No Arab spring here

More detail please on the Syrian rebels

Prompted by an editorial in The Australian — Syrian referendum a sham —I am increasingly confused and concerned about the utter silence and lack of information about just who the Syrian rebels are valiantly fighting against the tyrant Bashar al-Assad.

Whereas I can readily agree that Assad is indeed what people claim he is, I cannot get out of mind the ill-ease I have of what appears to be one sided propaganda being conveniently broadcast on our television screens of the hapless slaughter of innocents in Syria. The urge for the West to “do something”, “anything”, makes me think , as with climate change, that the radical ida of doing nothing is perhaps better than doing something.

To its credit, The Australian has published some excellent commentary about the complexity of the situation in Syria and there have been some almost nnoticed responses on SBS and the ABC’s Drum. I have linked and discussed these in some blogs below.  Yet another was published yesterday by the English journalist Matthew Parris, where he raises what appear to me to be reasonable questions. 

Out come all the old arguments, time-honoured cues for the easy applause that has cheered on blunder after blunder down the ages and cheered on the Crusaders in the same place in another age. “Something must be done.” “We cannot stand idly by.” “Just because we cannot do everything doesn’t mean we can’t do anything.” “Never mind the logic, cut through the legalism: this is quite simply the right thing to do.”

There never was an Arab Spring. There isn’t going to be an Arab Spring. There’s a region of the world whose peoples, since the fall of Byzantium, have twisted and tangled themselves into the most appalling, grisly and intractable mess, periodically and hugely exacerbated by intervention from the outside. The very best that can be hoped is that in time they may, slowly, patchily and by degrees, start to get themselves out of the mess.

Why are we not getting earnest and informed discussions and debates about the issues raised here on our electronic media?

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