Sunday, June 01, 2014

Blessed Are the Keyboard Warriors

So we are keyboard warriors? We are people who have egged on the destruction of Syria whilst you advocated reason? Is that what you're trying to say? That we couldn't care less about the average people dying on the streets in Syria? That we caused this crisis to lengthen instead of seeing sense and negotiating with the butcher?

Do you even know what it's like to be conflicted between standing up for what is right and worrying sick through the night for the harm that might befall loved ones? Of course not, why on earth would principles and doing what's right ever bother you? You never had to leave the cushy Middle East to go out into the world to make a living, cleaning toilets and flipping burgers in kitchens. You could just call your father and get him to wire you the money you needed to live and party your way through university in the West, or maybe Beirut. You could then go back to Syria and drive around in your expensive cars, smell the jasmine, and maybe find a good girl from a good family to marry before starting to assume more of Daddy's business empire. And of course you would have made all the right connections with people "going places", and with people "up there" in the echelons of power. 

You care for the poor people. You tip generously when they wash your cars, clean your houses, cook for you. You remember them every Ramadan and tsk tsk at them when you see their children selling you chewing gum at the traffic lights - you tell your friend in the car that these people have more children than they can afford and that their father is probably a layabout who can't be bothered to work. Yeah, Syria is the place where you can still be something if you're willing to get out there. Look at yourself. I mean your Daddy might have helped you every step of the way, but that didn't mean you didn't have to earn it, dagnamit! You drive on, the children step onto the traffic island and sit under the palm trees, waiting for the lights to go red again. 

We're the keyboard warriors, because we saw people getting shot in the streets when you and your friends sat in your expensive cafes and restaurants and said "We can't be sure what's going on". And we used to go out to protests and vigils in the middle of the night when it was cold and raining because we knew that at that moment people just like us were being shelled and murdered by the government that you think "still has support". Yes, we're the bloodthirsty armchair generals who decided to ruin your little paradise, your banana republic, just out of spite. Because in spite of the fact that we've all managed to carve our own paths here in the foreign Western lands where people don't know anything about us and don't care about our family names and upbringing and see us simply as benefit scroungers and job stealers, in spite of all that, in spite of the fact that you yourself would never last here because you always had the option to go home to daddy's office or factory or intelligence agency, yes, in spite of all of that, we decided to risk ourselves and our loved ones back home by shouting out that enough is enough. We're the ones at fault, the keyboard warriors. We ruined your little jasmine scented Levantine paradise and got the slaves to revolt. It never crossed your mind that you were part of the same despicable regime that was crushing the humanity out of the people you claim to love. No, you blame us for crying out for the victim. We should have just done what you did, and told them to shut up and accept their lot in life. We should have told them to die quietly.

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