The Good, the Bad and the Uncool

I’m not sure if anyone noticed, but the world is kind of falling apart.

In the area formerly known as Syria, we have the government of Bashar Assad, elected by… er … no-one.  They’re supported by Iran and were last year’s bad guys – but are now good guys.

Anyway, they’re fighting against the Islamic State, who are also bad guys, but have changed their names 17 times, until we can’t actually remember what it was originally.  So they were good guys once, because they fought against Assad, who was a bad guy, but now that Assad is a good guy, they have now become bad guys.

Then there’s the Opposition which is made up of a bunch of factions with the names Islam and Mujahedeen in them.  Now, I’m not exactly sure who they’re fighting against, but I think they were fighting against Assad which made them good guys, until videos appeared of them eating human hearts, which definitely made them bad guys.  We like our freedom fighting parties pristine.

Then there’s another group made up of Kurdish forces, who I don’t think are fighting anyone, but just defending themselves against some of the others – at least when those others are taking a break from fighting each other.

Anyway, this war started just recently… um… four and a half years ago, but because the media decides what’s important in the world, only now has there been a worldwide awareness in an effort to help the refugees streaming out of there.

But in the midst of this crisis, said to be the biggest refugee crisis since World War 2, it always amazes me the kind of efforts in which world bodies place priority.

Because while over 300,000 people have died in Syria in a war that no one knew about, one of the EU’s current focal points is on labelling products from Israeli ‘settlements’ in areas what they deem ‘occupied.’  Somehow, they think in that Neville Chamberlain kind of way that it will help force peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians to restart – the same Palestinians who just, by the way in a massive shock to followers of the Middle East, rejected an offer by Bibi Netanyahu the other day to restart peace talks and also rejected an offer presented to the EU High Representative Frederica Mogherini in May.   Even Tzipi Livni, known as a left wing politician, said that it was Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who had torpedoed American-sponsored peace talks last year.  So… if labelling these products is a means to restart peace talks – how exactly is that going??  Of course the only way the Palestinians will ever negotiate is if they get everything they want, meaning the only reason they’d ever come to the negotiating table is to eat a felafel and drink some nana tea.

Of course, the Europeans, currently dealing with rampant anti-Semitism and radical Islamic terrorism, are now seeking a greater role in the peace process, which Israel doesn’t trust.  And why should they – when the Europeans are using intimidating tactics to force Israel to agree to the outcome they have already decided, which of course means Israel being labelled the bad guys while the Palestinians forever the good ones.  But I remain an optimist, and just because the first seven thousand and seven attempts have failed, doesn’t mean the seven thousandth and eight won’t!

Then there’s the United Nations who’s expected on Thursday to allow the Palestinians to raise their flag at its headquarters in New York in a move that is supposed to symbolically recognise the Palestinian aspirations for statehood.  So if the Palestinians get a flag raising ceremony for a country that doesn’t exist based on aspirations dating back just a few years, why isn’t there a flag raising ceremonies for the Kurds too, because they also have aspirations?

And finally we have the United States who just signed a nuclear deal with Iran, the bad guys – oh wait a second, let me check… oh sorry, currently the good guys – in order to allow them to pretty much do whatever they like and get $150 billion dollars in the process.  We just won’t mention the ‘Death to America’ or ‘Death to Israel’ chants, or their current support for international terrorism.  Because that would be uncool – especially when this deal is supposed to make the world safer.

So, as the world in its infinite moral clarity becomes… a little more unclear, we can think of President George W Bush and how he spoke of an axis of evil some years ago.  Only these days, it is no longer an axis, but rather a carousel of evil, in which each enemy gets a turn to become good, bad or just uncool.

About the Author
Justin Amler is a South African born, Melbourne based writer who has lived in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.