By Javad Heirannia

Actions of Turkey and U.S. in Syria are pure imperialism: LSE professor

January 26, 2018

TEHRAN - David Rolfe Graeber, professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics, says Turkey’s action in Afrin is “a violation of the most basic principles of civilized behaviour, and all those who claim to be the voices of moral conscience of the world are looking the other way.”

Professor Graeber, who also is the author of Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology calls Turkey’s and the U.S.’s actions in Syria “pure imperialism.”  It is pure hypocrisy, too.

Below is his complete interview.

Q: Recently, a group of people including you launched a petition and wrote an open letter calling on world powers to stop Turkey’s aggression against Afrin. What was the purpose of that letter?

A: We wanted to make it more difficult for liberals, human rights advocates and diplomatic officials to pretend ignorance of what’s happening in Afrin.
Turkey’s action is a violation of the most basic principles of civilised behavior. All those who claim to be the voices of moral conscience of the world are also looking the other way. More generally, we wanted to get the word out about the democratic experiments in North Syria, which are the ultimate target of the Turkish assault. They call Afrin “terrorists” not because they actually have done anything to terrorize anyone, but rather because they follow the ideas of Abdullah Ocalan, who is the head of the PKK. In fact, Ocalan’s ideas are all about direct democracy, women’s rights, respect for ecology and so on. Turkey’s invasion is hypocritical to the very ideas that the Western leaders are claiming to stand against regarding “terrorism”.

Q: Why doesn’t the international community condemn the aggression of Turkey against Afrin?

A: It is really quite extraordinary. Not only is this a clear example of unprovoked aggression, but also the Turkish government is barely even pretending that Afrin has attacked or threatened Turkey in any way. Erdogan has openly stated that he intends to readjust the ethnic balance of Afrin -- that is, he invaded and declared that he was doing it in order to commit war crimes against the civilian population. People normally are not that honest about such things! Despite all, countries like the UK have dutifully mouthed support. And Amnesty International couldn’t go further than to release a statement calling on “both parties to exercise restraint.” It’s shocking. This just shows how much realpolitik has replaced any pretext of moral or legal principle. I’m an anarchist who does not expect much from politicians, but even I found it shocking.

Q: The presence of the U.S. and Turkey in Syria are similar. Both of them are in the Syria without Syria government’s permission. What is your opinion?

A: There was a legitimate uprising against the Syrian government, but it was cynically exploited by foreign powers. But what Turkey and the U.S. are doing is pure imperialism.

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