Archive for the ‘Internet and Communication’ Category

1397298_611763265539907_779226832_oWRITTEN BY ASMAE DACHAN, translated by Mary Rizzo

The news from Syria and Iraq on the persecution of the Christian and Yazidi minorities on behalf of ISIS is shaking world public opinion.

Is not acceptable, either moral nor civilly or religiously, that a person or a group of people are threatened and suffer violence because of their ethnicity and/or religious belonging and any act which is contrary to the universal principle of equality between human beings must be condemned without reservation.

Respect for the sacredness of human life is the basis of every civil society and must be the premise on which to base any reasoning and every action.

Today, dialogue, brotherhood, solidarity, human solidarity are seriously threatened. There is a danger of seeing burned, together with houses, places of worship, monuments and books, even centuries of coexistence, respect, and dialogue.

Syria and Iraq are, in fact, the cradle of the monotheistic religions and civilisation and have always been an example of tolerance, brotherhood, and opening up to the other, with all the difficulties that have been part of such a thing over time. And it is precisely from this point that we need to start: the dramatic events of these days should not obscure the fact that the serene and fraternal coexistence between Christians and Muslims in these two countries has lasted for centuries, since, that is, when these two great civilisations were born and developed.  It is a historical error to give the credit of the constructive and peaceful coexistence to the regimes that govern these two countries. Quite the opposite: their policies have resulted in the growing bitterness of relations between the different communities that make up the respective civil societies, creating a climate of tension that is the outpost of sectarianism.

The situation in Iraq and in Syria in recent years has become dramatic: the war waged against Iraq in 2003 and never finished (the one that was sold to the world as war to export democracy) and the repression of the regime of Damascus against what should be his own people, which began in 2011 after forty years of domination of the Assad dynasty, have caused hundreds of thousands of deaths. They are two different situations, but the consequences on the population and on social equilibria are sadly all too similar.

In fact, the war, the bombings and the rapes, kidnappings, torture, violence is the humus in which they are born and from which grow evil sprouts of terrorism.

There are many who are taking advantage of the situation of general chaos to conduct parallel wars and satisfy their own interests and the interests of those who are pulling their strings. The case of Daesh/ISIS, the infamous Islamic State of Syria and Levant, is proof of that.

Hordes of barbarian mercenaries have been infiltrated into two countries, armed and trained by foreign powers and in fact supported and given free rein by the governments of both countries and, taking advantage of the situation of total anarchy, have themselves become a power.

For more than a year the Syrians have been loudly proclaiming that ISIS is not against Assad, but fights, rapes and kills its opponents and especially blasphemes and slanders Islam saying that it operates in the name of that faith. No one has listened to the Syrians, indeed, part of politics and the press has continued to label ISIS as anti-Assad rebels, it is absolutely false because In Syria ISIS moves and operates only where government troops have withdrawn and opens fire, persecutes and massacres civilians and opponents of the regime.

Today ISIS is a military power that frightens and in the face of the escalation of its violence, which has brought to Iraq its nearing to areas where there are oil reserves, it seems that the world is waking up.  Nobody has moved a finger for the Syrian civilians (more than 80 percent Muslims), killed by these barbarians, and they even deny the massacres that have taken place, but today that the cries against the persecution of minorities are made, in Syria as in Iraq, the alarm is being sounded.

Therefore the message gets out that if to die is the Muslim majority it doesn’t matter, but woe to those who harm others. In doing so it is only playing the game of ISIS that wants to create tension and foment sectarian hatred. In this context, the regimes sing victory, posing as guardians of minorities and the already unacceptable death of innocent people is even hijacked.

It is necessary, therefore, to stop and shed some light on the matter:

1- In Syria the main causes of death is the bombing by air raids by the Syrian regime, affecting in vicious and indiscriminate manner the entire population, destroying and killing regardless of faith and ethnicity; today there have been over 200 thousand victims in 41 months, of which more than 18 thousand are children under 16 years of age. In Syria Christians, Muslims, secular people, atheists, Kurds and Armenians have been dying for over 3 years. It is a genocide that is affecting the entire population.

2- In Iraq even the UN has stopped counting the dead, but now most sources say that there are about a million; Christians are between 5 and 8% of the population, have experienced the sufferings and the atrocities that all of the other social components are undergoing. With the advance of ISIS their situation has even worsened and the threats, the started, the house to house persecutions that totally resembles Nazi style persecution. The persecution of the Yazidi is being given a religious significance, but in reality ISIS is concerned with occupying their lands and putting their hands on the oil fields.

3- ISIS does not represent the feelings, values, principles of Islam, quite the opposite: ISIS must be defined as what it is, a group (even if it defines itself as a nation) of terrorist mercenaries whose work is contrary to Islamic faith. ISIS is killing Muslims in Syria and Iraq and killing with them the other ethnic and religious components. ISIS abuses, mortifies and blasphemes the name of God. The only deity to which ISIS responds to is money. ISIS does not represent Syrians, does not represent the Iraqi people, does not represent Islam.

4- ISIS is comprised of foreign mercenaries that have nothing to do with the cause of the Syrian people who have opposed themselves to almost half a century of tyranny, nor is it with the cause of the Iraqi people who now fight for their survival after years of genocide. ISIS is a creature of international secret services that finds support in different monarchies and were formed for the purpose of “wreaking havoc”, to conduct wars by proxy.

To learn more read these articles (in Italian): http://www.sirialibano.com/tag/isis http://www.pagina99.it/news/mondo/6681/Che-succede-in-Iraq.html http://popoffquotidiano.it/2014/08/11/hillary-clinton-lisil-e-roba-nostra-ma-ci-e-sfuggito-di-mano/ http://megachip.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=107832&typeb=0

5 – The strategy of false information is harvesting many victims: photos purporting to be what they are not (to follow will be one of my article on the false story of the decapitation of Christian children) are causing reactions even from the top, among the powerful of the world. It would only take a minimum of attention and professionalism to check the origin and the matrix of a photo and a news item, but the media war is one that the regimes and terrorists are fighting – no holds barred – and careless reporting, or even complicit reporting becomes an amplifier.

For those who have faith, for those who believe, for anyone who has a conscience and a minimum of intellectual honesty it seems even superfluous to have to reiterate that there is no war in the name of God, that nothing and no one can justify the persecution, the threat, the offence and the killing of an innocent. Let us not fall into the trap of sectarian hatred, we will never cease to dialogue with each other, let us not allow the sowers of conflict outweigh the bridge builders.

It takes much determination and bravery, especially now, but it is precisely in the face of these difficulties that the world of believers of different religions and the civil society as a whole, secular, atheist, must join hands and feel that the real strength is in dialogue and the commitment to peace. It is not naïve optimism, indeed, it is much more challenging to reiterate the reasons for dialogue and bring ourselves toward the other than to erect walls and close ourselves in the hell of hatred.

If you want to imagine a manifesto of Syrians, Iraqis, of Muslims that at this moment are associated incorrectly and unfairly to terrorism we must repeat indefinitely: “No, not in our name”. Christians are our brothers, the human beings of every religion and ethnicity are our brothers and sisters.

As author of this blog, as Syrian, as Muslim I repeat too and I am proposing the campaign:

“Not_in_our_name”, to say no to persecution, false news, the sowers of hatred.

ORIGINAL http://diariodisiria.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/not_in_our_name-le-guerre-e-il-terrorismo-stanno-uccidendo-il-dialogo/

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Italy's major newspaper headline claiming mass crucifixion of Christians and the tears of the Pope over this, with full size colour picture. But it's not what they claim...

Italy’s major newspaper headline claiming mass crucifixion of Christians and the tears of the Pope over this, with full size colour picture. But it’s not what they claim…

BY THE EDITORS OF SIRIALIBANO, translated and integrated with hyperlink exerpt translations by Mary Rizzo

They were not Christians, they were Muslims. They were not killed by means of crucifixion, but their already lifeless bodies were exhibited in that barbarian manner.  The crime is ghastly, no matter what religious denomination the victims belong to.  And yet it “news” of “Christians crucified in Syria” went viral in the western media, in particular in the major Italian news media.

The two major Italian newspapers Il Corriere della Sera (above) and La Repubblica (below) dedicated a great amount of space to it, bring attention to the “news” on the first page accompanied by photographs of “a man crucified in Maalula”, the small Christian small town near Damascus.

To push the directors and the heads writers towards a similar editorial choice has no doubt been the statement of Pope Francis in the official Vatican site:   “I cried when i saw the news“.

The Holy Father said, “I cried when I saw on the mass media the news of Christians being crucified in a certain non-Christian nation. Even today,” he stressed, “there are people who, in the name of God, kill and persecute. And even today we see that like the apostles they are happy to have been considered to have been worthy to undergo suffering for the name of Jesus. This is the third icon of today. The joy of the testimony.”

As you know, the assertions of the Pope are always newsworthy. And a crucified Christian in a Country infested from by al Qaida is too tasty a morsel to not take full advantage of.

The fake news did not appear only for on the pro-Assad websites, the usual Islamophobic ones or the reactionary and “anti-imperialist” (but only in one direction) sites “of the left”, but in Italy’s most important mainstream newspapers. And then it  to numerous other media outlets on radio, television and online.

