Quarantine the Middle East – NYTimes.com.
What a fucking brilliant idea! Give this man a Nobel. Heavens know it’s reserved for good intentions these days. Let’s indeed quarantine the Middle East. This is sooooo doable. All we have to do is forget that it exists, then, let the TSA increase security inspection in our airports, because we don’t have enough of them already, and the overall economic impact of the delays on global economy is still negligible: just a few billion dollars a year.
Furthermore, let the NSA spy on more and more private citizens, let our legislators issue more laws like the Patriot Act, let our executive branch run more illegal prisons like Guantanamo, and/or increase cooperation with those governments willing to do so on our behalf, let our intelligence services run more subversive activities across the world, and let our drones take out enemies and incur collateral damage that is more than enough to compensate our enemies for their losses; indeed, let’s further erode our civil liberties and sow more seeds for future calamities, because, that, I guarantee you, is sooooo doable, and it’s already happening. Its’ the natural price we pay for thinking we can somehow quarantine a vast region in the middle of this world as if it were populated by some sort of uncontacted tribes.
This reasoning is exactly what allowed for the chaos in the Middle East to unfold at this stage. For experts and policymakers to use the disasters produced by their indecision and inaction to justify further indecision and inaction is macabre to say the least. Yes, the situation in Syria and Iraq in particular has become too difficult to manage, but it’s begs to be managed, not to safeguard borders and regimes, but to ensure the wellbeing of millions of people whose lives and homes have been devastated and whose aspirations for freedom and dignity have been dashed.
If nothing is done to stop the hemorrhage now and ensure some measure of justice, millions of kids will grow up radicalized, disinherited and angry at the world that let them down. Who could really blame them, and what would the point of it be anyway, if some of them ended up blowing themselves up just for the sake of spreading suffering and mayhem?
Why do terrorists not care about the innocence of the people they kill? Because they grew up in a world that cared little about their innocence. To be more precise, the terrorists themselves as individuals may not have been harmed as a result of their political stands, public activities or particular religious or national background, but they often come from cultures, or become sympathetic to cultures, where so much suffering has been inflicted by certain parties and was met with indifference and hypocrisy on the international level. So long as mass suffering and systematic abuses of human rights keep taking place, there will be terrorism, even if the terrorists had their own (additional) set of motives.
As such, it’s not enough to condemn terrorism and the terrorists; we should also condemn the indifference, the policies and the realities that bred them, and should own up to our failures and our guilt in this regard.
We cannot quarantine any region anymore, nor fence ourselves off. This thinking will continue to produce one disaster after another, until we put it behind us, and begin thinking in terms of our collective responsibility to each other, and the long term impact of our policies on our wellbeing as a whole. This applies to current developments in Gaza, as well as to global attitude towards the unfolding mayhem in Syria and Iraq.