Victory and Virtues: A Syrian Perspective
Victory is invariably sought, but again, invariably, in different manners and in different layers. But in the end, “what good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit himself?”
One does not have to be a Christian to understand the above profound teaching. Wisdom reaches out to the hearts and minds of people who have a seed of goodness left within. For as long as the seed is where it needs to be, it will only wait for the right moment to germinate.
To seek victory is an arduous “process” that needs deep and profound soul-searching, prioritizing, and above all, wisdom of knowing what to hone in on as a target.
Seeking victory implies overcoming difficulty. This often implies struggle, and the term struggle has a soft spot in the hearts of many people. Good hearted people like to support those who struggle, they like to back them up, they feel obliged to send them money, support letters, and even little trivial tokens like Facebook “Likes”.
This is why, when setting forth objectives of any particular struggle in the pursuit of a victory of some sort, it becomes paramount to decide who is trying to surmount what.
A military victory is one of those objectives that people and nations have sought for millennia, and for different reasons; some seeking conquest, others seeking freedom. People and nations have fought and fought in the hope that a military victory would bring the desired outcomes to fruition.
Morality implies that might and right are two different things. Might is right only when empowered by virtue. Might becomes right only when the law of the jungle is not allowed to prevail.
We read about history, but in reality, we should not believe much of what we read. After all, even in this age of satellite TV stations, IT, Internet, and even Skype, we don’t know that we are truly receiving the right and unbiased information. So how can we rely on ancient, very ancient documents that have been written to depict and narrate a story when the counter story does not even exist?
History has been described by cynics as his-story, and perhaps for the right reasons.
History, however, is an on-going story. In each day and with every sunrise, we create the history of the future. Like today’s dwellers, custodians, and masters, the story that history will tell about us is down to us to create.
To put all of the above within a Syrian perspective, for Syria to win its war it will have to win both; its military war and moral war.
A military win seems near, and the foundations of the moral war will need to be even closer.
This is not in any way an attempt to ask Syria to take on a new burden it cannot carry. This is about expecting Syria to rise to the occasion and present herself as a nation that supports the emergence of a brave new world that seeks to build a better future for humanity.
The West, with its claims to be the custodian of the “Free World”, has built an Empire that was based on false pretenses. Now let us not get into this please. If anyone believes in the fallacy of Western Democracy as the be all and end all, then they will really need to re-examine this belief vis-à-vis the achievements accomplished, if any.
Syria may not be able to change the world, though many staunch nationalists would like to believe that she can, but she can offer a model; but only if there are enough Syrians and those in the Syrian leadership who will support this initiative.
With failures of the West and at many levels, fractures in the EU, short-sighted refugee intake policies, and the ensuing rise of terrorism in the EU, the end of the mono-polar “New World Order” has already been given impetus, and a new emerging multi-polar world has heralded its coming to fruition, in Syria of all places.
Syria is neither big enough nor strong enough to change the course of history, but aided by her allies and supporters, she can and should forge her place in taking a lead role in history-changing events.
Simplistically seen, some supporters of Syria may regard this pivotal role as something that Syria stumbled upon by virtue of luck. In reality, it comes charged and loaded with enormous responsibilities: moral, humane, political, historical, and beyond.
In her fight against Daesh, Syria is now in a position that puts on her an onus to lead the world away from radicalism in all of its forms. Syria has the onus to show the rest of the world that the fight against Daesh is not just one that needs to be fought and won militarily, but most importantly, rationally.
Syria was not a perfect place before March 2011, and it is not expected to become perfect after the war ends. But she is now in the perfect place to try hard to make as many amends of weaknesses and mistakes of the past.
This onus that Syria has to accept to face has congruence with that of Russia. Russia had to re-invent herself; not so much domestically, not at all in any manner other than liberating the Russian soul in a manner that allows her to express herself. Internationally however, Russia had to bring in both; hardware and diplomacy, working hand in hand, to re-assert her stature in the global arena.
Wars are terrible and tragic events, but they offer “opportunities” for change. In Syria, Pandora’s box is already open, and this offers a chance to address pending issues and correct the mistakes of the past. Among other things, Syria has a golden opportunity here to resolve the Kurdish question once and for all.
The so-called “Free World” has created a moral dilemma for any attempt to stand against it. It created a narrative that was, and continues to be, widely accepted and taken for a fact.
With the changes in world polarity, there is now an emerging onus on the rising powers of the word to prove their worth. They will need to be in a position to offer the world and humanity an alternative that is viable and morally sound.
These are very testing times, more testing than ever. For Syria the moral victory is perhaps the one that is paramount, or at least becoming more important as the military side of the equation is tipping more steadily in favor of Syria’s secular-legal government.
When the allies won their war against Hitler and Imperial Japan, they crowned their “victory” in Europe with genocides like the Dresden genocide, and in the Pacific with Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The allies had won the military war, but lost the moral war, and they have continued to do this ever since, all the way from Korea, Vietnam…and all the way to Iraq and Libya with tens of nations in between.
Syria cannot reverse the acts of the US and its allies, not militarily, but she can set a moral precedent. As a matter of fact, Syria has an obligation to do so.
Victory, true victory cannot and should not be kept at arm’s length from virtues. If virtues, all sorts of virtues, not morality alone, are taken out of the equation, then any “victory” achieved will only be short-lived and one that will lead to other problems, new problems, and invariably bigger problems.
The duty of taking the righteous path is an on-going challenge that faces not only nations, but also individuals every day of the week. Syria is not alone in this regard. What is perhaps “unique” about Syria at this stage in history is the fact that once Syria rises victorious militarily, she will need to provide an antithesis that revokes Daesh in all of its forms and contexts.
This same moral challenge is one that does not only test Syria, but also all other nations that are not happy with the Anglo-EU-Empire. The big obligation therefore is not only on Syria, but also rather on global leaderships, and specifically those of the BRICS nations. If they want to lead the world into a new era, if they are truly intent on creating a better future for humanity, then the BRICS nations will need to provide a preamble, a moral doctrine and leadership with virtues to replace the void that the current morally-debauched West has plunged the world into as it leader.
Victory cannot come without virtues at its core. Take away the virtues, and victory, any victory, gets reduced to winning the world and losing oneself.