Those who believe in conspiracies would even be led to think that it is a pro-Assad campaign in time to legitimise his election farce on 3 June.   It’s not quite like that.  So the question remains, “Why?”.  Is it only a matter of ignorance in good faith, then? Is it only bad journalism, incapable of verifying the information and the sources?

The facts: among the seven people killed in Raqqa there were no Christians, were all Muslims and in fact two of the crucified persons seemed to be supporters or fighters belonging to other rebel factions, the accusation against them was to have thrown some explosive devices and to have tried to kill some leaders of the al Qaeda group The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).

To Raqqa, a town on the Euphrates controlled by ISIS, there is underway by the general population a resistance that is trying to oppose the imposition of what the al Qaedists call Islamic law. ISIS itself, accused by various sources to be highly infiltrated by foreign secret services as well as those of the regime of Damascus, has been active since the beginning of the year in daily clashes with the other rebel groups reunited under different names (Syrian Free Army, Islamic Front, Jabhat al Nusra, etc…), defined as takfiri and therefore, wicked.

Italy's second largest newspaper highlights the "crucifixions" and again, the tears of the Pope.

Italy’s second largest newspaper highlights the “crucifixions” and again, the tears of the Pope.

None of this matters. Any “news” that can present president Bashar al Assad to us as if he is the saviour of the nation (“it’s either him or al Qaida) is good enough and is going to be considered as authentic. In this sense, a Catholic site defined the killers of Raqqa as “anti-Assad militants”, attributing others as being engaged in disinformation: “In vain you will find in the Italian newspapers articles on the terrible event: some line or two buried in some article, nothing more. It is that in this war the needs of propaganda hinder the accounting of the crimes of the anti-Assad rebels, while emphasised, if not actually invented, are those of Assad…”

The same site citing another source goes as far as to even give a name to tone of the deceased: the Christian Antoine Hanna, a name that one sees over and over in this story.

But on the Jihadist forums of ISIS and in various tweets by ISIS fighters, it is possible to read the reply of these people to the tears of the Pope for the crucified Christians:  “Dear Pope Francis, the people of Raqqa were not crucified because they are Christians but for the application of the Koranic verse 5:33″. The sura in question recites: Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land…”. This was done according to the strict application – according to ISIS – of the sharia, the Islamic law.

If the application of the sharia by ISIS e dell’ Isis was truly consistent with the literal Koranic text, the “infidels” must not be punished as such since in verse 2:62 it is in fact is written: “Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans [before Prophet Muhammad] – those [among them] who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness – will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.” Already in the month of March, ISIS had killed and then bound a man to a wooden cross, with the accusation of having robbed and then killed another Muslim.

But let’s go back to “Antoine Hanna”. The news is that “a person was killed and then bound to a cross in the village of Meskene”, in the countryside of Aleppo. Strange: various Christian sources of Aleppo questioned in these days remember that in the countryside of the northern Syrian metropolis there have never been Christians.

None of this matters. The pro-Assad sites headline:  “A Syrian named Antoine Hanna in the rural zone of the town of Aleppo, was killed before the eyes of his children with the accusation of blasphemy. He refused to renounce his religion and they crucified him.” Or: “Young Christian named Antoine Hanna, crucified by the takfiri terrorists sponsored by the United States and the West, in the Maskana area… accused of anti-religious sentiment.”

This time the news had not yet been picked up by the Catholic sites.  We hope they don’t do it because the presumed Christian killed in Meskene has – coincidentally – the same name and surname of the presumed Christian killed in Raqqa. Evidently, this time the disinformation machine has a hitch.  See the ISIS press release on the crime committed in Meskene.

The photograph of the crucified man in Meskene appeared for the first time in a tweet by Dylan@ProSyriana, apparently a Syrian Christian supporter of President Assad, with the following wording: “one of three killed and crucified in Meskene (Aleppo) after having been accused of being an infidel by the rebels”.

There are no references to the fact that the man was Christian, perhaps what led to confusion in the Italian Assad supporters was the word “infidel”, which however is used by ISIS also towards other Muslim rebels, those they consider takfiri and infidels.

A source present in Meskene just contacted confirmed that the murder happened in the locality of Aneza, but denies that it involved a Christian. He insists that he was a native of Akraba, near Sfera; a refugee of Meskene is said to have recognised him as the person who manned the checkpoints of Khanaser, therefore he was a soldier or a person that worked for the regime. It is said that he was crucified by ISIS to frighten the rebel fighters stationed in the zone of Meskene so as to induce them to leave the area.

The story of the Christians persecuted in the Arabic East during wartime has been a constant throughout history by those who seek to maintain the control of the area  – political, economic but also cultural – serving to entrust the keys of power to the ruling regime.  It is not therefore anything new.

The perseverance of the Italian pro-Assad sites on this theme is noteworthy.  On these platforms the fake news spreads, as well as fake photographs that are passed off as the truth. One of the most clamorous ones was a photograph of a group of veiled and chained women next to a bearded man with a sword.

According to what these sites were spreading, it was about women of Aleppo sold as by the Salafiti in the markets. Those who were even more precise described them as Shi’a women sold as slaves after they had been raped.  What a pity that the photograph dates back to 2007 and showed some Shi’a women immortalised in a representation of the (Shi’a) holiday of Ashura in the village of Nabatiyeh in Lebanon.

In September of 2013 the Catholic news agency Fides had been forced to deny that the news concerned the killing of 130 Christians in Aleppo: “The news of a massacre of 130 Christians in Aleppo is entirely false, said to have been carried out by groups of the Syrian opposition, as reported in the past days by the Lebanese mass media and some websites.”

A priest questioned by Fides noted: Such kind of news only serves to spread fear, particularly, it has the objective of starting a sectarian war. They would also want to persuade Christians to arm themselves, making the conflict assume a character that is even more sectarian, taking a dangerous turn, close to the war of Lebanon. Furthermore, they seem to prepare the terrain for a division of the Syrian territory itself on a factious and sectarian basis.  This goes against the history, the culture and the real face of Syrian society, which has always been characterised by pluralism and the variety of its forms, in co-existence.”

In the net of propaganda also was captured the news of “a woman stoned to death by fundamentalists in Raqqa”. Of the victim only the surname is known: al Jasim. However, the photograph a still from the film “The Stoning of Soraya” in which the Iranian actress Mozhan Marno undergoes lapidation.

Spread on a pro-Assad Catholic news site as "a child from Kassab", whatever the true and brutal story behind this picture, the setting is not in Syria but in Yemen.

Spread on a pro-Assad Catholic news site as “a child from Kassab”, whatever the true and brutal story behind this picture, the setting is not in Syria but in Yemen, according to several Yemenites who have commented that it is a well-known picture there.

More recently and the day after the attack of the Armenian village (therefore Christian) of Kassab northeast of Latakia by fundamentalist militiamen, in the web a photograph circulated with the caption, “A Christian child executed by rebels in Kassab”.

The image showed a child just a few months old with a woolen hat surrounded by men that were pointing old guns at him.  It was an old photograph that had nothing to do with Syria, but instead was in Yemen.  On some sites the caption of the photograph was the following: “This child was captured by the terrorists because he is a child of another religion, therefore an infidel child, but above all he is a child of a Syrian Pro government family.”  As if by miracle, this passed from a pro-Assad site to a Catholic news site and it was used as an example of the damage caused by the “Western-supported fundamentalists against Syria and the Syrians.”

For more of a year, Syrian activists who support the revolution but oppose ISIS have been denouncing its violations against the population, in the almost total silence of the media, of the pro-Assad sites and the Catholic sites that are very attentive to news regarding Christians or gruesome news stories, as if the constant bombardment of the regime’s aeroplanes on the civilian population wasn’t brutal enough.

Now the ISIS that is being fought against by the other rebels, becomes the paradigm to represent the revolution, therefore guarantor of the safety of the Christians can only be the regime. But as the priest interviewed by Agenzia Fides, “Such news Fides “Such kind of news only serves to spread fear, particularly, it has the objective of starting a sectarian war.”

ORIGINAL: http://www.sirialibano.com/short-news/quando-morire-i-cristiani.html

Meyssan and Friend.....

Meyssan and Friend…..

From ISLAMETRO by LORENZO DECLICH translated by Mary Rizzo 

Thierry Meyssan carefully chooses the place in which he lives.
At the time of the war in Libya he was in Tripoli, in the palaces of Moammar Gaddafi.
After the war he moved to Damascus, where he has been living for two years.
But, as we read on Megachip, he has known Syria for ten years.

And Sunday, 3 November 2013, having a sudden illumination, he comes to say that “Syria has changed.”
It had not changed ten years ago, after the pale “Damascus Spring” was crushed by the young son of Hafez al-Assad, Bashar, to the sound of arrests. It has not changed since March 2011, when the people, overcoming fear, began to take to the streets knowing that they would be shot at. It changed today, but the reason for it being today, who knows what that could be.

Maybe because at the presidential palace they say that it’s time to bring closure to the circle of propaganda, now that the event of the chemical weapons has paid off and the world has come to the common conclusion that “a war has been avoided”. Perhaps because there is the need of a dusting off of the image, the idea must be reinforced that after all, “everything’s going in the right direction”.

As the intro of the piece tells us:

The media coverage of the war in Syria extends only to military, humanitarian and diplomatic actions. But all of that leaves aside the profound transformation of the country.

