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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 5 December 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 5 DECEMBER 2015 21 NEWS OPINION ANDREAS C CHRYSAFIS erage Finally, we should recognise the attacks on Paris for what they are; an attack on secularism, liberalism and freedom. Rousseau's human rights and France's revolution stimulated the ideology that shook off colonialism and hereditary power across much of the modern world - especially most of the colonised world seeking independence. It was these revolutionary values that gave succour to the American Revolution, the Irish Republicans and gave Algerian revolutionaries independence from France. The Algerians fighting the colonial French forces used the French constitution to legitimate their cause, as did the Vietnamese fighting the French first, and then the Americans. De Gaulle was both a hero to colonial settlers, or ‘Pied Noir’ as he was to the Algerian people seeking independence from their French colonial masters. France, as the home of revolution, modern human rights and republican ideals, could not sustain antiquated forms of colonial oppression, especially as the leaders of these ‘brown’ or non-white revolutions were educated in Paris. The people gunned down by these Daesh recruits, like all their victims in the Middle East, need to be mourned. No death is more important than any other. I also consider the horror of the families of the young men and women who join this fascist clerical movement. President Hollande, when talking of defeating ISIS, spoke of the French values of liberty, fraternity and equality as the pillars of its society. He also talked at length about embracing cultural diversity and engaging with the French Muslim population. He argues that this cultural cohesion was the real enemy of ISIS. Our PM, Malcolm Turnbull (thank god Tony is out), also praised Australia's multiculturalism and asked the Muslim communities to be partners in the fight against extremism. I guess Graham may have missed much of this. * Fotis Kapetopoulos heads Kape Communications Pty Ltd, a cultural communications consultancy. He was Multicultural Media Adviser to Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu and former editor of Neos Kosmos English Edition. This article was first published in Crikey Daily Review. G20 and double standards Out of the G20 Summit came a most profound statement; one that exposed how insincere world powers have become. If the summit had been the gathering of great minds dedicated to resolving great social issues the world would have become a better place to live in. Instead, behind the facade of such gatherings, an ungodly arrogance dominates in such meetings. Truth, transparency or groundbreaking initiatives in social coherence are in short supply at the best of times. At the G20 Summit in Antalaya a bombshell statement has actually surfaced and yet the mass media did not pick it up. The announcement revealed that powerful nations do actually lie through their teeth and hide behind the obvious charade of camaraderie. In the dirty business of politics there are no enemies but opportunities and allegiance to one's own interest. Governments are there for governments. The main subject at the summit without a doubt was Syria's ‘regime change’; the Paris terrorist attack; the downing of the Russian passenger plane over Egypt, but primarily how to ‘destroy’ Islamic State (IS) and the scourge of the earth. The president of France, Francois Hollande, called on the US and Russia to join forces to destroy Islamic State; President Obama called its European allies to make bolder moves to defeat IS but also to topple the President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and extend sanctions against Russia; the president of the European Council criticised Russia to focus its air attacks against the Islamic State terrorists and not against the Syrian insurgents backed by NATO; President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke of human rights, terrorism, the reduction of refugees and the removal of his archenemy Assad. The summit this time was like no others. There was a dirty cloud in the air, which was choking, with some participants recognising the obvious charade but remaining silent. Some openly chastised those brutalities inflicted by jihadists while others, the likes of Erdogan, had other plans in mind about IS. In fact, everyone there was aware of his personal ambitions to abandon Ataturk's secularism or Kemalism and transform Turkey into an Islamic autocracy with himself becoming its founding father and a lifelong despot. At the crossroads of continents, Turkey is without a doubt a valuable strategic partner for western powers who have been tolerating Ankara's blatant black market activities that involve among others: purchases of smuggled oil from IS sources; the trafficking of antiquities; human trafficking; safe supply lines for IS oil exports; financing