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