Bearing the Blame for an Illeagle War!

Bearing the Blame for an Illeagle War! by Alan B. Nagy

After days of intense Syria Peace talks between Russia and the U.S. during the 2016 United Nations General Assembly, all hopes for a lasting cease-fire in Syria were dashed after a deadly attack on a UN aid convoy near the Syrian city of Aleppo killed 20 civilians, an aid worker and destroyed 18 trucks. To date, no-one knows for sure who is behind this attack; but there’s no shortage of accusations between the usual suspects. Shortly before the UN convoy incident, the U.S. admitted it had accidentally killed 62 Syrian soldiers, sparking a furious row between the U.S. and Russian ambassadors to the UN outside an emergency Security Council meeting. The U.S. later acknowledged having carried out the strikes, saying it was targeting ISIS militants but instead mistakenly hit Syrian troops. These two unfortunate events were followed by the resumption of a new Syrian government offensive in rebel-held eastern Aleppo, which means more devastation on helpless children and civilians.

syria -mapSo every day will bring more news of war, death and destruction; every week will expose more broken truces and backroom deals between rebels and power brokers; every month will see more images of dead children, and the dispossessed fleeing bombed out homes and a devastated homeland; and every year will go by, as we sit silent and helpless to all of what is happening, to the eradication of an entire nation, those “others,” wondering when this terrible war will ever end, until the next one erupts elsewhere in that hell-hole called the Middle-East.

And there’s so much hypocrisy and duplicity from all parties in this conflict who spend significant effort campaigning to prove their crusades are justified. No one is blameless, and everyone is responsible; albeit some bear more responsibility than others.It is no exaggeration to say that Syria holds the key for nearly all of America’s foreign policy goals in the Middle East. As Syria goes, so goes the region,” says Reza Aslan, a best-selling author and political commentator.

Not a Black and White problem, but 15 shades of Grey

When the Rich Wage War, It's the Poor Who Die! - Jean-Paul Sartre

The fundamental problem is that everyone sees this war in black and white terms, but it is not, by any stretch of the imagination. It’s more like a 15 shades of grey conflict, that’s how I see it, and that’s how we should all.

A Black and white world degrades every conflict into a bitterly antagonistic “Us vs. Them” animosity and hatred. Syrian army vs. Rebels, Russia vs. America, Iran vs. Saudi Arabia, Infidels vs. terrorists, Good vs. Evil, God vs. Satan. Seen in such stark terms, it’s no wonder today’s conflicts last much longer than wars in the past. Everyone is convinced they’re on the good side, so there’s no willingness to back down, no desire to negotiate, and no incentive for any resolution.

And as long as we continue to treat this conflict in black and white terms, and with such belligerence, Syrian children will continue to suffer and die, and the West will continue to be terrified by the blowback from terrorists bent on revenge, who blame the West for the chaos, and not those scumbag warmongers on both sides who are profiting handsomely from a protracted war.

Good and Evil up the Yin Yang

The concept of Good and Evil articulated in the mystical offshoots of the three Abrahamic religions; namely the Kabbalah, Sufism and Gnosticism is remarkably different from the concept of Good and Evil promulgated in mainstream religions. Mystical traditions mirror the eastern principle of the Yin and Yang, which adopts the notion that Good and Evil may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent (15 shades of Grey); while the mainstream Christian, Islamic and Judaic interpretations favor the notion that evil is usually perceived as the dualistic antagonistic opposite of good, in which good should prevail and evil should be defeated (Black & White.)

The Yin and Yang symbolize the fact that there’s a universal balance between all opposites. Poor and rich, dark and light, and so on. Good and evil are called into existence when some Yin or Yang is forcefully impeded to evolve into its opposite. The main spiritual realisation the symbol of Yin and Yang offers is of course the idea that one should not get attached to one of the two, because there is a Yin and Yang side to everything and they always need each other. What the Yin and Yang symbol has taught us for centuries is that things change and people are different. We should let them change and let them be different. For that’s exactly what creates the dynamics called ‘life’. It makes you quite a lot happier to just accept it and to adapt to the flow of Yin and Yang. 1

The Yin and Yang symbolize the fact that there’s a universal balance between all opposites. Poor and rich, dark and light, and so on. Good and evil are called into existence when some Yin or Yang is forcefully impeded to evolve into its opposite. Artwork by Alan B. Nagy

The concept of Good and Evil evolved into Judaism during a tumultuous period in Israel’s existence? This theological construct was heavily influenced by what was happening to Jews on the ground politically, economically and religiously. That’s where the idea of the “War of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness” was first articulated. It was Israel’s way of dealing philosophically with all the inequities inflicted on its subjugated people.

