We can all stomach endless grainy video images of boatloads of people drowning in the sea.
Yes, we’ll huff and puff a bit about how awful it is, but then we quickly get back to our own comparatively comfortable, non-drowning lives.
Yet one pin-sharp image of a three-year-old boy washed up on the shoreline and we stop and shudder in collective horror.
A horror that lingers, that cuts deep into our consciousness, that is far harder to casually etch from the mind.
I can’t stop thinking about Aylan Kurdi and I’m damn sure you can’t either if you’ve seen the photo.
Not the one of him being carried away by the Turkish police officer, because that conveys an air of humanity and kindness.
No, the photo I can’t stop thinking about it is the one of Aylan lying face down on the edge of the water.
His small dead body being lapped by the cold surf.
His soaking red T-shirt pulled half way up.
His pants crunched.
His tiny shoes baring their sodden soles to the sky.
Further down the beach lay his brother Galip, aged just five.
Their mother is also believed to have perished.
In total, 12 Syrian refugees lost their lives in this tragedy.
They’d been packed onto a tiny boat that set off from Bodrum in Turkey for Kos in Greece, a hazardous 5km journey that represented their best chance of reaching Europe.
Aylan’s family fled Kobane in Syria last year to escape the Islamic State, a group that delights in beheading, torturing, shooting and setting fire to anyone that displeases them.
And a group that wouldn’t now have such an iron grip in Syria were it not for the appalling, shockingly shameful decision by the United States and its chief ally Britain to invade Iraq in 2003 with lies and deception (actual reason for invasion – OIL) – the war that started the region’s slide into barbarity.
The barbarity Aylan and his family were trying to flee.
They, and millions like them in Syria, aren’t ‘migrants’, as so many ill-informed people on social media seem to think, and as some in mainstream media disingenuously encourage us to think.
They’re not trying to pursue a better economic life for themselves, something which is perfectly acceptable but which should be liable to strict immigration checks and balances.
No, they’re trying to save their lives.
They’re fleeing a country so ravaged by five years of war that it now resembles an inferno of hell.
Sixty per cent of all the refugees met by the International Rescue Committee on the Greek Islands are from Syria.
They are refugees in the purest sense of that word.
People so desperate that they will risk death to seek sanctuary.
Imagine being Aylan’s parents as they paid their last savings over to some cut-throat mercenary in a final effort to make their kids safe again.
I have four children and if I had been in that situation, I’d have done exactly the same. Hoping and praying that if I made it to Greece, then somebody with a heart would help us.
Where is our heart now?
What have we become if we can’t deal with this tidal wave of despair?
Let’s be clear: we have a moral, ethical and legal duty to help them.
Syria is not one country’s nor one continent’s problem.
It’s everyone’s problem.
The repercussions of that conflict have had a direct impact on the security and finances of everywhere else in the world.
So what are we all doing about it?
Britain has taken in just a few hundred Syrian refugees so far, and Prime Minister David Cameron seems shamefully reluctant to increase that commitment.
This from a nation that went to war in Iraq on the spurious trumped up pretext of Saddam Hussein having WMDs. A totally unnecessary war that stirred up the hornet’s nest out of which ISIS and its barbaric ilk have emerged and thrived.
WE are thus largely to blame for this fiasco, and WE must take responsibility for the innocent victims of it.
America is just as culpable.
Since the Syrian conflict started, the United States has taken precisely 1,234 refugees.
Think about that for a moment. In fact, think about it for several long moments.
Because it’s an absolute bloody disgrace.
These people are fleeing the very mayhem which America and Britain helped create.
Yet neither the UK nor U.S. governments seem to give a damn about them.
The US State Department announced last week a new target of taking in up to 8,000 Syrian refugees in 2016.
To which my response is: PATHETIC.
Compare and contrast to Germany, the most powerful country in Europe.
It has pledged to take in 800,000.
That’s 100 times as many as the world’s most powerful country.
And that’s called proper leadership in the face of one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our times.
Cameron and Obama love to act the big brave boys on the global stage when it comes to standing up to terrorism.
They’ll order fighter jets and drones to rain down bombs on people’s heads.
Yet when it comes to stopping little children dying as they try and escape both the same terrorism and the military efforts to combat it, the same two men have shown themselves to be little more than timid, callous cowards.
Today, there is as much fevered debate about whether news organisations should have published the image of Aylan as there is as to what caused him to be dead in the first place.
We saw the same argument last week when a young female TV journalist and her cameraman were shot dead live on air.
‘We can’t publish the pictures because they are too horrendous!’ came the cry.
Yet that’s exactly why we should publish them.
As with that diabolical ISIS video of them setting on fire and killing a Jordanian pilot trapped in a cage, sometimes we need to SEE the full horror to fully understand it and be shocked enough to act on it.
