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a cacophony of ramblings

Category: Conflict (Page 1 of 11)

Imperial Archives

On numerous Muslim news sites in Turkey and now on social media, the document below is being celebrated as evidence of a timeworn relationship of solidarity between the Turkish people and the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar.

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Similitude

For all its overtures in respect to the Myanmar crisis, your celebrated¬†Leader of the Ummah —¬†the pious nation of legend — has much in common with that indicted State.

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Old Blighty

It would be wise to study Burmese history, particularly the period of British Colonial rule and World War II, rather than circulating articles about Rohingya fighting for the British during World War II and invoking it as a special relationship.

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The historian’s curse

Historians and students of politics will aways be cursed to take the long view, and not succumb to the passions and emotions of the moment, condemning them for eternity to the realm of the indifferent.

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Peace

Sadly, for as long as some countries have resources which others seek to plunder, there will not be peace in the world.

Moral arguments

It is occasionally worth recalling that the concept of “terror bombing” was not dreamed up in a cave in Afghanistan, but by a celebrated British statesman, who legitimised the mass killing of civilians as a means to defeat the enemy (37,000 in Hamburg and 25,000 in Dresden).

Collective amnesia forces us to wash our hands of these unpalatable truths, but painful introspection is necessary if we are to understand our modern afflictions. Terrorism and the targeting of civilians is always odious, and we should be able to condemn it in all its forms, not excuse and venerate some practitioners simply because they are or were on our side.

The moral argument does not work like that.

Witnesses

So once more our activists and scholars petition us, “Why are you silent? Why do you not speak out?”

And yes, it is true, we feel like renegades, as if indifferent to the suffering of afflicted innocents everywhere.

But the communal amnesia they demand of us won’t stick. We have been browbeaten by tragedy before, and driven by emotion to join the bold choruses demanding war.

And now the millions dead and nations in anarchic turmoil stand witness against us.

This fire

They demand that you speak up, say something, make your voice heard, as if everything is clearcut and obvious and true, and as though your voice would make a difference to the wronged, caught in the crossfire of conflict.

Perhaps the silent fear opening the door to another giant invasion from outside, sold as a humanitarian intervention like Iraq and Libya.

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Sacrifice

If only all those bright but naive young students persuaded by pious propaganda to sacrifice their lives for an unholy cause could have been persuaded instead to complete their medical degrees and to dedicate their lives to the service of others.

Be witnesses to truth

When conversation runs dry in a meeting with a stranger or long-lost friend, one question inevitably follows: “Did you watch the football?” or “What team do you support?”

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