The Roe v. Wade for Middle Eastern Christians: Time to Tear Up Sykes-Picot
Just before coming to Washington, D.C. to take part in the March for Life, I spent a week with another of the most vulnerable groups of people on earth — along with preborn children — Middle Eastern Christians, and other religious and ethnic minorities. I ate, walked, and talked with Christians, Yezidis, and Kurds in towns and villages that were recently liberated from the rape-murder-sex trafficking squadrons of ISIS. I’m producing a documentary on the fight for minority rights in Iraq and Syria, and I thought it was important to meet the survivors and victims myself.
I can’t really convey in words what it was like, to stand with fellow Christians in their ruined and desecrated churches, with statues of apostles beheaded and eyes gouged out of pictures of Jesus’ mother. At the time, I couldn’t say much. I mostly stayed silent and listened. These people and their ancestors have been worshiping here since not long after Pentecost, while my British forebears were still sacrificing virgins and painting their own bodies blue.
But I jet on in, with blue eyes and blonde hair, from the most powerful country in the history of the world, which is still overwhelmingly Christian. I cannot explain to these mothers and fathers, widows and orphans, why America helped to make such a mess of the region — why after we shattered secular Iraq, we did almost nothing, for 13 long years, to protect them.
“No, It’s for God to Forgive.”
I didn’t have an answer to the father of a Yezidi girl, whom ISIS had kidnapped and processed through their massive database of sex slaves. How could I explain why President Obama considered ISIS a “junior varsity” team? When he asked me what Obama did to earn a Nobel Peace Prize, I just shook my head. I asked him if he thought he could ever forgive the people who let ISIS come to power and seize his daughter. He answered, “No, it’s for God to forgive.” Of Obama’s high-minded, empty rhetoric about peace and toleration, this grieving dad said, vividly: “Obama has been cutting our throats … with cotton!”
In fact, the destructive actions of Western Christians go much further back than Obama or George W. Bush, to the end of World War I, and the post-war carve up of the former Ottoman Empire by the British and French. The Sykes-Picot Agreement, which drew up the boundaries of the modern Middle East for the benefit of France and Britain, with total disregard for the interests of ethnic and religious minorities, was in key ways like Roe v. Wade. It was decided in secret by a small group of unelected men, and decided the fate of millions. It ignored the plain facts on the ground. It placated the powerful, and left the vulnerable at their mercy.
Like Roe v. Wade, Sykes-Picot and its legacy belong in the dust bin of history. Since we have sent thousands of troops and spent billions of dollars meddling in the region, it now falls in large part to America to help undo the damage.
Trump Offers Hope
Like pro-lifers in America, Middle Easterners look to the incoming administration with hope for a substantive change. One person after another who belonged to a vulnerable minority in the region told me how thrilled he was at the election of Donald Trump. Perhaps it was his bluntness, the fact that he is willing to call Islamist terrorists by their real names, and has pledged to “eradicate” them. Trump doesn’t speak in the gasbag abstractions of globalists (left or right), whom this region’s victims have learned, through blood and tears, to distrust utterly. Instead he frankly admits that he seeks America’s interests, and wants to punish its enemies.
He spoke with the same crude candor about abortion during the presidential debates, at one point describing for millions of Americans what partial-birth abortion really does to third-trimester babies. Not for Trump, the crass euphemisms of Planned Parenthood or Roe v. Wade!
Time for Decentralization, Localism, and the 2nd Amendment
The Trump administration should reach out to this region’s threatened groups, and let them know that the Sykes-Picot era is over. America won’t be micromanaging the region, encouraging reckless rebellions or sending in our planes to pulverize Middle Eastern countries until they finally turn into Switzerland.
Instead, this administration should welcome the revision of national boundaries and the decentralization of power, with local control and protection for historic communities, such as Muslim Kurds, Syriac-speaking Christians, Yezidis and others. We should see that minority communities are the best allies we have in each of these countries — since it is in their interest to promote religious and ethnic tolerance, the lack of which has fueled most of the worst violence in the region, and the terrorism that strikes us here at home.
As we act to dismantle the blood-stained legacy of falsehoods that started with Roe v. Wade, let’s unravel the knot of dishonesty that has marked Western policy toward Middle Eastern governments.
Instead of letting well-funded fanatics drive millions to live in refugee camps, we’ll pressure regional governments to devolve power, and allow minority groups the means to protect themselves from violence. Instead of aid going to national capitals like Baghdad, we should ship it directly to the vulnerable groups (such as the Kurds) whom we wish to aid. Our own Declaration of Independence affirms the right of oppressed people to replace their government, and our Constitution the sacred right (in its Second Amendment) to self defense.
As we act to dismantle the blood-stained legacy of falsehoods that started with Roe v. Wade, let’s unravel the knot of dishonesty that has marked Western policy toward Middle Eastern governments. Instead of empty rhetoric we must recognize real interests, real people, real historic communities that the terrorists have tried to erase. As we fill our nation’s courts with judges who know a real human life when they see one, let’s fill our foreign policy establishment with honest, ethical realists. Let us take those steps on the road toward God’s own forgiveness.