I am writing this on what I hope is not what will eventually be known as the “eve of the war in Syria.”
I have alluded to the matters below once before, several years ago, and now, it’s becoming something which can no longer be ignored.
So, the President of the United States is debating whether or not to start firing U.S. Naval cruise missiles into Syria. If he does, the stated goal is not “regime-change,” and thus what the goal is at all seems totally unclear. Whatever the goal is, the result will not be anything other than one or more of the following: 1) provoking further atrocities by the current regime; 2) provoking retaliatory actions by Syria and its allies (including Iran and Russia) against the U.S., and potentially against Israel; 3) fomenting further terrorist anger at the U.S. amongst the innocent Syrian people and radicalizing them; 4) in short, simply messing things up even more than they are messed up at present.
But, what happens if nothing is done? The current regime continues to terrorize and kill its own people–indeed, over a hundred thousand have already died. The rebels may not exactly be the best cause to be supporting from outside, but the government certainly isn’t a just one either. And, of course, it’s the everyday people who will be most hurt by all of this, who more likely than not would simply like to live their lives and have a bit of peace in them. As it is, more than seven million people–a third of the country’s population–have already been displaced to Turkey and elsewhere.
I’m not at all a total pacifist; but, I’m also not for all-out warfare, or even targeted “surgical strikes” whenever and wherever these can occur; and I’m certainly not for the drone warfare that has been the norm and the accepted way of doing things for the last several years without due process or anything approaching ethical, sensible, or honorable (not to mention legal) warfare. It is a just cause to fight against oppressive and destructive governments, in my opinion; but, it’s also just plain stupid to simply fire missiles and expect that it will accomplish anything useful at all, particularly since the current regime seems bent on moving their potential military targets into civilian infrastructure (e.g. schools, neighborhoods, etc.) so that destroying those targets in missile attacks will also completely undermine daily life for people, which will infuriate them against the U.S. as much as it will against the tyrannical government currently in power.
And, of course, as a citizen of the United States, a taxpayer, an educator, someone who teaches military students and their families, and totally in common with almost every other individual in this country: I have absolutely no say in these matters, and signing petitions will not sway the President, Congress, or anyone else one way or the other in the course of actions that they take in the coming days. It’s about the only action that we everyday ordinary citizens can take, unfortunately, and while I wouldn’t discourage doing so, the likelihood that such actions will have much of an impact is less likely than not.
I hate to say it, but one of the only things I think we as responsible pagans and polytheists can do is pray, and preferably to the very old gods of Syria, who are yet alive and active and interested in the well-being of the people and the land in which they once thrived. Pray to the sun-god Yarhibol; to the gods Melqart and Echmoun (the latter of whom was syncretized to Antinous); to the goddess Allat–the same one who was later said to have been a daughter of Allah–all of whom were worshipped throughout Syria, and in the city of Palmyra (the Temple of Bel of which is shown above), where the Divine Hadrian was once governor, and where the Divine Septimius Severus also spent time. There are many other Syrian gods to whom one can pray, and I suggest you search them out, learn about them, and pray for the people of Syria’s safety and that peace and prosperity will rapidly return to that land, no matter what government may be over it or what religion might prevail in it. The gods are not gone, and their influence is not a thing of the past…
May peace and prosperity, and not artillery and projectiles, rain down on the people and land of Syria, in the name of that land’s great goddesses and gods!
May Antinous-Echmoun the Liberator stand with the people of Syria!