And if this comes from someone who lives in Damascus, presumably in the city’s centre, which is one of the few areas of Syria Bashar has not bombed, you can be sure that it is true.
One hundred and twenty thousand deaths, including eight million displaced persons and refugees do not register for Meyssan as a “transformation.”

Speaking of “humanitarian actions”, therefore, we do not register the profound change of a country. Speaking of bombardment of the population by the army serving Bashar, that proves to be indiscriminate when they affect areas beyond government control but targeted when they hit schools and hospitals in those same areas, we “leave aside” the deepest Syria, the one which has changed.

Speaking of the indolence, inaction and hypocrisy of diplomacy over Syria, we are denouncing that this situation is left to rot in indifference.

And if we want to talk about media coverage, we do not understand why the “mainstream” – and with it Thierry Meyssan – systematically has been ignoring  the voices for three years – some faint and inaccurate – of Syrian activism at home, those voices that Bashar as well as since several months, the qaidists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, have been silencing to the sound of arrests, assassinations, torture.

And if we want to go and see “the media outlets” that host the reflections of Thierry Meissan we find that these, after all, are not as “poor”.

As they write on Megachip:

This “weekly news on foreign policy” appears simultaneously in the Arabic version of the newspaper “Al- Watan” (Syria), in the German version of the “Neue Reinische Zeitung” in the Russian language on the “Komsomolskaya Pravda”, in English on “Information Clearing House” in French on “Réseau Voltaire”.

One wonders what journalist – or one who is alleged to be – has the luck of being simultaneously translated into five languages. One has to wonder who engages in such a zealous manner to spread the thought of the embedded for Bashar.

***

Here you are.

Now one supposes that a deconstruction of Meyssan’s article will follow, but I’m already tired.
The propaganda of Bashar has won again, he works right alongside it.
But I will make one last effort, trying to direct you on how to read – unless you find yourself overcome with the urge to vomit, which would mean that you are already aware and it’s simply no use to continue – this gem of deception, creation of false trails and propaganda.

The article uses categories of thought that are considered to be those of the “left discourse”.

It speaks to those persons who, as is highlighted in the titles to the paragraphs, are concerned about things like freedom.

Hence the division into themes:
The war according to the armed opposition
Freedom of expression
Freedom of thought
Political freedom
Reactions of class

Thierry, in them, holds the bar solidly on one thing alone: to not accredit in any way the only Syrian opposition that would show how ridiculous his reasoning is.
This opposition is represented by the Syrian Local Coordination Committees, which are the backbone of the revolution against Bashar, and the galaxy of nonviolent activism (which I have mentioned before).
These two entities are the only ones to be able to speak with authority and ownership of the topics with which Meyssan headlines his paragraphs.
So it is obvious that he attempts to delete them.

As well as, since March 2011, trying to make Bashar, firing on the crowd.

And just as with initiatives that lure the unsuspecting, awkwardly composed of small groups of mindless “pacifists” in various parts of the world, including the effort afloat for some time by the nun of Bashar, Agnes Marie de la Croix.

The only way that Meyssan can achieve the goal, from the rhetorical point of view, is to seize control of the words and concepts of the real opposition, in order to build a parallel reality on them in which the opposition no longer exists and the “good people” are the friends of Bashar identified as an ideal “people” of the “poor” who seek ” freedom” and “democracy” and fights against “obscurantism”.

Let’s see how it goes.

Meyssan says more or less, “everyone is talking about civil war when in fact there has been an external aggression.”
The truth, however, is that he speaks of “civil war” when we should be speaking of the destruction of a country and a people by a mafia clan, acting like a dog that refuses to give up the bone (remember the writing on the wall? “Only Assad, or we will burn the country”).

Then he tells us that Bashar has emanated laws on freedom of expression so that today – given that “Syria has changed” – everyone is talking about politics. But he does not tell us that there are tens of thousands of political prisoners in jail. That there are mass graves near these prisons. That there are secret torture centres scattered across the country.*

Then he tells us that today, given that Syria has changed, there are those who fight for “freedom of thought”, for religious freedom, etc. taking up arms and fighting against the obscurantist terrorists, formed and trained by the West, who are in the opposition.

But among these people who are fighting he does not include those who truly have been part of the struggle, revolting against Bashar, often paying with their lives, and now becoming a victim of those extremists – which among other things do not identify with the revolution of March 2011, they have another agenda – one that Bashar has done everything to foment.

These people who are the true part of the struggle for freedom are activists and representatives of those Local Coordination Committees mentioned above.

Persons whom Meyssan simply wants to wipe from the face of the earth.

What a guy!

An easy-going guy who then tells us that there are so many parties that we cannot even count them. That people used to watch al-Jazeera and now they watch government channels or channels of the Shi’a network. That the snipers who fired on the crowd they were terrorists, they were not the army of Bashar. That the internal Syrian intelligence services, the Mukhabarat, if the first part good and part bad  have now become absolutely good and fight with us, with all of us east to west north to south, for freedom.

Other pleasant lies follow, up to the “Class reactions”, which comprises the final gem.

Meyssan, without ever obviously mentioning the mafia that is in power, is able to say that the rich have all left and what remains are the people, a people that combats against the evil of the West, incarnated by the terrorists. A people who will win against all odds. The amount of lies can be summed up entirely in this penultimate sentence:

This war has bloodied Syria, of which half of the cities and infrastructure have been destroyed to satisfy the appetites and fantasies of the Western and Gulf powers.

While the tragic truth is that the brutal dictator Bashar al-Assad has destroyed Syria and massacred the Syrian people for the sole purpose of not leaving his power and privilege. And that there is no solution to the conflict if he and his gang of criminals do not go away and die far from Syria.

——

* I can already imagine the pro-Assad that says, “if they are secret how do you know that they exists?” My answer is “fuck you, you idiot.”

——

P.S. My congratulations go to Megachip but especially friends of the network of “Globalist “, with which I have worked in the past. This stuff, dear readers, is quite creepy and there is no policy of clicking “like” that can justify the publication, not even via syndication. Make an analysis for yourselves, find the answers. Or let the world go on as it is, between a bit of light porno that passes for network TV and a Meyssan, at the core, there really is no difference between them.

http://islametro.altervista.org/la-voce-damasco/

This is a transcript of a presentation given by Palestinian anarchist Budour Hassan on 17 November 2013 at a Teach in on Syria in New York organized by the MENA Solidarity Newtork US . There is a link to the video of the presentation below.

*******

In April of 2011 a famous megastar Egyptian blogger told Syrian revolutionaries that they needed to raise Palestinian flags during the demonstrations on Friday just to prove that they support the Palestinian resistance and to deny the narrative by the regime that the regime supports the Palestinian cause.

Now I asked myself then, do Syrians have to do that? Do Syrians have to raise the Palestinian flag just to prove that they support Palestine? Do Syrians have to show their nationalist credentials so the world supports their cause? And the answer was clear to me then: No, Syrians do not have to do that. Now a Syrian friend told me at the start of the uprising that we avoided raising Palestinian flags and talking about Palestine not because we don’t support the Palestinian cause, but because this cause was exploited by the regime to a degree that turned it into just a political tool, and we love Palestine so much that we don’t agree to turn the cause into a political tool, and this is why we avoided using it. And I think that Syrians do not have to do this, Syrians do not have to wave a Palestinian flag to prove that they support us. Because Palestine is not a flag. Definitely Palestine is much more than that.

Palestine is the refugees in Yarmouk camp who supported the revolution from the first day, who aided displaced Syrians and who participated in protests, documented the uprising, and helped as much as they could. The revolution is also the Palestinian refugees in al Raml refugee camp in Latakia who took a hard beating by the regime and had to deal with a heavy crackdown starting from July 2011. And the revolution lives not in the palaces of the regime, nor in the speeches of a resistance leader who thinks that just because he leads a resistance movement this gives him the right to speak in the name of Palestinians, and to kill innocent people in Syria not just in the name of resistance but also in the name of Palestine. So this is why I think that Syrians do not have to prove anything to anyone.

Secondly, even though if we suppose that the Syrian regime does in fact support the Palestinian resistance, does it mean that this allows the Syrian regime to control Syria, to prevent people from expressing their opinions, to kill and torture hundreds of thousands of Syrians just because they dare say no to more than 40 years of oppression, to more than 40 years of injustice? Of course not. Even if Bashar al Assad was the only person capable of liberating Palestine I would not support him, and I’m sure that many Palestinians would not do so either. Because our liberation cannot be established on the enslavement of another people, particularly when this enslavement is an enslavement of our sisters and brothers in Syria.

And in fact the truth is that the Syrian regime has never truly supported Palestine; for the Syrian regime, Palestine has always been a fig leaf and always been a political tool. And it started from the 1970s when the Syrian regime helped other militias in Lebanon to crack down on the refugees in Tel al-Zaatar. The siege and massacre in Tel al-Zaatar cannot be forgotten. And the massacres that the regime helped the Amal party in Lebanon commit in the 1980s also against refugees in Lebanon and against the PLO cannot be forgotten either. And the siege the regime is imposing in Yarmouk refugee camp, preventing people from getting medical aid or baby milk, preventing people from going in and out of the refugee camp, cannot be tolerated and cannot be just ignored, as many are doing unfortunately just because they think that this regime is for resistance, and that this regime is for the human rights of Palestinians.

