[Marxism] Fwd: Still fighting the last war: Syria and the Western peace movement | Middle East Eye

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Oct 30 19:41:01 MDT 2016


My meeting with the Vietnamese ambassador in 1973 planted the seed of 
admiration toward the [literally] little people whose bravery against 
the world’s leading military power was unmatched and ultimately 
victorious. When Russia went to war in Afghanistan, I felt something was 
wrong, since I grew up believing that the Soviet Union defended the 
people of the Third World in their fight for freedom from imperialism. 
Now they were doing what the Americans had done in Vietnam.

Whether it is Syria or Yemen, it is the duty of democrats and 
revolutionaries to put themselves in the shoes of the people under the 
bombs and to ask 'what would I do?'

Another idea embedded from growing up in the 1980s with the echoes of 
Vietnam and the wars fought by America against the tiny, poor nations of 
Central America, was that every people has the right to fight for 
dignity and independence on their own terms. We might not always agree 
with the form that fight takes, the alliances made by those fighting it, 
but it is a fight that every people has the inalienable right to wage 
against oppressors both domestic and foreign.

Like most Western secularists, I do not support sectarianism or 
chauvinism in any form. But the West cannot forever stop peoples of the 
Middle East from fighting for their freedom. And so whether it is Syria 
or Yemen, it is the duty of democrats and revolutionaries to try to put 
themselves in the shoes of the people under the bombs and bullets and to 
ask "what would I do?" and "might I just pick up a gun to defend myself?"

Westerners might best first ask the people involved what they would have 
us do, rather than fall back on ideological cliches that see everything 
as a Western plot - and at the same time denying agency to those 
directly affected and engaged in the struggle. We might not like the 
answer, but we might just learn something.

full: 
http://www.middleeasteye.net/essays/still-fighting-last-war-syria-and-western-peace-movement-2070686647



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