Terrorist or Freedom Fighter – You Choose

Sunday 26th February

Why is it that we choose to portray some men with guns shooting at soldiers as terrorists or bandits while others are depicted as freedom fighters?  Is there really any difference?  If there is no democratic route to power, or if you are one of a threatened minority that will always be persecuted, if you are the wrong colour, or the wrong religion, or even the wrong faction of the right religion and you resort to violence are you ever justified?  And although we all preach democracy, when the people who get elected are not our friends than we covertly and sometimes overtly support those who would try to bring them down.  This used to be called realpolitik, the facing up to the world as it is rather than how you would like it to be.  But does it have to be this way?  Have we not grown up enough to realise that violence solves nothing, or in the end does violence always solve things?  The last Foreign Secretary we had who tried to create an ethical foreign policy had a heart attack which at a stroke removed him from the Foreign Office, the Cabinet and his own life.  He was replaced by someone who knew where the real interests lie and did as he was told.  And so we go on; there is no doubting that the ruling government forces in Syria are behaving atrociously, there is no democracy, there is a small ruling elite, the soldiers are shooting people in the streets, they are shelling cities that are in revolt, so who could possibly not support the rebels?  It may well end with a rebel victory, but not before a lot of people have died, and maybe a protracted civil war, and who is to say that life for ordinary Syrians will be any better after Bashar Assad departs.  And by the way, just who is supplying the rebels with their weapons?  It couldn’t possibly be us could it?   And in the end the only way to stop the fighting is to talk to each other.  Just why do so many have to die before this dawns on everyone?