Now the thing is that me as a Palestinian, I don’t need to say this for many people just to convince them about the justice of the Syrian cause. Because in my opinion it is very clear that this revolution was a revolution for freedom and dignity. But unfortunately for many of us here in Palestine, because there is a polarization among Palestinians, as is the case in many other Arab countries, about the Syrian regime, we had to say it over and over again and to try to convince our comrades — or our former comrades – that they need to stop supporting the Syrian regime, that all we hear about the Syrian regime’s support of resistance is nothing but propaganda.

Now unfortunately it didn’t really help. People mostly stick to their opinions regarding the regime. If we want to talk about what the reaction of Palestinians toward the Syrian revolution is, it varies. Unfortunately the left, mostly the mainstream left, supports the Assad regime. And here lies the irony, because one of the most supportive parties of the regime is called the Israeli Communist Party, and it supports the regime because, it says, “Well, this regime is against imperialism.” But at the same time these people had absolutely no problem in participating in protests alongside Zionists in Tel Aviv, liberal Zionists for instance. So how can you say that you support the Syrian regime because it is against imperialism and on the other hand participate in protests with Zionists?

And also there are others who say that we supported the Syrian Revolution when it was nonviolent, but then after it got violent we couldn’t support it anymore, and it was hijacked. So yes, the Syrian Revolution was indeed hijacked, and we know that there are many Salafis, many jihadists and many other groups, and many pro-America and pro-imperialist groups that tried to hijack the Syrian Revolution. But that does not by any means tarnish the Syrian Revolution, and it also doesn’t mean that just because a revolutionary movement was hijacked that we should stand on the sidelines and stop supporting it.

Of course there are still so many revolutionaries working on the ground, many of them are nonviolent, and there are even many nonsectarian armed brigades that we cannot ignore. If the revolution was hijacked we don’t just go and start blaming the people for it being hijacked. We actually do everything to side with the people in order to get the revolution back on the right track. And this is what many leftists couldn’t understand.

Now on the other side of the spectrum you have the right wingers and the Islamists who support the Syrian Revolution but not truly because they believe in the right of freedom and dignity, but because they think that it is a Sunni uprising against an Alawite regime. Now this is why it was for me very hard to participate in protests organized by Islamists in support of the Revolution, because for me, although of course there are religious movements inside the Revolution, it still a Revolution for freedom, equality, social justice and dignity. And this is why I cannot agree with the line of the Islamists here in Palestine who support the Revolution just because they see it as Sunni versus Alawite.

Now there is a small section among the Palestinian left that supports the Syrian Revolution that doesn’t lecture Syrians about what they have to do, and how they failed. And we managed to organize a few protests, in Haifa for instance, in Jeruslaem, and in other places in Palestine. Although they were small protests I think it meant a lot for us to show the Syrian people that yes there are people in Palestine who stand with you, and there are people who don’t buy into the regime propaganda.

I mean it says a lot that in Syria right now there is an intelligence branch, one of the most notorious intelligence branches in Syria, it’s called “Palestine.” That means that there are people being tortured, including Palestinans, by the way, that are being tortured in the name of Palestine, in the name of our country, in the name of our cause, because we believe it is a cause for freedom.

Now to those Palestinians and to those people who believe that the Syrian regime is truly supportive of Palestine, and who do not support the Revolution, who stand on the side and say “no, we don’t want to support the Revolution, or who remain neutral: I say you have a Palestine and I have my own.

Your Palestine is an intelligence branch in Damascus that kills and tortures people, while my Palestine is Khaled Bakrawi, the martyr from the Yarmouk refugee camp, who was arrested and tortured to death. Your Palestine is a speech by Bashar al-Assad, while my Palestine is the chants of Syrian freedom fighters in Hama. Your Palestine is just empty rhetoric, while my Palestine is people in Bustan al-Qasr raising the picture of Samer Assawi, the hunger-striking prisoner.

My Palestine is people from the north to the south chanting in solidarity with Gaza during the recent war on Gaza last year and saying “Oh Gaza, we are with you ‘til death.” They did it when they were bombarded by the Assad regime and they were shelled. My Palestine is that of the Syrian Revolutionary Youth in Damascus who raised a pamphlet in solidarity with the Palestinians in the Nakab and said “Prawer shall not pass!”

So Syrian revolutionaries, even when they face the most terrible cases of torture, of persecution, and of crackdown, they still remember their sisters and brothers in Palestine, they still chant in solidarity with them and do not forget about the prisoners.

So I think it is very important to remember that, and to remember the hundreds of thousands of Syrians and Palestinian prisoners who still languish in regime jails, for example Ali Shihabi, the communist Palestinian who has been detained in Syrian regime jails for almost a year, and Maher al-Jajeh also, another youth activist from Yarmouk refugee camp, who has been detained by the Syrian regime for more than a year and no one knows what is going on with his case now.

Also we will not forget the martyr Anas Amara, who was murdered simply because he was trying to get aid into Yarmouk refugee camp and trying to break the siege. And my Palestine is that also of Jihad Asad Muhammad, the Syrian journalist who even prior to the Syrian Revolution was always writing in solidarity with Palestine, and who like many others did not believe that this Palestine is Bashar al-Assad’s Palestine, but this is a cause that interests all Arabs.

So I just ask one last thing: I ask people who think that Bashar al-Assad supports Palestine or still believe his propaganda, just go over history a little bit, read more about what he and his father did to Palestine and to the Palestinian camps. And even if you are not convinced, don’t let this fact, don’t let political gains affect your support of the Syrian revolution. Because it is obviously not about geopolitics. We do not know whether if the revolution wins in Syria how will that affect the Palestinian cause. It might indeed damage us, I do not know. But I do not care on the other hand. Because my support of the Syrian Revolution is unconditional.

And I do believe that even though it is getting more and more complicated, and despite all the terrible groups that are trying to hijack the Syrian Revolution, especially the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq, which we obviously oppose like so many Syrians, the same Syrians who started protest against the regime and are also protesting against the Islamic State, so I have faith in these people. I have faith in a woman like Souad Nofal, I have faith in those who are so resilient and steadfast in Damascus and in Daraa, birthplace of the Revolution, and in Aleppo and in Salamieh, the fantastic city that has been protesting since the first days of the uprising.

So I have faith in these people, that even though things are getting more and more complicated, that they can manage to keep the uprising going, and even if this means bad things for my cause I really do not care. What I care about is the freedom and dignity of my Syrian sisters and brothers, and to reject that my name or my country or my cause be used or coopted by the Syrian regime to kill and persecute my sisters and brothers in Syria.

agnes (1) (StWC) invited Mother Superior Agnès Mariam de la Croix to speak at its November 30 International Anti-War Conference. Fellow guests included MPs Diane Abbott and Jeremy Corbyn and journalists Owen Jones and Jeremy Scahill.

Responding to a firestorm of protest, Jones and Scahill vowed to boycott the event if the Syrian-based nun spoke alongside them. Eventually she decided to “withdraw” from the conference and StWC issued a statement without explanation. Nor did it divulge why anyone would object to a Syrian cleric’s participation in an ostensibly pro-peace event.

Here are some reasons why we consider Mother Agnès-Mariam’s inclusion in an anti-war event to be a “red line” for opponents of conflict. Despite contrary claims, she is a partisan to—rather than a neutral observer of—the war in Syria.

Mother Agnès claimed that the Syrian opposition faked films of Bashar al-Assad’s 21 August 2013 sarin-gas attack on Ghouta in the suburbs of Damascus. In her 50-page dossier on the horrible events of that fateful morning, she wrote that the dead, gassed children documented in those videos “seem mostly sleeping” and “under anaesthesia.”

According to Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, a Jesuit priest exiled by the Assad regime for speaking out against its suppression of peaceful protests and currently a prisoner of al-Qa’ida’s Syrian affiliate, ISIS, Mother Agnes “has been consistent in assuming and spreading the lies of the regime, and promoting it through the power of her religious persona. She knows how to cover up the brutality of the regime”.

Moreover, Syrian Christians for Peace have denounced Mother Agnès for claiming there had never been a single peaceful demonstration in Syria. The also accused her of failing to disburse any of the money she raised in the name of their beleaguered community. They have asked “that she be excommunicated and prevented from speaking in the name of the Order of Carmelites.”

Having a massacre denier and apologist for war criminals like Mother Agnès speak alongside respected journalists such as Jeremy Scahill and Owen Jones is not only an insult to them and their principles. It is also, more insidiously, a means of exploiting their credibility and moral authority to bolster hers, both of which are non-existent.  No journalist should be sharing a platform with Agnès when she stands accused of being complicit in the death of French journalist Gilles Jacquier by his widow and a colleague who accompanied him into Homs during the trip arranged by Mother Agnès in January 2012.

Given that her UK speaking tour is still scheduled to last from the 21st to 30th November we, the undersigned, feel compelled to express our profound and principled objections to those who give a platform to a woman condemned by Syrian pro-peace Christians for greasing the skids of the regime’s war machine.

