Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The anti-Jihad narrative

The Guardian has just published a story about a 15 year old Bristol girl who has just left her home to go to Syria. To quote from the story: she is feared to be on her way to Syria to join "extremists". Looked at from afar one man's extremist is another man's freedom fighter and I'm sure the girl herself does not see things quite like that. So, while I hope the girl returns home safely, I would more characterise her journey as that of a young person who is sick of the way the UK and the US use the Middle-East as a military playground. Put like that I am sickened by the tone of the article that takes it as given that the girl is suffering from being "radicalised" (a term which is used at least 6 times, along with the claim of "brain-washed").

There has been a lot of concern over young people making their way to Syria to fight on one side or the other. The Guardian reported on Monday that hundreds of girls were leaving the UK to fight in Syria. And the US is actively tracking would-be fighters travelling to the Middle-East. Of course, the concern stems from our perception that we are right and all other sides are wrong.

We should all ask ourselves: if young idealists feel compelled to leave their homes to go to war, what does that say about our pathetic excuses for bombing the crap out of innocent civilians (quite apart from the fact that, as A C Grayling has convincing argued, bombing is impossible to target properly, has little military effect, and is insanely expensive).

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