We see the carnage on Twitter. We want it to stop. As Western Europeans/ North Americans, we reach for the tools to do that. Call on Obama. Email the EU Commission. March on the embassy. Campaign to motivate NATO.
I am reading Amin Maalouf's "The Crusades through Arab Eyes". It is as gut-wrenching as the photos I am clicking through on Twitter. Disembowellment. Siege. Starvation.
The theme that Maalouf, ever the watchful eye for Arab dissension, returns to again and again, is the inability of the tribes to band together to fight off the Franj.
A thousand years later, and the Franj are still raping half a continent of all its resources, secure in the knowledge that the strong man in Arab politics rules by divide and conquer. And in between those two positions is where the money is made.
Coming from Ireland, I know what that does to a country's soul.
The crusades may have been about the 'holy place' for a simple man, a second son, tramping through the desert in the hot sun, but further up the food chain there was money to be made. As always.
So here's the thing.
Maybe we should do nothing except try to stop the modern day Crusaders - Blair and his cronies - from heading in to mop up the spoils. Maybe that's our job. Maybe our job is to encircle this nascent democracy and protect it from our own with all our might.
Maybe this is a fight that is a long time in coming. Maybe it has to be, like that time when you spent all night trying to prevent two friends from brawling in a bar and then realised, they really really really wanted to kick the shit out of each other. Because that is the only way they are ever going to sort out whatever it is that keeps them apart.
Bone crunching on bone. If it were us, it would be a Coen Brothers movie.
But it's not us.
I don't know. I just know that I was on the winning side in 1096 and a thousand years later, as a woman, I am still not allowed be a minister in a catholic church. Or get divorced. I am still the ludicrous object of a million ridiculous poems and songs of a type of courtly love that could only be invented by ten thousand monks on the march across the middle east in a drought.
If Justin Bieber was alive in 1096, he would have been a Crusader.
We are at a strange point in our history when we are calling on a black man in a white house to sort out a fight that has been a thousand years in the making. If I was Obama, I would be making the point that both Libyans (and Egyptians, and Tunisians) and Europeans spent most of the last millennium making money off the trade in slaves of people just like him.
Why on earth should he step in?
Me, I would wonder where the Arab brothers are right now.