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Syria and Looking Back on the Spanish Civil War

Guernica by Pablo Picasso
On reading George Orwell's razor-sharp essay Looking Back on the Spanish Civil War, I was struck by the parallels with the conflict in Syria today. Orwell writes: 'The most baffling thing in the Spanish war was the behaviour of the great powers. The war was actually won for Franco by the Germans and Italians, whose motives were obvious enough. The motives of France and Britain are less easy to understand.' Change Franco for Assad, Germany and Italy for Russia and Iran and you get the picture.

Orwell continues: '... the Spanish Civil War demonstrated that the Nazis knew what they were doing and their opponents did not. The war was fought at a low technical level and its major strategy was very simple. That side which had arms would win. The Nazis and Italians gave arms to their Spanish fascist friends, and the western democracies ... didn't give arms to those who should have been their friends. So the Spanish Republic perished.'

Given the many brutalities inflicted on the Syrian people in what has been an almost-constant military dictatorship since the modern nation gained independence from France in 1946, it is difficult to disagree with Orwell: 'War is evil, and it is often the lesser evil'.

The homophobic, misogynist Islamofascists, in this case Syria, Iran and Hezbollah, would keep human civilisation stuck in the 7th century, even as they use the most horrific modern weapons to eradicate all those who espouse democracy, social progress and equal rights. I hope that President Obama decides to use military force to finally stand up to Assad and his bullies. In my opinion, doing nothing would be the greater evil.

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