Forgive my for my cynicism but having covered West Asia closely I find it hard to accept the photographs of the ‘welcome’ extended to Syrian refugees coming out from Europe at face value. More so many of the countries greeting the terrified and traumatised families do not have a particularly great record in their own handling of immigrant issues in the past.

But more so because Europe has given the NATO allies to the United States to wage and justify the wars in West Asia. And convert a region of old civilisations, into a war wrecked zone, taken over by the soldiers and their guns on the one hand, the extremist forces like the Islamic State on the other, while the people flee for their lives finding no refuge in their own homes. In short the problem has been created by those who are now presenting this civilised ‘we love refugees’ face to the world.

Aylan’s little body washed ashore by the seas was perhaps a reminder to the collective world conscience ---usually dead and unresponsive---that West Asia exists, its people are real, and the booming guns have taken away their homes and their lives. And perhaps, just perhaps, the truth is more than is being propagated by the powerful media machinery that the West controls and manipulates in the name of ‘nationalism’, ‘national interests’ and what have you. (Interesting, as capitalism is projected as a global phenomenon surpassing national interests; while human rights becomes anti-national for all governments of the world as it concerns the people and that too the marginalised and the victimised...just a thought).

The state for West Asia was set the day the US tanks rolled into Iraq with their embedded journalists. The horror stories of the attack in which entire villages with their people were wiped out in the first days never made it to the world because the only scribes allowed access were ‘embedded’ nationalists and hence were not reporting the massacre of innocent Iraqis but only the success of the American military. This myth was dented slightly----certainly not busted---when the images of the inhuman torture of Iraqi prisoners found their way into the sections of the media.

Interestingly much is being made by the same media of the horrific destruction of Palmyra and its ancient heritage by Daesh, as it should be. But then Daesh, all agree, is a force of extremist barbarians opposed to progress, liberty, freedoms. No one wrote at the time of the Iraq invasion---at least not more than in passing---about the destruction of the rich museums in Iraq, the looting and the loss of the priceless history of Mesopotamia. It is no secret that many of the artefacts were found being auctioned in the US that unlike Daesh is a civilised superpower, the repository of all that is best in the world, Or so we are told.

From then on it has been a sad story of devastation and war. US President Barack Obama who succeeded George W. Bush came in with the suggestion that he would reverse this, but went on to attack all that was remaining to be hit in West Asia. His friends in Europe, and of course Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and at the time Jordan were all too eager to help. And so the war has continued, on one or another illegitimate and completely unjustifiable pretext, where the Muslim is heralded as the gun wielding, venom spouting extremist and the West as the civilised force that is committed to subduing him.

The tanks, the fighter jets, the heavy weaponry of the US and its Nato allies of course are there to ‘save’ the world, even as they turn the innocent Arabs out of their homes. And ensure that the people do not know that the countries they are attacking have the most educated, refined, sophisticated citizens.

One of the tragedies of this war, to my mind, has been the ability of the West and its most uncouth neighbours in West Asia to club together the Iraqis, Syrians, Yemenis, Egyptians, Tunisians, Palestinians, Iranians into one melting point of lies, myths and disinformation based on the ‘extremist’ Muslim stereotype. There is no attempt by the ignorant world fed by a manipulative and even more ignorant media, that West Asia is not a monolith. And its identity is not Muslim, Shia or Sunni but as in every other country, far more complex, and germane to the civilisations and the roots from which these nations have grown. Theirs is a culture that is amazingly refined, quite unlike what is visible in the Western allies in the region who have the money but little else.

Syria as one has written over and over again having witnessed the birth of this conflict on the ground through several visits, has been warning of precisely what is happening today. The world does not know as it has not been told that in Syria the worst insult you can offer is by asking someone what sect is he or she from: Sunni or Shia. Syrians tell you to your face that this question is considered extremely vulgar, as they do not look upon themselves as such not even when the US was drawing links between “Alawite” Bashar al-Assad and Shia Iran. Of course there was no space in the media to explain that his cabinet was largely Sunni as were his advisors, and that his Army that stayed with him was predominantly Sunni. And from this emanates the second tragedy to my mind, the success of the West in projecting West Asian countries that have long since resolved these issues as divisive, while giving clean chits to allies like Saudi Arabia who play only sectarian politics.

The Syrian Army has launched ‘operations’ to win back the lost territory, to kill who it regards as terrorists, and to re-establish control. The Syrian officials point out that the same western nations who had funded the foreign mercenaries to wage the war, have now sent envoys to Damascus asking the government to ensure that these mercenaries are not allowed to return to their respective countries. But are killed in Syria itself. The Syrian Army has thus been given the mandate to carry out the cleansing operations, with again innocent civilians paying the price with their lives.

From Syria grew the Islamic State, funded and fuelled by the West to oust the regime. So flushed were these countries with power that they refused to recognise the fact that the criminal gangs they were funding to fight Damascus, had been joined by Salafists, al Qaeda and all the rest. The Syrian government sent out emissaries to convince the world that a new force was taking birth as a result, and the heavy flow of weaponry through Turkey was arming those who would emerge from this ‘war’ stronger and more vicious. That is exactly what happened, perhaps as reports now suggest, the US wanted that to happen as it only turned away when it became clear that large parts of Syria had been destroyed, and while the government had not fallen its writ had been substantially reduced to Damascus, Latakia , Homs, where incidentally the trouble first began, and a few adjoining areas.

The people, with their homes destroyed, their relatives killed, are fleeing as there is no government to repair their lives. As are people from Yemen where the Saudi Arabian military is bombarding them, as are people from Afghanistan, as are people from terrorism in Iraq (a scourge that it did not suffer from before the invasion), as are people from Egypt where life has become very uncertain, as are people from affected zones in Turkey where its military is using the Daesh to settle scores with the Kurds, and are being turned back from the seas. No one can say how many have died, with little Aylans body drawing attention to many like him who have been claimed by the seas, even as they were turned away from the shores of the supposedly civilised world. The world is facing its worst humanitarian crisis since World War 2, created wilfully and deliberately by those who wield the power.

The worst plight is that of the Palestinians who have been holed up in Gaza and West Bank that have become virtual prisons. When the worst Israeli attack in living memory on Gaza was taking place, Egypt did not open its borders to allow the Palestinians a way out of what had been turned into a concentration camp and worse. There were hundreds of Aylans who died, thousands who shook with fear, and are traumatised by the sound of the booming guns even today but the Egyptian government did not even blink. And allowed the Palestinians to be slaughtered on a daily basis. Today human rights activists---yes yes, the anti nationals but here there is not even a nation----are rushing from pillar to post for the world and the international court to declare Israel a war crimes offender but they are facing stiff resistance. From whom? You guessed it US and its allies in Europe and in West Asia. The same governments, the same countries who are waging war on the hapless people.

So now the photo-ops, the poses, the ‘we are the good governments’ as some of the European countries open their doors for some of the refugees. How long this will last? Only until it remains in the public memory.