As our government (UK) prepares to vote (or not!) on eye-for-an-eye air strikes in Syria, how will history remember this seemingly crucial December? Perhaps it will go down as the crucial moment when the Russia and the west stood shoulder to shoulder in defence of their values surrounding turkey, Ukraine, Assad and Edward Snowdon.
History remembers the significant events. Events that changed the world and those individuals that were catalysts for change.
Before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat (December 1st 1955) for a white bus passenger, there were many black women on buses who did not.
During the first world war, wave after wave of men marched across no-man’s land to their deaths. Millions of young men full of potential, cut down in their prime because it was what they had to do.
However the Christmas peace (or the Sainsbury’s Christmas ad, as it is now known!) is remembered vividly by history. It was that unique moment when humans didn’t do what was expected but rather something completely different. We remember it because it was different. Because it was good. Because it shows that perhaps our species is capable of being better.
I don’t know if this Christmas will be historically significant. However it does seem that, contrary to political rhetoric, the threat we face is not new. In fact, it’s not even unique.
The so called “So Called Islamic State” (or whatever) are an Al Qaeda spinoff (a bit like the show ‘Joey’ but with better syndication.
The Paris/Russia attacks are low budget 9/11, Francois Hollande has declared war on terrorism, and gun sales in America are soaring.
It all seems like a bad reboot of a popular film… A film that, like the phantom menace, history won’t hesitate to forget.
Unless…. there’s a twist. Like an american president who doesn’t like guns… A future prime minister who places human rights above “electable” rhetoric. A european union led by an empathetic Germany that opened her boarders to thousands of Syrian intellectuals (Yes, it’s true!) who will help sow the seeds for an even more dynamic and enlightened Europe.
The day when Britain leads the world in considered, reflective and rational discussion – difficult discussion – might be a significant moment in history.
But the day we go to war (again) because all our mates are doing it will be of no unique historical consequence.