Dear Governments of the Allied West (or something),
You make an appeal today to our conscience; that we should support your knee-jerk intervention in Syria out of compassion for these distant strangers. That to fail to do so is to fail our shared humanity -to prove ourselves uncaring.
But this is an unfair choice. It is not us who fail to care enough. It is you.
If you really cared, you would have intervened two years ago, when Bashar al-Assad first started releasing his armed men, and forced legitimate protest to turn to blood.
You would have set up no-fly zones and civilian safe havens, and channeled the rebellion’s energy into building the future of their country, rather than defending its crumbling outposts.
You would have had the decency not to wait until intervention became affixed with the sexy and mysterious ‘chemical weapons’ punchline.
You would have prevented the predictable pattern of needless suffering, radicalisation, fragmentation and despair, because you’ve been there before, and you have learned to know better. You would have remembered Iraq, and Afghanistan, and all those other countries where you felt compelled to muddle, always callously and always too late, out of a sense of all-knowing imperial righteousness.
If you really cared, you would have listened to those voices that had knowledge but not power, and followed their recommendations.
You would have had the humility to admit to past mistakes before loudly barging into Afghanistan. You would have mindfully borne the responsibility of funding the mujahideen; you wouldn’t have installed warlords in offices of power.
You would have done more, and better, for Lybia. You would have dropped one of your two-faces in the one-handed support of the Arab Spring and the one-wallet support of the oil-sizzling governments of Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar. Governments that employ slaves, restrain women, stifle thought and speech.
You would extend your caring to the Palestinians, and see how caring for all equally might contribute more to the safety of the poorly-designed country that is Israel than whatever it is you are doing now.
And then, two years ago, you would have supported Syrians. Even if it wouldn’t have been profitable.
If you really cared, you would have given us more and better choices, sooner.
You wouldn’t ask us to kill or to let die, in Syria, and everywhere.
You wouldn’t make political calls; you would make the right ones.
No longer yours, but truly,
Over 100’000 deaths by UN estimates (source); over 5.1m internally displaced people and over 2m refugees (source)
For background and reports on the Syrian civil war: Human Rights Watch and International Crisis Group
To find out more about various relief initiatives, visit reliefweb and OCHA
Written by MAL
(1) Barack Obama and David Cameron on the Truman Balcony
By Chuck Kennedy [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
(2) The Syrian independence flagSyria,