of terrorist groups against Assad; allowing the transportation of weapons to militia groups; providing banking facilities in billions of transactions to fund IS terrorist activities; systematically attacking Kurdish targets instead of IS; unleashing the torrent of Muslim refugees into the EU and yet, western powers remain impartial to Turkey's shenanigans. If those activities are not dealt with by closing the Syria/Turkey border, jihadists will devour the very soul of humanity. Cut off the flow of money supply and one cuts off their wings to operate on such a grand scale. That's precisely what the G20 Summit is not prepared to do but placate differences and carry on business as usual. Meanwhile, the EU finds itself in a quandary dealing with the biggest refugee crisis ever but also facing IS terrorist attacks deep in the heart of Europe. It has come to the point that some EU memberstates have abandoned the spirit of ‘open borders’. The failed Schengen Accord is now under severe pressure and in serious jeopardy; its ultimate collapse is not impossible. If people think that everyone stands in support of Paris or Russia or Mali they are totally wrong. There are countries and governments that actively support terrorist militias to spread Islamic extremist ideology and jihad against the rest of the world. Can this human virus be eliminated? Under the current political mood that's questionable. So far, the war against IS terrorism has been lukewarm to say the least. The half-hearted American-led coalition air bombardment has not stopped IS taking control over large sections of the region with the death of thousands of innocent civilians. Feeling confident of its success, this Grim Reaper has now inflicted its brutality in Europe; Paris was the start. Russia could no longer remain idle to the ongoing USled half-hearted coalition war against IS and during the UN Security Council conference, Putin announced that Russia was officially asked by the Syrian government for its military support and has launched air strikes against IS targets in Syria and Iraq but also against Syrian insurgents financed and backed by the NATO alliance to topple Assad. Meanwhile Iran also responded favourably and has initiated ground troops to clear IS out of Iraq, which posed a serious threat to its own stability along its borders. This was a two-pronged attack. Russia's direct involvement in the war against IS took everyone by surprise. Vladimir Putin was determined to protect not only Syria and destroy IS but also to protect Russian military installations and personnel in the Tartus naval base from falling into enemy hands. At the summit, the Russian president extended his arm for a unified effort to destroy the IS, recognising that if not stopped, the world would become its oyster. He was not wrong and in his closing statement Putin dropped the bombshell that has shaken up everyone, including the G20 foundations, into reality. A reality that has conveniently been avoided or ignored for years. He announced that Russia has evidence of 40 nations around the world that actively support the Islamic State while claiming the opposite. But his greatest bombshell of all, he actually provided evidence and pointed out that some of those nations were present at the very same G20 Antalaya Summit. No one ever dared before to speak against other members of such a mighty privi- leged club. He showed photographic evidence taken from space and from aircraft, which clearly demonstrated the scale of the illegal trade in stolen oil and petroleum products that went on inside Turkey, Syria and Iraq in support of financing IS terrorists. The indisputable proof of those activities has jolted everyone to reality. Revenge was swift and came a few days later. At the cost and suffering of his nation, Turkey claimed that a Russian jet fighter violated its air space for 17 seconds on the Turkish/Syrian border and without warning it shot the fighter jet down, to the utter shock of the world. Parachuted pilots were shot in the air - a crime under international law - and one was killed. Erdogan and his government then began a verbal campaign to spin the truth, attempting to justify the unjustifiable. Ironically, in the past 12 months Turkey has provokingly violated the air space of Greece 2,244 times (according to Sergey Lavrov the Russian foreign minister) and also the air space of Cyprus and its neighbours without any incidents or loss of pilot life. To avoid conflict, those nations behaved in a civilised manner and were not prepared to sink so low to Turkey's level of brutality. Exposing the hypocrisy of powerful nations was certainly a revolutionary breath of fresh air and well overdue. Among the ashes of despair there is always a glimmer of hope that powerful nations would destroy the IS madness and make the world a better and a safer place to live in. * Andreas C. Chrysafis is a Cyprus-based author, painter and writer.
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