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To Senator Carr

Children of Syria

Images: children in Syria pre-war

The comment below was submitted to Senator Carr’s blog page:

Charter for the Commonwealth adopted by Commonwealth countries   20 December 2012

Acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr, today welcomed the adoption by Commonwealth leaders of the Charter for the Commonwealth, a key achievement for Australia during its term as Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth (October 2011 to November 2013).

In what is a significant achievement, the Charter enshrines for the first time the values and aspirations of a Commonwealth in a single document. The Commonwealth is made up of two billion people in 54 countries, spanning all continents and major religions.

The Charter reflects the Commonwealth’s commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law. It sets out the Commonwealth’s principles of tolerance, respect and understanding, freedom of expression, separation of powers and gender equality. The Charter emphasises the importance of young people and civil society, the environment and sustainable development, good governance and access to health, education, food and shelter. It recognises the special needs of small and vulnerable states within the Commonwealth………


Dear Senator Carr,
Once I would have been impressed by Australian support for the Commonwealth Charter which “reflects the Commonwealth’s commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”  However, since the governments of Britain and Australia have recognised the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) as the “legitimate voice of the Syrian people”, I feel a sense of great despair.
The SNC is a body hobbled together by powerful countries which support and fund the militias in Syria. These militias are incited to commit the most heinous crimes by extremist clerics. For example, recent video images from the ‘rebels’ show  a child beheading a soldier. Many Syrian Australians have lost relatives to the indiscriminate violence of the militias.  Furthermore, a significant number of the anti-government fighters are from other countries attracted to Syria because they believe in a violent jihad, or because it is a paid job. A young man who travelled to Syria to join the ‘jihad’ has reported on Tunisian TV how the poor are being used as ‘cannon fodder’ in what he calls a ‘proxy war’ in Syria.  The targets of the jihad in Syria are people considered ‘infidels’, ‘heretics’, ‘collaborators’. (Most Australians would be labelled as one or the other of these by extremist clerics used to incite the violence against secular Syrians.)
Millions of innocent Syrians could be killed; genocide could be committed; a state destroyed.  The war could go on for decades and could engulf the region. The call for a violent ‘revolution’ may one day be heard in Australia. Commonwealth countries which believe in ‘the rule of law’ and ‘democracy’ are complicit in the terror, death and destruction in Syria.
What will Australia’s future be if we condone the same terror which Australians experienced in Bali?  If we do not display moral courage and independence?  When the rhetoric of our government and that of the Commonwealth becomes hollow, what will our own soldiers be fighting for?
Susan Dirgham
National Coordinator of “Australians for Mussalaha (Reconciliation) In Syria”
In an article in The Hindu (10/12/12),Looming clouds of destruction, the author, Prem Shankar Jha, notes
……the U.S. has been fully aware of the presence of al-Qaeda in the so-called Free Syrian Army since April 20, 2011 when Jihadis captured a truck (or Armoured Personnel Carrier) near Dera’a, and killed all the 18 or 20 soldiers it was carrying not by shooting them but by cutting their throats in the approved Islamic manner. A few days later, the U.S. ambassador in Syria, Robert Ford, called some of his colleagues in Damascus, including the Indian ambassador, and told them that al-Qaeda had arrived in Syria.

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