Last Monday was International Human Rights Day. A fitting occasion for the Sanctuary City Coalition Winston-Salem to show the documentary, “Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS” at the Community Mosque of Winston-Salem.
The film shows the carnage of the Syrian war in graphic detail. Something that our media has failed to do. It was a vivid reminder of the evil and destructive nature of war.
After the film, a discussion was held. The approximately 30 Muslims and Marxists in attendance spoke about what they had seen and what, if any actions they could take to prevent the next war. There was a lot of empathy for the people of Syria in the room.
The only qualm that I had with the film was that it focused too much on the micro-level of the war while minimizing the role of outside forces. The United States, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia turned a civil war into a regional war to further their own interests.
In doing so they created a power vacuum in Iraq/Syria that created ISIS, as the U.S. and its allies Pakistan and Saudi Arabia created Al Qaeda nearly four decades ago in Afghanistan.
The Syrian War was a war of choice. It destroyed much of Syria’s rich history that dates back to antiquity. It costs 470,000 Syrian lives (a 2016 estimate) with another 6.1 million displaced and an estimated 4.8 million forced to flee abroad. And after so many lives were lost and the nation lies in rubble, nothing changed. Assad is still in power.
Conflicts in the Middle East are complicated. They’re 3-dimensional chess, while by comparison, the events in Winston are checkers.
But on the other hand, war is not complicated. It’s an evil force. War is the greatest of all evils because it contains many other evils. We must unambiguously reject war.
War is only good for lining the fat pockets of Wall Street/Military Industrial Complex. Our recent wars in the Middle East: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen have pushed refugees to Europe.
Previous Latin American wars in the 1980s brought Latino immigrants to the U.S. from El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala in record numbers.
Globalization, which is an economic war against workers across the globe has brought Mexican immigrants to the U.S. in droves. Just look at the numbers of Mexicans who have immigrated to the U.S. since NAFTA was pasted in 1994.
We cannot stand for human rights and support wars at the same time. The two are incompatible. We must welcome immigrants to our shores while we oppose the wars and economic exploitation that brought them here.