I wish I could go back in time and walk the streets in Syrian cities. I wish I could drink in cafes, talk with people, share food and stories. I wish I could shop in bright bazaars, listen to music in the streets. I wish I could visit with artists and talk with writers and get to know the people, the place, see the museums.
I did this a couple of times in Paris, a beautiful city also.
This weekend I have sat listening to people talk of how Conservative members of parliament would contact Labour members to try and change their minds when it comes to bombing Syria. I wish I could phone the Conservative members of parliament and say, how can you ever think that further bombing can be anything other than an act of revenge? Has history taught our species nothing? Maybe this is my ‘open letter to David Cameron?
I’m an artist, what do I know about politics? It’s a game I don’t understand, but I have to say that for the first time in years I feel I have someone in office, Jeremy Corbyn, who has integrity, isn’t afraid to upset the media and stands by his life long beliefs.
So, this is what I think:
There has to be a better way to attack the criminals who seek to bring terror to our lives. How can we say that bombing Syria, an act that would kill civilians, will keep us safe on our streets here, so far away? Children will die. Men and women will die.
In Paris a man writes a letter denying the criminals who murdered his wife the gift of his hatred.His letter shows such courage.
Meanwhile in the UK only weeks after the Saudi government have sat and dined with our members of parliament, only weeks after our government have hosted an arms trade fair in London our Prime Minister says that we must bomb Syria. And yet he makes no case for why, how this will bring justice for those who have died in Syria, in Paris. And who funds ISIS? Among others are countries in the G20 it seems. Why not, instead of bombing civilians, in theatrical gestures where blood and life and limb tangle in ‘newsworthy images’, why not go after the money? Why not end the trade in arms instead of supporting it? Why not punish those who finance the violence and terror in order to maintain the status quo? Why not end the illegal trade in conflict oil, diamonds etc? Because it is too difficult? Surely not. And surely if we want to make our streets safe then cutting off the money for violent thugs would be the best way to go.
To bomb Syria would not only be a mistake, it would be immoral. Surly these people have had enough of bombs. Time perhaps, to look at where those bombs were made, who finances their purchase. To turn the attack on those who fund Isis Daesh funding would have far more impact. One of the best articles I have read recently was in Esquire.
Last word goes to Harry Leslie Smith. We should learn from history. I stand with Harry. Wanting to do something because you feel powerless in the face of terror is not a policy that should be pursued or encouraged. No one ever wins a war. People say to me, well, what would you suggest then? We can’t just sit here and do nothing.
Well, spend the money we would spend on bombs welcoming the refugees from war to our country. Make their land safe again by removing the funding received by these insane criminals. Take away their theatre of war.Refuse to play by their rules where violence breeds violence. Stop doing business with regimes who have the most appalling human rights records. Use heads and hearts when it comes to making policy and listen to those people like Harry, like Mr Leiris.