Thursday, October 18, 2012

Murray on 'dual-loyalty' Brits joining the anti-Assad jihad

In a thought-provoking piece, Murray challenges the assumption that those Brits who are flying off to Syria to fight Assad are likely to be the kind of people we should be praising.

Who Would You Fight For?
Gatestone Institute
by Douglas Murray
October 18, 2012


During the civil war in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, every side committed some variety of atrocities on the others. The worst, in brutality as well as numbers, were committed by Serbs, but, as in any civil war, nobody came away clean. To say that everybody did bad things is not to claim that everybody was equally guilty. But run the following thought around: It is early in the Balkan conflict. You are a British citizen. You happen to be a Christian and you are also – though this may not necessarily play a part – pale-skinned. Let us imagine that you have heard clear word of violence against Christian Serbs in parts of the former Yugoslavia. Or fast-forward two decades and say that this same person becomes aware of the suffering of Christians in Syria amid the recent violence. None of these parallels is exact, but then none ever is exact.

But what would we think of a person who in the 1990s had seen violence against Serbs in the nascent civil war and decided to go off and fight with – and for – them? What would we think if they then explained their reason for doing so as being that their "white, Christian, brothers were suffering, that being a bystander while such suffering went on was intolerable and that they and their kind needed to come to their aid"?

My own response would be that the person in question was clearly some very nasty variety of sectarian. Presumably a religious sectarian, though if the person referred clearly to some common heritage, let alone skin-pigmentation, then I might easily presume that they were also a nasty racist. My expectation then, as now, would be that the press would not regard them as being people of any honor. Certainly people would not write of their efforts with any kind of admiration – either sublimated or overt.


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