The civil rights movement changed irrevocably in the ‘50s when a young black boy named Emmet Till was brutally mutilated and murdered by the Ku Klux Klan and his mother insisted on a public funeral with an open casket, allowing the world to see exactly what these evil bastards had done to her son.
I believe that if Americans had been allowed to see images from inside Sandy Hook school after the massacre of 20 young children in 2012, then new draconian gun laws would have been implemented within months.
(One family member told me each child was shot three to 11 times and each bullet wound was the size of a golf ball. Think the NRA could spin their way out of those pictures?)
Dramatic pictures have always told a thousand words, sometimes a million.
And this one of Aylan Kurdi is no different.
Look at it, digest it, recoil from it, get angered by it, shed a tear over it, and demand action from your politicians across the globe.
We owe it to Aylan to stop this cruel madness, and to stop it fast.
Because if we don’t, many more young kids will be washed up on the shores.
And their fresh young blood will be on all our hands.
Saudi’s tyrant ruler, King Abdallah presented Egypt’s Puppet President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi with the highest medal of honour in the Kingdom during their meeting in Jeddah yesterday. This was mainly for Sisi’s subservience to the Saud Regime and for openly fighting those who hate oppression.
Nowadays, these tyrants and puppets greatest fears are losing their thrones (power) and family influence. Hence its now clearer that this Fight Against Terrorism and this subtle Unholy Alliances among Arab Puppet regimes are nothing but a strategy for survival.
The visit by Al-Sisi is his first to the Kingdom since he assumed office on June 8. During the trip the leaders discussed bilateral relatios and issues of mutual concern, especially the developments in Gaza, Anadolu reported.
The two sides are expected to discuss the preparations for the donors’ conference for Egypt, promised by the Saudi king and endorsed by the United Arab Emirates.
A day before his trip to the Kingdom, Al-Sisi called for the formation of an “Unholy Arab Alliance” to counter the danger of the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (ISIS) which has seized control of vast swaths of Iraq and Syria.
Following the military’s ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in July last year, Gulf countries were quick to lend support to the new regime, led by Al-Sisi. Gulf aid to Egypt since Morsi’s ouster amounted to $15.9 billion, including $6.9 billion from the UAE, $5 billion from Saudi, and $4 billion from Kuwait (The Unholy Trinity).
Following his visit to Saudi, Al-Sisi is scheduled to pay a brief visit to Russia tomorrow based on an invite from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Grudges subside in times of adversity.” However, this old Arab saying does not seem to apply to the relationship between Gaza and Cairo. It is true that Egypt already made its position clear about the war in Gaza by the kind of truce it proposed and the way it has dealt with injured Palestinians, but it made matters even worse by sending spoiled aid and expired medicine to Gaza.
Gaza – In yet another episode of Egyptian gloating over Gaza’s misery, Cairo has used a new tactic against the Strip that languishes alone under Israeli barrages. This time, it resorted to an apparently soft weapon that sent a rather cruel message. It attempted to exploit food aid, thinking it could subdue Palestinians in Gaza but once again, they successfully warded off the Egyptian regime’s scheme.
General Fatah al Sisi
The story first broke on Thursday when the Egyptian army sent food aid to Gaza through the Rafah border crossing. Many Palestinians were relieved upon hearing the news, thinking they were on the brink of mending the now broken fences with the Egyptian regime and the Egyptian people. However, what happened next was beyond everyone’s imagination.
The aid inscribed with the phrase, “Offered by the Egyptian people” was spoiled and infested with insects. Although the people of Gaza never ran after food supplies despite the widespread poverty in the Strip that’s been aggravated during this war that tightened the grip around them, this shameless Egyptian infringement on their human dignity by exploiting food generated dismay among Palestinians. Many of them considered the Egyptian move the worst part of the five-hour long truce that the UN requested from Israel.
One youth group even called on the Egyptian regime to block the gate of Rafah crossing with heavy barricades as a protest against the Egyptian attempt to depict Gaza residents as beggars positioned at the crossing, waiting for aid and drooling over it, even if its quality is below standard.
This Egyptian step cannot be interpreted outside the [prevailing rhetoric] in Egyptian media that is constantly devising new ways to incite regular Egyptians and mobilize them against Gaza.
This Egyptian step cannot be interpreted outside the [prevailing rhetoric] in Egyptian media that is constantly devising new ways to incite regular Egyptians and mobilize them against Gaza, as if the Strip was the stronghold of their country’s mortal enemy – Hamas.
Egyptian media insists on accusing Hamas of standing behind the murder of 16 Egyptian soldiers last year, without providing evidence, and of sending thousands of al-Qassam Brigades’ members to provide the banned Muslim Brotherhood with military supplies.
