Saturday, 24 March 2012

The tragedy of Syria

The terrible news from Syria continues to come in and googling Syria and Christians reveals stories not widely reported in the newspapers. I suspect the least bad outcome would be the victory of the disgusting, inhuman, indescribably cruel regime over the brave rebels and the hapless Sunnis who are being butchered. I hate saying this and perfectly understand if others passionately disagree with me. This is how history really is, tragic in the true sense of that misused word. We are seeing the limitations of the liberal imagination.

Democracy it is perfectly obvious now and should have been all the time is not possible in Syria in the foreseeable future though it for the time being works in a way in Lebanon. Though this will probably change if the war in Syria goes on for years. Nor is it possible in a tribal society like Libya. 

It remains to be seen if democracy and Islam can go together, the cases where they do seemingly being exceptional. Freedom flourishes best in Christian and Jewish settings, at least up until now, and not by chance. Enlightenment values, about which I am ambivalent, and the rule of law spring from Greece and Rome and the Jewish and Christian religions. The conquest by Islam of half the former Roman Empire has been a huge misfortune from this and other points of view. I wonder if it is comparable in a certain way to the conquest by Communism of half Europe.

Is the war in Syria only the prelude to a wider more terrible war? A Russian-Estonian bricklayer told me six years ago that World War III has already begun. I hope he was wrong but bricklayers are not intellectuals, so he might be right.

1 comment:

  1. The bricklayer may have been pretty right :-(

    What if this proxy war in Syria - with Iran, China and Russia on Assad's side, and the Western world siding with the rebels - is a repetition of the Spaninish Civil War of 1936-1939?