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Syria: The Uprising That Made Intellectuals Talk To Walls

February 13, 2012

It has been 10 months and 25 days since that fateful march took place in Daraa (March 15) where tens of thousands of protesters marched to the city’s center, tearing down street posters of the Syrian head of state & stomped down the statue of his father, the former ruler of the country, and without knowing plunged the globalized radical left into a perpetual episode of neurosis & aberration not witnessed since the brutal crack down of Prague spring 1979 by the Soviet bureaucracy (especially if we are to overlook the events of the recent uprisings in Iran and Libya for a moment).

Since Arabs began taking to the streets en-masse in Tunisia soon to be followed by the inimitable Egyptian masses all was well with the state of the affairs, we have been witnesses to virtually universal celebrations in the worldly radical penmanship. Activists in far away lands took even time out of their busy schedule & capital from their meager savings to travel to Cairo and Tunis to witness for themselves the place where Mohamad Bouazizi’s kiosk used to stand, to march and chant with the people of Tahrir square. Flags of the Tunisian red crescent & the Egyptian republican hawk were waving outside the White House gates with activists swearing in their solidarity with the oppressed nations struggling for freedom in the face of unmitigated power.

That was the moment all of us were waiting for, the great vindication of the struggle against Neo-Colonialism and Imperialism, for Egypt was the foremost example of a bloody regime which stayed afloat for one reason only, because it was receiving unmatched monetary and military assistance from the wickedest global powers history has yet to produce. The global western-Capitalist hegemony who edges nations for war, who bleeds nations off their nutrition economies, who builds an army bases on every corner of the world and launches bloody wars of occupation under fictitious pretexts, digging a colossal graveyard for the atmosphere we breath and live in, and all only for one goal, naked profit.

Soon to be joining Yemen and Bahrain, both suffering for centuries under the Imperialist boot, whose tyrannical leaders are paid and fed agents of western-Capitalist Imperialism. As’ad AbuKhalil went so far as to claim in his blog that these uprisings are proof that the usual Human Rights complaints leveled at anti-Western/Imperialist regime like Syria were gross exaggerations fabricated by the Saudi oil axis and Zionists, especially compared to the pro-Imperialist regimes who were fighting their  peoples at the time, concrete proof given at the time was that the Syrians haven’t began revolting yet, this was prior to the massive popular outpouring in March 15 and the Syrian uprising wasn’t yet in its visible, crowning stages.

The celebrations in every corner of the globalized left were mounting. We have finally been vindicated, history was pushing its gears with all the might in the Arab world and the big bad western-Capitalist hegemony was facing its biggest challenger since the Chinese Communist revolution of 1949. This was the dawning of the age of Anti-Zionism and Anti-Imperialism in the Middle East ever since that uncomfortably confusing schism in Iran 2009. It was just like the atmosphere we watched in Latin America, totally incapable in fathoming at the time that such things could be happening in the Middle East so soon!

As with all celebrations this one came at an abrupt end as the Libyan people took to the streets in Benghazi and the Syrian people joined them in the streets of Daraa, Hama, Homs and Idlib. These people were watching the events unfold in Tunis, Tahrir and Manama just as the principled western leftists were and they’ve decided to take their celebrations to the streets following the same example. That very same day 20 were slaughtered in Daraa alone but this did not convince the people to turn their uprising into an armed rebellion. For months on end Syrians in Daraa, Hama, Idlib, and Homs later to be joined by Aleppo and Damascus amongst other central cities, marched through city centers to be met with overwhelming force of the Syrian military. They weren’t even facing cops! This regime, which is unfriendly to western-Imperialist interests, was treating unarmed citizens as one would imagine it should treat an invading Zionist army from the south! Despite these extreme responses by the regime, which make the tactics used by Mubarak’s police, now SCAF, against the revolting masses pale in comparison. Yet armed elements remained completely below surface, even talks of armed reply to the regime was a highly controversial topic for months on end.

All throughout these events our friends of the globalized left were deteriorating with poorer and poorer health. The folks at MRZine, the Zine section of the Monthly Review digital leftist publication, were up to their usual tricks as with their unflinching support for the Iranian regime in its brutal crackdown of the unarmed uprising in 2009. It was argued that Syria is too much of a crucial regime in the fight against Imperialism in the Arab front, for decades US and Israel were working to destabilize this regime as it’s the only Arab regime to stand against the Saudi oil axis which seeks to normalize relations with Israel and help the US enslave the region so much more smoothly. Syria is the focal point to all that in the Arab world. Of course such ideas are not original researched but are unsophisticated variations on the public positions of the Iranian regime as is customary for the zine.

