Does it not occur to the British-born fighter lamenting the manners and etiquette of local Syrians that they may in fact resent outsiders coming into their country to lord it over them? Has it not occurred to him that the populace of so-called liberated villages may not actually see themselves as a liberated people, but as a people conquered and brutalised by outsiders?
Indeed, is there not something very British about this strange lament? That of an uninvited guest complaining about the locals’ manners, whilst simultaneously destroying the fabric of their society? Oh, but the irony, seemingly lost on the author: the act of accidentally praising the West for its superior manners, administration skills, neighbourly relations, fairness and rules of the road.
I guess what was left behind was not all rotten; that a nuanced understanding of the world was always possible, if only dogmatism could be set aside. Instead foreigners descend on an unknown land, ignorant of its history and culture, and complain about self-inflicted misfortunes, all whilst the native population flee their homes in ever larger numbers, desperate to escape the imported madness unfolding around them. A clash of cultures indeed.