This situation also falls within the framework of the pivotal role played by the Egyptian regime in pushing the humanitarian situation in Gaza into the abyss, ever since the toppling of President Mohammed Mursi. This was manifested by the blocking [of Rafah crossing], Gaza’s main artery to the outside world, and restricting the numbers of the Strip’s residents allowed to cross the border.
On the mediation level, Egypt appeared as siding with the occupation rather than the Resistance factions. It did not act as a mediator pushing to enhance the truce’s conditions in a way that amounts to the price paid by the residents of Gaza in these tough days, and it even blamed Hamas for the military escalation and for the occupation’s decision to launch a land offensive.
All these factors combined were enough to generate a fertile environment for more hostilities against the people of Gaza, as the spoiled aid packages recently showed.
This unprecedented incident went below the minimum level of respect for humanity, particularly since the aid was given to the Social Affairs Ministry for it to distribute it to refugees and vulnerable people who cannot afford basic needs.
Speaking to Al-Akhbar, Omar al-Darbi, the ministry’s undersecretary, said “we did not expect that the 500 tons of food and medicine aid to be this spoiled, however, we were compelled to use as much as was possible in order to meet some of the needs amid a huge lack of supplies,” adding that the food packages were small “containing seven kilograms of sugar, tea, lentils and pasta.”
Darbi expressed dismay over Egypt’s behavior, saying it reflected “an unprecedented gloating over the [misfortune] of the Strip’s residents, after the campaign meant to make them appear like devils reached its peak in Egyptian media machines.”
Although the Egyptian regime is taking aim at Hamas, the latter sought to hide the spoiled aid scandal from the media, but some workers, transporting the urgent aid, leaked photos and videos documenting the spoiled packages and Palestinians soon shared it on social networks.
Local rights groups refrained from issuing statements denouncing the Egyptian actions. Rami Abdo, director of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Center, pointed out that the flagrant Israeli violations stole the spotlight from Egypt. However, he revealed that “some activists are too afraid to criticize Egypt because it can blacklist them and ban them from traveling.”
Meanwhile, the remarkable improvements in the Resistance’s performance overshadowed the issue of spoiled aid. The people in Gaza felt that the Resistance compensated for the bitter political and geographic siege that they have been enduring for years, and filled them with unmatched dignity.
Gaza resident Karim Abu Dahi said, “No one dies from eating too little. We only hunger for dignity. We are full, and we even distribute dignity to those who lack it. The Resistance has allowed us to hold our heads up high.”
“What do you expect from a regime that treats its own people and opponents as second class citizens? Of course, it will not treat us any better” an appalled Abu Dahi added.
Samia Abu Nada agreed, saying the Egyptian regime “very much succeeded in numbing its people and turning them away from the main cause.”
“There is a huge difference between the popular Egyptian support for Gaza in 2012 and their support this time around, as demonstrated by the few modest protests in Egypt that do not match the suffering of the people in Gaza,” she elaborated.
Egyptian papers and news websites were, however, quick to refute the news, quoting what they claimed was a statement issued by the Palestinian presidency in Ramallah, denying that the aid was spoiled, saying what happened was “a defamation and dubious campaign led by some suspicious parties acting against the people and the army of Egypt who offered aid out of their own food and medicine.”
They quoted a spokesperson for the president saying, “We are quite aware that this Egyptian aid was part of the supplies prepared by the Egyptian armed forces for the Egyptian people at distribution points during the month of Ramadan,” adding that the aid “was recently prepared and stored and is of the same quality consumed by Egyptians.”
Since the beginning of this Ramadan the Muslims of Gaza have been subjected to Israeli bombardment, night and day. The martyrs are in the dozens, whilst the wounded are in hundreds. With only five wounded from the Israeli occupiers, this can only be described as a massacre.
The response of the agent rulers in the surrounding countries has been exactly the same response of their predecessors the last time Israel launched its murderous attacks against Muslims.
The formidable Egyptian military regime was not able to offer more than its usual empty words, weakly pleading the Israelis to calm down. “Egypt condemns these hostilities, which led to the killing and injury of tens of Palestinians,” and called on Israeli to stop “all collective punishment.”
Iran’s regional ambitions appear to no longer include dealing harshly with the Israelis. Despite their proximity, they instead call upon those who are thousands of miles away from Israel to deal with it. “Western countries and supporters of the Zionists must adopt a firm stance to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in Palestine,” said an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman.
Have these impotent regimes not heard the US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki who stated, “No country should be expected to stand by while rocket attacks from a terrorist organisation are launching into their country and impacting innocent civilians”? Is this not a green light from the true masters of these impotent regimes, the Western powers, to unleash their military on Israel to defend the innocent civilians of Gaza? Or was this interpreted by them as an equally empty statement, due to America’s clear orders to them to only turn their weapons upon their own Muslim populations?
