Belfast Telegraph

So who are the good guys in the moral minefield of war in Syria?

By Nuala McKeever

So how do we just carry on as normal when the world might be on the brink of another huge war? Ignore the situation? Not watch news or read papers or think about it?

This works for a lot of people. Sometimes it even works for me. But then there comes a time, a situation, a threat, that's just too huge to ignore.

I'm often amazed by how popular books and films in the science/fantasy genre are. All that Lord of the Bores, sorry, Rings, and the Hobbit and all those stories where men (it's almost always men) who are Good, battle with men who are Bad. There's usually a Quest, a difficult Journey and many Trials and Dangers.

What's happening globally regarding Syria is like a real-life fantasy film. And I worry that people brought up on the mindset that lies behind these ultimately simplistic tales of Good Vs Bad, are the ones making decisions about killing even more people.

Pro-action types argue that the time is now, debate is a luxury those poor defenceless Syrians can't afford. It's a moral question.

Well d'uh!

Isn't everything a "moral" question then? As a line from America doing the rounds on Facebook says 'why are we condemning Assad for using chemical weapons on his own people when our government lets companies add chemicals to our foods?'

Can't compare the two? Why not, if we're talking morality here?

Aren't all our actions and those of our governments judgeable on a moral scale?

What are the USA saying? "It's okay for Assad to kill his people, just not with chemical weapons"?

"Well, it's not okay, but we're not going to intervene if he just sticks to bombs and guns and stays away from the nasty chemicals"?

The whole thing is a quagmire of no morality, self-interested agendas and disgusting relativism with seemingly no honest brokers.

Welcome to politics, it seems.

To be fair to the Brits, they did vote against going in. Nice to see democracy working maturely.

But on the global, conceptual, moral stage, the big questions haven't gone away.

The solutions being offered by the US are pathetic. Hit Assad to teach him a lesson. Isn't that like a mother repeatedly smacking her older son on the arm while shouting, "Don't. Hit. Your Wee. Brother!"

Meeting violence and immorality with more of the same? Great. That'll work.

Haven't we learned anything as a species yet? What marks out the "developed" West as superior, if we're still resorting to Epic Movie Blockbuster, "It was a time of EVIL!" responses to other people in the "less developed" world, who are locked in their own struggles?

If you want decent behaviour from others, behave well yourself. BE the Good. That includes admitting your own bad behaviour and asking forgiveness from others. Wouldn't that be a more interesting starting point for debate about Syria? What have all of us done that we could ask forgiveness for? (I could start with "Ending a sentence with a preposition".)

How about asking and listening before telling and attacking?

Belfast Telegraph


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