"This would have been something I would have loved from the bands that I listened to growing up, and would still love from bands I listen to now." - Enter Shikari frontman Rou Reynolds.
This is important.
UK MPs voted in favour of joining coalition air strikes against IS militants in Syria last night. Millions of people reacted, both from within the rock world and far, far outside it.
Enter Shikari's Rou Reynolds has written a powerful opinion piece on the matter for Rock Sound. You can read it in full below.
"Look, if we bomb ISIS there's an even bigger chance they'll bomb us and we couldn't have that could we? So, to stop (but also increase) the chances of them bombing us we need to bomb them, now. You get me?"
That's not a million miles from one of David Cameron's arguments on why we need airstrikes in Syria. Here though, it's been translated to simpler language, highlighting the state of complete confusion and contradiction this 'argument' is built upon.
Yesterday the UK government voted in favour of dropping bombs in Syria with the attempt of targeting ISIL / ISIS / Da'esh whatever the fuck you choose to call them.
Syria is a beautiful country with a rich history. It has over the last few years been reduced to a chaotic mess of facism, extremism, intergroup conflicts and civil wars wrapped up in civil wars. A month ago airstrikes against ISIL were proposed and later withdrawn through lack of support, but everything has changed since Paris. Now, powerful emotions have been allowed to cloud vision and we're going in balls out, bombs away.
It's hard to imagine people more gruesome, psychopathic and disgusting than ISIL. If evil had a physical embodiment, like, say, a "Mr Evil", ISIL would be his pathetic little tag along, the ugly little prick that tries to desperately win the attention and approval of the disinterested "Mr Evil" by committing increasingly extreme acts.
No one denies that these people need to be destroyed. But with airstrikes, you kill innocent people, you destroy infrastructure, homes, hospitals, schools. You create more extremists, the very thing you are attempting to rid the world of.
I don't have a car but on the occasions I do drive, if you've been unfortunate enough to be a passenger you may have witnessed me looping round a roundabout four times after missing my exit. "The sat nav didn't load in time! It looked like it was the next exit!" I cry. "Oh which lane should I be in now? Fuck I just missed it again.” ETC.
Well, THAT is what this ol' 'war on terror' feels like. It started 14 years years ago, this ol' 'war on terror' thing did.
14 years of invasions, airstrikes, lots of dead civilians, which created lots of new extremists...
Which meant more invasions, airstrikes, lots of dead civilians, which created lots of new extremists…
Repeat ad nauseam (that's just a fancy latin phrase for "repeat to the point of causing nausea” - I use it to look all intellectualisty).
We couldn't have aided in the creation of ISIS more if we worked out how to create terrorists in a Petri dish.
Without a clear and well geographically defined enemy, civilians often feel the brunt of our military might. Modern military weaponry has improved in terms of its accuracy over the years, but we still inevitably cause "collateral damage". This is a clever euphemism that sounds like the extra interest you have to cough up when your bank account goes into the red. Instead, it's what happens when our bombs colour the streets of far away places red with the blood of innocent children.
How this is going to make us safer I'm very unsure. France was already bombing in Syria before Paris. Many commentators say that’s the reason it was targeted.
The problem for the UK's immediate safety is we have a Tory government that is increasing poverty and inequality, underfunding and ruining our healthcare and public services whilst telling us "we CAN afford to spend millions on airstrikes." And that’s millions a day we're talking here!
Governance 101. Create fear.
Fear, fear, fear.
Fear at every corner. That will then be all your population can think about.
We pay extra attention to fear, and rightly so, remembering where that sabre tooth tiger den was is one of the reasons our species has been so prosperous. But fear can be exploited. And if your people are worrying about ISIS, they're no longer worrying about how you're dismantling everything that's good about the country and selling it off to the super-rich.
Cameron has no strategy, no endgame, no long term plan, in 2013 he wanted us to go after Assad (president of Syria). Now, he's after ISIL, he just wants to bust in like a bloodthirsty cowboy into a saloon in a vintage western. The UK is gonna add to the dropping of explosives already being dropped by the U.S., France, and others and hope we get the bad guys. It's like we're Jägermeister and being added to a Long Island Iced Tea.
There's already many different sects fighting each other in Syria - Assad’s government forces, tequila, vodka, the western forces, light rum, religious fruitcakes, triple sec, and gin. Adding Jägermeister ain't gonna do anyone any FLAVOURS. Flavours, see what I did there?
(Not trying to make light of a horrific situation but half of you would have stopped reading by the next sentence if I hadn't thrown a joke there. There hadn't been a chuckle inducer for at least a few paragraphs).
It's mental that we can go into another war when the Chilcot Inquiry (the inquiry that is looking into whether the UK's war in Iraq was criminal) hasn't even been released!
Airstrikes may kill some of ISIL. But they will also undoubtedly kill children at schools, people in hospitals, normal folk trying to make a living.
We should be going after those who fund and arm ISIL, we should go after those who buy their oil.
But calm logic isn't as fashionable as rushed fervour and passion.
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