Friday, 11 December 2015

Airstrikes at Christmas

I am a little late to this subject, as the vote was over a week ago. But, in the run up to Christmas, my country has voted for Syrian airstrikes.

I love this time of year - buying presents, writing cards, the lights and the tinsel, the way everyone wishes everyone else a Merry Christmas. But, while we're enjoying all this, there are people fleeing from underneath our bombs and I can't quite shake that from my mind.

I was emphatically not in favour of the airstrikes. When the vote came back in favour of them, the breath felt like it had been shoved out of my body. I can count the people I've spoken to who were also in favour of the airstrikes on one hand. I felt a general air of this is not what we want, which is more of a reflection of my circle of friends than the country, but it would have been nice to have felt that what went on in that room, all that posturing, finger pointing, name calling and speech-making, was about all of us, not just those egos.

I know that politics should not be about emotion - that it should be about making the best decision. But with something like this, how can you act without emotion?

When you drop a bomb you don't really know what you're doing - who you're going to hurt. You could hit your target but you are likely to take out civilians too. A baby, a man on his way to work, a woman three days from her wedding. If you couldn't push the button knowing you could well tear those people apart, then you have no right voting for it and asking a soldier to do it for you. 

I am disgusted that some MPs used it as yet another excuse to throw muck at Jeremy Corbyn. While I do not agree with everything he says or believes, I admire the man for the strength and courage of his convictions. And while you are debating dropping bombs on people now is not the time to take a pop at someone because you don't like them being leader. He offered his party a free vote, knowing it could well lose the vote - that takes some balls and I respect that.

I hope now that we are taking a violent hand in what is going on in Syria that we will take in refugees without complaint or whinging from the government. We cannot in all conscience avoid that consequence. 

I hope that this does not end as disastrously as I fear it will. But with our only plan so far being a violent one, with no thought for what will be necessary afterwards, I cannot help but fear the worst. 

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