Socialist Worker

'For a world without war—stop backing oppressors', says Abu Bakr Deghayes

by by Judith Orr
Issue No. 2428

Abu Bakr Deghayes has lost two sons to the war in Syria. Jaffer was killed in Syria last weekend, aged 17, and Abdullah died there in April. Their eldest brother Amer is still fighting.

Abu Bakr told Socialist Worker that his pain at their loss is “indescribable”. 

He said his sons were motivated by wanting to help Syrians fighting the Assad dictatorship. 

Their family experience made them want to stand up to injustice. 

He explained, “They saw their uncle unjustly imprisoned for five years in Guantanamo jail. 

“Their grandfather was killed by Colonel Gaddafi because he refused to bow to the tyrant. 

“This is part of our family history. It had a tremendous impact.” 

Abu Bakr pointed to the atrocities of occupying soldiers in Abu Graib prison in Iraq and the plight of the Palestinians. 

“This doesn’t justify or mean I accept Isis, they kill all those who stand in their way,” he said.

“But we should look back and see how it was created because of the West’s wars.” 

He added, “The media and the government are using the issue of Syria in a terrible way. 

Abu Baker Deghayes

Abu Baker Deghayes (Pic: Guy Smallman)

“They just want to attack and blame Muslims, and carry out hundreds of arrests.” 

Police raided the Deghayes family home in Brighton in May using terrorism laws.

No one was charged. 

As politicians whip up Islamophobia at home, the war has become background noise as Western bombers fly daily over Iraq and Syria. 

The West’s bombing is about reasserting its control in the region. 

It has not brought salvation to the Kurdish town of Kobane, which remains under siege by Islamic State forces. 

Thousands of Kurds protested across the world including in London in support of Kobane last Saturday. 

The Turkish state finally allowed hundreds of Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters to enter Syria through the Turkish border to join the defence of the town last weekend. 

One beneficiary of the West’s bombing is the Assad regime. 

Its forces have taken the opportunity to step up its assault on rebel areas while Isis is under attack by the West. 

Low flying aircraft have dropped barrel bombs filled with explosives and shrapnel on civilians. 

At least 43 died after such an attack in Abdeen village camp for displaced persons in the southern countryside of Idlib. 

It was images of such brutality that drove the Deghayes brothers to travel to Syria to fight.  

Their father said that despite his grief, “I can’t hide the fact that I am proud of them and their self sacrifice for others.

“But life is precious. They were young, they miscalculated and took a step bigger than themselves. 

“Any war is tragedy, and leaves a legacy of suffering and animosity.” 

Yet he added that, despite rising Islamophobia and media propaganda about young Muslims fighting in Syria, he has experienced something different from ordinary people. 

“I have experienced such solidarity and kindness from so many,” he said. 

“People stop me in the street in Brighton. I have had cards and messages from people locally and from all over the country offering condolences. 

“People don’t believe everything they hear—they use their brains. 

“If we are to have a world with no bloodshed we need the government to change its foreign policy. 

“We need to stop backing oppressors.”

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