Noura Kiridly on War in the Middle East

Noura Kiridly on War in the Middle East
I know you’re probably tired of hearing about the Middle East at this point. I know a lot of people are because I see it and hear it and read it all the time with comments like, “let’s just bomb the middle east and be done with it,” or “there will never be stability in the Middle East so why do we talk about it,” or “I hope all muslims die” because according to them, Muslim and Arab is synonymous, or referring to everyone as terrorists. Or, if you’re more politically correct, you’ll say something like, “I don’t really care” and “I don’t follow politics.” 

I understand that you want to read about other things and that the Middle East seems far away and just a crazy place where a lot of barbaric things happen and maybe there are even random buzz topics you can recite, like “Sunni-Shitte conflict” or “Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” But I want everyone to really try and understand something, deeply and truly. People — real, living, breathing, eating, loving, people — live in these countries. They are not others; they are not barbaric; they are people exactly like you, and they suffer every day from the rapid and continuous destabilization of their countries, the entire region, the political and economic structures, and live in fear for the future. They are forced with the unpleasant question of leaving a home they grew up in, leaving their culture behind, and trying their best to move somewhere else or live a life in constant fear of death and destruction of everything they’ve worked for their entire lives. I want you to understand that we have been at war with the Middle East for decades. I want you to understand that we have consistently invaded and consistently put leaders in power that have done nothing good for the countries at hand. I want you to understand that money and greed are behind 90% of political actions.

I want you to understand that this is a GENOCIDE.
The number of people who have died is unreal…the number of refugees…the pure lack of hope for one’s own country. I want you to understand that as you sit and read this right now, history is evolving beyond your borders and I want you to understand that one day a white, pretentious guy with a degree from a fancy private school will make documentaries and movies and start a museum and write in political papers and teach a class about the genocide that happened in the Middle East like there was nothing we could do about it then. I want you to remember what I’m saying: When we grow up and there are museums about what the Middle East used to be, what it looked like before it was destroyed, America and Americans will make money off of the backs of the culture and the people they are killing. I want you to know that the more destabilized a country becomes the more extreme its citizens become for survival. I want you to understand that people everywhere need jobs and need money and need to feed their kids and they will do what it takes to get to that goal. I want you to know that people will take jobs over terrorism anywhere, any day — assuming they have that choice. I want you to know religion doesn’t have much to do with this; it is poverty, hopelessness, lack of resources, and residual anger from the loss of family members/regions that contribute to extreme actions. When I go to talks about the region, about the ever-feared and ever-hyped “ISIS” I realize that the white savior complex we read about in textbooks still exists. American exceptionalism still exists. I want you to know that Western foreign politics destabilized the entire Middle East and continues to do so. This is why it is the way it is.

I want you to know that there is NO GOOD WAY to have an occupation of a country. It hurts the country occupied to a degree you cannot imagine — but it also hurts American troops, American families, American dollars. I want you to know that when you hear about ISIS beheading people and you think bout how horrible they must be, that we do that every single day in this country. We let people in this country go poor, go hungry, go homeless, and we kick them around. We strike drones down on countries; we smash them to bits without respect and ruin towns and centuries of history.
I want you to ask yourself if that is okay and if we haven’t evolved enough as a society, as humans, to see the problem with that. I want you to think if that is the correct response to a humanitarian issue.
All you journalist students who benefit off of the hype of ISIS or talking about a humanitarian issues that a group is facing: I want you to think about the root of all the problems these people are facing and dig a little deeper. I know it is hard for people to understand what is going on in a region they’re not from and I don’t blame anyone. The media is completely horrible and a joke. But, in all my ranting, please do me one favor and get angry. Get angry that we are entering into ANOTHER WAR right now and you don’t have enough money to pay off your school loans. Get angry that we are killing people in mass numbers and your name will be tied to it. Get angry that there is a lack of compassion. Get angry that you can’t access accurate and good information about what happens in the world. Get angry because the citizens in countries that are effected by all these horrible things are angry, or hopeless, but their opinion isn’t heard and won’t ever have a big enough venue to be heard. Get angry because my anger, or anyone who is Muslim or from the  Middle East will never hold as much weight as yours will. Please try to get angry and look for different opinions and try to form your own, or question your own. 

We’re going to war everybody, and if you think things are going to slow down, re-think that, and get angry.

 

Written by Peace Fellow Noura Kiridly and reproduced here with permission.

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