So when this concept was commandeered by religious fundamentalists in the modern era, it became the justification for their fanatical extremism and the basis for “cosmic end-of-time apocalyptic” ideology. In the political arena, this concept was appropriated to justify the perpetual war on terror and the unending animosity between the good “Us” and the bad “Them.” At its core, it’s a blatant justification to repudiate a whole religion and entire demographic, those “others”, regardless of how flagrant and baseless those labels are?

This same dichotomy plays itself out in the New Testament, which presents us with two visions for the coming world; an ‘Apocalyptic’ (Good & Evil / end-of-time) scenario and a ‘Sapiential’ one (relating to wisdom / Shades of Grey.) Even though Jesus launches his ministry as a ‘Zealot’ for change; “Do not assume that I have come to bring peace to the earth,” he later espouses the Sapiential position in his parables to elaborate on his views about the coming of the “Kingdom of God on Earth.”

Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Clockwise from Top: Image of 5-year-old wounded Omran Daqneesh (left) and his sister following airstrikes in Syria. Credit: Mahmud Rslan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images – Rescue workers in the aftermath of an attack in eastern Aleppo. Credit: Ameer Alhalbi/AFP/Getty Images – Syrian refugees arrive from Turkey on boat through sea with cold water near Molyvos, Lesbos on an overload dinghy. Credit: Nicolas Economou/Shutterstock.com

But after Jesus’s death, the ‘Apocalyptic’ vision won out as the preferred narrative for the editors of the Gospel of John, possibly inspired by contemporary events such as the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple. It is this vision (and its Islamic counterpart) that has been adopted by all religious and political Fundamentalists. It’s a vision that prefers a narrative of confrontation rather than of discourse, death and destruction instead of peace and co-existence.

There has never been a more pressing need than to re-integrate the Yin and Yang model of open-mindedness back into our political and religious dialogue? Advancing tolerance and understanding as a basis in which to engage our opponents, a last ditch effort to reverse our march towards the self-fulfilling prophecy of mutually assured destruction on a global scale?

Culprits are evading blame while Syrian refugees are vilified and treated as poisonous skittles.

Any conversation that’s going on right now about war in the Middle-East and about our forces overseas is more oversimplified than ever, and the first thing we need to do as individuals is to see right through the mainstream media’s massive propaganda apparatus. Journalism’s ideal of veracity has eroded thanks to the high profile manipulation of facts that afflict the press.

“The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. The object is not victory…. but to keep the very structure of society intact.” – George Orwell, 1984

I am so sick of all the brainwashing and indoctrination and this exposé is my way of apologizing for the West’s collective inaction, for condoning the aggression against those “others”, those poor, those weak, those helpless Syrian children who are caught in the crossfire. What if they were our children? Would that makes us more compassionate to their plight? It’s not that empathy is lacking, for people are inherently kind-hearted but we are easily manipulated by all the falsehoods perpetrated by mass media and those in power, conditioning us to feel anger and resentment towards those “others.” We need to expose those lies when we see them, so thank goodness for the Internet. One small step with a computer mouse for truth seekers is one giant leap for exposing mass media’s lies and deceit. I cannot imagine our world without it!

It’s time to turn off your T.V. and do your own research if you are curious about what is happening on our planet. It’s time to wake up.

As Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels once explained: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

We need to start urging our family and friends to start filtering out all the hate and disinformation from mainstream media. News should inform of us of the human condition, and should ideally strike a chord of empathy within us. Instead news divides us and makes it easy for people in power to rule over us by manipulating the news to suit their corporate agendas. News stories are manufactured by a cabal of private interests who amass a great deal of power and wealth by convincing the rest of us that our enemies are always out to get us.

So it is that when our guards are down, when we’re programmed to fear those “others”, our foes, that we react by tossing our empathy aside, by becoming desensitized to the plight of “others”, disengaged and complicit in our silence. The result is that in the USA, after decades of prolonged conflict, the population is largely desensitized to war and often ignorant of its current manifestations.

Go outside your Comfort Zone and get acquainted with an “other,” a Muslim or an Arab.

