A Necessary Mea Culpa

Arab League conference, 1964.
Arab League conference, 1964.

Authoritarianism, sectarianism, corruption, cronyism, lack of interest in developing our societies, beyond the introduction of certain consumerist façades, these things existed long before the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The U.S. invasion of Iraq merely removed a lid on all this. I am not saying no major fuckups were made during the invasion and ensuing occupation, for there were plenty. Still, the idea that we were better off somehow before is a lie we tell ourselves, and others, so that we can continue shirking responsibility for who we are and what we are doing to each other.

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BBC One: UK and the Syrian Refugees

Halla Diyab on BBC One This Week – YouTube.

Bullocks! What cultural shock? Neither British nor Syrian culture is homogenous. There are almost 2.5 million British citizens who believe in the same value system that most Syrian refugees have. They are known as practicing Muslims, and although most of them come from a non-Arab background, there be enough citizens of Arab background, enough Syrian with dual nationality and enough cultural similarities between all practicing Muslims to make most Syrian refugees able to find communities where the cultural shock is manageable for all involved. There is also bound to be a certain social segment among the refugees that will find much comfort in the basic freedoms available to them in British society, and who will seek to maintain cordial human interaction with all around them irrespective of their confessional background. In all cases, and considering that the UK will be admitting a few thousands refugees at most, and that most of them will be busy for years to come trying to make a normal life for themselves in their new country, the possibility for any trouble-making is pretty minimal.

We are in danger of repeating the mistakes that started WWI

Is it 1914 all over again? We are in danger of repeating the mistakes that started WWI, says a leading historian – World Politics – World – The Independent.

Those who study history often reach different conclusions, and that’s why humanity is condemned to repeating it. In a sense, then, we really learn nothing from history except how to repeat it, albeit in a more nuanced and intricate fashion.

Cameron, Clegg and Miliband: fate of Syrian children hangs in the balance

Cameron, Clegg and Miliband: fate of Syrian children hangs in the balance | The Guardian.

This is mere grandstanding. Without peacekeepers on the ground willing to confront both regime and Al-Qaeda militias when necessary, no such access can be provided in most areas where humanitarian assistance is needed. But no one has been willing to volunteer peacekeepers, as no peacekeeping mission is possible without agreement of all sides. In the final analysis, nothing short of decapitating the two-headed monster (Assad and Al-Qaeda) feeding on our children can actually work.