…I know why I didn’t see anything but empty words (if that) from my country towards the acts of Russia on Syria; it is because those who lead my country and the media that indoctrinates the people of my country are racist hypocrites – for this reason, the only way a man found fit to speak with “reason” to them is to mention, that this time round, Russia’s victims have blonde hair and blue eyes.
By Khadijah Mustafa
Since the start of the Syria war, time and time again, the government of my country has betrayed me and hundreds, if not thousands of its citizens and has proven to be hypocritcal. If the hypocrisy and betrayal of my country was not clear before, since the start of the aggression on Ukraine it has become painstakingly clear.
In 2013, I came to Syria like hundreds of others, to be there for the Syrian people. To stand by their side. To do whatever I could to help them, in a practical way, rather than standing from afar or going to protests that I felt were not of much benefit.
Little did I know that this act would result in me, and those just like me being banished by the very country we called home. The very country that sends its own troops to other countries to fight, even if this resulted in civilian casualties. The very country that has, in near history, colonized and terrorised nations across the globe. The very country that allowed civilians to fight in Spain during the 1930’s all of whom are now hailed as heros including well known George Orwell. The very country that decided to use airstrikes against its own civilians in Syria and elsewhere, not caring that these airstrikes would result in civilian casualties and pound fear into all of the little hearts it flies over.
This is probably the first time in British history that people have been stripped of their citizenship at such a large scale. Stripped of their freedom to return to a place they used to call home. Aid workers, medical professionals, women who travelled to support their husband’s and normal citizens, have all been victim of this.
It is no secret that many of those stripped of their citizenship were indeed fighters, whom partook in combat against the Syrian regime backed by their Russian allies. Does this then mean that those who Britain is encouraging to join fighting forces in Ukraine will also be stripped of their citizenship? Will all of those travelling to the Ukraine, for whatever reason it may be, whether it is to support their husband, provide medical assistance, deliver aid, or merely because it is something they would like to do, be painted with the “terrorist” brush, threatened with hefty prison sentences if they return, have their citizenship revoked, be abandoned with their children in prisons and internment camps or get droned? I don’t believe so, but this is the reality of the vast majority of those who left the UK to go to war torn Syria.
Britain boasts a very robust intelligence gathering system and a fair justice system. So then, surely, if there is a fear of those who wish to return being of danger, they can be put through the so called justice system, put to trial and judged according to hard evidence. Isnt this more humane than, for example, leaving women – like Shamima Begum – with no citizenship, despite her desperate desire to return home, in internment camps run by the SDF which is a fighting force made up of enlisted terrorist groups including the PKK and YPG? Will the same thing happen if any white/ non-Muslim teenagers are groomed into travelling to the Ukraine? Or if white/non-Muslim women decide to go to be by their husband’s side should they decide to fight against Russia or simply provide aid for the Ukrainian people?
….I am not against any of this, however I wish I saw the same upheaval and action against Russia take place over the last 6 or 7 years since Russia set up their military base in Syria in 2015 and started heavily bombarding civilians, killing and terrorising them in their millions, using the worst forms of weaponary including incendiary bombs, displacing and destroying entire cities, tearing families apart, crushing children and leaving millions of others as orphans with no where to go but a tent.
Our government and the media have demonized us all, which in turn has made us, in the eyes of the world, eligible for dehumanization. What the world and those back home may not realise is that not everyone who travelled here became part of Jihadi John’s “Beatles”, not all of us were involved in beheading videos or the like. An extremely small minority of those who travelled here took part in these actions – but it seems that our government is either unwilling or unable to differentiate, despite their infamous, expensive and rigorous intelligence gathering techniques.
Over the years it has become very apparent that we are seen as people who should be abandoned. People who’s parents, family members and friends back home are harassed if they have regular contact with us and God forbid if there is a possibility that they sent us money to sustain our children and ourselves. This results in their homes being raided by the police in the early hours of the morning, their devices and other belongings confiscated, some have had their passports cancelled and their right to travel taken away from them, they are given or threatened with prison sentences, are made to feel like their life is falling apart and that they are being constantly watched and listened to. And if they have young children they are threatened with the prospect of having those children taken away. The vast majority of us who travelled here have had our families and friends harrassed in this way by our government and police force, even those of us with old, helpless parents. In my opinion, it is just another way to psychologically break us and isolate us more as we watch our government combat so-called terrorism by terrorising the innocent, weak and vulnerable.
We are seeing the world rightly condemning Russia for it’s atrocious acts of violence on the Ukraine, with Boris Johnson saying that Putin is using Barbaric Tactics, Britain is ready to put several sanctions on Russia, millions of pounds will be donated to Ukraine by the UK, British citizens are being encouraged by the government to join the fight against Russia and Ukranian refugees have been told they are welcome. It has barely been a week since the fighting in Ukraine started, and I am not against any of this, however I wish I saw the same upheaval and action against Russia take place over the last 6 or 7 years since Russia set up their military base in Syria in 2015 and started heavily bombarding civilians, killing and terrorising them in their millions, using the worst forms of weaponary including incendiary bombs, displacing and destroying entire cities, tearing families apart, crushing children and leaving millions of others as orphans with no where to go but a tent.
The truth is, I know why I didn’t see anything but empty words (if that) from my country towards the acts of Russia on Syria; it is because those who lead my country and the media that indoctrinates the people of my country are racist hypocrites – for this reason, the only way a man found fit to speak with “reason” to them is to mention, that this time round, Russia’s victims have blonde hair and blue eyes.
In the end, for me personally, this is all a blessing in disguise, it makes me realise that living as a free soul, amongst those suffering, in a blessed land like Syria, despite the danger and hardships, is better for me than to live under the rule of a government that see’s me as someone who can be stripped of their basic human rights at any given time and would like all of those around me to view my life as cheap, to think I am a terrorist and to believe that no matter what I do I am an ill intentioned person who is always in the wrong – because I am brown, because I am Muslim.