'May you be merry, oh city of Aleppo' - TAHA KILINÇ

'May you be merry, oh city of Aleppo'

One of the most significant outcomes of the Arab Spring was the re-awakening of the Shiite-Sunni conflict that had been asleep for centuries. To prevent the Shiite Bashar Assad regime from toppling, Iran pushed the Shiite militia forward, claiming that their holy sites were in danger. Iran's only aim here was to strengthen its hegemony. Paying no attention to human life or honor in Aleppo, the world just calmly watches while the city becomes the “tragedy of the century.”

Aleppo, which has witnessed the bloodiest phases of the conflict in Syria, is about to surrender to Assad and his allies. The civilians are harmed the most due to the attacks of allied forces that are continuing to advance in the east of the city, in opposition-held regions. Those who manage to escape the bombardment are faced with inhumane options, such as exile, hunger and poverty. The regime is almost carrying out a genocide on the innocent civilians to break the opposition forces' resistance.

While the Iran front defends that the civilians should be bombed and describes the opposition as “the tongs of imperialist and foreign powers,” Tehran itself is a foreign power in Syria. Moreover, Iran is allying with both Russia and the U.S. in different fields. Iran, which is “defending” Syria with Russia, is cooperating with the U.S. in Iraq. If we remember that Russia, too, has imperialist desires just like the U.S., we can say that Iran is cooperating with two imperialist powers. Therefore, every accusation starting with “imperialist” is nothing but a bare-faced lie.

The plan to divide Syria into three parts, with Aleppo as the border in the north and Damascus as the border in the south, to found a Nusayri state with its coast in the Mediterranean has been no secret for the last two years. This plan is indirectly accepted by the international public opinion as well. The careless attitude the world adopts as Aleppo is bombed and the cries of the people suffering in Aleppo, cannot be explained with anything else. As most of the opposition are labeled “Hannibals,” even the countries that are normally distant to the Assad regime remain silent because they do not want these “Hannibals” take control.

Looking at this blood-soaked picture, I wonder how these people who govern Iran want to be remembered in history. Iran, which was embraced by Muslims for standing against Israel, is now committing Israel-like atrocities for its sectarian nation-state. This is a sin that cannot be covered with excuses like “but this country is doing worse.” We watch a country, with Islam in its official name, turn the geography in to a bloodbath solely for its own interests.

Islam is witnessing the political rise of the Shiites for the third time in history. After the Fatimids, who founded an empire with Egypt as the center (909-1171), and the Safavids who made Iran Shiite (1501-1736), Shiism is now expanding further in the region. What's worse is, Iran is not hesitating to cooperate with its own enemies in the process.

Such alliances and bloody conflicts that are to the detriment of the Muslim world have led to the crystallization of Shiism. The historians of the future will be able to write who caused such disintegration and who incited this conflict.

We can find interesting anecdotes about Shiism that have remained from the past to present day. For example, Al-Asar University in Egypt, which is regarded as one of Egypt's main symbols and a center for Sunnis, was actually founded to indoctrinate Shiism. After Salahuddin al-Ayyubi abolished the Fatimid state, he quickly closed down the university and changed its staff and curriculum. This can lead us to believe that maybe one day the current Shiite institutions and corpuses will be closed down by other Salahuddins in the future.

Another reality that comes to mind when we look into history is that the third serious conflict is about to start between the Shiites and Sunnis. The tensions in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and even Nigeria are the sounds of the footsteps of this conflict. The phase of transition from proxy wars to real one-to-one wars, which the sides have become clear, is approaching.

The expression quoted in the title of this article is from Aşık Garip, a poet who lived in the 15th century. Garip, who wandered in the region (known as Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia today) wrote this poem when he was parting from Aleppo, the city he fell in love with: “I came and now I part / May you be merry oh city of Aleppo / I ate a lot of your bread and salt / Give your blessing oh city of Aleppo.”

You can replace the word “Aleppo” in the poem with the name of any other Muslim city. Whatever the reason the poem was written, this poem is a manifesto that our cities will always remain ours!

And today, this poem is even more meaningful.


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