Boy (16) from Ireland dies fighting for Syrian rebels - Independent.ie
I want to preface this thread by saying that the family of this young man are still living and working in Ireland, and that I would hope that whatever way way this discussion goes it is conducted in a manner that is sensitive to the family's loss. For me this means focusing more on the generality of the issues raised and refraining from saying too much about the familiy directly. This could very well prove impossible, so I will understand if the moderators shut it down. I also apologize if I have more faith in the capacity of our posters for sensitivity and self-restraint than is justified.
Basically, a 16 year old kid from Libya who spent 12 years living in Ireland has been killed when fighting against the Assad regime. A few months ago, the same thing happened to a 23 year old Egyptian who had also spent a long time here was killed in the same conflict under similar circumstances.
On reading this, I was struck by the fact that a person who basically grew up and was educated here somehow became embroiled in a conflict in a far-off land, a conflict to which he perhaps felt some connection due to his identity as a Muslim.
Is this something we should be worried about? Does it point to a failure to integrate? Does it mean that there is a radical element in our society or at least a certain constituency prone to foreign radicalization? Does it point to at least the possibility that somewhere down the line, maybe because of our involvement in the EU war in North Africa, we might experience some very unpleasant blowback? If these fears are justified or at least not entirely unreasonable, what is the correct political response? Is there a way of dealing with this without succumbing to irrational fears and unjustified stereotyping that might quite likely inflame matters? Does it show that we need to rethink our immigration policies, or maybe even go so far as having an immigration policy to begin with? If kids can end up in Syria, can't they also end up in the Islamic Maghreb or a madrassa in Afghanistan?
Or is it just a case of either two easily led kids or perhaps two kids who had the courage to stand up to an undoubtedly tyrannical regime? After all, if Obama is actually arming the Syrian opposition, then why would we criticize two kids who were doing their bit? Could it be that I am actually a total racist whose only actual issue is that a Muslim picked up a gun without whitey telling him to?