There is really no such thing as a localized war. Ever since the Cold War, violent tantrums between national powers have been fought through proxies. Today, the fight for control of global wealth, combined with the struggle to monopolize weapon production and profit, means that innocent people are terrorized while lives and communities are destroyed in unending proxy conflicts. The chaos in the Middle East is, in part, a result of actions taken by the major imperialist powers that seek to control that region’s resources.
Opportunist war machines continue to exploit ethnic and racial divisions to build continued support for military expansion. These actors do not stop at exploiting local ethnic bias, they capitalize on existing “us versus them” narratives to secure support for their campaigns at a global level.
In both Paris and Beirut, dozens upon dozens have been killed and hundreds injured. The organizers of such acts of juvenile violence are intent on inflicting death and despair, as well as creating impossible acts of sympathy and solidarity with those who continue to suffer at the hands of these warring groups in the Middle East. In the case of Paris specifically, it is no coincidence that these attacks happened at a time when there has been growing popular support for accepting refugees into Europe. These innocent refugees are as much the target as the people of Paris.
We hear a lot from State governments about “not letting the terrorists win”, but as socialists we must be more thoughtful and constructive in our response. Our reaction to war cannot be the continued casual ignorance of history, global conflict, and the part our nation states have played in instigating ethnic, religious, and political violence. Our response must show a different path forward.
We must work to expose the human impacts of war. We must work to ensure that society views the global refugee crisis with renewed compassion and understanding. We must continue to advocate for truth from our governments about their investments in war, and insist that our money be put toward helping people, not hurting them. We must demand that solidarity, justice, and compassion are put before violence and profit – even in the face of rabid reactionary violence.