15th November 2015
Comment on latest Avaaz petition from colleague David Macilwain in Australia.
“A note from avaaz – ‘let’s stand with victims of terrorism everywhere’… France and Lebanon being ‘everywhere’. And as they don’t specifically mention Syria, we can presume that it’s not at the top of the list of ‘victims of terrorism’ – or that if it was it would be to claim that the Syrian people are victims of ‘Assad’s terrorism’.
And of course they don’t mention Russia either, even though it was so recently a victim of terrorism of a similar sort, and in terms of numbers of dead, a greater victim. ( though I doubt that that is really the scale we should use to weigh up whether some atrocity is worse than another.)
Here’s Avaaz suggestion for a response, of sorts, given that it is asking for a response of some sort, albeit a truly non-violent one and one we should all support:-
“There are too many of us who know what it means to have terrorism touch our lives, our loved ones, our sense of connection with the people around us. Today, France and Lebanon are in the midst of that fog of tragedy.
This was more than a monstrous act of hatred. These attacks were designed to shake the very foundations of all our societies. They are an assault on our shared humanity, and our tolerance, liberty and respect — the values that underpin the world our movement was built to create.
It is at this time of darkness that our community’s weave of love can be most powerful. Let’s join hands today to embrace our brothers and sisters in France, Lebanon and across the world that are mourning, and show that our movement stands tall against this hate and commits to continue raising our voice for everything we love.”
But we all know about Avaaz, and the role it has played in propaganda support for the Syrian opposition. And without such propaganda, from other prime sources also of course, the way the Syrian war has progressed would surely have been different. Without the early and persistent calls for ‘humanitarian intervention’ in the early days, which were in fact calls for military intervention in the form of arms shipments as well as ‘aid’, such a weight of global opinion on the side of the ‘moderate’ terrorists in Syria would not have developed, and to this point where rather than choose peace and reconciliation the French state is pushing even harder for military intervention.
As for the other language about ‘attacks designed to shake the very foundations of ALL our societies’ – how do they know these attacks were ‘designed’, and based on ‘hatred’ (for our freedoms?) We don’t even know who was responsible – notionally – as on previous occasions claims of responsibility from IS have been treated cautiously. The idea that IS did this as a response to French bombing in Syria is ridiculous because the French haven’t really been bombing IS, and given the French connections with the MB and the Opposition, and Turkey’s links with IS we wouldn’t really expect them to have been. At the same time France has actually been supporting the other terrorist groups with arms, and recently, so if the motive for the attacks was to push France to intervene to help them, that’s hardly plausible either.
It’s hard not to conclude that these attacks were ‘designed’ , only not in the way that Avaaz was meaning. But we also must accept that the overbearing reaction to this atrocity – by comparison to the last four years of similar atrocities in Syria – reflects a genuine sentiment in Western public opinion and will allow an equally disproportionate ‘response’. It will also be one which we can barely speak out against, along the lines of ‘je ne suis pas Charlie’, without universal condemnation.
more and darker days ahead.”