Monday, 25 April 2016

The late fearful massacres

Syria, eh? If only they'd listened to T E Lawrence and Sykes–Picot had never happened, we wouldn't be seeing all these headlines about sectarian strife and massacres. Would we?
Published in 1861...

Turns out it's a bit more complicated than that.
In this period, the Sublime Porte's firmans (decrees) of 1839 and, more decisively, of 1856 — equalizing the status of Muslim and non-Muslim subjects — produced a
"dramatic alienation of Muslims from Christians. The former resented the implied loss of superiority and recurrently assaulted and massacred Christian communities — in Aleppo in 1850, in Nablus in 1856, and in Damascus and Lebanon in 1860."

Interesting to to see that, even before the current set of badly-drawn lines on the map, most people in the region were already being presented with the the same terrible binary option - rule by despots, versus toxic identity politics.