Signatories:

  1. Prof. Gilbert Achcar, SOAS
  2. Assaad al-Achi, Local Coordination Committees in Syria
  3. Rime Allaf, Syrian writer
  4. Omar al-Assil, Syrian Non-Violence Movement
  5. Hussam Ayloush, Chairman, Syrian American Council
  6. Noor Barotchi, Bradford Syria Solidarity
  7. Mark Boothroyd, International Socialist Network
  8. Kat Burdon-Manley, International Socialist Network
  9. Clara Connolly, Human Rights lawyer
  10. Paul Conroy, photojournalist
  11. Donnacha DeLong, National Union of Journalists
  12. Hannah Elsisi, Egyptian Revolutionary Socialist
    Raed Fares, Head of Kafranabel Media Centre
  13. Naomi Foyle, writer and co-ordinator of British Writers in Support of Palestine
  14. Razan Ghazzawi, Syrian blogger and activist
  15. Christine Gilmore,  Leeds Friends of Syria
  16. Golan Haji, poet and translator
  17. Marcus Halaby, staff writer, Workers Power
  18. Sam Charles Hamad, activist
  19. Nebal Istanbouly, Office Manager of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SOC) in the UK
  20. Tehmina Kazi, human rights activist
  21. Ghalia Kabbani, Syrian journalist and writer
  22. Khaled Khalifa, Syrian writer
  23. Malik Little, blogger
  24. Amer Scott Masri, Scotland4Syria
  25. Margaret McAdam, Unite Casa Branch NW567 (pc)
  26. Yassir Munif, sociologist and activist
  27. Tom Mycock, Unite shop steward (pc)
  28. Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation
  29. Tim Nelson, Unison Shop Steward (pc)
  30. Louis Proyect, Counterpunch contributor
  31. Martin Ralph, VP Liverpool TUC (pc)
  32. Ruth Riegler, co-founder of Radio Free Syria, Syrian International Media Alliance
  33. Mary Rizzo, activist, translator and blogger
  34. Christopher Roche and Dima Albadra, Bath Solidarity
  35. Walid Saffour, Representative of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SOC) in the UK
  36. Gita Sahgal, Centre for Secular Space
  37. David St Vincent, contributing writer and editor, National Geographic Books
  38. Reem Salahi, civil rights lawyer
  39. Salim Salamah, Palestinian blogger
  40. Yassin al-Haj Saleh, Syrian writer
  41. Richard Seymour, author
  42. Bina Shah, author and contributor to the International New York Times
  43. Leila Shrooms, founding member of Tahrir-ICN
  44. Luke Staunton, International Socialist Network
  45. KD Tait, National Secretary, Workers Power
  46. Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner
  47. Paris Thompson, International Socialist Network
  48. Hassan Walid, Anas el-Khani and Abdulwahab Sayyed Omar, British Solidarity for Syria
  49. Robin Yassin-Kassab, author and co-editor of Critical Muslim
  50. Qusai Zakariya, activist from Moadamiyeh, Syria
  51. Nisreen al-Zaraee and Wisam al-Hamoui. Freedom Days
  52. Tasneem al-Zeer, activist
  53. Razan Zeitouneh, human rights lawyer

    originally published on: http://pulsemedia.org/2013/11/20/open-letter-to-the-stop-the-war-coalition/

suora    This is a letter that can be sent to every venue that is hosting Mother Agnes-Mariam De La Croix as a speaker. It can be personalized and altered as required. As activists and responsible human beings, we cannot stand by while an apologist for genocide is given a platform in spaces that claim to promote peace, justice, and human rights:

Dear Sir/Madam,

In reference to the visit of Mother Agnes-Mariam De La Croix, the Superior of the Monastery of Deir Mar Yacoub, (and any other persons participating at DATE/ADDRESS), we would like to draw your attention to the following:
Large scale massacres against civilian populations have been committed by government military forces and pro-regime militias in Syria. Those invited to speak about this immense tragedy should be examined carefully as to their position in support of the forces behind the massacres. It is unethical to give a platform to persons who support these massacres or facilitate them by spreading information that has been proven again and again to be misleading, false, and in many cases pure propaganda of the regime perpetrating the crimes. It would be completely unconscionable for a religious or spiritual organization to put their facilities at the disposal of such persons.

We fully respect the principle of debate and freedom of expression, but in this case the person you have invited expresses blind support for a dictator who has massacred and is still massacring his own population, including over 11,000 children. The only reason for this violence is the regime’s intention to crush any and all people who stand up for their human rights and who they deem to be a threat to their tyrannical rule. The regime has killed countless numbers of people for trying to exercise their right to free expression. It is clearly evident that the uprising in Syria started peacefully, and was not militarized. Nor was it based on religious intolerance or sectarianism. It began with non-violent protests demanding reforms and basic freedoms that they had been denied for far too long. These protests were met with extreme violence and repression, and in order to justify that, a machine of propaganda was put in place, disseminating lies, passing off hoaxes as fact, and claiming that minorities in Syria were under threat of harm from religious extremists. The speaker you have invited is one of the key players in this propaganda machine, many of her claims have been debunked by experts and witnesses, while the voices of those murdered by the regime have been silenced once and for all.

The peaceful nature of the protests that your guest attempts to depict as a violent insurgency against Syria’s minorities has been recognised by the European Union, the United States and the United Nations. The crimes against humanity committed by Assad have also been recognised by these entities, as well as by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. People in Syria only took up arms against the regime when the killing had reached such a scale that they were forced to defend themselves and their families militarily.

We are astonished that you have made your venue available to supporters of a murderous dictatorship. What is happening in Syria is in the public domain and cannot be ignored. Support for this project may amount to complicity in crimes against humanity. This is not just a legal issue but also a moral one.

It is extremely ironic that the photo used by the organisation promoting the event depicts damage in Syria caused by airstrikes. It is common knowledge that ONLY the regime possesses air power and the capacity to bomb cities and residential areas in this way. The use of the image in this way is further evidence of the bad faith of the organisers of this event. 

We request that you cancel this event immediately and we would like to suggest that you organise a new event that will present what is happening in Syria in a truthful and objective way. We thank you for your solidarity with the people of Syria.

pilgerWRITTEN BY SAM CHARLES HAMAD    For people like Pilger, Arabs have absolutely no agency – they either have to be the passive masses living under an ‘anti-western’ strongman like Assad, wherein their very real suffering is even reduced by Pilger and his ilk to a ‘western conspiracy’ (or it’s just ignored), or they are these seemingly mindless ‘proxies’ being manipulated by all and sundry. 

In the recent piece by John Pilger  he writes:  “Syria is the current project. Outflanked by Russia and public opinion, Obama has now embraced the “path of diplomacy”. Has he? As Russian and US negotiators arrived in Geneva on 12 September, the US increased its support for the Al-Qaeda affiliated militias with weapons sent clandestinely through Turkey, Eastern Europe and the Gulf. The Godfather has no intention of deserting his proxies in Syria. Al Qaeda was all but created by the CIA’s Operation Cyclone that armed the mujahedin in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. Since then, jihadists have been used to divide and Arab societies and in eliminating the threat of pan-Arab nationalism to western “interests” and Israel’s lawless colonial expansion. This is Kissinger-style “realism”.”

Let me just make something very clear: John Pilger is basically saying here that the Syrian rebels are ‘jihadists’ being used to destroy the regime of Bashar al-Assad because it somehow represents a threat to ‘western interests’. It’s not just that Pilger’s understanding of the conflict is so utterly stupid and bereft of any logic or historical fact, but it is also is in its content a very definite form of apologia for the regime’s crimes. Unlike most of the other witting and unwitting apologists for Bashar al-Assad on the left, Pilger doesn’t even bother paying lip service to Assad’s crimes (or the wider crimes of the Assad dynasty), but instead ‘treats’ us to the now familiar narrative of the conflict, wherein Assad is cast as the righteous protagonist, who was presumably just keeping on keeping on, when these vicious antagonists, the jihadist Al-Qaeda proxies, appeared from nowhere and started causing all kinds of fitna. Basically, it’s all a US plot and Assad’s ‘war on terrorism’ is very real and very righteous (unlike the west’s ‘war on terrorism’, every aspect of which Pilger was, as you might expect, dead against).

For people like Pilger, Arabs have absolutely no agency – they either have to be the passive masses living under an ‘anti-western’ strongman like Assad, wherein their very real suffering is even reduced by Pilger and his ilk to a ‘western conspiracy’ (or it’s just ignored), or they are these seemingly mindless ‘proxies’ being manipulated by all and sundry. The only time that somebody such as Pilger would ever comment on, let alone turn up with a camera to document, the suffering or resistance of the Arab peoples is if they are ‘victims’ of what he perceives to be the West, or, in other words, if they are Palestinians living under and resisting the Israeli occupation or Iraqis being ravaged by US sanctions or fighting against the imperialist occupation forces. However, if you are a Syrian who has been living under the cruel tyranny of the Assad dynasty, Pilger will not merely ignore your suffering or apologise for it, but if you resist such tyranny, he will actively essentialise you as being an ‘Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist’ or a mere proxy for the West. His entire worldview is in essence the mirror image of the worldview of the defenders of US power and hegemony, who, for example, care only about the very few Israeli victims of rockets fired on Sderot from Gaza, while they actively deny the suffering of the Palestinian victims of Israeli state terror – or, as Pilger implies with Syria, they actually justify the death and destruction inflicted upon Gaza by Israel as being necessary in a ‘war on terror’.

