Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Partisan thinking does not lead to peace

The Arab Spring began in late 2010 when violent and non-violent protest arose in many Arabic countries in the Middle East and North Africa.  We have seen many disturbing acts on our television screens but who can forget those scenes in Libya when Colonel Gaddafi was executed or the violence in Egypt?

I am sure we all have our own particular distressing scenes that we remember but let’s take Syria where the civil war began as a protest against the government which was followed by violent crackdowns, and then protest became armed rebellion and war. Hezbollah gave support to the Syrian army. ISIS, a jihadist militant group are fighting the army. Russia supports the government, while the USA supports the rebels. Our ‘special’ relationship must mean that our government sees the Syrian establishment as bad and the rebels as good.

The trouble with this sort of partisan thinking is that it does not lead to peace. There are opposing sides in any conflict but now take Gaza. Here there is propaganda on both sides, and there are good and bad people on both sides. Anyone who takes the side wholly of the Palestinians or wholly of Israel is not a lover of peace. It may well be that you think that Israel has carried out war crimes and its response is totally disproportionate to attacks from a terrorist organisation. You may think that it is appalling, that Israel has bombed innocent children in their school but unless we all look to negotiate peace settlements and criticise all sides in violent conflict then violence will continue.

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