We know for a fact, that these rulers will not do anything against Israel, when they are the ones who were always rushing to humiliating negotiations with the enemy. These rulers alienate the Islamic Shariah and employ the systems of non-Islam in order to please their colonial masters, thus defying Allah, His Messenger, and His deen. They prevent the unification of the Muslim lands, and maintain the division and disunity of the Ummah.
The fact that the Muslims are scattered into tiny little states with different national identities does not legally relieve them from the duty to aid one another, especially when they are requested to provide such aid. Allah (swt) says,
“The men and women of the muminun are friends of one another. They command what is right and forbid what is wrong” [At-Tawba: 71]
The Muslims remain one Ummah, even after the colonialists divided them into tiny little incongruous states. The Prophet (saws) said, “The Muslim is the brother of the Muslim. He does not oppress him nor does he let him down.”And he (saws) said, “The blood of a Muslim has equivalent weight to that of any other Muslim. They honour the promise of any of them. And their hand is one against all others.” And he (saws) said, “Muslims consolidate one another as a building consolidates itself.” And he (saws) said, “The peace of all the believers is one. No believer shall establish peace while other believers are still fighting in the cause of Allah.”
The Islamic obligation asserts that all the Muslims must live in one single state under the leadership of one Khilafah, and have on identity, and one citizenship. Such a status will facilitate their cooperation, and easy management of their affairs. It will guarantee the security of their territories, blood, women, and children. It protects their religion and dignity. Above all, it will guarantee the happiness in this life as well as in the life hereafter.
Had the rulers of the Muslims had any Islamic dignity, and had they not been agents of the colonialist states, they could have provided great support to their brothers in Islam. The rulers of the Muslims could have sent, and still can by any means, secret or otherwise, support to strengthen the Muslim in Gaza so they will not become an easy prey for the covetous. The rulers of the Muslims could have, and still can, boycott any state committing aggression against the Muslims, and all the states sympathising with the aggressor. For instance why do the rulers of Saudi still provide cheap oil to America and European countries, who themselves, provide military hardware to Israel used to kill Muslims? They could also work internationally to carry many countries in the world to boycott the transgressor and to pressure it to stop its transgression. They also can use their media to aid the Muslims and support their rights, and to unveil the true nature of the aggressors.. They can provide them with all the financial aid needed to purchase whatever is necessary to remain steadfast.
But more than all this what is the function of the armies, if not to stop the aggression and deter the aggressors? Is it only for decorations and military ceremonies on the day of fake independence? Or are the armies used only to crush and quell the people?
The fact though, is that the armies in the Muslim world are not there to protect the people from Israel, but to protect Israel itself. Otherwise why, despite the continued and repeated aggression against the Muslims of Gaza, do these armies stand impotent?
What have the rulers of the Muslims done to help and protect the Muslims from the oppression of the enemies?
They only exploit the resources of the Muslim lands to satisfy their greed and the interests of their masters, the foreign colonisers. They are nothing but agents who implement the plans and policies drawn by their masters. They have lost the Islamic dignity, such that they no longer can respond to the cries of the oppressed, or the calls of those under adversary.
They turn a blind eye to the suffering of Muslims the world over, rather to the suffering of the whole world under this modern colonial world order.
Yet were the Muslims to truly unify, and have one identity, and one citizenship, one army and one peace, under the leadership of the rightly guided Khilafah, then they would be able to rid the world of the oppression that it endures daily, despite the empty protestations of the disbelieving colonialists.
Muslims in the UK must speak out against the oppression wrought on the Muslims in Gaza, they must highlight the impotence of the rulers in the Muslim countries who sit idle and remain silent whilst a massacre plays-out on its doorstep. They must continue to uphold the call for the unification of the Muslim land, presided over by the Khilafah, whose true vision will be to come of the aid of the oppressed and stand against the oppressor.
“When they first put the electricity on me, I gasped; my body went rigid and the bag came off my head,” Israa Salah, a detained Iraqi woman told Human Rights Watch (HRW) in her heartrending testimony.
Israa (not her real name) was arrested by US and Iraqi forces in 2010. She was tortured to the point of confessing to terrorist charges she didn’t commit. According to HRW’s “No One is Safe” – a 105-page report released on Feb 06 – there are thousands of Iraqi women in jail being subjected to similar practices, held with no charges, beaten and raped. Continue reading →
OIL. That is what the modern Middle Eastern geopolitics have usually been about. Given the vast energy resources that form the backbone of western economies, influence and involvement in the Middle East has been of paramount importance for the former and current imperial and super powers, including France, Britain, USA and the former Soviet Union.
Prior to the discovery of oil, the region had been a hotbed for religious conflict and wars over other rich resources and land. The declining Ottoman Empire paved way for the rising European imperial and colonial powers interested in securing various territories and controlling access to Asia. In more recent times, interest in the region has been due to the energy resources there. Continue reading →