First of all, it’s a complete lie that Syria is the roadblock to the Saudi oil axis, especially since Bashar Al Assad took power Syria has been carrying out a strong accommodation policy with the Saudi regime while trying to balance its historic Iranian ally. Second of all, come  the launching of the 2nd gulf war, Bashar al Assad’s regime, much like his father’s in the 1st gulf war, allied itself with the US & Saudi gulf oil axis in the “Coalition of The Willing” for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Adopting lines directly from the regime’s own talking points menu has its certain charms. We often hear similar lines coming from “moderate” anti-Imperialist pundits. Lets take Liane Ross for example. In an extensively studied article Syria: It’s Not What We Should Do Now, It’s What We Should Have Done Then Ross looks into the mistakes of the world’s conflict-mending bodies in their response to the “Syrian situation”. The article begins with enumerating the “wrong” ways for foreign bodies to deal with a situation of conflict between a government and a revolting population citing numerous studies done by members of various western liberal “conflict resolving’ institutions.

Now this is particularly novel idea, where were these alienated studies done with a cool air of distance about the unresolved “conflict” between the Egyptian and Yemeni people and their respective governments when they were pushing their leader-oppressors off the sit of power? Oh right! It was done by liberal Imperialist magz like the New York Times and Time magazine, well, you cant be really blame them since they are only defending the interests of the western Capitalist/Imperialist class they represent.

Ok where were we? Oh of course! Syrian opposition activists being called liars and fabricators by the regime and their “moderate” anti-Imperialist hasbara pundits. The neatly enumerated study points, all carefully cited, bemoan the idea that handing any assistance to rebelling groups from outside can solve anything and bemoan the idea that an armed struggle can solve anything at all (seriously haven’t these people heard of the Suez struggle launched in coordination with Tahrir?). Illuminating is the argument against foreign intervention, we know from the recent past that such actions have not had an ending that was less than a catastrophe (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya nudge nudge..) but the argument given by Ross is that it pushes target regimes to be “less peaceful”. We are also given many instances that any assistance to the rebelling side against the regime “prolongs conflicts”. So now we are aware that the interest of all moderate peace-seeking parties is to end the “conflict” and so we are made sure to know that supporting the “weaker side” prolongs it.

The accusations leveled at the opposition activists in Syria from many points of the globe have become so bad that as of little more than a month ago we saw a gigantic inflation of citizen journalists armed with hand held digital & smartphone cameras, pacing the streets of besieged cities like Homs and Idlib filming the hourly horrors that befall their many neighborhoods and homes while risking life and limb unprotected from constant bombardment from tanks and missile launchers of the military which  answers to president Bashar Al Assad. Each day tens of new videos are posted on Youtube by citizen journalists placed in neighborhoods like Baba Amro and Karm Al Zaitoon in Homs alone! Each is prefaced by the amateur journalist  announcing the date, time and the place of what we are seeing.

Seasoned globalized anti-Imperialist activists are made sure to hear the words of the attacked side in global conflicts, in this instance, they see the Syrian regime naturally as the attacked side, here Bashar Al Assad’s own point of view rings most crucial. I tend to agree with the notion that the junior Al Assad is not another dictator numbskull like Mubarak or Qadhafi, in every speech on every podium, in every interview Bashar is the most rational, thoughtful orator. He is a moderate head of a moderate state, he is surprised by the uproar in his region about his decisions, after all, he is having an extremist terrorist insurgency on his turf and all he desires in the world is to preside over a peaceful end to the conflict and calls on the opposition for dialog through negotiations.

This stuff is eaten up like morning pancakes by the seasoned “moderate” anti-Imperialist pundit, and so they parrot the call for “peaceful resolution” to the “conflict” through the medium of negotiations with the regime and see the opposition’s stern rejection of dialogue with the regime as proof that foreign imperialist “regime change” elements puppeteer the opposition, which makes them little more than stooges of US-Saudi-Zionist destabilization plot against the “imperfect” lone Arab roadblock to smooth Imperialist control over the region. That’s what we have and the right side of history is forever the opposite side to Imperialism.

While the brutality of the regime mounts as fast as the bodies pile up we also see more principled left thinkers stumbling over themselves to reach a coherent position that is in line with their previously pronounced world view while being unable to be hypnotized by Bashar’s calculated demeanor. In mid November of last year Dr. Joseph Massad published a usually thought provoking article on Al Jazeera’s English website succinctly titled The struggle for Syria. In the article he gives an account of the catastrophic results seen in warring countries that had a “helping hand” through a military strike by NATO and its allies in the past, he also correctly points out that Qatar is now NATO’s new brother in arms since the kingdom’s intervention in the Libyan war, but the conclusion of the article is hazardously acidic.

