Syria: Questions from a foreign diplomacy novice !

– Is it foolish to hold or expect  human life sacrosanct in relation to interest -?

I start this note with a disclaimer, I am no specialist or analyst on foreign diplomacy nor do I claim to understand the multiplicity of intricacies informing the Syrian debacle, I equally have not fully grappled or comprehended the complexities of the many themes and side themes informing geo-global political context.

I thought it appropriate at this juncture to take a leaf out of my  dad’s advice manual, he  held ‘if you know talk, if you don’t know listen and ask questions for it becomes the means for gaining insight’. This note of the many I had penned arguably will contain a barrage of questions, if it frustrates you; bear with me I am trying to do what my dad advised, because I am a novice. If in the cause of reading it you find my questions stupid, I shall again have to count on my advisor as he astutely would  remonstrate, ‘the only stupid question is an unasked one’

This morning we awake to the news of the resigning of Kofi Annan envoy and diplomat of the UN assigned to find the means for a solution on the Syrian impasse of over 18 months. Calling this an impasse is perhaps a gross misunderstanding because the truth is hundreds of thousands of lives are negatively impacted by this untenable situation in which more than over 25000 lives are reported lost.  What are the implications of Kofi Annan, current UN peace envoy for the Syrian impasse resigning  mean? Is Syria becoming the true test of legitimacy of the UN weight pullers, pitting West & East powers?

Clearly the quitting of Kofi Annan the usually stately and  dignified African Diplomat puts a spin on the unfolding Syrian question. Annan who under difficult circumstances led this 6 point plan amidst torrid waters threw in the proverbial towel. His articulation and clear exasperation manifested in raised emotions on the frustrations of the process is showing the process as a definitive stalemate and possibly a cul-de-sac.

For Annan at a personal level this has in a sense marred his personal legacy depending from which side you look at it,  yet that is the least of issues and much less imperative  as critical issue in the greater scheme of things.

Notwithstanding how diverse we may opine on reasons and roles of those who had contributed to the Syrian issue, it firstly cannot be seen in a vacuum but must remain cognisant of the greater interacting and present Middle East conflated politics of control.

What cannot be disputed is that the regime of Assad is butchering his own people for at least the last 19months since the world’s focus brought this very tiny controversial nation in the spotlight of international media and equally beamed into our private space of home -fronts.

It would be easy to argue the media could be biased as we know by now is very possible, yet whilst that may be so, it is foolhardy to argue against the overwhelming evidence of human atrocities committed by a government who has ruled over its people with fear.

The challenge of Syria is the fact that it pits the world’s oldest and strongest and emerging economies squarely faced up in UN embrace.  Syria is not merely simply geographically assumed as the centre of the globe, but has become the current stalemate of global politics defined in UN definition.

If we move from the premise that the world leaders claim to agree on a number of things as the recent conversations between President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain claims, the question that needs answering is what informs the gravitas of such agreement?  This at a critical level asks perhaps a rhetorical question, is the suffering of humanity under the Assad administration an agreed  reality? Do the opposing powers defined in West and East cloaks agree on what is happening for the last 18 months in Syria necessitates firstly condemnation and ultimately a unified response?

Recognising the intricate and multiple layered and coloured aggregates of interest for both head-butting UN power- blocks, is it not time to afford human life the central space it without any contest deserves?

If the premise of human life as paramount holds sway and remains principal in the scope of vision for these opposing leaders and nations should that not necessitate a unified response to such abuse? The latter again a rhetorical question for some, yet not as simple as advanced, when personal interest is factored into the equation.

Equally if human life is not held paramount but subservient to a national interest exemplified in economic, military etc. is that the lens through which we must prove cognisant of the current unfolding misery of Syria?

At another level if there is a stalemate in UN – Member opposing powers is it located in what type of a response is warranted?

Clearly the historical Rwandan less talk and made about genocide must communicate something about where the interest of leaders and their nations in UN context remains located. Equally the more recent Libyan question which again raises fundamental questions if the UN proved prudent to arrive at the  correct approach, we may comfortably agree now in hindsight that despite the claimed overthrow of Gaddafi, Libya is not a better place today economically, infra-structurally or in national peace context.  Some of us have warned that the approach in which the AU was rendered a spectator was not the correct one.

Are the objections raised by China and Russia justified, if so why when lives are snuffed out daily and families destroyed at whim?

Is the demand for intervention as proposed by the Western countries legitimate and honest in its rudimentary claim, if so why if the Libyan question is used as our maximum symbol?

How is the position of the Arab-League to be interpreted, or is it is stance even a monolithic one? Is the choice to hold such stance an authentic one or one dictated to by decisions made in historical alliance sense less sensitive for this particular epoch?

Is it vaguely possible that the current stalemate has little to do with anything but a simplistic West and East marred context in which testosterone often dictates the parameters of action? Or is there any need to reflect in Biblical pericope on the significance of Syria if eschatological prophecies are brought into the scope of our horizon?

In the end, can the value of human life again outweigh interest, not for cheap hypocritical reasons but for sense and a future for which we collectively must own up?

This novice’s prayer may sense prevail to arrive at the correct decisions. May sense prevail that the people of Syria, find in the globe a friend to come to its rescue. May sense prevail in the minds of the Assad regime and henchmen, to see this massacre cannot go unabated and is not in Syria’s national interest at all.

May the frivolity of power the insanity of arrogance and the idiocy of stubbornness be dealt a deserving death- blow by those who primarily believe human life is sacrosanct and should never be sacrificed at the false diadem of perennial interest.

Bishop Clyde N. S. Ramalaine

Independent Commentator

Courtesy of “Tradewinds are Blowing” – Political Commentary & Musings –

 (Due October 2012)

This entry was posted in Syria.

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