Last night, the ‘elected’ representatives of my country voted to approve further military action against your country and, by extension, your people. Some of you will die in these strikes, if not in Russia’s strikes, or France’s strikes, or Germany’s strikes, or Israel’s strikes, or America’s strikes, or Assad’s strikes, or Daesh’s strikes. Our leaders have apparently never heard of the phrase “too many cooks spoil the broth” as we add more munitions to a conflict teeming already with them.
I cannot begin to imagine the level of suffering being put upon you from all sides. You are truly a besieged people and I sincerely hope one day that the violence will end and you can return to statehood. I have read about the brutality of the Assad regime, I have watched the execution tapes from Daesh, and I have heard about the war crimes committed by the Free Syrian Army. It seems like nobody has your best interests at heart, nor will they ever, and it looks like no matter which way this civil war ends, you will not get the resolution you truly deserve, nor will the next country to be subject to such violence. But living in the UK I cannot fully understand the extent of your suffering, and will not pretend to.
This is less of an open letter and more of an open apology. It’s bad enough that we couldn’t prevent the bloodshed in the first place, but that the men and women who supposedly represent my views in Parliament have approved more bloodshed sickens me to the core. Negligence in the face of civil war is a crime – participating in a civil war is a far worse crime. We still seem to live in a world dominated by the U.S., and the puppet regime we call a government in Britain is still willing to be a vassal state in the American Empire, the empire that destabilized your country in the first place. For our complicity in destroying your country, I am sorry.
It is shameful that we managed to make this whole mess about us and our needs too. In the run up to this sham of a vote, British newspapers were not filled with the testimonies of Syrian refugees, nor the pleas of the international community. Instead, they were filled with tabloid-esque gossip stories about splits within the Labour Party, and attack pieces against it’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who was denounced as a pacifist and a chicken for refusing to condemn your children to death. Similarly, news stories after the vote were “Labour this” and “Hillary Benn that“. It appears that British arrogance knows no heights, to the point where a devastating civil war becomes a story for bitchy Tory voters to snicker at. For our narcissism, I am sorry.
That’s not to mention the reaction to your suffering across Europe in general. Of course, when the refugee crisis began, the news was filled of tales about knife-wielding rapist “migrants” hiding in Europe and trying to take advantage of our welfare states, as if the civil war was actually a big conspiracy by the Arab League to steal taxpayers’ money. It is well-documented that Europe’s political elite is filled with Islamophobic conspiracy theorists who treat refugees like criminals-in-waiting, as a threat to “Western civilization” that must be treated like the common cold. UKIP leader Nigel Farage was a consistently vile voice on our television screens, and appeared on ‘impartial’ news programmes regularly to warn us about the dangers you and your children pose. To think we actually had a serious and balanced debate about this issue is to be deluded. For our ignorance, I am sorry.
Not even the heartbreaking image of Alan Kurdi lying dead on a beach was enough to move most of us away from war and into diplomacy. He, too, was treated to front page treatment only to boost sales and raise questions about the Labour Party’s leadership skills. Our Prime Minister only decided to allow some of you to live in the UK after enormous political pressure made it impossible not to, but he seems to have gotten off scot-free, and all the focus is on the Labour Party. Not on you, not on your suffering, not on the people responsible for the violence, but on a political party half a world away. You could quite literally be driven into the sea by Assad or Daesh, and we would make it about Jeremy Corbyn. For our callousness, I am sorry.
Finally, nobody seems to have remotely considered how these strikes will affect your country and your region in the long run. In October, our Prime Minister stated that Russia’s bombing campaigns in your country would lead to “further radicalization and increased terrorism”. Why? Because bombing for peace is an oxymoron, which leads to greater destabilization and drives people into the hands of vile groups that attack civilians. Al Qaeda arose because of the U.S. destabilization of Afghanistan in the 1980’s. Daesh arose because of the U.S.-led destabilization of Iraq in the 2000’s, another death campaign we were a part of. How great that the PM recognized this right? Wrong. Magically, Cameron and nearly 400 of our MP’s now agree that British bombs will resolve the conflict. Russian bombs bad, British bombs good. They must have some special sensor that avoids civilians or something. For our willingness to accept propaganda, I am sorry.
I will finish by saying that I absolutely stand in solidarity with your needs and wishes, and I pray every day for the release of your country from this devastation. But prayers don’t put food in children’s mouths, so I will continue to write to my MP and urge him to investigate the disgraceful results of the vote (I doubt much will come of it – he voted for the measure too), and to urge him to hold the government to account when their “collateral damage” air strikes kill your children. I will also urge friends and neighbours to donate to organizations which are trying to alleviate your suffering. For my powerlessness, I am sorry.
One day, I hope your region is free from the threat of our bombs.