Tuesday, 24 November 2015

FATHER FRANK’S RANTS Rant Number 657 24 November 15 CANT & HYPOCRISY


Time for Britain to act like ‘Churchill not Chamberlain’, blustered PM David Cameron. Bombing Islamic State would be Churchill-like, geddit?

George Orwell wrote that England ‘has a reputation abroad of being the land of hypocrisy and cant’. Unfair? Yet Cameron exemplifies that. To be a ‘good ally’ of France and a friend of Gulf nations, the UK must bomb beastly ISIS, he claims. Beyond the rhetoric, what’s the truth?

First, compared with current, awesome US, Russia and French air attacks, Britain’s contribution to bombing would be piffling. Sir Nick Harvey, a former defence minister, says so. Make little difference. The PM craves air war because he does not want the UK to be left out of the eventual Peace Conference on Syria. And, horribile dictu, to be eclipsed by President Putin, his pet hatred. Cameron’s logic: ‘I bomb therefore I am’. Existentialist politics? Realpolitik motivates him. Old-fashioned, dirty power politics. Not the cant of loving France. A country England has fought, on and off, for over 600 years.

Second, the Gulf nations. Cant again. Nations like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Oil barrels, regional strategies, intelligence links. Things making unpleasant autocracies valued ‘allies’ of Britain. Shame the ‘Gulfies’ also stock Syrian rebels with oodles of weapons and cash. Rebels like the notorious, al-Qaeda affiliated Nusrah Front. Or Jaysh al-Islam, the Army of Islam. So sanguinary that they publicly behead rival ISIS captives in internecine warfare. The nice, ‘democratic’ Syrian fighters courted by the liberal West are few and far between. Reality check: the freedom-loving opponents of Assad are a patchwork of murderous jihadi groups. As bad as ISIS. Fine allies Britain’s got!

Third, Cameron’s fixation, shared by sissy President Obumble, with overthrowing President Assad’s regime. Ostensibly because the man kills ‘his own people’. Would it be better if he killed other nations’ people? Like Britain and the US have done in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya since 2011? Were those slaughters and dreadful aftermaths for the unhappy countries OK because they were not ‘our own people’? Rank hypocrisy. Assad is no angel but is the Saudi monarchy any better, apart from being precious to the West because of all that unholy oil? The same Saudis who chop off heads, kill gays, imprison and flog human rights critics, forbid women to drive a car, outlaw the building of churches, even the simple possession of a Bible. Reasonable, cute and cuddly fellows, eh?

‘Sunnis are oppressed in Assad’s Syria, they must be empowered’, Cameron’s official narrative runs. Of course, Saudi Arabia oppresses and discriminates its Shia minority but, that aside, hypocrisy lurks here too. The menacing shadow of a ‘Shia’ Crescent’ conjured up years ago by King Abdullah of Jordan – a faithful Western poodle – serves Western purposes. The main Shia’ nation being Iran, paranoidly feared by Israel and Gulf monarchies alike, it provides the ideal bogey. Never mind the West gave not a damn about Sunni Muslims in Afghanistan and Libya. Never mind that the Kurds are Sunnis but deadly foes of the Caliphate. And never mind that ISIS ideology incarnates a sectarian, extremist version of Sunni Islam. Syria must be bombed so that Sunnis may be free. Mega-cant!

Fourth, the Christians of Syria. Odd, isn’t it, how the PM studiously keeps mum about them. They don’t figure in the Downing St equation at all. Of course ISIS and other Jihadi groups do pay attention to Christians. By slaughtering them, kidnapping bishops and priests, raping women, burning down churches, profaning sacred books and so on. Their peculiar idea of ‘interfaith relations’, I suppose. President Assad, a secularist, always protected Christians and indeed many serve amongst government troops. Can you blame them? Choosing between the Islamist butchers and a State that shelters you is no brainer. The truth is that pig-loving Cameron, allegedly a kind of Christian, does not give a damn about Christianity in Syria. Or perhaps it makes sense. If you are happily in bed with Wahhabi Saudis and Zionist Israelis, what do you need the wretched, defenceless Nazarenes for? Admittedly, this is not cant - just shameful, uncaring silence.

Fifth, the Syrian refugees. Heart-rending tale. Millions uprooted by the civil war, forced to flee. ISIS must be air bombed so that the refugees may return to their homes, the phoney narrative goes. Meanwhile they need help, sure. Germany has proved generous – 800.000 of them offered asylum this year, Chancellor Merkel decided, rightly or wrongly. What is Cameron’s response? Britain will take 40.000 over a period of five years. Huh! A measly, paltry 40.000! Moreover, Cameron sent Royal Navy ships to rescue migrants in danger of drowning in the Mediterranean. But where do the ships take them safely to? Britain? No way. Italy! Just a whiff of hypocrisy, perhaps? Or a gust, a squall, a tornado of it?

Finally, Churchill or Chamberlain? Churchill, Britain’s saviour in WWII but also the politician who averred ‘I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes’. Consistently in 1920 when Secretary for War Churchill had the RAF spray Kurdish Iraqi tribesmen with poisoned gas. (‘It saves money’, he said.) Too plain to be hypocritical, perhaps. However, Sven Lindqvist in his History of Bombing documents how Chamberlain when PM refused to start bombing innocent German civilians. Instead, Churchill decided to bomb German cities first, so to provoke German reprisals and prevent any separate peace. He cunningly pretended Hitler had started it...

Long live Churchill! Long live cant and hypocrisy!

Revd Frank Julian Gelli

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