To various different degrees (some more subtle than others), events in Syria have allowed this kind of facile ‘anti-imperialism’ to come to the fore among significant sections and individuals of the left, and you’ll notice that there has been – over the past two-and-a-half years – a gradual coalescence of not just the type of language used by some on the ‘anti-imperialist left’ and that of the pro-imperialists, but the actual substance of the arguments are basically the same, albeit with different ‘sides’ corresponding to the similar content and form of the arguments. This is not a type of leftism that I could ever accept or be a part of.

rep syrBy GIUSEPPE SCARPA translated by Mary Rizzo

PAID MARCHERS. Young, attractive, disinhibited. And ripped off. Women who are very Italian in favour of the blood-thirsty Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad. It’s a little bit strange to quite understand. At least the Italian nationality of those protesters, that itself would have been hard to comprehend, given that these young women were asked to shout slogans in Arabic.

The date was 22 November 2011, and in Piazza Santi Apostoli, there was a sit-in in favour of the regime of Damascus. A flop. Only fifty people and nothing more. Most of the sympathisers of Assad were even recruited for money, by who knows what client, from the ranks of an agency that hires attractive young ladies to appear at organised parties in discotheques.

An episode, that of the pro-dictator march in Piazza Santi Apostoli, which emerges from within the details of a suit for fraud filed against the manager of that agency. Accused, by 16 women in their twenties, of never having paid one cent for the services of the “image girls” rendered by the young women who work for most of Rome’s discotheques. Including naturally, the performance in Piazza Santi Apostoli.

“Usually, one works from Thursday until Sunday (in the discotheques, ed. note). On one special occasion – it is written in the claim  presented by the women to the court – we worked on Tuesday from 2 pm to 3:30.” The special occasion was the sit-in in support of the regime of Damascus in Piazza Santi Apostoli on 22 November 2011. In Syria, in fact, from 14 March 2011, the civil war broke out. In the protest, “my job was to stay in the square, holding the flag high and shouting words in Arabic.” A well-paid service: the manager of the agency “told us that we would have been paid double.” But that is not all: because the manager of the agency also asked the same women to bring other protesters in the square. Naturally, with the promise of paying them more money. “For each person that we brought, there would be an additional 25 Euros.” The pact was that for no reason at all would the women reveal that they were “paid protesters”. “The manager of the agency told us,” continues the claim filed, “that no one should come to know that we received money to participate in that protest.”

The claim for lack of payment to the women had been archived by the PM however. Legal measures are being pursued by three of the sixteen women who were victims of this fraud. “I am certain,” explains the Attorney Valerio Vitale, “that Justice will follow its course and that the responsibility of the interested subjects will be ascertained.”

THE EPISODE:

The protest in favour of Assad, the Syrian dictator was organised for 22 November of 2011 in Piazza Santi Apostoli.

THE FLOP:
The protest in favour of the dictator was however a flop. The square was filled only with about fifty persons.

THE RIP-OFF
The 16 Italian women who normally work in discotheques had never been paid by the agency that recruited them.

thanks to Fouad and Germano for the find.

Recently, a new site has started which is a platform for video debates on various controversial issues. The owner of the site finds persons on Facebook who are active in discussing the matter, and sets up an hour-long debate which then will be uploaded to You Tube so that others can watch it after it is over. One of the topics is Syria. Originally, the title of the room where those debates take place was “Civil War In Syria” and the photo that accompanies it is of Assad and some of his high-ranking officers. Today, the photo still is there, but the title reads “Revolution in Syria”. I suppose this must be a compromise for each of the factions.

I had been invited to debate by the owner of the site, and participated in my first discussion. Then I was invited to participate in another one, but during it, after 45 minutes, the opponent declared he was having some internet problems, was not satisfied with the audio and he did not want what we recorded uploaded but wanted a new debate the next week. We both agreed and it was rescheduled.

We had the debate, which you can watch here, to make all the judgments for yourselves on how it unfolded.

A few days later, Ghassan continued the private message between the site owner and me, addressing me alone and asking for a “re-match”. I wrote that I do not schedule the debates, so he would have to talk to the owner about it. A LONG discussion ensued, and within this conversation, you will see EXACTLY how the Pro-Assad faction twists facts even when it is in front of their eyes, all in a day’s work!

However, I could have kept all of their twisting to myself, sparing them the embarassment, but I was encouraged to disclose by this Facebook post and discussion (CLICK on the picture to enlarge it):

intibah 1

intibah 2

Therefore, for your entertainment and information, see for yourselves the mechanisms of the Pro Assad side, how facts and truth, even with evidence in front of their eyes, get distorted and twisted.

  • Conversation started 17 February
  • Ghassan Kadi

    Hi Guys. Can we reschedule this for same time next week?

  • 21 February
  • Max Ringelheim

    Hey Ghassan and Mary are we still all good for a Vonvo discussion this Sunday at 4PM EST which is 10PM for you Mary and 9PM for you Ghassan….??

  • Mary Hassan Ali Rizzo

    that would be 11 PM for Lebanon, no?

  • Mary Hassan Ali Rizzo

    or 9 in Rome and 10 in Lebanon, correct?

  • Max Ringelheim

    4PM EST is 10PM in Rome and Idk if Ghassan is speaking from Lebanon not entirely sure….for you the time is 10pm Sunday night

  • Max Ringelheim

    great so lets see if Ghassan can confirm also and we will be all set….

  • Ghassan Kadi

    Hi all. As I keep saying Max, this time slot suits me just fine. Sunday 4PM EST (US). Will there be other speakers othr than Mary and me?

  • Max Ringelheim

    possibly working on that now.

  • 22 February
  • Max Ringelheim

    Reem Alhariri Connor will be participating in the discussion as well

  • 22 February
  • 25 February
  • Ghassan Kadi

    Max what I would really like is to have a one on one with Mary. After all, Reem had little to say apart from deviating the discussion further.

    Mary, you raised many groundless points and unsubstantiated matters into the discussion, needeless to say that when you realized that you were losing the debate, you have committed a number of grave errors, which again reveal your total lack of knowledge of the history of the area. One good example was your mention to Tal Al-Zaatar massacre, blaming it on Assad, though it happened 3 months before Syrian forces entered Lebanon. If you want to know the truth behind those issues, let’s debate them one on one.

    I may not be available next Sunday, but I should be fine for the one after.

  • 25 February
  • Mary Hassan Ali Rizzo

    odd, i Never for one second thought I was losing the debate!

  • 25 February
  • Ghassan Kadi

    I am not here to attack your ego Mary and/or give it the tap on the shoulder. The question is that though you have little to say, the setting of the first failed discussion we had and the time allocations we had in the 2nd discussion, you accused me of not answering your questions. I want to answer your questions, though I normally do not get into details. This is your call Max.

  • 26 February
  • Mary Hassan Ali Rizzo

    Ghassan, i don’t think you GET IT! it is not about you or me, no matter how many times you wish to deflect the discourse into a “personal direction”, without EVER revealing where you actually come from, what you do, who you are. For god’s sake, you do not show your face or give your real name, and yet you spend time to provide your assessments of your opponents as if from atop some pulpit!

    it is about you going continually off the topic and rather than debate the current issues that might actually interest people, you want to provide your version of a history lesson with the “Defiant Narrative”. It is clear that this is the sole argument that you have, and in all sincerity, it has been adequately responded to by Reem and myself.

  • Ghassan Kadi

    Mary, on one hand you accuse me of taking a “personal direction” and then you put my identity/location etc… as important issues. I wonder if you see the contradiction.

    The reason I “hide” myself is to avert danger. I have just received the news that a cousin of mine got killed in the Homs region for similar reasons, and I do not intend to take this path, at least not deliberately.

    As I said to you in the interview Mary, I know that you are well-intentioned, by very highly misled, and your work is causing harm to my country and I am prepared to do all that is in my power to change the minds of people like yourself because it is the combined efforts of the pro rebelion who want to bring in NATO no flight zone (and we know what this meant in Lybia). We just want the world to get its hands off Syria, and you would be doing the same if the whole world was conspiring to drag Italy into oblivion.

    If you are prepared to take the “challenge”, then you are welcome, and if you don’t, it would be entirely your decision to be seen as running and hiding. This is not about inflaming your ego and persuading you into a debate, but I just feel that somehow we perhaps “need” to end this debate, albeit in agreeing to disagree, and not by leaving certain issues un-discussed.

  • Mary Hassan Ali Rizzo

    you have some issues, dear Ghassan, and one of them is your insistence on interpreting the intentions/sentiments of your adversaries simply by projecting your own ideas. When someone “loses” a debate or any sort of challenge, they traditionally are in the position of asking for a rematch. This is clear around the entire world, and while you are convinced that I was fretting because of losing, despite my expressing to you that I did not feel for one moment that either Reem or I were “losing”, quite the opposite in fact! You lost your temper and demanded double time, went emotionally over the edge when “interrupted”, yet insisted that you yourself could continue to interrupt. I do not consider you a debate partner that respects those you are in the conversation with, and find that you have a tendency to gatekeep that inhibits free discourse, which is why I am obligated to point it out to you and to anyone listening.