In the last paragraph Massad correctly claims that the dominant Syrian opposition body the Syrian National Council has already been hijacked by forces that are loyal to the Saudi crown and are strongly in favor of NATO intervention in Syria, which is unthinkable that such action would lead to results we have not seen before in Iraq, Afghanistan and the still civil war torn Libya, where large groups of fighters and civilians keep dying every week since the then allies in the struggle against Qadhafi are now warring in the streets and wrecking havoc, the new leader of the country is now poised to repay NATO for its “assistance” in bombing Tripoli into rubble. Massad asks: “Is the aim of their ongoing uprising the overthrow of the Asad regime in order to bring about a democratic regime, or is it simply to overthrow Asad?” and following to the argument that we live in a US-dominated world in which struggles against repressive anti-US regimes face hijacking by those very same US-dominated interests & their allies like the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and the National Council in exile which has allied itself with the former Massad warns: “the revolt will only bring about one outcome, and it is not a democratic one” namely a US sponsored dictatorship like we see today in Saudi-Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq and Afghanistan. With that artfully constructed warning Dr. Massad sheds his protective shell of worry for the future of the Syrian nation with a single toxic proclamation: “they must face up to the very difficult conclusion that they have been effectively defeated” for if they choose to continue their struggle to free themselves of the murderous Mafia like rule of the Assad family they will unarguably face the situation where poor Bahrainis and Iraqis find themselves in nowadays and Egyptians found themselves under the repressive rule of Sa’adat and Mubarak.

This proclamation is very crucial in understanding the psychosis preying on the globalized left since March 15, 2011 till this very day, but really it has a long history in the Arab world. Especially since the defeat of the secular-nationalist Pan-Arab forces by the Israeli army with gargantuan support by European and American Imperialist powers in the late 60s such as France and the United States the Arab peoples have been facing unmitigated repression from their rulers. Republican regimes were no less repressive than monarchic regimes. Any attempt at people power were brutally repressed, parties who were not puppeteer by the Arab republican regime were forbidden and forced underground. Anti-Imperialist leftists of the time argued vigorously for total support of the republican regimes who were antagonist to the US hegemony against the backwards monarchic regimes. All that to the detriment of their socialist comrades and student activists in those “left-leaning” Arab republican who were jailed in filthy cells for decades, exiled or executed (not to mention the prevalent position of criminal softness in regard to the crimes of the Zionist regime from leading European and American radical intellectuals of the time). This stance had a decisive hand in alienating the Arab left and many left-leaning people in the world just like it does now such as the unapologetic and “Moderate” anti-Imperialist “explainers” of the vicious and mass murdering regime of Syria like MRZine and Liane Ross respectively, a regime which produces close to 100 martyrs each and every day, shelling civilian towns and neighborhoods as was done by the Israelis in Gaza just over 3 years ago and repeating on a smaller scale to this very day.

This form of proposed anti-Imperialism is making the left increasingly irrelevant and leaves it sterile. What is the use for us if we can’t even decide to support the people undergoing daily massacres on the streets of Homs, Hama and Idlib? When we argue this rogue form of anti-Imperialist we argue ourselves straight out of the discussion! We can write and argue till our tongs dry up and this discussion would be ghettoized between our peers. These days we are witnessing the gears of history, those very same ones that began in Tunis little over a year ago, the Syrian people decided to launch a partial armed struggle in several regions of the country primary to defend strongholds of the uprising such as Homs and Zabadani and is growing in other regions. This struggle is being lead by the forces defecting off the regime’s military and joining the Free Syria Army which has strong ties to those pesky bureaucrats in the Syrian National Council in exile, and so we see scholars like As’ad AbuKhalil saying no to the regime and no to the FSA which is the only party currently protecting the welfare of Syrians besieged by their own government and Liane Ross saying that the uprising Syrians should lay down their guns.

You are the losers, it is time to admit it! You who have been parroting regime talking points when it suited you and discarded them when what suited you more became citing western liberal institutions on conflict-solving from Washington DC. It is the left’s responsibility to act to defend the oppressed and abused from the powerful, not the UNSC or NATO nor regime “moderates”. Its too late, yes, it is too late for us to lecture Syrians on how to conduct their struggle, we must unequivocally send our absolute support for the struggling Syrians being slaughtered right now in Homs, Hama, Zabadani, Aleppo, Douma, Daraa, Damascus and any corner this blasted regime abuses people fighting for a just and civil life.

Haifa: Palestine in Solidarity with the Syrian Uprising

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Patrick Higgins permalink
    February 14, 2012 04:19

    This is an excellent post. I just wrote something similar before I read this. Do you have a link to the AbuKhalil post to which you’re referring? The one about the “gross exaggerations” of the human rights violations in Syria?

  2. February 14, 2012 05:18

    Here it is from January 29 2011 indeed it seems much less sever than i remembered it, but he does indeed vehemently oppose the armed struggle against the Syrian regime while supporting the ones in Yemen, Egypt and Palestine

  3. @shunradan permalink
    February 18, 2012 04:39

    After lots of thinking, I have come to the conclusion that a call for open borders is the ethical response to the false choice between armed invasion or doing nothing.

    Open borders will cause great changes to the host countries, demographically, sometimes politically. But the bottom line is that anyone who objects to open borders has something that he cherishes more than the saving of lives.

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