The both-sides-in-Syria-are-bad heresy

And so it’s becoming fashionable among journalists nowadays to describe both sides of the Syrian conflict (the regime and rebel factions) as equally bad for Syria. The premise is that whichever side wins will be just as bad as the other.

The main, and perhaps only, doubtfully legitimate reason for such a premise is the widely circulated incidences of excessive violence perpetrated by rebel factions against regime troops/henchmen and against other rebel groups. While these violent events are miniscule in number and intensity when compared to regime atrocities, they are heavily capitalized by both rebel groups (for propaganda reasons) and by the media who generally has better access into rebel-controlled areas than regime-controlled ones.

But apparently these reactionary acts of excessive violence are the perfect excuse for the international community to keep turning its back while the Syrian regime continues to slaughter and expel its own citizens. Shame on those rebels.

One has to wonder what rebel groups need to be like in order to be good enough for us. Are rebels expected to act with perfect morals as they watch the regime’s henchmen literally butcher children and rape women on a daily basis? Are rebels, down to every last lay soldier at the bottom of the chain of command, supposed to reject all kinds of violence as the Syrian regime bombs residential neighborhoods with barrels of TNT and shrapnel? How easily it is that we forget that even organized armies of superpowers don’t act with the purity we are demanding of Syrian rebels.

More importantly, what drove the rebels to these violent acts? Did they begin the violence simultaneously with the Syrian regime? If I remember correctly, the Syrian revolution was non violent for several months before it finally had no choice but to adopt weaponized defense. These first few months of non violent protests saw some of the worst crimes imaginable perpetrated by the regime, from kidnapping children en masse and returning them as mutilated corpses to their parents to raping women in front of their families to machete attacks on neighborhoods.. the gruesome list is quite long.

How full of crap do we have to be to pretend that human beings should all react to such barbarism with perfect manners?

And how, pray tell, can a neophyte group of rebels trying to overthrow a regime be considered as bad as the regime that has proven to be hopelessly corrupt, limitlessly oppressive, and astonishingly blood thirsty over many decades? On what basis are we judging the rebels other than the way they react under the immense stress of months of war, starvation, lack of means, and zero international support?

Why are we allowing ourselves to be so myopic?

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Ugly Time

I happened upon Time magazine’s 12/30 edition today, with a “Year in Photos” feature on the cover. A quick look through these summarizing photos was interrupted by a 2-page dramatic photo of the anti-government summer demonstrations in Taksim, Turkey. 5 people were killed in these demonstrations. Of course, Time made sure to mention that these demonstrations were against the “pro-Islamist” government of R.T. Erdogan.

But something was missing from this photo gallery. Something big. Photos of dead Syrian children from the chemical attack on Damascus suburbs launched by pro-Assad forces, killing over 450 people – an event that sparked a worldwide effort to rid Syria of chemical weapons. Instead, they had a photo of an execution undertaken by an “Al Qaeda-linked ISIS militia”, who are fighting against the Assad regime.

Meanwhile, millions of Syrian refugees suffer through winter in tents after fleeing a regime that killed hundreds of thousands of their fellow countrymen. They ran away from mass murder, random arrests, and torture. They also ran away from Iranian and Lebanese Hizbollah militias who were turning their villages into slaughterhouses and killing their children in cold blood. With knives.

Why is that not worthy of a photo?

World leaders have turned their backs to the Syrian cause of seeking freedom from a totalitarian regime similar to the one ruling over North Korea. Politicians are like that, and we shouldn’t expect any more. But for Time to join in this obtuse negligence is simply asinine.

Some manners, Time!