David Cameron, Stop Right There!
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author's and not necessarily those of The Sprout.
Is bombing a whole country just because of a group of crazed fanatics really the way to make Britain safer? David Cameron seems to think so.
Last Thursday in Parliament, the Prime Minister, David Cameron told MPs that he believes IS (Islamic State) is a "fundamental threat to our security" and that by doing nothing, we will make ourselves a target for IS, and so, therefore, Britain should bomb Syria. MPs will vote on whether or not Britain should do this tonight at 10pm.
Leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn disagrees, however. In a letter to all Labour MPs, he said that he was opposed to the Prime Minister's proposals and that he was not convinced by his arguments. The issue of bombing Syria has split the Labour Party, with some MPs agreeing with Corbyn and others disagreeing with him.
Personally, I think that we should not bomb Syria because, in my opinion, it will will just make matters worse.
"Syria is in complete chaos"
To start off with, the situation in Syria is extremely complicated. There is no good or bad side. Syria is in complete chaos. There are many different rebel groups in Syria ranging from the moderate to the extreme. For example, the Free Syrian Army has no links to any terrorist organisation and aims to get rid of Assad (the Syrian dictator), whereas IS and the Al-Nusra Front are more extreme and are classed by the US as terrorist organisations. Then, of course, there are the ordinary people just like you and me who are trying to get on to continue with their lives despite everything that is going on.
It is believed that IS has started to place militant bases and factories in areas of Syria that are highly populated in order to use the civilians as a kind of human shield from attacks by Russia and France. So, if we bomb IS, there is a high chance of killing and injuring many civilians in the process.
Even if we do manage to defeat IS by bombing Syria, many civilians are and will be emotionally scarred because of what they have experienced. It is likely that they will hold a grudge against the West because of all the damage and destruction in which they are surrounded. In my opinion, some may then consider joining IS-equivalent groups who are anti-West.
"Terrorism... a many-headed beast"
Terrorism in the Middle East is like a many-headed beast. You can chop off one of its heads, but another will grow back that is more powerful than the rest have ever been - at this point in time, this head is IS. Bombing is violence and haven't we all learnt by now that violence breeds more violence, not peace? It is ridiculous to think that bombing IS in Syria will miraculously get rid of the deep-rooted terrorism problem in the Middle East.
IS is an unusual organisation. It is unlike other terrorist groups as it actively uses social media to spread its beliefs. Because of this, many disaffected young people in Europe have access to this propaganda, become attracted to the idea of "jihad" and travel to Syria to fight with IS.
According to the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence, 11% of people who have travelled to Syria to fight come from Europe. It is thought that 700 people from Britain have travelled to Syria to fight in various rebel groups, with 100 definitely fighting with IS. Russia and France, who have recently been the targets of IS attacks, have seen around 1700 and 1550 nationals become fighters, respectively. To me, it then should not come as a surprise that they are being targeted when so many members of both countries have left to go and fight in Syria. Surely, something must be hugely wrong in both countries if large numbers of people are leaving to fight in Syria?
"In Cardiff, there is definitely a kind of ghettoisation"
In Britain today, this is also the case. I can only speak from my point of view, which is not that of a young person who wants to join IS, but I can see why some might. In Cardiff, there is definitely a kind of ghettoisation. There are areas in the city where the majority of the population is black or Asian and many have little or no income. Then, there are the wealthier areas of the city, where the majority of the population is white and well-paid. This could be seen as unfair by some.
There is also an element of racism in our society today, which may lead some to want to join IS. In my view, the media in Britain gives us a negative image of anybody who isn't white and from Britain. In some newspapers, immigrants are portrayed as bad people who want to steal our jobs and our money. Many people read these articles and believe what they read just because it is in a newspaper. They might act upon this by doing little things, such as crossing the road when a woman in a hijab appears, or bigger things, such as ripping a headscarf off a woman when she enters the bus. Both of these factors, I believe, may lead to some feeling unwanted and not respected by the general public, so if IS is saying "Come to us. We will respect you.", it might be enticing to some.
To conclude, I believe that the way forward from here is not by bombing Syria as this will only lead to more anger and suffering, but to combat extremism at its roots by promoting a worldwide culture where everybody, regardless of race or religion, feels welcomed and accepted for who they are.
Sub-Editor's note: TheSprout is a platform for young people to have their say on a wide range of issues. Once again, the views expressed in this article are the author's and not necessarily those of The Sprout.
Photo Credit: RAF Typhoon Jet via wikipedia
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