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Misguided Acts Of Nobility

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"I'm going to Kurdistand in March. I'm going to fight ISIS."

 

Not something you want to hear from a long time friend. Especially when it is followed up by, "This is something I believe in." Plenty of other platitudes followed. Empty assurances of safe zones he would be assigned to, all the while I am well aware of the ground war going on in Kurdistan, and know damn well what he thinks will happen isn't even close to the truth. Yet, this is a noble thing to do. Fight a treacherous, unconscionalbe enemy who must be stopped at all costs.

 

It's the noble thing to do.

 

I think it is extraordinarily foolish. The Kurdish forces battle against ISIS isn't anything more than defending a territory that isn't recognized as theirs, having grabbed large amounts of land as ISIS decimated other regions of Iraq. Both sides of this coin are somewhat rigid in their belief systems. The only difference between the Kurds and ISIS would be that the Kurds want to secede from Iraq and become their own state, not caring what happens to the rest of the world around them. ISIS is on a rampage, spreading Islamic law, or at least their version of it.

 

It's an ideological war. And I refuse to believe it is noble to sink to the level of both parties involved. No, I don't think so.

 

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As I see it, there aren't any good or bad guys in this conflict. In fact, I would argue, they are both quite bad, and one is notably more violent than the other. Will my friend be able to handle the fire fights? Will he be able to kill the scourge called ISIS that stones women, hangs gays, and shoots dissenters? Will he be able to do this and turn a blind eye to the Kurds doing the same to their own people as he fights for their freedom to do so from the oppressive force known as Deash? The whole situation seems utterly useless and a waste of time for a foreigner to participate in the turmoil. Simply put, how do you justify killing one to allow the other to essentially be doing the same?

 

Still, he wants to do something about all the carnage he is seeing. An atheist, completely wrapped up in the media storm of pain and suffering in the world. Wanting to do anything he can, even if it means giving his life. All under the notion of being noble.

 

And what does it mean to be noble? What exactly is an act of nobility? Honestly it isn't much different than being moral, and we already know that the standard for that varies person to person. Much like the guidelines set out by many religions and cultures in this world, the concept of being noble follows along the same line. A preconceived idea of what constitutes a morally sound person or act. It's religious dogma 101, straight out of Phillipians.

 

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Killing doesn't seem to fall under the word noble. Seems killing for a moral cause would fall under vigilanteism. And even worse, if this killing is a desperate attempt to feel like you are making a difference in the world, then you aren't doing anything more than committing a self serving sacrificial act. Almost a Constantine type of move that will give you near martyrdom if you die. What's noble in that?

 

This desire for martyrdom to gain recognized accomplishment in life is a big problem on both sides of the belief system in America, and globally for that matter. Everyone wants to run out there and be a hero. Running headlong with blind ambition into war zones filled with starving children, mourning mothers, and slain fathers. A conflict ravaged country side filled with underage rape of parentless children, puss filled bellies from starvation, and deadly disease that a five dollar prescription normally would cure within a week. It isn't just the dread Deash forces committing the atrocities. Many of these civilians die by the hand of their own countrymen who are fighting desperately to survive in a treacherous time of land wars. He can't just stop at killing the baddies on one side. To be noble would to show no quarter to anyone who participates in any type of inhumanity against the innocent, and the Kurdish forces would not stand for him to shoot their own too.

 

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One man's idea of beauty is different to the next. So is the idea of nobility, and how such an act is to be carried out. Regardless, I hope he doesn't get his head sawn off with a shitty field knife in the deserts of Iraq. I hope he makes it home. He won't ever be the same from it though, and I think he underestimates how bad things are. I sincerely hope this noble cause provides enough of a fuzzy blanket of denial for when he sleeps at night, so those dead empty eyes of those he killed in a religious war aren't haunting him with the purely futile and unconscionable behavior that he participated in.

 

I love you, Ave. But there aren't any respawns in this game, and you can't repair your COH in the real world. Shits ethereal.

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zomberina,

 

Good blog entry. I like how you mention the passage from Philippians. Since deconverting, I've often thought about what actually kept me tethered to Christianity for half a century. Most recently, I've realized that the culprit (for me) was usually a sense of noble idealism. I aspired to be like the Christ character described in the NT, particularly in the Epistles, where we read how to apply this type of noble idealism to our own lives.

 

But idealism can get us into circumstances and commitments that are not always good for us. It can prevent us from discerning the situation clearly, as you point out about your friend's POV. It might even lead us to do something we otherwise would not do, if we had understood the matter more clearly.

 

I still feel strong sentiments about some issues. But since deconverting, I'm less inclined to form a quick or firm opinion. I find that I am making progress (even if slowly) toward thinking more rationally and objectively. I'm looking at matters more closely, and considering the further implications of decisions, actions, and involvements. There's always more to a story than what we first think.

