The s(h)ituation in Syria

political cartoon fin

My first attempt at a political cartoon | @HollieBorland

I’ve been struggling to get into words how I feel about what’s been going on in the ‘war on terror’. Sure I’ve written some tweets and perhaps a Facebook status or two but I’ve really struggled to put it down in a way that won’t bore you. I know you’d probably much rather be tuning in to a tasty episode of ‘Simply Nigella’ but please bare with me for five minutes. Or 10. Actually more like 15.

There’s been plenty of times I’ve tried to write, once even on the bike at the gym. Every time I’ve given up. I feel a bit helpless you see.  I tried to write about how the Paris attacks made me feel, about how I worried about my sister living in France at the time, about what it was like going to Paris the weekend after, about how I felt about the UK bombing Syria but it all seemed a bit long and tiresome and quite preachery.*

I’m the daughter of a military man and the sister of a budding humanitarian so airing my views is often greeted with equally strong opinions. I’ve tried to speak about my stand but like many, I’ve been accused of being a terrorist sympathiser. So I’ve resorted to drawing a picture and putting together some bullet points. Sorry about the guff.

Nevertheless, here goes:

  1. At the time of the airstrike debate, France, US and Russia were already bombing Syria. I can’t see what our bombs can do that their’s can’t;
  2. For those saying that we should stand by our allies in these times of need: a) We stood by the US and joined the Iraq War. That’s been so great for us [sarcasm] b) Do you really think that in our hour of need Russia will fight with us? Hmm.. c) There are other ways to show support (see point 4);
  3. The government have said that our bombs have pinpoint accuracy. The debris from explosions caused by said bombs do not;
  4. If the UK technology for war is as advanced as we’re being told, are you telling me that we don’t have the ability to take down ISIS/Daesh’s ways of communication? Perhaps infiltrate the organisation and take them down from the inside? Put boots on the ground? The tragic truth is, we don’t have the troops for this at the moment…
  5. We (the Western world) have proved that we’re pretty good at taking down dictatorship regimes in the Middle-East eg. Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. We SUCK at implementing a stable government in the wake of war. Both Iraq and Libya are still unstable and civilians are still caught in the crossfire. Refugees are still fleeing;
  6. Why is it that our government is so interested in ISIS? What about Boko Haram? They’re an extremist terrorist group based in Nigeria who last year killed more people that ISIS. Is it perhaps because we have no interest in oil there? I don’t know, I’m just speculating;
  7.  To the people who say ‘well, we’re already bombing Iraq, and Syria is just over the border and there’s no point bombing Iraq if we can’t bomb Syria.’ Don’t bomb Iraq or Syria. See points 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9;
  8. If ISIS are such a threat, then stop selling them weapons. Who are the biggest players in the arms industry? The US, Russia, UK and France. Who are bombing Syria? OH… Also, has anyone else noticed that a lot of these terrorists seem to be using KALASHNIKOVS? Now that’s not a very Middle-Eastern name is it? I wonder what country they came from…;
  9. Children left orphaned after Western bombs kill their family are not going to be picked up by the state and put in an orphanage. They’re not going to be saved by the UN. No, they’re most likely going to be taken under the wing of IS and made into child soldiers. The girls will  probably be taken to be sex slaves. If you need any more information of what this means, watch ‘Beasts Of No Nation’ on Netflix. Or read this.
  10. Besides, if your family were killed, you’d want to get revenge on the people who did it wouldn’t you? You’d probably turn to IS to help you to do it. You’ve got nothing to live for now so there are no limits to how far you’re willing to go. Death and mass destruction? No problem.

#JustSayin

Anyway, we’ve dropped bombs. We’ve been doing that since just hours after the government voted to airstrike Syria. Our next move is to deal with it. We can’t undo it so let’s focus on how we can help the people who’s houses we destroyed. Because we can’t sit on our fat arses in the safety of our own homes whilst we fund the mass destruction of homes in a land far away.

Firstly, STOP whining about refugees. Because the more bombs we drop, the more people will flee and seek refuge IN EUROPE, THAT INCLUDES THE UK. Do you see the logic? So let’s give them a home.

It’s the least we can do.

*If you want to hear about that stuff, let me know. It’s kinda interesting.

For further reading:

Follow @WorldWideTribe on Instagram who are currently documenting the stories of refugees across Europe.

View this post on Instagram

WhatsApp-ing to Syria… A few months ago, when I was working in Tovarnik, on the Serbia / Croatia border, I met some incredible Syrian guys, many of whom I've stayed in touch with as they've continued their journeys across Europe. Yesterday one of them told me about his friend who works for the media back home in Syria. He wanted us to connect, as he told me this friend had very important information to pass on to me… We started chatting on Whats-App. He lives in Damascus and is attempting to document the situation there. He sent me pictures he had taken… They made me cry. He told me there was no one left, many of his friends, his brother, so many innocent people cruelly taken from him, and the others had fled before their lives were taken too. What do you say to someone who is sending you pictures he has personally taken of children buried by rubble? Of a plane that drops bombs on his home on a daily basis, the bombs visibly falling in the shot. This Whats-Aap conversation looked strange between other chats with my friends about the weekend and Christmas. The images shocked me each time I found them in my camera roll. I just can’t get my head around the fact that this is happening now… This isn’t something I’ve seen in a film or read in a history book. It’s not like the Holocaust or concentration camps, things I look back on in horror and disbelief that they ever really happened, that normal people actually allowed them to. This is happening right now. We’re those normal people… You can see the other pictures he sent me and the whatsApp conversation on the most recent post on our facebook page. | #theworldwidetribe

A post shared by Jaz O'Hara | Worldwide Tribe (@theworldwidetribe) on

As always, follow Humans of New York on Facebook and @HONY on Twitter and Instagram. Brandon Stanton’s current project is documenting the refugees who have been accepted into the US. To see how messed up the selection process is, watch this brief interview.

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