they are unable to achieve anything positive in the region?
Hate causes many problems, but it solves none. The French solution to the Paris attacks is yet another bombing campaign. Do they expect that to succeed in stabilizing the region? Truth is bombing campaigns are a short term solution. Politicians thrive on short term solutions. The voting public has no patience for long slow strategies that eventually deliver the desired results.
We, the voters in the democracies of the West are individually and personally responsible for what is happening in Syria. We have caused the misery and conflict that has fostered the rise of terrorism. We have raped these countries of their resources. We heat our homes and fuel our cars with their oil.
Do you want to feel safe from terrorism? What do you believe will “cure” terrorism?
Option 1: Attacking Syrians and making them poorer, more fearful, killing their children, razing their homes and driving them into refugee camps, or
Option 2: Rebuilding the Syrian nation, making the economy prosper, raising the standard of living, rehousing the population, building schools and libraries. Western nations actively buying up the products of Syrian production including their agricultural produce and their industrial output.
Option 1 involves spending a lot of Western money on bombs and missiles which we drop on Syria. This is good for weapons manufacturers. They are lobbying for this option by paying lots of money to the “right” political candidates. It is also good for the rich capitalists who hold shares in the weapons companies. In Syria it creates a new generation of ‘terrorists’.
Option 2 involves spending Western money too. But it is actually a whole lot cheaper than option 1. Unfortunately it delivers no value to the companies who make weapons. The rich shareholders of the weapons companies see no return. The money is just ‘wasted’ on a lot of poor Arabs.
People who have jobs, who own their own homes, who have food on the table and who can envisage a future for themselves and their families, those people are not terrorists. Terrorists are not born, they are created. We create them when we take their homes, their food, their lives. If you want to recruit terrorists I suggest you look in a refugee camp.
In the next election, when the candidates come knocking on your door, ask them how they are going to make you safe from terrorism. Ask them will they choose Option 1 or Option 2. Let’s take another road.
Paris Winter; by Howard Altmann
That we can breathe and not forget
our dreams entirely. In the cold sun
the warmth of timelessness. There is
panic, rest assured, so much beauty
stirring, I want to touch all that
contains me. We know the questions
and the light shifts without a word.
In the clouds, a philosopher’s chair
rocks. In the riverbed, the buff
and lathe of stones, change glistening
past. And from the afternoon, drops
of her monthly blood drip down
the stairs, the kitchen table, all of her
unopened bills, a cold floor that timed
us. O, the ins and outs of memory
breathe, too, images at rest in the dark
chambers, the gilded daylight whir
a heart’s dusting—one walkup,
one post storm quiet blinking at
infinity. Who shot the moon
and claimed victory in the morning?
The constellations touch down;
the years collapse; the boom
and bust of love lowers the crane
at dawn: in what earth, in what sky
will the soul find its keeper?