 

Thanks for bringing this subject to light.

 

Peace,

Human

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This blog entry resonated with me. Recently, I found out that my 17 year old niece has signed up to join the National Guard. I am bit upset about the prospect of her being shipped off to some hellhole. Kids from bad neighborhoods are just fodder for the corporatist military machine, I guess. The recruiters sell those kids such good dreams, noble intentions. Money for school, military service will look good on your resume, free healthcare, paychecks, you won't have to serve on frontlines and so on. Some of it is true, most of it is disingenuous and I'm sick at the thought of it all.

 

The reality is that every branch of the service is connected to the frontlines in some way. From the programmers who code the drone software to the guy on the other end killing bad guys with whatever is handy and the all of the enlisted folks in between, everyone has blood on their hands. There is no nobility in killing. It's all savage and it's all too human in these times. 

 

I don't know a whole lot about Kurdistan and what is going on there. No doubt it is a hellish shithole that some rick fucks decided to turn lose after the Iraqi break up. Destablizing the region, yeah, that's a solid plan! Then we can run in and grab dat oil! Not so fast...

 

Where will we be in another decade? Still fighting a war for oil, charging headfirst into decline. The good guys don't exist anymore than the shadow warriors that they created. The ones who pay with the noble idealistic blood are the ones that lose. Doesn't matter if you're a goodie or a baddie or an indifferent citizen who just wants this shit to be over and done with. 

 

I hope your friend comes home safe and somewhat sound. I hope that the US war machine doesn't bend him over backwards and double fist him, forcing him to pimp himself out in infomercials to the rah-rah 'murricans for nickels and dimes if he comes back wounded and not-so-sound. 

 

~seven77

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Sadly, Seven, the US military isn't even involved in these operations. This is a strictly mercenary situation, and when the Kurds realize that they aren't going to get statehood for the lands they essentially stole from Turkey and Iraq? Oy, gonna be ugly.

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First off, I'm sorry about your friend, truly. However, I disagree with pretty much all of the rest.

 

Pretty damn sure the Kurds don't subject their people to Sharia punishment. Either, you're privy to some information that I'm not, or you're misinformed.

 

 

I would argue, they are both quite bad, and one is notably more violent than the other. Will my friend be able to handle the fire fights? Will he be able to kill the scourge called ISIS that stones women, hangs gays, and shoots dissenters? Will he be able to do this and turn a blind eye to the Kurds doing the same to their own people as he fights for their freedom to do so from the oppressive force known as Deash? The whole situation seems utterly useless and a waste of time for a foreigner to participate in the turmoil. Simply put, how do you justify killing one to allow the other to essentially be doing the same?

 

The KRG, and their compatriots on the Syrian side (YPG/SDF/Rojava) are pretty much the only ones who've consistently been fighting DAESH. Kurds are far from perfect, but they are - on average - a lot more moderate than most other groups in the region. And I mean moderate in the true sense of the word, unlike the EU and Obama administration who resorted to calling Al Qaida affiliates "moderate" because it suited their needs in their fight against Assad.

 

Please tell me what land the Kurds stole from Iraq and Turkey? The KRG has been around since the 90's, and South Eastern Turkey is de facto Kurdish. As for the Rojava ("West Kurdistan", i.e. northern Syria), what were they supposed to do? Let DAESH take over? In fact, if anyone should be accused of landgrabbing, it's the Turks. Easternmost Antolia used to be Armenian, the southern parts Kurdish and Assyrian. Not to speak of coastal areas that used to be inhabited by Greek speakers.

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First off, I'm sorry about your friend, truly. However, I disagree with pretty much all of the rest.

 

Pretty damn sure the Kurds don't subject their people to Sharia punishment. Either, you're privy to some information that I'm not, or you're misinformed.

 

 

I would argue, they are both quite bad, and one is notably more violent than the other. Will my friend be able to handle the fire fights? Will he be able to kill the scourge called ISIS that stones women, hangs gays, and shoots dissenters? Will he be able to do this and turn a blind eye to the Kurds doing the same to their own people as he fights for their freedom to do so from the oppressive force known as Deash? The whole situation seems utterly useless and a waste of time for a foreigner to participate in the turmoil. Simply put, how do you justify killing one to allow the other to essentially be doing the same?

 

The KRG, and their compatriots on the Syrian side (YPG/SDF/Rojava) are pretty much the only ones who've consistently been fighting DAESH. Kurds are far from perfect, but they are - on average - a lot more moderate than most other groups in the region. And I mean moderate in the true sense of the word, unlike the EU and Obama administration who resorted to calling Al Qaida affiliates "moderate" because it suited their needs in their fight against Assad.

