Bryan Hemming

short stories, comment, articles, humour and photography

The failing moral compass of the West

Very few people cannot be moved by the growing numbers of pictures of dead and dying babies, children, women, and men we see on our TV screens, in newspapers, and on the internet on a daily basis. The use of chemical weapons in Damascus is just the latest in a long line of atrocities committed against civilians, and there is no need to show any pictures here.

But the very scale of the cruelty and madness going on should not numb us into silence, or allow us fall into feelings of impotent inertia. At the very least, if we are moved, we should voice our opinions publicly, and try to make sure we are heard.

The killing has to stop, and only we can stop it by demonstrating our opposition to a world that seems to have slid into a state of permanent war without mandate from the majority of its population.

We may think we are powerless, nevertheless, we must fight such thoughts. We can all do our bit to show how we feel, especially now the US is monitoring all our communications. We can turn a negative into a positive by letting them know what we think by the means they have made available. We can text, tweet, and phone each other and talk about our opinions on these wars. We can show our opposition on facebook, youtube and all the other means of communication we know the NSA is listening in to. And we can blog.

Though it takes a great deal of time and a lot of effort, one way I try to do my bit is by reading as many sources of information I can in an effort to try to understand the contradictions we are bombarded with by the mainstream media and on blogs. It’s quite amazing how many there are.

To be honest, it’s often very depressing, and I would much rather be writing short stories set in my imaginary little pueblo of Santa Catalina, and finishing my novels. But my conscience cannot allow me solely to pursue my own projects. When faced with such appalling scenes on a daily basis, I cannot just turn my gaze away and do nothing.

To add my own to the growing number of voices expressing their opinions, I often write in the comments sections of newspapers. It’s rarely a rewarding experience, as insults and trolling are far too common, whereas ‘likes’ are more often than not, extremely thin on the ground. But the tide does seem to be turning with more and more people, outraged by their governments’ cynical attempts to justify constant war, saying so out loud. We must not permit the so-called war on terror to terrify us all into silent submission and blind obedience.

This morning, having been disgusted first by the act itself, I then found myself disgusted by the reaction of the West to the terrible chemical attack in Damascus, which amounts to announcements proposing the killing of yet more innocent people. I have posted several comments in the British comments section of The Guardian newspaper on the subject.

The Guardian now publishes US and Australian editions on the net, and was the first paper to reveal Edward Snowden’s evidence that the US and British governments are not only spying on the rest of the world, but they are also spying on their own people.

Here are two responses I made to today’s article entitled: ‘Iran warns west against military action in Syria‘. Both comments are intended to highlight the double standards of the West when it comes to issuing warnings.

As I asked yesterday – and I make no apologies for repeating the question today – if undeniable proof is produced that Syrian rebels were responsible for the chemical attack, will the US and UK send in the bombers to bomb rebel forces? Or is it just another case of a red line for one side and a green light for the other?

And then I wrote a second comment, to point out, as many others have done, the gross hypocrisy  of West when it comes to the use of chemical weapons. Singling out one weapon as worse than another in wars financed and armed by the very countries that supplied those weapons in the first place, is the worst sort of hypocrisy of all. Though the use of chemical weapons is deplorable, all weapons of war wreak death and destruction on hundreds of thousands and, in some cases, millions of civilians.

The US can never fail to amaze. We have hardly recovered from reeling at the news that the country who is baying for Jullian Assange’s blood for hacking turns out to be the biggest hacker of all, when we hear the same country that scattered chemical weapons all over S E Asia as though they were jelly beans, with no regard for the lives of the civilian population whatsoever, is now calling for the bombing of a country for use of chemical weapons against its civilian population. I’m sure the Syrian civilian victims (or collateral damage in US military parlance) and their families, living in the areas about to have missiles rained upon them are looking forward to being ‘liberated’.

And then we are lucky to be blessed with Saint William Hague, who should be tried for war crimes in the city bearing his name.

I can’t know if masses of people voicing their dissent in this way will have any effect, but neither can I sit back and ignore what is going on around me. I don’t expect everyone to start commenting on newspaper articles, but I do think those of us who feel strongly enough about it have a duty to voice our opinions and make sure those opinions are heard one way or another.

August 30th 20113  Update: With British MPs voting against attacking Syria yesterday, perhaps politicians are starting to listen to the voters. Today’s leading story in The Guardian: Blow to Cameron’s authority as MPs rule out British assalt on Syria.

Links to related stories:
Paul Craig Roberts  Syria – Another Western War Crime In The Making –  No lightweight, Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy in the US and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal.

Truthout Exclusive Glenn Greenwald Interview: “I Won’t Be Kept Out of My Country for Doing Journalism!” by Jonathan Franklin.

David Gavlak has worked for the BBC and Assocated Press. He and Yalyah Ababneh presnt compelling evidence from witnesees on the ground that Syrian rebeal backed by Saudi Arabian Prince Bandar were responsible for the chemical weapon explosions in Damascus in an accident. Mint Press News: EXCLUSIVE: Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack

One comment on “The failing moral compass of the West

  1. WordsFallFromMyEyes
    August 29, 2013

    Agree no need to show pictures (add to it), Bryan – well done.

    “Permanent war without mandate from” – spot on…

    I rather you be “writing short stories set in my imaginary little pueblo of Santa Catalina, and finishing my novels” too Bryan! But I so very understand here, your mission.

    Well done The Guardian first to publish Snowden – I didn’t know that.

    I love your eloquence commenting, Bryan. I consider you a brother. Great post.


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This entry was posted on August 27, 2013 by in Articles.

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