Nick Cohen Nick Cohen

Solidarity for the Kurds from – er – the British left. This is is not a misprint

In these mean times a glimmer of light can pass for a dawn. Here is one heartening ray. On the international day of solidarity in defence of the Syrian Kurds, Labour MPs and activists have issued a plain request to Ed Miliband to stop being such a jerk.

They don’t quite put it like that, funnily enough. Gary Kent of Labour friends of Iraq simply says

The Labour movement has been behind the curve in getting behind the
Kurds and our grassroots plea for practical action now aims to
galvanise solidarity to avert further genocide and horrific crimes
against women by Isis.


For all the necessary diplomacy, their appeal is couched in the language of internationalism that Miliband, like so many on the Anglo-American left, needs to learn to speak again – assuming they mastered it in the first place.

We, non-Kurdish members of the British Labour Party and Trade Unions, are calling for an urgent and significant increase in the support from Britain and other countries to the people defending the world against the onslaught of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS). The Kurds of Kobani, Rojava and the Kurdistan Region, including Yezidis, Christians and other minorities, are on the front line of a global battle against the vilest fascism of our age. We must help them, we must call on the world to help them, and this help must be given by whatever means necessary. The Labour movement is an internationalist movement which understands deeply the plight of those who suffer  under tyranny. We must now stand united in our efforts to secure changes to current UK government policy in this conflict.

The images of grandmothers and grandfathers fighting, and often dying, alongside their younger families is something almost impossible for us in Britain to comprehend. The tales of beheadings, the abandoned dead bodies of women with their breasts cut off, men with their eyes gouged out, sex slavery, genocides and mass executions, and reports of the burning skin of possible acid attacks are too horrific for the British Left to give a half hearted response, or worse.

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