It was tempting to continue on my blog to have another go at those ‘Masters’ of finance, but a newscast by the NOS (Dutch News Broadcasting Service) opened my eyes to another issue that is playing at this precise moment. It also plays in other nations, even though most might not have given it much visibility and we might not be aware, but many people have met this situation whether they are aware of it or not.
For me this started in 1983/1984. I knew a man, just a loose acquaintance who I met in our days in the army. After his tour with UNIFIL, where he was placed in Lebanon for 6 months he was swayed and decided to join the PLO (after he returned home). At that time, I thought he was an utter idiot and I had only barely celebrated the point of no longer being a teenager. Those lovely days, everything was clear in black and white! Grey was for pussies!
Listening to the voice of Yassin El Forkani in regards to stopping Dutch citizens joining in their Jihad against Assad I find myself in a very different place. Ideology, how can we condemn it? This is not a group of people joining as terrorists (or perhaps they are). No, these people belief in what they think is right, and they are willing to put their lives in danger to fight for what they belief. They feel that they are fighting to depose a murdering tyrant. Who is correct? Who is right?
Yassin argues a valid and good point: “The youth does not see grey, they cannot relate to nuance“. How right he is. He is pleading. He wants these ‘kids’ to stay at home, to support their family, to finish their studies and to build a future. From my view now, he is correct. Yet, does that make the stance of those people who went to fight against Assad wrong?
Looking back to 1983 perhaps my Dutch comrade was not wrong, yet I would not have joined him. If I aligned with that train of thought I would have joined the IDF. We might have ended up facing one another. He was swayed by the charisma of Arafat. There is no doubt that Arafat had Charisma, only fools ignore that part. So how does this relate to Syria? It is clear that the people fighting Assad are in need of troops, materials, weapons and ammunition. For me to judge one side, or the other seems hollow and empty. Not because I care/not care, I believe that a sovereign nations must manage their own issues. This is not because of my level of care, but because these pivotal moments of a nation are written by the victors. The Netherlands took care of the Spanish, The Americans took care of the British and the list goes on and on and on.
Should we oppose any stance, by any reason, we must understand that for most of us, our nation, whichever it is came into existence one way or another, and belief me, most of those histories are a bloody mosaic of deaths and executions, the ones who fight fair usually die.
A view that was also shown in that newscast was a jihadist speaking out for going to the war, but he was not going, because he is a father and he is not strong (His words). Does anyone remember ‘the Patriot’ with Mel Gibson? He got a nice script ‘A parent does not have the luxury of choice’. Remembering my past, when I decided not to go either. I was not a parent, was I weak? I do not think so! I had a life to return to. I had some level of roots and it seemed to me, I had something to look forward to. Is that the threshold factor we are missing? It seems to me in these nations where unemployment levels are rising, any clarion call of ideology will be considered by those who listen.
So, how to see the situation in Syria? More important, will it end with Syria? This is the other side of social networking. Interests can grow, people can be swayed and troops could be gathered this way. This is what was feared the strongest by FBI, MI-5 and a few others. Not that these people went to fight for their beliefs. No, the fears are that they come back with a full arsenal of military trainings. This would be a massive win for Lone wolf recruiters and it would be a real concern to those having to deal with the returning people.
The fact that these groups are growing large in size, willing to go there at a moment’s notice and indeed take up arms is a new charter in war management we have not seen before to this size and extent. It is certain that it will go on, and many will start to ponder two issues. Where will they be swayed to next and what are the international ramifications? Today Damascus, tomorrow Doha, then what? Muslim, Jew, Hindu or Christian, when a citizen takes up arms against another nation it will become a diplomatic issue, non-combatant or not.