Monday, August 27, 2012

Wasted Indignation?

Each new atrocity reconfirms what Syrians have known for many months.  Their indignation, except as fuel for even more determined resistance, has been wasted.   The world's 'leaders' have spared no effort to teach this lesson.  Russia and China may regret their support for Assad, but they can gain no credit from changing sides now, so they don't.  The same, to a lesser degree, may hold for Iran.  The US, after Iraq and Afghanistan, has learned cowardice and acts according to its neurotic obsessions.  Blocked in the Security Council, it will not send advanced weapons to the FSA because Israel wouldn't like that, and because it might lead to something oh-so-scary with an airliner, somewhere, somehow.  The UN, a servant of the great powers, confines itself to contemptible posturing.  At the same time, Syria's neighbours and the rest of the Arab world suffer from various obscure forms of paralysis.  All  these powers are determined to offer only cosmetic help.

There are others only now becoming a focus for indignation.  Here speaks a Syrian activist after the largest massacre yet:
The 47th @THE_47th
Where are the free Egyptians? Libyans? Tunisians?? Why aren't they questioning the silence of their new leaders? Not 1 single condemnation!!
Indeed.  Just to speak of Egypt, I can only hope that the free Egyptians I follow - and The 47th follows them too - are unrepresentative.  With few exceptions, they talk a lot about the glory days of the Egyptian revolution.    There is a good deal of commentary on the world, on South Africa, on Sudan, on racism in the US, on the Olympics. But no, not one single word of condemnation, and even that is asking far too little.

What's going on?    Some activists are clearly involved in labour struggles, but this wouldn't this leave thirty seconds to voice some support?   Perhaps there are hidden concerns.  Is the FSA, despite appearances, too sectarian?  Are they tools of the West?  Not communist enough?  Bad for the Palestinians?

Most of these concerns, even where legitimate, are pointless.  The Syrian revolution has already wrought irreversible changes.   Syrians, having been left to their own devices, are not going to be any less sectarian or more communist or less friendly to the West or more friendly to the Palestinians because outsiders might wish these things.   Some of the concerns are just silly.  Hopefully, Egyptian activists do not subscribe to the 'anti-imperialist' version of geopolitics.  The US may be a military colossus, but it is a colossus that has lost most of its recent wars and by now, knows it.    It is a country awash in new energy finds and not interested in the Middle East:  American voters, frankly, couldn't care less about the rest of the world.  Europe will never, ever, do anything without American support.  And no matter how important Hezbollah and Assad may have been to Palestinian resistance, that ship has sailed. Assad, win or lose, will be in no position to support Hezbollah in the style to which it is accustomed.

In any case all these worries pit mere possibilities against gruesome certainties.  In such circumstances it may be worth asking whether theories and prejudices really should prevail over basic decency.  If stopping Assad isn't a priority, what is?  Social justice?  freedom?  democracy? nation-building?  revolutionary graffiti?  Why should these things matter if the torture of children isn't even worthy of remark?

Can we have an answer please?   From you, Wael Ghonim, and you, Yosri Fouda, and you,  Alaa Abd El-Fattahy, and you, Mona Seif, and you, Gigi Ibrahim, and you, Khaled Ali, and you, Hossam el-Hamalawy,  and so many others, even you, Mohamed ElBaradei.   It would not be beneath your dignity to speak against overwhelming atrocity.  If you'd really rather twiddle your thumbs, explain why.

And please, no Hilary-Clinton-style pap about how outraged you are.  No pseudo-thoughtful  evasion about how complicated it is.   Take sides.  Take a risk.  Anything else is nothing at all.

No comments:

Post a Comment