Martin Niemöller, the anti-fascist cleric famous said: first they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a Socialist; then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a Trade Unionist; then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— because I was not a Jew; then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Today one might say: first they came for the true Muslims, the ordinary Muslims, the non-violent Muslims, and I did not speak out– because I’m not a Muslim; then they came for the secular Arabs, and I did not speak out– because I am not an Arab; then they came for the Europeans and North Americans, and I did not speak out – because I’m not a European or North American. then they came for the Russians, and I did not speak out because I am not a Russian. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
This is what the world, is facing and it is in the spirit of the horrors of the 1930s and 40s that I write the following:
I address this not to those who know Russia, not to those who feel sympathy towards the Russian people and culture; I address this to those who in all earnestness, in all honesty, and in all sincerity, believe the lies of the Western media when they defame and spit upon Russia.
Let us just pretend that Russia is what you think it is. There exists however a battle – an actual battle – a battle not only for the heart and soul of civilisation but for human life itself. It is the battle against ISIS and those who emulate their ways and who carry out like-minded atrocities.
Those who have suffered most from ISIS style terror are good hearted Muslims; Muslims who practice their faith with the good will and innocence in which Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and others practice theirs.
Those who have suffered equally are the secular Arabs who wish to live a life according to the consensus of the modern world.
Beyond this though, are those in the wider world who are threatened by this vile brand of Islamic terrorism. The threat is very real and I say this, frankly and with credibility, because I am sceptical of the many scare mongering tactics used to present an alleged danger when there is none.
The terrorists of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra (ie. Al-Qaeda) are a clear and present danger to all of humanity. Their barbarism is beyond question, their evil is beyond categorisation, their antagonism towards individuals of both a secular and religious nature is beyond doubt.
This terrorism knows no respect nor even acknowledgement for borders. However due to the weight of circumstance, Syria has become the front line in the battle against these monsters.
Of the world’s great powers, it is Russia which is using its aggregate strength to help Syria destroy these monsters in their selected nest.
This is the most important battle for civilisation against barbarism since the 1930s and 1940s. At that time fascism threatened to destroy the fundamental principles of peace amongst states and nations. Today the threat is from ISIS and Al-Qaeda and from those who act in their names.
Russia has made its position clear: Russia is on the side of the civilised world, a world which oddly includes many of those who are anti-Russian.
In fighting terrorism from the belly of the beast in Syria, Russia is fighting for the lives not just of Muslim, Christian and secular Syrians. It is fighting for the lives of all those in the world targeted by ISIS.
Sir Winston Churchill, in spite of his sincere opposition to the Marxist-Leninist constitution of the Soviet Union said, “If Hitler invaded hell, I would make a pact with the Devil”.
To all of those who hate Russia today, I implore you to remember these words. The battle against ISIS and their blind, sick followers requires steadfast leadership, one that is unflinching and unwavering.
The threat is real. Many other articles by myself and others have been written about the dubious and dark origins of this particular brand of Islamic terrorism, but before one casts blame it is crucial to unite against this foe. This is something that can only be done by cooperating with Russia and Syria rather than by antagonising the two countries.
I implore all of those who cherish life above death, freedom over fundamentalism, politics over war, to unite as a single civilised world against this horror. Other disagreements can be left for another day.
Last night the beautiful city of Budapest was struck, victim of a probable terror attack. Tomorrow it could be anywhere else.
There is nothing novel about people uniting against terror and horror, even in spite of the complicity of their own governments. In 1940, the book Guilty Men was published. The great British politician Michael Foot was the primary author. The book chastised those in Britain who sought to appease and capitulate to fascism. In no way was the book anti-British, it represented the best of British spirit against those who would sell their own children to the enemy for a temporary respite from an inevitable horror.
Today, the guilty men are those who have allowed ISIS to emerge from the swamp of war in the Middle East; today the guilty men are those who try to white-wash terrorism in the name of regime change; today the guilty men are those arguing about the past at the expense of the future.
Civilisation is not an argument of West versus East, Russia versus Europe, Christianity versus Islam. It is about life versus death, peace versus war, barbarism versus humanity.
If this battle is to be won it must be won through solidarity and strength.
Perhaps maybe people will soon be praying for Hungary. However after the dust has settled one must separate the guilty from the righteous, the enemy from the ally, and in doing so, unite in fraternity to defeat this threat to all of humankind.