Explaining Syria to your kids

Ed Milliband’s brave decision to abstain in the warmongering vote todaywould have seen the government fail to reach the majority it needs to enter another war on flimsy or non existent grounds. So today they’re debating it, pending a UN resolution.

There seems to be no public outpouring of support for this proposed conflict and if you want a really great primer on the situation, the Independent’s Robert Fisk’s piece here is a great read. He is one of the most respected and knowledgeable Middle East correspondents alive and frankly what he doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing.

It’s blooming complicated in the Middle East, and it’s nothing a few cruise missiles fired from the Med will sort out, as this graphic explains:

click for larger image

If you’ve got older teens, I’d recommend pointing them at this editorial from the as usual excellent Vice on the reasons we shouldn’t go to war. Assuming of course you think we shouldn’t go to another pointless war for entirely the wrong reasons.

Our kids are smaller and when/if they ask (we watch the pre watershed news on occasion and they do not live in a bubble) I’m going to try my best to explain that there are no real goodies or baddies in Syria. 
I’ll tell them on one side you have people like the Empire from Star Wars, repressing everything but sadly lacking in Tie Fighters, Star Destroyers and Death Stars, on the other side you’ve got people like the pirates from Disney’s Treasure Planet. None of them are goodies, they’re all hurting the normal people and kids and it’s just bad. Putting it into a context the kids are familiar with will hopefully help them to understand without confusing them too much.
What are you going to do?