  • Ghassan Kadi

    I am not asking for a re-match. I am challenging you to finish what we have started. There is a great difference. If you are so confident that you have won the debate, should be looking forward to “smash” me some more, so what are you so worried about ?

  • Mary Hassan Ali Rizzo

    i am worried about nothing. You seem to fancy yourself as some sort of guru, this I find frankly kind of comical, and the way you dismissed the ONLY syrian on the discussion is evidence enough that you do not LISTEN, but you simply pummel your own narrative. You have asked for a rematch, and I don’t see any ground rules to make certain you keep civil and do not break out shouting or to keep the argument on the topic rather than veering off into tangents.

  • Ghassan Kadi

    Your psychoanalysis of me Mary does not intimidate me. You are simply worried to continue and you are too scared to go one on one. Plain and simple. And BTW, I am Syrian too. As Lebanese, I am a Syrian whether colonialists define me this way or not.

  • Mary Hassan Ali Rizzo

    I am not psychoanalysing you, nor am I intimidating you. You seem to have great difficulty reading or listening to what others write or state without projecting something on top of that, as well as “describing” their mental state or their emotions. This is something that you could work on if you wish to continue to debate others as an equal!

  • Ghassan Kadi

    Mary please let us cut this out. It is psychoanalysis of some sorts. Let us not split hairs please. The bottom line is what matters. Do you want to finish this discussion on one-on-one basis? Yes or no.

  • Mary Hassan Ali Rizzo

    Given that you have dragged Max into this, NOT without reason – on the contrary, in an effort to exert some pressure on me and given that Max has said no word at all (rightfully, he is just the “organiser/moderator”), throwing the ball in my court isn’t working, as I’m not a kid and I don’t see things as personal challenges, where I have to be proven the ‘winner’ of anything. Whether we agree on what is happening in Syria or not, the fact that remains and we both agree on is that people are being killed (regardless whose side they’re on) and when the factor ‘human life’ enters, I don’t play games by accepting or declining challenges. My points of view are clear, whoever likes them, fine, whoever doesn’t like them, that’s again fine.
    I feel confident about myself and I feel confident that I’m on the right side of history and I’d be more than happy to express my views, whenever I’m invited to do so, either on a public forum like vonvo or in other venues.
    If the organisers/moderators of Vonvo wish to arrange for a discussion about Syria and if THEY want to invite me, I’d be more than glad to participate. My participation is NOT subject to who the other participants are, but rather the topic. I have been invited by Vonvo twice and accepted the invitation, however it is not me who has asked for these debates to take place. It was the other way around. Vonvo decides, they organise them, they are the ones who reached me and I accepted.
    Therefore, kindly refrain yourself from writing around on FB that you are challenging me for another debate and I’m playing “tough” because you know very well that this is not the case and remember my Dear Ghassan, that I never speak without proof and I remind you of the famous quote “verba volant, scripta manent”.
    For the last time, please stop sending me PMs asking me for another debate. It is not up to me. I have proven that I have no problem whatsoever to participate with anyone in discussions, therefore my actions speak louder than words. If Vonvo decides to have another debate and if they want me to be one of the speakers, I’m more than happy to hear from THEM and if I’m available on the scheduled date/time, then I’ll accept their invitation.
    I however will expose attempts at gatekeeping, will be less tolerant of rudeness and sudden attempts to modify the rules by any of the participants, and any “opponent” should bear in mind that rules do not get created during an encounter, such as double time allotments and the permission of one party to interrupt but the other parties must wait five minutes and at times more, when the discussion has taken different tangents.

  • Ghassan Kadi

    Mary, from previous experienced with you it was always you who used the offensive language against me on FB and not the othe way around. And whe we had a discussion on FB, you decided to end it, not me

    Yes, it is up to Vonvo York agree to organize the meeting, but it is up to you to accept it decline. And if you remember correctly, this whole debate was my idea in the first place any way

    And speaking of changing rules Mary, take this up with Max because he agrees that when 2 are against 1, then the 1 should have enough time and opportunity to respond to both

    It is clear that you are avoiding a one on one debate. I don’t blame you.

  • 26 February
  • Mary Hassan Ali Rizzo

    Ghassan, it’s not necessary to continue to persevere with analysis of my motivations and mental state, as you are entirely off the track, and no matter what I would say, you would persist in your own expression of patently erroneous statements!
    Ghassan, I have debated persons for YEARS and chaired panels where there were actually adversaries who were much more “threatening” than you are. I have also debated in other venues and even on vonvo before, so I don’t understand why you insist you are extending some kind of rematch to me, who you erroneously persist in considering as “me avoiding you”. You are not the issue. I debate about Syria, you are totally irrelevant to any participation of mine in a debate about Syria, though you seem to be keen on it with great persistence. Should I feel “honoured”?
    I also do not realise that you are the one who is creating the schedule / programming for vonvo. I had been invited by Max weeks ago, and when he had asked me if i wanted to debate Syria, I accepted. You asked me if i wanted to debate you, and i said, if memory serves, why not. I have no particular issue with you, I “ended” interaction with you when i felt spammed and when you began to attack me, which is something everyone does when they no longer seek interaction with someone on FB, they unfriend them! As I also remember, a close friend of yours was insulting me for “being a Jew”, and your wife spammed my inbox unsolicited. If anything, i have been tolerating your attitude – which clearly showed your limits not only in discourse, but in tolerating that anyone has the opportunity to speak, including the insertion of ad hominem speech, interrupting both Reem and me repeatedly but screaming and telling us to shut up when we asked for you to repeat something or when we in real time said something was untrue when you were stating something entirely invented. As for changing the rules during the debate, I think this demand you made during the debate to have double time to either of your adversaries reveals your own weaknesses while alotting you a privileged position in the debate. Insistence upon obtaining the last word, double intervention, avoidance of the points raised by your adversaries, refusal to take a question from the moderator and derailing of the discourse into tangents that also included discussion of the parties involved does not quite strike me as civil conduct!

    I imagine that in all future debates, Max will have to consider that rules do not get amended while a debate is in course, and since it was clear that there was the panel composition, this should not have happened during the debate. Your being satisfied with your privilege and demanding it be respected outside of the original “pact” resulted in you raising your voice in continuation and demanding others to be cut short.

    So, I honestly do not get your point in responding when it is made clear that your request for a rematch does not depend upon you or me. There are many persons who I am certain are anxious to debate about the topic, and unless the ground rules are fair and you are kept to maintain civil composure, you must have the humility at least to recognise that it is not your decision or my decision to make, so you can even keep your attitude problems under cover and at least appear a bit more of a gentleman!

  • 26 February
  • Ghassan Kadi

    You are simply, though vet elaborately, trying to avoid finishing the discussion because you well know that if you did, your lack of knoewledge will be exposed and you will lose your popularity among your followers who were littering the chat room with silly comments and personal attacks. That’s fine Mary. I won’t twist your arms. You have distanced many friends recently simply because you have no arguments to make. I just would wish that you would stop meddling into my country. You are causing harm and you are not at all helping anything or any one except the friends of Israel. Speaking of whom, you did not respond to my comments regarding FSA fighters getting treated in Israeli hospitals. These are the questions you are trying to avoid confronting. But this is fine Mary. I will not defame you in FB as you. You have already made some recent complaints to FB. I do have the right however to say that you are refusing to finish the debate.

  • Max Ringelheim

    Guys I will try reading through this fully and respond to this a little later. Been a busy busy day today.

  • Ghassan Kadi

    While you are at it Max, please make it clear who has broken the debate protocol and who interrupted who. I interrupted Mary once only and said “I need to interrupt”. She interrupted me on a number of counts. Further, her supporters mobbed the chat room. I believe that the same rules of civil conduct that apply to the debate room should apply to the chat room.

    Mary has accused me (above) of the exact things that she and her groupies have done, but bullies often play victims. There is nothing new in this tactic.

    Honestly, this needs to be tidied up. I know that Vonvo is not CNN, but there are certain basic rules that need to be implemented. Least of which is that the number of people in the debate room should be raised to 5 so you can have yourselv plus 2 from each side.

  • 27 February
  • Mary Hassan Ali Rizzo

    At Ghassan:
    It seems that either your English isn’t good enough or you have reading comprehesion problems, because I can’t explain otherwise what it is that you don’t understand when I say “don’t contact me with regards to another vonvo debate, it’s not up to me, it’s up to them”.

    Anyhow, it looks like you just want to have the last word, regardless if what you say is true or not. So, listen to me and this time try to understand what I’m saying because enough is enough.

    You can claim as much as you like that I’m avoiding/declining/rejecting your proposal/suggestion/challenge for another debate. If you wish, you can also claim that the earth is square and not round. You can also claim that Elvis is still alive. Whatever it is you claim, I advise you to not forget that the evidence proving the contrary is here and I will put it out if you decide to continue acting like a 5 year old in kindergarten. So, here’s the deal. I’ll repeat it for the last time – take it or leave it. It’s up to you.

    As I have made it crystal in this PM that I have no problem whatsoever to engage in another vonvo debate with you (or anyone else for that matter), try your best to understand and realise that I’m not the person in charge for organising these debates. Max is. So, quit barking up the wrong tree. If you don’t know the meaning of that idiom, you can also take it literally!

