ISIS: What to Do?!

Bless Patrick Cockburn: Rather than simply blame the US, he has managed to find multiple causes for the emergence of ISIS. In The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution, he considers middle east history from several perspectives. Especially interesting was his discussion of Saudi Arabia, a country which has exported Islamic fundamentalism, but is now fearing blowback from its own actions.

As one who’s inclined to avert my eyes from the middle east thinking it’s simply too much of a mess for anyone to fix, my attitude was only reinforced. Not only is the US not in a good position to help resolve anything, but countries in the thick of things are not finding easy solutions either. Nation States created after WWI never really jelled, although some enjoyed decades of uneasy peace with their diverse populations living side by side without constant bloodshed. Now? No one is safe.

With the advantage of distance, both physical and psychological, it’s clear to me that at some point communities within the diverse Muslim world will need to voice support for protection of people who have different beliefs, different points of view, different dress, different food, different cultural practices. Perhaps people who abide by these differences will spend eternity in hell, but that’s the risk they take, and it’s not your problem if they aren’t bothering you.

So, dear ISIS, there is no way out of this mess if you do not respect my right to believe things you don’t believe. I am not going to let you slaughter me just because I don’t share your beliefs, and there are many others closer to your self-proclaimed caliphate who agree. So until you chill out, we’ve got a problem.