Aleppo: when the power of images and Manichean thought obscure gray areas

The Syrian conflict has already claimed the lives of more than 200 people and led several million to flee their homes. This conflict also created the conditions for the expansion of a larger war between the United States and Russia, involving all of their allies. The complexity of the story unfolding in Syria and more broadly in the Middle East is not limited to the Manichean caricature of the good and the bad. Syrian history and in particular all the stories around the city of Aleppo which unfold before our eyes cannot be reduced to two blows of a pot spoon slapping a few slaps across the head of a few culprits.

THEThe tragic history of this Arabian Peninsula has been built around a process of piling up, sources of influence and economic interests which have precipitated it towards the greatest of humanitarian disasters. The culprits of this war are not only the Syrian regime, the Russians and their allies, notably Iranians, but also those who accuse them of being the only authors, the United States, Saudi Arabia and their European allies. The responsibility seems to us today largely shared by those who were at the origin of this conflict as well as by those who treat and abuse with rare violence the belligerents of the city of Aleppo. This interminable war has made tens of thousands of innocent civilians and especially frightened children, terrified who have not been spared by the terrors of the bombings, whether they emanate from the Syrian regime or from jihadists, Islamist militias.

For some time now, the media have presented a particularly binary view of the news affecting the Middle East. This Manichean presentation of current events gave us the strange feeling that we had there, the keys, the reading grid to all questions relating to contemporary history. In reality, we do not have all the information allowing us to discern.

Engaging in this type of dualist and radical, at the very least propagandist, type of thinking hides the shadows

Engaging in this type of dualist and radical at the very least propagandist thinking, in fact hides all the shadows that cross the reality of the issues that are tracing the unfolding of the history of the Middle East with its flood of emotions, passions and biases. We are in a world which is not binary, but complex, terribly complex, we think we have the modalities of reading this world but it is clear that we are incapable of embracing history, of rationally explaining the conflict Syrian which is woven today and whose opacities are plural.

The Middle East basin, the famous eastern shore of the Mediterranean, is characterized by a set of geopolitical factors in which ideologies, multiple crises, the metabolisms of international relations and religions intertwine; cultures, economic alliances and the interests of consortia, East and West blocs and their various allies also opposing in two camps, Shiites and Sunnis. For some time now we have taken a relative distance from the cutting positions, those who try to undo in their own way and with propaganda blows, the muddled, complicated and unfortunately disguised history of what is brewing in the Middle East. Thus several experts reveal to us the manipulation of messages "tweeted" by Islamist groups exaggerating the balance sheets, and over-exaggerating the facts, as recounted by Professor Frédéric Pons Professor at the Saint Cyr school in the course of the LCI show hosted by Yves Calvi.

The claim of our world would be to simplify, to rationalize human history in order to apprehend it, but we believe we are pulling the thread of a problem and suddenly, it is a knot of entanglements that leads us to a less reductive approach. , less simplifying, less simplistic.

These processes of partitioning the world between good guys and bad guys fully participate in this too partial knowledge.

We have noted the ease that both of us have to enter into categorization processes. These processes of partitioning the world between good guys and bad guys fully participate in this too partial knowledge of the realities affecting the Middle East. So with regard to Syria, the account of the events reported by the media is now presented in a less uniform, more nuanced and complex light than the journalist columnists suggested recently. Thus we learn of the existence of a multitude of veils which mark the outbreak of the war in Syria, for a long time we believed that the conflict was born of the Arab Spring, it is this story, this almost dreamlike script that has long been narrated, leaning against a graffiti story that would have sparked the deadly conflict. This vision, which undoubtedly mixes the truth and the lie, remains in reality partial. The Arab Spring, a peaceful protest in its early days, may have played a role, but it was by no means the only triggering factor for the deadliest conflict in Middle Eastern history.

A history of economic interests relating to the transport of energy resources

In reality, one of the sources of the conflict is arguably much more sordid, a story of economic interests relating to the transport of energy resources to supply Europe via pipelines. Thus the Qatar / Turkey pipeline would have given the Sunni kingdoms of the Persian Gulf undivided dominance in global natural gas markets, strengthening Qatar, the United States' closest ally in the Arab world. However, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad did not comply, he refused the Qatar pipeline, his stubbornness in not finding agreements was probably one of the causes of the current conflict. Our purpose here is not to dwell on all the origins of this murderous battle and far from us to take sides in this conflict which is a real human disaster with hundreds of thousands of victims.

Our column here wants to draw the attention of our readers to the fact that human history should not be restricted to partisan ideological readings and instrumentalised with regard to the interests that are formed or played out in the contemporary world. Let us not reduce human history, especially contemporary history, to the caricature of "Good and Bad". In reality this world is disconnected in its relationship with the Eternal and evil is weaving its empire, including in the hearts of those who believe they are serving good. So and in this context, to the Thessalonians in his second epistle, the apostle Paul said:

“The mysterious power of Evil is already working. When what is still holding him back is no longer there, he will no longer act by hiding. Then the Evil One will be discovered ”.
2 Thessalonians 2.7

The Americans let us think they were working for a good cause in Iraq, yet they opened Pandora's box, posting a new reading of atrocities, murderous savagery and human barbarism. France thought to intervene for a good cause in Libya, but it has opened another Pandora's box.

We all lacked discernment, during the Arab Spring, we thought of an awakening of consciousness, but it is the eschatological consciousness that has also awakened ... The desire to appeal to the messianic dream, of people disillusioned by the reign of tyrants, and it is barbarism that has settled in hearts.

Let's not simplify the world

Let's not simplify the world by thinking that on one side there are the bad guys and on the other the " friendly ". The history of the Middle East, Aleppo, is complex, a fight against tyranny and a fight against barbarism. The evils that affect this Arabian Peninsula interpenetrate, exchange, tie inextricably. In this knot of multiple evils with such complex dimensions, they present to us observers, the spectacle of a world where undoubtedly absolute evil, undeniably plays a role tempting to pervert looks but for all that our prayers for the real victims of these conflicts. and God's call to justice for the plural perpetrators who helped assassinate this country should not be dashed.

Aleppo has the allure of these great symbolic cities and already joins in the collective unconscious the Troys, Jericho, or more recently the Stalingrad, Berlin, Sarajevo, or Grozny… This world has lived through the war against the city, and today ' hui war in the city ... where civilians are targets, hostages and reduced to a powerless life, to a cruel condition: bombs, deprivation, terror, chemical attacks. Suddenly the conflicts are synthesized in THE war in a city where the sum of the horrors is reduced to the common denominator between its walls. "I am a Berliner" becomes a new one I am ...

The power of images or images of power take hold of our consciousness
The power of images or images of power seize our consciousness and lose us in the powerlessness of the Western voyeur: sometimes caught up in his moral values, in his ideal of a world without war, or in the war of the political, sterile trenches. But let us remember that evil reigns in Aleppo as it reigns in Syria and Iraq, and this evil does not have the figure that the Western media would like to give it, in reality a tyranny is rising against barbarism and the tyrant is made barbarian while the barbarian would dream of being a tyrant… this is ALEP, martyred city, sacked and bruised city whose civilians, innocent or not, are the hostages and the victims of a siege between evil and evil ...

Everything is intertwined because man is disconnected from any search for transcendence and intends to impose his models, without being inspired by the true model, Christ!

Eric Lemaitre author of this column would like to thank Bérengère Sériès for his contribution and his rich contributions. He also thanks Nathanael Bechdloff for its relevant insights.

Eric Lemaitre

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