Headlines, History & the Inevitable

Map of the current borders of the ISIS Caliphate.
Map of the current borders of the ISIS Caliphate.

Below are some headlines from the last few days.

Regarding ISIS & its activities in Syria and Iraq

Insight – Purge of minorities re-draws Iraq map
Life in a Jihadist Capital: Order With a Darker Side: In a Syrian City, ISIS Puts Its Vision Into Practice
Expulsion of Christians a ‘crime against humanity,’ Mosul Bishop says
Isis orders all girls and women in Mosul to undergo FGM, UN report says
The Islamic State Isn’t Circumcising Women and Didn’t Steal $400 Million Either
What jihadists are doing in Syria and Iraq while Gaza grabs the headlines
Rise of Islamic State tests Syrian army strategy
Across Multiple Fronts, Syria Records One of Its Deadliest Weeks Ever
Islamic State militants turn conquered Syria/Iraq territories into jihadist tourist paradise

Europe and Syrian Refugees & Jihadis

‘Massacre’ at sea: Italy arrests five over killings of more than 100 on migrant boat
Norway Faces Terror Attack From Group Linked To Extremists In Syria, Officials Warn

The Conflict in Gaza

Blasts Kill 16 Seeking Haven at Gaza School
Gaza: No Safe Place for Civilians
UNRWA condemns placement of rockets, for a second time, in one of its schools
Hamas Al Qassam offices are next to the emergency room at Shifa Hospital
The Dangerous Logic Used to Justify Killing Civilians

The Conflict in East Ukraine

Brits Investigate Assassination of the Spy Who Warned Us About Putin
It’s Time to Assign Blame For Everything Happening in Ukraine

Old Criminals & Connections Resurrected

Igor Strelkov: Key MH17 Crash Suspect Linked to Massacre of 3,000 Bosnian Muslims in 1992

These were not the headlines back in 2011 or 2012. These were not the kind of developments that could take place in the span of few short days back in 2011 and 2012. Some want us to believe that this descent into hell was inevitable. But since no serious effort was undertaken to prevent it, we will never really know.

When people like Jon Stewart and Fareed Zakaria make the argument for throwing our collective hands in the air as we watch all these tragedies unfold around us, just as President Obama himself repeatedly does each time he discusses his foreign policy these days, especially in regard to Syria, they are, in effect, telling so many millions of suffering people all around the world that their lives are not even worth the effort of doing anything beyond providing some blankets and some empty platitudes.

They warn of climate change because they see the interconnectedness of our physical environment, but preach non-engagement in world affairs, at least when the challenges are hard and real, because they fail to see the interconnectedness of our all too human fate.

But no one who wants to make this world a better and safer place, and no one whose main task, the task for which he was elected, is to make sure that progress in this regard is made, should ever believe in impossibles and inevitables, even if he has to work against his own cynicism, even at the risk of appearing foolish at times, and of seeming to contradict himself.

The fight to prevent mayhem and chaos is always worth it, no matter how high the risk of failure happens to be. Indeed, I long held the belief that chaos in our region was inevitable, but, because the fate of so many millions was at stake, and irrespective of my battered belonging and limited abilities, I believed that the fight to prevent it was necessary, and that we are worth it. This is why I became an activist, my introverted tendencies notwithstanding, and I have been living and working in the face of my deep-seated cynicism ever since. And though I have obviously failed, have made many mistakes along the way, created too many controversies, not all necessary or useful, and am riddled with guilt, I can still look myself in the mirror today, because I have tried. I don’t think I would have been able to do so otherwise. For this, the fight was worth it.

But that’s not really a good measure of anything, is it? I bet Assad and Putin can look themselves in the mirror as well. But history will judge them, and I believe that they have done enough for it not to be too kind in its judgment. I, on the other hand, might just be too insignificant to merit History’s judgment. There might be enough kindness in this for me.

A final thought: how can progress ever be made if not by achieving what is said to be impossible and preventing whatever ill deemed inevitable?