 

Please tell me what land the Kurds stole from Iraq and Turkey? The KRG has been around since the 90's, and South Eastern Turkey is de facto Kurdish. As for the Rojava ("West Kurdistan", i.e. northern Syria), what were they supposed to do? Let DAESH take over? In fact, if anyone should be accused of landgrabbing, it's the Turks. Easternmost Antolia used to be Armenian, the southern parts Kurdish and Assyrian. Not to speak of coastal areas that used to be inhabited by Greek speakers.

 

I was basing my information off the following source :  Martin van Bruinessen, "Kurdistan." The Oxford Companion to the Politics of the World, 2nd edition. Joel Krieger, ed. Oxford University Press, 2001.  In the 80's and 90's when PKK separatists started putting their feet down against Turkey, they too were executing not just military members, but communities sponsored by Turkey in those regions. That's why the countryside was evacuated for awhile. I would not argue that Turkey is blameless in any of the conflict. It's been fairly obvious the Turkish government has played both sides of the fence. I would also state that my information comes from firsthand combatants on the ground in Turkey, and my friend later confirmed a few incidents himself that at first he claimed were not happening over there. It's war. It's dirty. It's wrought with passions, anger, and hope.

 

As far as their being a country, again, the treaties and state departments world wide recognize that y the pact of Severes in 1920, they were supposed to be identified as an independent nation, but Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey refused to allow it. Many think in the coming decade Kurdistan should have official recognition that would get them more rights on the world stage. Yes, they have their own parliament, but they do not have recognition on a legal basis as their own country...yet... and I hope they get it.

 

To answer to discriminatory behavior, yes, the Kurds are not as cruel as ISIS in method, but their aim is still the same on some levels. During the killings of Christians in Mosul, the Kurdish security was unable to stop the attacks and magically the perps have not been found. In 2009 Human Rights Watch found that health providers in Iraqi Kurdistan were involved in both performing and promoting misinformation about the practice of female genital mutilation. Girls and women receive conflicting and inaccurate messages from media campaigns and medical personnel on its consequences. (source: https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2010/country-chapters-1)The Kurdistan parliament did push a possible law outlawing the practice, but the the final order never came to make it law and in fact was expected in February 2009 but ended up cancelled.

 

The lgbtq community in Kurdistan is still struggling to be heard. While an equality law was passed, too much anger in the religious community allows it to really be put into practice. I know, baby steps.

 

And yes, there are still instances of women being stoned.  http://www.violenceisnotourculture.org/content/iraqi-kurdistan-woman-stoned-death-eloping

 

 

Avery and I did speak on this, and like you, he assured me that it was all misinformation. He learned later it was not and admitted as much. Regardless of our differing views, I do not condemn Kurdistan or its future recognition on the world stage. So many of their cultural has placed their life blood on the rocks of that region protecting so many outside their own villages. Since the Middle Ages the Kurds have held tight to a broader understanding of their world and the many peoples that make it possible, and I have little doubt that much good is done by them. It isn't wrong to question and seek out what is accurate or misinformed perspective, and I really appreciate your bringing this up.

 

 

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Thank you for your answer!

 

 

The lgbtq community in Kurdistan is still struggling to be heard. While an equality law was passed, too much anger in the religious community allows it to really be put into practice. I know, baby steps.

 

This might come off as somewhat cynical, but I have to agree with the writer: baby steps. The fact that they have passed an equality law at all really says a lot. It's largely unthinkable in most of the Middle East. Bar Israel, only Pre-Erdogan Turkey (which is rapidly moving in the direction of Iran 1979), Lebanon (probably, not sure) and maybe, maybe the more secular regions of Syria, would even allow such matters to be voiced.

 

I admit to being fairly biased. I rather frequently talk with (secular) Kurds on twitter, but I do read other sources as well, and ask Syriacs/Assyrians and secular Arabs for their opinion on the matter, but I readily admit that my perspective might be somewhat skewed in favour of the Kurds.

 

Thanks for the read, t'was interesting.

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Thank you for your answer!

 

 

The lgbtq community in Kurdistan is still struggling to be heard. While an equality law was passed, too much anger in the religious community allows it to really be put into practice. I know, baby steps.

 

This might come off as somewhat cynical, but I have to agree with the writer: baby steps. (That's me saying baby steps. :) I agree, can't have it all overnight.) The fact that they have passed an equality law at all really says a lot. It's largely unthinkable in most of the Middle East. Bar Israel, only Pre-Erdogan Turkey (which is rapidly moving in the direction of Iran 1979), Lebanon (probably, not sure) and maybe, maybe the more secular regions of Syria, would even allow such matters to be voiced.

 

I admit to being fairly biased. I rather frequently talk with (secular) Kurds on twitter, but I do read other sources as well, and ask Syriacs/Assyrians and secular Arabs for their opinion on the matter, but I readily admit that my perspective might be somewhat skewed in favour of the Kurds.

 

Thanks for the read, t'was interesting.

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