Sunday, March 10, 2019

Shamima Begum – state abuse and victimisation


Politics in our so-called democracy has descended to such a low level of shameless impudence that the voting public no longer care and any serious commentator will find his words wasted in a media in bed with power. Nonetheless, I venture to weigh in with my opinion on the topic of “jihadi brides”, so symptomatic of how most of the civilised values – and the principles they were built on – have been cast away or turned upside down in the post-colonial new grab for territory and control. The media attention brought to the case of this so unfortunate teenage woman who has lost three of her children, with the last death directly attributable to the decision of home secretary “uncle Tom” Sajid Javid to revoke her British citizenship, is full of copy-selling semantics and exotic drama but fails to realise that it is dealing with a prime example of how the “war on terror” has corrupted us all. To the gutter press, she is an “IS bride” who is now somehow paying back for the exotic holiday she went on when the rest of the British public had to slave away to pay their mortgage. In reality, she is no bride at all and not going to get married any time soon – she is a casualty of another illegal war our government ventured into and traumatised by the experience for which she can hardly be held responsible.
The new mantra of regime change has changed international politics forever, from Iraq via Libya and Syria to Venezuela. Western governments have attributed to themselves the right to decide who should govern a given country, rather than leaving that decision to that country’s people, and out goes all the hype about democracy. A new twist is to try the non-military approach to undermining sovereignty, and once the genie is out of the bottle it can’t be put back. When Juan Guaido declared himself president by virtue of the backing he received from a superpower having long wanted to make Venezuela more subservient again, and when all the “allied” or bought countries of the world followed suit in recognising him, he set a trend for similar imposters in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Will post-Brexit Britain be next to have a self-declared prime minister, backed by China maybe?
In trying to topple the legitimate government of Syria – and the question is not whether it is popular or liked by everybody, but whether it is legitimate; it is fair to say that the majority of British people do not like Donald Trump or Theresa May either – the US-led alliance actively promoted and armed rebel militias to bring civil war to the country, and this, though not openly admitted, included ISIS who killed their victims, mostly Muslims, with US weapons and ammunition. And to hide the dirty game from their publics at home, the state-sponsored and controlled Western media (bribery works just as well as censorship!) did not expose that a proxy war between the US, Russia and China was being fought in numerous theatres of war from Afghanistan to Syria, but elevated the IS brand in order to turn this murderous mess into a righteous fight against those barbarous Muslims. On some impressible minds, however, like that of schoolgirl Shamima, the propaganda had a damaging effect, scarring her for life.
The lives of many British teenagers, Muslim or not, tend to be quite bleak, with boredom at school and few prospects afterwards, and so they look for distraction, excitement and adventure. Some find it in partying, alcohol and drugs, others get sucked into the ever growing gang culture. Too many young lives are destroyed in this way, yet whilst we punish those who were caught actually committing crimes, we tend to think that they still deserve being rescued and rehabilitated. Likewise for those youngsters who, for the very same reasons, joined the armed forces young and foolishly, unaware that they would be sent away as cannon fodder in wars which had no meaning to them. To those who come back traumatised, even if they committed atrocities or participated in torture, like in Abu Ghraib, we offer counselling and hope to integrate them back into society, although the attempts often fail as indicated by the high suicide rate amongst ex-servicemen. Yet here is a young British teenager whom we want to wash our hands off, because she joined the wrong gang, and it is so much easier to blame her instead of admitting to our own failings.
Her father humiliatingly apologised for her actions, but neither he nor her, were responsible for the trends outside their control which shaped their lives. As a young girl she went to a British school, duly inspected by Ofsted. Does the school shoulder its responsibility for failing her? I have not heard an apology from either her head teacher or the local education authority. Will we get an apology from Prevent, that failed anti-terrorism and anti-radicalisation strategy beloved by the home secretary? After all, if the policy of spying on Muslims wholesale and alienating that community and breaking down the dialogue between them and others had not failed so utterly, this girl might not have been radicalised under their radar and gone abroad. Instead we are pouring more money into strategies which have been proven to cause more harm than good. And when the 15-year old travelled to Syria on a British passport, do not the UK Border Agency share some blame who are so obsessed with the politically charged topic of immigration that they don’t give a hoot who leaves their shores and where to? And the security services? Being heavily involved in Syria, they would surely be aware of naïve young girls flocking into that country to serve in a lost cause? Remember, whenever there is a terrorist attack on European soil we subsequently learn that the perpetrator “was previously known to security services”. But they don’t care to save individuals setting out to harm themselves – the security and anti-terrorism industry is big business, and keeping the threat alive is certainly more lucrative when it comes to job security in the services they work for. So let them go to kill and get killed in order to become an example of the dangers we face! Yes, this is the age of cynicism and prevention being better than cure is not part of the equation when the cure (this includes the privatised prison system) pays good money.
So the government, busy with being the Brexit-joke of Europe, opts for the easy route. No need to admit having, motivated by greed and inflated ego, made a mess which is coming back to haunt us or to take responsibility for the results and promise lasting changes: let’s just blame it on the victim and feed her to the dogs. And in doing so, another of those Western values we could once be proud of goes out of the window: British citizenship is no longer worth the paper it is written upon, for the state can disown you whenever you become a burden. And this is the fault Shamima’s father should maybe admit to being culpable of: having thought that British citizenship was sacred and worth sacrificing so much for, including his own children. Had they not been socialised in the UK, he most likely would not have had to see his daughter suffer and his grandchildren die.

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