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Don't Use My Taxes to Kill Syrians. Use Them to Educate Refugee Children

We (the UK and US) are about to start killing Syrians just like we killed Libyans, Iraqis and Afghans in the name of freedom and democracy... Only to end up with a bigger mess of warring tribes than we started with. We need to confront the reason they are killing each other, not perpetuate the hatred.

Why do our press and politicians instantly jump to the conclusion that the only people who were likely to have used chemical weapons were the Syrian army? I believe it's because we still harbour the idea that if 'the people' rise up against their leaders, then we're witnessing democracy in action - and democracy equals freedom of choice... which we support. BUT when 'the people' are religious fundamentalists determined to enforce their brand of delusional beliefs and customs on their neighbourhood, should we really be supporting them? What's the difference between uprisings of these people in our own countries (London 7/7, 9/11, Boston Marathon etc), and uprisings in middle-east countries? Our leaders will argue that uprisings against democratically elected governments and rules of law will out-trump uprisings against dictators and less well-defined legal frameworks. That may be so, but surely we have to accept the principal that where there is no democracy (in our terms) or where the 'rules of law' differ substantially from what we might regard as ethical and just, then uprisings may still be legitimately defined as acts of terror rather than freedom fighting. It's still one bunch of incensed people trying to change the way they're ruled by another bunch of people, equally keen to protect their tribes, neighbourhoods and families from harm.

The reality, of course, is that there isn't a single person holding a gun in Syria at the moment who wants free democratic elections. Every one of them hates the people they're pointing guns at, chemical weapon user or not. Given democratic elections, it becomes a simple numbers game as to who is going to enforce their own brand of delusional nonsense on the whole country... and we only have to watch what happened to Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Tunisia etc to see what happens when culturally obsessed minorities are asked to blithely accept the rule of election winners. Minorities know they'll never win an election, so they don't want democracy. And majorities (if there are clear majorities) don't want minorities diluting their laws and customs. Democracy means compromise. Muslim Botherhoods, for example, (surprise, surprise) don't do compromise. 

In 2003 we used the excuse of WMD to massacre over 100,000 Iraqis as well as thousands of our own troops. As our troops depart a decade later, Iraq is a bloody mess again. In fact it's vastly worse now in terms of bombings than when Saddam brutally kept terrorists at bay. Mosques and markets and schools and hospitals are all being blown up by radical thugs believing their brand of god is telling them not to let someone else's brand of god win. Anything is allowed if god is supporting you. And there's no Saddam around to keep the peace in the only way that terrorists empowered by their god will understand. Upset him and your god can't protect you because Saddam thinks he's protected by the same one. So why wouldn't Salafists backed by Saudi extremists supply their chums in Syria with chemical weapons to drag Putin and Obama into the war? The strategy is simple and they would be pushing against an open door in the West's fanaticism to oust Assad. All they have to do is fire (or just blow up and make it look like a rocket attack) the chemical weapons into their own people... and Allah will treat all believers who die as martyrs... praise be to him.

We must NOT wade in to support crazed religious thugs. The cure for all this madness is education in what's real, not what's imaginary. Teach children not to fear stories created by people's imagination in an age where no other explanations of observed mysteries existed. Bomb Syria with text books, teachers, schools, and hope for their childrens' future, not a continuity of hate and terror based on... nothing real! What Syria needs today is stability - not 'elections' like Egypt. Who is most likely to restore some sort of stability? I'm afraid it's the Syrian army. Like 'em or not, they're the best solution to keep the lid on a madhouse - to allow the rest of the world to eventually (when it's safe) step in to help cure them of their collective madness. Bribe Assad with education.

And where better to start our assault to open the minds of Syrian children but the huge numbers sitting around in refugee camps with nothing better to do with their lives. There are estimated to be around 1 million children currently in these camps which are in the main located in relatively friendly neighbouring countries like Turkey and Jordan. But more importantly, these kids are no longer under the influence of their local mullahs and madrassas. Let's educate them properly. No parent would deny their child the opportunity to attend literacy, mathematics and, more importantly, science classes. It would be confrontational and counter-productive, if not down right dangerous for the teachers, if we blatantly tried to turn them away from generations of brainwashing by religious fanatics. Our ambition should be simply to help them open their own minds. Give them the intellectual power to wonder what are more likely explanations for the world's mysteries - old books that never change, or the world's growing understanding of what makes everything tick... something too few children in poor countries are ever exposed to, and especially the girls. Lets use our troops, if we have to, to protect the education of those children in the refugee camps.

Educating and protecting refugee children would only cost a tiny proportion of what it would take to deploy enough drones, bombers, tanks, warships and whatever to make only a temporary difference before insanity returns. How much more effectively could that money be used to arm children's minds to question the ignorance of their fathers, brothers and uncles who fight to defend versions of antiquated books taught by people who have no understanding of the way the world really works. Let's win the hearts and especially the minds of the millions of refugees now mercifully and opportunely out of the clutches of their tribal leaders. Let's give their children a future together with the skills and open minds to eventually restore sanity to their beleaguered former homeland.

But I fear the West isn't ready to confront the real madness at work here, especially religion-crazed USA. We'll no doubt continue to do what we've always done - use animal instincts rather than reason. With divine guidance driving decision making, we will never learn from our mistakes. So here we are again about to jump out of the frying pan straight into the fire when the cure is to look at the source of the problem, not the unsolvable symptom.


  1. Thank you for eloquently putting what I have thought since the beginning of this conflict. It is rather unfortunate that one of the powers that are likely to participate also count with the backing of a god.

    1. Thanks David. As you can see, I've changed the focus towards a more positive and practical way forward. It would be good to get the message more widely read. Please circulate and retweet.


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