According to the actions (or inactions) of some European nations, one could easily assume that Syrians are less than human. True, throngs of Syrians are flocking across Europe – some with reckless abandon – but with good cause. Which is, the right to exist. The harrowing refugee narrative has the polarising force to beg the abhorrent question: Do Syrians have the right to exist? That we must ask such a question is bad enough. That some of us forget that Syrians are human is perhaps worse.
Is Syria so different than other Middle Eastern and Gulf regional states? If you think the GCC is nothing more than a US/British protectorate governed by dictators, then you would be right. That the rest of the Middle East – excluding Lebanon – is an authoritarian haven rife in tyranny and oppression has long been verified by decades of unmistakable facts on the ground. Recent years have seen a shift in totalitarian behaviour – Tunisia and, to a lesser extent, Algeria - come to mind, but don’t think “peaceful protests” is an easy endeavour in the Arab/Islamic world.
The geographical state of Syria today is a by-product of a French-mandate post WWI. Despite gaining independence in 1945 as a parliamentary republic, Syria has always been surrounded by the stench of dictatorship and so, accordingly, followed suit. I often then wonder why Syria is prohibited from being a dictatorship while everyone else is given a pass!
Does Syria cow-tow to western foreign policy? No. Do Western military bases/installations dot its land? No. Are its oil and gas reserves given to and sold cheaply to the west? No. So not being a western lackey has its perks and, unfortunately, its pitfalls (Just ask Iran). The entire Middle East – to varying degrees – was redrawn by the French, British and American governments in order to act as satellite states to serve their plutocratic interests – but not Syria!
I recall opening my ancient history textbook in grade 11 for the first time and reading about the Sumerians and Mesopotamians. I know the Sumerians have all but vanished but what about the Mesopotamians? Just ask the British. Iraq is the recently renovated and refurbished version of Mesopotamia, spawned by British and American interests and later catapulted into a colossal dictatorship whose prime engine was no other than the western-backed Saddam Hussein.
So what’s the point of highlighting western meddling in installing autocratic dictators throughout the middle east and gulf region in order to extract resources and install military bases to maintain a “manifest destiny” whose only adherents are a unique brand of apocalyptic acolytes? Amongst other obvious reasons, it’s A-OK (predominantly) for the US of A to install the best of the best autocratic despot if only they are willing to jump off a cliff, no matter how high!
In which case Saudi Arabia shoots to first place like a rocket! That leviathan of public beheadings, that misanthropic misogynist of women’s existence, has – with American collusion and its polarising media – taken the moral high ground. So much so that it has the indignantly righteous audacity to tell the world how lost and wayward Syria is and how only the “kingdom” can steer it correctly onto the course of peace and prosperity! The irony, of course, is insufferable – made worse by the fact a Saudi was recently appointed to head a key UN human rights panel!
So yes, of course, Syrians have the right to exist. But they do not require the vetting and approval of the USA (The United States of Arabia) in order to claim that right. Does Syria need to change politically? Yes. We have established the fact the geopolitical stripes of the Syrian government is a by-product of western intervention and its bloodthirsty lust for bloodthirsty tyrants acting as western plutocratic agents over the last century. Do we want a Saudi-like government in place of Assad? If you answer yes to this question, then maybe humanity has no future.