The Plastic Hippo

October 14, 2016

Kicking and screaming

Filed under: Law,Politics,Rights,World — theplastichippo @ 3:00 am
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In an incredibly uncertain world populated by tyrants, dictators, ne`er do wells and various other foreigners, it took a mere 90 days for the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to present himself at the House of Commons in order to perform his new front bench role. Given that his almost Cistercian vow of silence following his appointment is entirely out of character, Boris Johnson did not need to be dragged kicking and screaming to front a much needed parliamentary debate concerning the ongoing crimes against humanity being committed across Syria and in particular in Aleppo.

Parliament devoted two whole hours to express anger and disgust at the Assad regime and its Russian allies and there was very little to argue against in the condemnation of the current barbarism killing and maiming the Syrian people on the orders of its own government. Assad and Putin are clearly war criminals but will never, ever face justice. At the end of the two hours and with the fine words and platitudes duly committed to Hansard, war crimes are still being perpetrated in Aleppo and beyond.

Fine words are one thing but a solution remains an impossibility when predominately white, wealthy, middle-aged, overweight male MPs suggest sending other people`s children to war. Talk of boots on the ground, no-fly zones, war crime tribunals, financial sanctions and, heaven forbid, a boycott of the next already corrupt FIFA World Cup will surely have no effect on nasty pieces of work like Assad and Putin. Although Boris Johnson is entirely correct in suggesting that the “great nation” of Russia is in danger of becoming a “pariah state”, it is disconcerting that his initial response is to ask the Stop the War coalition to demonstrate outside the Russian embassy. Firstly, the Stop the War people tend to complain about British involvement in illegal wars and secondly, the Russian government just like the British government will simply ignore any challenge.

The commons debate focussed intently on Russia destroying all hopes for a ceasefire when its aircraft wiped out a legitimate UN aid convoy bound for Aleppo. This is clearly another crime against humanity that, sadly, will go unpunished along with the deliberate targeting of hospitals, schools and food and water supplies. Assad and Putin are directly responsible for this attempt at genocide. Interestingly, there was no mention during the debate of western air power breaking the ceasefire 24 hours earlier by blowing away 22 Syrian soldiers. Still, one coalitions` war crime is another coalitions` mistake.

At least the parliamentary debate did allow for a very brief mention of civilian men, women and children currently being bombarded. Clearly the suffering of the people of Aleppo, according to Boris Johnson, shames us all and we must not rule out military intervention to end the bloodshed. Taking 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years with only 2,000 already saved from the carnage leaving a quarter of a million people trapped in Aleppo alone makes it even more difficult to understand Johnson`s idea of launching more high explosives in the direction of a funeral pyre that can be seen from space.

Andrew Mitchell, now officially rehabilitated as a former Secretary of State for International Development rather than that posh bloke who swore at the police and called them “plebs”, is to be congratulated for bringing the debate to the House of Commons. Not holding back, he directly accuses Russia of war crimes. He said: “They are doing to Aleppo what the Nazis did to Guernica ahead of the Second World War.” In 1937, the British government spoke fine words about Guernica but did nothing, the right-wing British press supported Hitler and some British citizens travelled to Spain to join the International Brigades. Imagine if a British citizen should now attempt to travel to Syria.

The day after the great debate to make us all feel better about Aleppo, the UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon was asked a question regarding British munitions being deployed in Yemen. He replied by saying that he would not comment as it was a matter for the Saudi-led coalition. Currently involving itself in an illegal war; the Saudi-led coalition is targeting hospitals, schools and food and water supplies and are using British Typhoon strike aircraft and Paveway bunker-busting bombs against women and children.

When we hear the fine words of Boris Johnson, as an experiment in hypocrisy of the first order, substitute the word Aleppo for the word Sana`a, Russia for Saudi Arabia and Syrian for Yemeni.
“We have a choice. We can turn away from the misery and suffering of children and humanity in Aleppo. We can once again on our watch appease today’s international law breaker – Russia – and continue to find eloquent excuses for inaction. Or we can be seen to take a lead. To explore energetically with our allies…explore every possible way of ending this barbarism. This tyranny which is threatening the international rules based system, destroying international order and which has engulfed the Syrian people.”

The sound of kicking and screaming that you hear is that of children desperate to escape bombs and bullets.

1 Comment »

  1. Incredible.

    Comment by Rob — October 14, 2016 @ 8:05 pm | Reply

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