Just when you thought the hypocrisy and mendacity of the British political establishment could not sink any lower, up pops the proposal to strip Asma Assad, wife to Syria’s President Bashar Assad, of her British citizenship.
Colonialism, as is well known, is an historical malady responsible for an ocean of human suffering and injustice. When it comes to the history of British colonialism, the suffering and injustice are compounded by the retention within the country’s current political class of the same ‘born to rule ethos’ that was asserted as moral justification for the plundering of a large swath of the developing world over centuries. Thus we have British politicians such as Tom Brake – foreign affairs spokesman for the UK’s Liberal Democratic Party saying, “the first lady of Syria has acted not as a private citizen but as a spokesperson for the Syrian presidency,” before going on to demand the Syrian President’s wife should “either stop using [her] position to defend barbaric acts, or be stripped of [her] citizenship.”
Placing to one side for a moment the obvious question of precisely which “barbaric acts” Mr. Brake is referring to in the context of a conflict involving a secular, multi-religious and multicultural country fighting for its survival against medieval barbarism and religious extremism, surely there is nothing more contradictory than British politicians unleashing a ‘j’accuse’ against anyone when it comes to barbarism?
The blood-soaked history of the British political and ruling class is of unparalleled magnitude. And lest anyone be tempted to dismiss it as a historical footnote – though only those who’ve spent the last 15 years on a different planet could possibly do so – Britain’s role in the chaos and mayhem that has engulfed countries such as Syria in recent years is proof that it is a history that continues unabated.
In particular the destruction and devastation of Iraq in 2003 – a war of imperialist aggression unleashed by Washington and London that was directly responsible for up to a million deaths – ripped the mask of democracy and human rights off the face of the British ruling class to reveal its brutality and perfidy. And this is without factoring in Britain’s involvement in the destruction of Libya in 2011, after that a functioning state was turned into a failed state overnight, triggering the worst refugee crisis of modern times.
Making the destruction of Iraq and Libya even worse is the fact that the British prime ministers responsible, Tony Blair and David Cameron, rather than face justice for the slaughter, suffering, and mayhem caused, have sauntered off into obscenely lucrative political retirement. Where is the call to strip Blair and Cameron of their British citizenship, given their role in the destruction of Iraq and Libya and the erection of a mountain of dead people said destruction has wrought? When will either of them be forced to face anything approximating to justice for their role in sowing such carnage, suffering, and human despair?
Only the most profoundly ignorant or wicked could place Asma Assad in the same category as Tony Blair, David Cameron, or a British political class with so much blood on its collective hands. In contrast, Syria’s First Lady stands as the embodiment of dignity and courage amid the chaos that has engulfed the country over these past six years. Given the fate that befell Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi, both murdered in service to British supported mob justice, the very fact that she has remained at her husband’s side in Syria is inarguably testament to that courage.
At this point in Syria’s history, and by extension that of the Middle East, you either support the principles of secularism, multiculturalism, and religious diversity, or you support Salafi-jihadism. There is no middle ground to be occupied between either, thus making the on-going attempt to demonize the Assad government and effect regime change in Damascus an act of craven disregard for the lives of minority religious communities in Syria, communities comprised of men, women, and children who have and continue to face the very real threat of genocide.
Another important aspect of this issue is the inference that British citizenship is some kind of privilege to be cherished. Mr. Brake and his ilk should know that currently there are millions of people in Scotland and Northern Ireland who would like nothing better than to be divested of this particular privilege, and with good reason. Indeed what is support for Scottish independence if not opposition to the semi-feudal institutions and, with them, the mentality of the British state and its ruling elite?
Ultimately, when it comes to Britain’s colonial past and present, it is impossible to disagree with the words of the Scottish-born Irish revolutionary James Connolly: “Their crimes would shame all the devils in hell.”