We also need to go out and meet those “others” and listen to their story; offer them the benefit of sharing their humanity with us, and show us that they too have feelings of love and friendship. While it’s easy to dismiss our enemy as evil, hearing them out on their many concerns and arguments however complicated is what honest brokers must work with.

We also need to Boycott Divest and Sanction all industries, corporations and institutions that profit directly or indirectly from the war industry. Boycott Divest and Sanction those companies that advertise their products and services in any networks before and after “warmongering” segments or programs are aired, so that they would desist from advertising during such programs or events. Join or create a peace-promoting coalition of consumers against war and let your dollars do the talking and your actions do the walking. So you can sleep in peace at night knowing that whatever small steps you take will help in however small a way to turn the tide against war and aggression at home and abroad.

War is a Racket!

Robert F. Kennedy

In Tikkun Daily, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. writes, “America’s founding fathers warned Americans against standing armies, foreign entanglements and going abroad in search of monsters to destroy. Those wise men understood that imperialism abroad is incompatible with democracy and civil rights at home. They wanted America to be a “city on a hill” — a model of democracy for the rest of the world.”

RFK continues, “Over the past seven decades, the neocons and their ilk have hijacked the fundamental principle of American idealism and deployed our military and intelligence apparatus to serve the mercantile interests of large corporations and particularly, the petroleum companies and military contractors who have literally made a killing from these conflicts. It’s time for Americans to turn America away from this new imperialism and back to the path of idealism and democracy. We should let the Arabs govern Arabia and turn our energies to the great endeavor of nation building at home. We need to begin this process, not by invading Syria, but by ending our ruinous addiction to oil.”

“It is said, a commander’s loyalty must lie with the king, and the king must follow his subjects. The people build a nation. Only then can a king exist.” – Korean proverb

Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Rep. Barbara Lee is the most progressive person in Congress; she was the only person, out of 535 people, to vote against the Authorization for Use of Military Force that gave Bush the green light to go into Afghanistan. Congresswoman Lee has these sobering words to say, “People have accepted the state of war against Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria as the norm. And that’s a very tragic and dangerous place to be. This is the new norm, being in a perpetual state of war.” When asked by Salon’s Daniel Denvir; “What would you say to Sanders supporters about the work ahead, especially young people who are getting involved with politics for their first time, and this is their first big, political defeat that they’ve experienced and are upset?”

Our Future Hope is in Our Engaged Youth

Barbara Lee’s answer was, “I would say that it was not a defeat. When you look at the platform and the influence that young people made, and the Sanders voters, 13 million plus voters, it was a major victory. If you really want to change the country and make things better for people, then you’ve got to register; you’ve got to vote for those candidates. And knowing and recognizing nothing’s perfect and you’re not going to get 100 percent. So that doesn’t mean you don’t get involved and push the envelope and stand for what you believe in and be a voice for people who have been marginalized. And be a voice for your points of views and where you think the country should go. So I think it was a big win, what these voters did.”

Left: A picture of the letter written by Alex, an American 6 year-old offering to take in 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh, (pictured above with his sister in an ambulance.) The letter asks President Obama: “Remember the boy who was picked up by the ambulance in Syria? Can you please go get him and bring him to my home?” Credit: the White House. – Right: A haunting and heartbreaking picture drawn by a Syrian child. Credit: Zaher Sahloul

Let’s to Stop The Madness

With no change on the horizon, it seems likely that President Obama’s successor will be inheriting yet another bloody war that relies on enormous tax payer expenditures for minimal gains and maximum corporate profit. A five year old civil war that has killed as many as a half-million people, contributed to Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II and has brought America and Russia so ever close to what could end up to be an apocalyptic military confrontation.

For Goodness sake and for the sake of these poor Syrian children and all the children of the world, let’s hope that the next U.S. administration will help to steer us from what increasingly looks like a civilization-ending path towards “World War Three.”

I would like to finish this article on a good and positive note with a quote for all those progressive young kids and Millennials who still believe that change can happen; “Though anger seems a pessimistic response to a situation, it is at root a symptom of hope: the hope that the world can be better than it is.” – Alain de Botton

Bloody map of Syria: Credit: RAJ Source/islamic-quotes.com
Flag on the left: Syrian Arab Republic, National flag and ensign.
Flag on the right: Syrian National Coalition/Interim Government

1 The Yin and Yang of Good and Evil

Leave a Reply