Dear Seumas Milne,
Some may be happy, but we as non-violent Syrians struggling for democracy and freedom are, frankly, devastated.
One of the biggest enemies of our struggle has been those on the far left of the political spectrum who choose to view the world as a battle between good and evil superpowers. In their view, the US and its allies are the bad states and others who stand up to their imperialism are the anti-imperialists.
The problem with this worldview is that it misses people like us. Those of us who struggle against Western imperialism and our dictatorships closer to home are ignored in your privileged analysis of how the world works. You can write from your cosy home in the UK about the rise of Isis and about how it was born in the US occupation of Iraq and yet ignore the fact that it only grew into the monster it is today because nobody stopped the violence in Syria.
In your world view – Orientalism 2.0 – all Arabs are the same. Libyans, Iraqis, Syrians, (maybe throw in Afghans) they’re all just victims of the rampant Western imperialism that you and your friends are supposedly battling.
When you say in your Isis article (shared a quarter of a million times) that “only the people of the region can cure this disease”, did you ever think to listen to any of them?
As Syria’s Stop The War movement, we asked to participate on a panel you were on about intervention in Syria. But no, that’s not acceptable. It’s not ok for Syrians to contribute to a debate about our country. That’s because it’s not really about Syria for you. It’s about the West. It’s about Blair’s illegal war in Iraq. It’s about all the miserable ways the UK and others have messed up other countries. The common thread? It’s all about yourself.
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have needlessly died because of this self obsession and it has to stop.
That is why we welcome Jo Cox’s proposal for Syria that puts protection of civilians at its heart. Crucially, it includes enforcing a no-bombing zone that would protect lives and make peace more likely.
We do not hold our breath for you to support it Mr Milne, since of course those who it would protect seem invisible to you, but we as always are prepared to meet and tell you the truth about what Syria’s peacemakers want.
Please surprise us.
Tweet Seumas Milne and ask him to listen to Syrian activists working for peace