A group of peace activists plan to march from Berlin to Aleppo. As far as the whole marching for peace things goes, good on them. I don’t want war. No sane, rational human being wants war. If there can be less of it in the world that’s pretty awesome. Thing is, peace marches don’t equitably end armed conflicts.
2,112 Miles and/or 638 Hours
The internet tells me that the walking distance from Berlin to Aleppo covers 2,112 miles or would require 638 hours of travel time. 2,112 miles is a lot of distance whether walked, driven, or flown. 2,112 miles is not always what it seems though.
If you travel 2,112 in the United States, you’ll start in a relatively familiar place and you’ll end up in one that’s not too different from where you started. For example, if you are in the Washington DC area and you travel to southern California, you’re going to travel more than 2,600 miles. (For the record, I’ve made the coast to coast trip by car more than once…it’s amazing and I encourage you to try it if you can). When you arrive in California, even though the accents and attitudes might be a little different, more or less you are still in a place that’s familiar to you. Annapolis, Maryland and Anaheim, California are closer on a foundational level than they are dissimilar culturally. That’s not the case where Berlin to Aleppo is concerned.
There’s a book called Eastward to Tartary by Robert D. Kaplan I highly recommend. In this book, Kaplan chronicles a journey he took from Europe, through the Middle East and Caucus regions, and finally to central Asia and the tectonic culture changes he observed as he moved from things familiar and comfortable in Europe towards the unfamiliar further east.
In short, marching from Berlin to Aleppo doesn’t mean peace activists are going to encounter like-minded people – they are going to move from one particular cultural foundation towards another part of the world where societies are constructed on very different social paradigms.
Do Hyphenated-Lives Matter?
Here’s another way to look at it. Much of Europe and the American left is obsessed with the idea of hyphenated-culturalism. That’s why they don’t mind refugees from the Islamic world arriving in their communities and bringing their Islamic lifestyles with them. That’s also why they remain abnormally silent when mobs of “refugees” gang rape European women and men (yes, they rape men too) in public places, or butcher British Soldiers in London in broad daylight.
I say “abnormally silent” because the same Europeans and American liberals exhibit obnoxious behavior when anyone but a Muslim refugee commits even the slightest transgression against accepted liberal norms.
For example, students at the University of Maryland recently issued a list of sixty demands that include things like banning Columbus Day. Or, search the internet to see which nativity scenes the Freedom from Religion Foundation targeted over the Christmas holiday while ignoring an Oregon public school that denied Christians the right to meet on campus, but allowed the Church of Satan to meet on campus and recruit students. (For the record, yours truly reached out to the Freedom from Religion Foundation on this topic in late November 2016 – all they ever provided was a form letter response via email promising they’d look into the matter which they never did. I’m considering a law suit against them as the next step). Or, take a look at local media coverage of the tragic Oakland Ghost Ship Fire in which dozens perished – Oakland media seems more worried about “squatter’s rights” than death traps hosting raves in warehouses jam-packed with accumulated “art”. Look at Angela Merkel or the rants of Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau or London Mayor Sadiq Khan. Or look at whatever the most recent Black Lives Matter riot was all about. Liberals don’t mind being vocal when it suits them.
And I’m not suggesting that all Muslims are pre-disposed towards gang rape or butchering people in the streets. There are many Muslims that want nothing more than to keep on keeping on. They want to work, live, and be left alone when they are on their own time. I’m suggesting that there is a minority number of Muslims who, for a host of reasons too in-depth to delve into here, have latched on to the idea of a resurgent caliphate as their meal-ticket towards the kind of lifestyle Kanye and Jay-Z enjoy today.
In any case, as beholden to hyphenated-culturalism as so many in the west have become, in other parts of the world no such concept exists.
Kansas Meets Khartoum
Here’s an easy way to test things out. Go to Kansas City. On your to-do list include the following items: attend a local Church, drink a few beers, and listen to your choice of music or watch your choice of TV show or movie. What’s going to happen? You’re going to go to Church, down a few cold ones, and enjoy some entertainment. Similarly, if you want to go to Kansas City and pursue an Islamic, Buddhist, atheist, or whatever other kind of existence, go for it. Nobody’s going to stop you.
Next, go to Khartoum, Sudan with the same plans in mind. If you survive the public flogging and aren’t sentenced to death by stoning or decapitation, good on you. Bottom line, no one in the Middle East is going to accept your hyphenated idea of existence. It’s their way or the highway.
On A Road to Nowhere
That’s one of the reasons the Berlin to Aleppo peace march is essentially a march on a highway to nowhere. No doubt the peace activists trudging their way across Germany mean well. Even those that will drop out along the way as the reality of marching, in the winter, hour after hour and day after day starts to seem less idealist and more a pain in the rear end. Whether their trip ends on some ice-covered Balkans highway, at a Turkish border checkpoint, or in Aleppo itself is less relevant than one key underlying fact.
Even if these activists were to march straight into the ISIS capital (isn’t it interesting that they aren’t trying to go to Raqqa?), that doesn’t mean ISIS feels the same way they do about the Syrian civil war. Obama taught us this. In his eight tortured years as President, on more than one occasion he reminded us that for any given conflict there are two sides, and that conflict doesn’t end just because one side issues withdrawal timelines or otherwise says a war is over.
Our adversary – and I use “our” to refer to the west as a whole – doesn’t care about peace marches, borders, or the well-being of a city in Syria comparable to Philadelphia or Houston in size. They care about perpetuating conflict until the west capitulates.
Perhaps then in lieu of peace marches the best way to attain an enduring peace versus ISIS would be to carpet bomb them out of existence. While the peace marchers are admirable, B-52s may be a better means of accomplishing their goal.
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