(All figures quoted from online sources and are approximate, used to give examples. Also, this is obviously a very general overview and all points could be investigated much further.)
So, since I went to bed last night the UK has joined the war against ISIS/ISIL/Daesh in Syria. Only 57 minutes after voting to join the campaign, the first missiles were launched. 57 minutes.
Greed is the motivator behind the war. Rich people, sitting in their comfortable offices/mansions have made the decision to spend tens of millions of UK taxpayer money per day on bombing raids in Syria. People are going to die. Innocent people are going to die. Ok, there will be casualties within the ISIS/ISIL/Daesh regime, but someone will pop up in their place.
ISIS/ISIL/Daesh is of western making. Ten years ago they did not exist. But with the backing of US and UK (and other) governments, they were created/funded to destabalise the governments in the Middle East and keep the oil coming. The only reason that governments from the west have any reason to get involved in the Middle East is to keep the supply going for our insatiable demand for oil. The problem with ISIS/ISIL/Daesh is that they have grown out of control and now believe they are promoting a bigger cause. That initial decision has come back to bite us on the ass. While we may not agree with dictatorships and the like, many countries and regions have become far more unstable with western involvement than they were before.
The inevitable consequence of this new war is going to be refugees. How can we, as humanitarians, expect women, children and men to live in streets that are being bombed by our own forces. We have to accept the consequences of our actions and that means providing refuge (the clue is in the name) to those in need.
In the Paris attacks of November, 129 people died. In response to those attacks France and the US started a campaign to bomb ISIS/ISIL/Daesh with airstrikes and last night the UK voted to join them. 129 people died in Paris. Put that into perspective. In the UK each winter approximately 30000 elderly people die each year from cold related illnesses. Yes, that’s right, because they can’t afford to stay warm. The UK is a civilised and rich nation yet 30000 people die each year because they are cold.
Let’s be conservative and say £5million is spent each day we are in this war. If there are 10 days of bombing, that is £50million. Funded out of thin air. Why can we not find the money to help those 30000 elderly people who will die this year from the cold? 57 minutes after the vote last night the bombing started, yet year in year out people die in the UK from the cold. I am not saying that ISIS/ISIL/Daesh don’t deserve to be punished, of course they do. I am just saying, that if a war can be funded at the drop of a hat, from countries that apparently have austerity measures in place that cut the benefits of the poorest members, yet the rich get richer, then we must be able to find funds to help the people in our own society that need it. How many people live on the streets? Yet, charities do most of the work feeding them and helping them find shelter. The government has to do more.
In California yesterday (2nd December) the 355th mass shooting of the year took place in the US. 355 mass shootings. 455 people have been killed to date this year in these shootings. In 2014, 19 Americans were killed by terrorism. Nineteen. It is still 19 too many, of course. In the same year, in the US there were 12500 deaths from gunshot wounds, including 628 children under the age of 11, and over 2300 teenagers under the age of 17. Nearly 3000 children died in 2014 from gunshots. Yet, the NRA and pro-gun campaigners have so much power in the US that even suggesting that the President implements more gun control brings people out of the woodwork, screaming about the 2nd Amendment and their right to defend themselves. This law was written in the time before semi-automatic weapons existed. To cling to an ancient law as justification for bringing a weapon into your home that could kill your child, is farcical. Guns have only one purpose, and that is to kill. They don’t exist for anything else. Now, how about spending that $10million a day that is going into airstrikes on preventing those 3000 children being killed by guns a year? Get kids off the street and into education. Stop kids getting into gangs and into the clutches of drug dealers by the age of 10.
We now live in a world where children having to learn how to hide from a mass shooting attack on their school is part of day to day life, and bulletproof protective blankets is a real thing! I am not sure I want to live in a world where 8 year old children have to learn to cower under a desk when a crazy gun man comes in to their school, but plenty of children do live in that world.
I have seen it quoted that ISIS, ISIL or Daesh (whatever you call them) have a wealth of over $2billion dollars that has been amassed from oil fields they control. Who is buying that oil? Where is that money being kept? In these days of technology, surely someone can freeze those assets and stop them using it? I am pretty sure they have not got that money hidden under a mattress.
There is hope in the world but you have to look hard for it. This week a group of business leaders including Bill Gates and Elon Musk initiated a Clean Energy Investment Fund aimed at finding and producing new ways of producing clean energy. Of course, some governments are jumping on board. Elon Musk has produced a Lithium Battery that could bring solar power to areas of the world, that up until now have had no means of electricity. With that electricity comes education, and the means to produce clean, drinkable water. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook this week pledged to give away $45billion dollars to charity. In the UK we even have politicians who go so low as to claim less than £5 for expenses that come out of tax payer money. Something is wrong somewhere.
We live in a world where #prayforsyria is trending below #batmanvsuperman on Twitter. I imagine that 90% of the young people on Twitter don’t even know what is happening in Syria, or their own countries for that matter, but it is time to start educating people that there is a better way to live. Somehow we need to turn this around, and make changes in our world, so that we become more compassionate and care about the person next door. I genuinely don’t know the answer to the problem of ‘What is happening to the World?’ but we as human beings probably need to start thinking for ourselves and not be told what is right for us, by politicians who have never done a days work, and have been moulded for political office since their university days.