    With regards to your allegation that I’m going around on FB defaming you or whatever, I refer you to last night’s thread that your wife started in your group, in which she claims that I have reported her on FB about some comment in some thread, which I have no idea whatsoever about. However, what I’m certain though is that this thread contains enough comments that are pure lies, let alone the various derogatory and insulting terms used, like for example the Spanish ‘puta’, i.e whore.

    Who is libeling whom on FB is clear. It’s obvious that you have turned this to a personal issue and that Syria is the last thing you actually want to discuss. Moreover, you have dragged Max & Vonvo into a vendetta (note: a vendetta that takes place only in your mind and imagination) by asking him the most absurd stuff and requesting him to act as a mediator, as if this is his job. And when he declined to do so, simply because he’s only the Vonvo moderator and not your Mother or Father where you can go to and complain that some child stole your chocolate bar, asking him to do things that are none of his business, like taking actions against anyone who writes anything on FB. That is not his business, nor his job and for all I know, he couldn’t care less if a bunch of people on FB wish to engage in petty cat-fights. The guy only wants (and rightfully so) to acquire more speakers & listeners for a project he started, namely Vonvo. It’s not his job to take sides or tell people what to write and what not on FB and when he made that clear to you guys last night, your first reaction was to immediately dismiss Vonvo, start calling for people to leave Vonvo and start accusing them of a bunch of things. Thumbs up! Score!
    For the love of God people, grow up!

    Listen Ghasan, and if you don’t understand what I’m going to say then reread it as many times as you need until you get it. I don’t care how Max will deal with your actions and your group’s posts & comments on FB dissing Vonvo. That is his job to do and he will deal with it accordingly if he wishes and if he thinks it’s necessary, in an effort to protect Vonvo from libel.

    But when it comes to me, rest assured that the next time you will write to me with false allegations and lies or you, together with your friends, write again anywhere that I’m declining your proposal or call me a whore again, I will put out in the public this PM, as well as any other threads which clearly prove that what you claim is false. End of story.

    At Max:
    I’m sorry that you have been involved in this silliness but unfortunately this is the ugly side of activism. I trust your judgement and I trust that you will deal accordingly with whatever defamatory comments have been put and will be put up on FB in the future about Vonvo, simply because you chose not to be part of an argument that doesn’t involve you. As I said yesterday Max, if you wish to organise another debate on Vonvo and invite me as a speaker and given that I’m available, please feel free to contact me. You know where to find me. I apologise for you being put in the middle but I can’t control other people’s actions nor can I prevent anyone from copying you in PMs that don’t concern you. It’s clear though, that you being included in such an exchange of messages was not my decision nor was it ever my wish, as I can realise that you are just a moderator of a public forum. I’ve been trying for 2 days now to make Ghassan understand that, it seems that he’s not capable of understanding it though. I hope that you will soon be left out of the drama that some people instigate and that you won’t have to deal with a defamatory campaign against Vonvo.

  • 27 February
  • Max Ringelheim

    Hey guys so I hear both of your points and respect each of you. I also thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the time that you have devoted to the Vonvo website.

    Ultimately I think you both believe in Vonvo and its mission of fostering discussion and debates around crucial trending current events. Our platform is unfortunately not perfect but enhancements to our Version 2 Vonvo website should be coming in the following weeks.

    In the end when you break this down, very simply in my eyes this just seems like a matter where two people having differing opinions and are struggling to find common ground and agreement. This is MORE than fine! Vonvo cant guarantee people will agree with one another but the point is providing a platform where one can be heard. I have practically no control over what people can do off of the Vonvo website which I think you would both find understandable.

    How would you suggest we resolve this issue? Would you like to have another debate? Would you rather not speak to one another again? Totally up to you

  • 27 February
  • Ghassan Kadi

    Max. Mary follows the strategies and tactis of Israel. Attack, lie, frame others, and then play victim. Her very rude remarks above are very obvious and she is trying to make herself look nice towards you just for the sake of trying to me make me look bad. I do not wish to debate her any more. I would rather debate someone else who is decent and has something of substance to say.

  • Max Ringelheim

    no problem Ghassan thank u for your suggestion and that is more than fine. ALL GOOD. Have a good weekend and just to confirm u said u are not available correct?

    this weekend that is??

  • Tuesday
  • Ghassan Kadi

    Yes. This weekend shoud be fine.

Seen by everyone

By Wissam Al Jazairy

There are two ways of experiencing a social upheaval of epic proportions: directly or indirectly. Naturally, if one is directly affected by restrictions, uprisings, detention, revolution, attacks, blockades, shortages of utilities, medicine and food, migration and so forth, they are going to be connected to the event in a visceral way and this of course helps to define the nature of the event as being positive or negative.  There is a DIRECT relationship between what is happening and an improvement or a worsening in their lives. It is a relationship that is dependent upon reality and the “timeline” of their narrative is going to be “before” the event and “after” it. There is little abstraction going on, as, for example, you simply know that “before” you lived in your home and “after”, you were marching towards a refugee camp because not only your home, but your entire town no longer exists, and you know who did that to you as well!  No one has to inform you that this is a bad situation. No ideology could ever be more meaningful to you than the fact that your life has been totally changed (for the worse) from what it was before.

It’s obvious that those who live outside areas of upheaval are not going to have these experiences in order to judge the events, and judging them is what we tend to do naturally if we are “activists”. We tend to see them in a bigger picture and part of a greater struggle. Therefore, as indirectly involved, we have a few choices at our disposal. We can view events (and people) in a prism that comforts us or at least fits into what we think we already know (our ideology or beliefs), we can take the road of empathy and identify with the persons directly involved, we can remain indifferent, uninvolved and choose to ignore any information until it DOES directly involve us, if it ever would have that destiny. We can even attempt to tightrope walk in a combination of all of them, depending upon our mood, our social interactions, our interests.

Then there are degrees of indirect involvement. It often relates to the concept of “identity politics”: where a person relates to an event according to a perceived degree of identification with those directly involved in any event. Taking the Syrian uprising into consideration in this paper, it is clear that all Syrians around the world have a connection to Syria and have its interests at heart. I doubt that there is even one Syrian who washes his or her hands of the entire situation, even if they may find themselves on diametrically opposed sides. However, one important matter must be acknowledged: that there are indeed persons who are directly affected and whose lives have been shattered, and that the facts supporting the amount of destruction, the number of deaths and refugees and even the dynamics of the various massacres can in no way be denied. It is beyond ridiculous to imagine that we can turn back the clock to a time when we were not connected in real time, when news of massacres only reached a small public in whispered tones, knowing that the details were too horrible to even be believed. Any town in the world that has some sort of access to communication is fully able to see documents such as photographs and films of the real events happening in Syria at this very minute. They can judge if there are protests, battles, massacres by what they see.

Dealing with cognitive dissonance

There is actually a tricky part of this whole thing though: if we AREN’T directly involved, whatever decision we make will turn out to be an ethical choice. Unless we are completely alienated and detached from the suffering of others, not to mention living in a vacuum, the suffering going on in Syria smacks us in the face day after day and hour after hour. If the sight of torture, destruction and death makes us feel bad, chances are we are normal and we will experience some level of cognitive dissonance. We know that things we are witnessing (or being shown) are “bad” or even “unacceptable” or “evil”, depending on our linguistic habits, but since we are not in the habit of outspokenly endorsing evident ethnic cleansing and carpet bombing of Arab cities and villages, we may find ourselves taking refuge in the cosy world of “punditry” and “analysis”, where the idea and intention (real or imagined) bears more weight than isolated events (even if they are repeated thousands and hundreds of thousands of times). It is clear that punditry is the easiest road for the self-identifying human rights activist, because we all have a body of literature that slips all events into a meta-narrative (in the case of punditry that calls itself “anti-imperialist”, but is actually the sum equivalent of counter-revolutionary thought, where the leader is preferred and supported over the rebelling masses for perceived value he has in an ideological framework) and we can selectively analyse specific events in order to prove our points and especially settle our painful cognitive dissonance.

It’s a bit of a disaster though, because it assumes that the indirect experience, nay, the ANALYSIS is actually more relevant than the direct experience. It puts us in the even MORE uncomfortable position of being the “great white hope”, the one who “knows better than “the other” what’s Best for the Other”, though we attempt to not let that fact bother us, as we are cognisant that most of us are unwilling and unable to leave the comfort of the West and its trappings such as banks, iPads and all the pluggable things we adore more than humans. We have the opportunity of justifying what we normally would not be able to justify by means of adopting a “more important” ideological stance, and we assume others will be able to understand that we are not any kind of privileged person, but instead we benefit of our years of activism and awareness and just plain “intelligence”, seeing things ordinary folk can’t see!

A few anti-interventionists in London are selective about what intervention they reject

In addition to our ability to be physically far from war, we are even lucky enough to have the assistance of critical distance, the only thing that allows analysis and lets us paint over the grey areas (we can decide even which meta-narrative we can focus on, tailoring our interventions to our public. If the consumers of punditry are Westerners like us, (as 90% of them are) we can assume they do not want to be involved in interventionist wars (Western intervention, that is) and they will respond to a group of code words, they will take on and utilise in discourse new ones such as “sectarian” without requiring mental strain of figuring out if this is truly the case in point. We can vary the theme a bit by going for the generic pacifism/no war framework if the complexities of historical events in mass movements in the Arab world is beyond our grasp. And there is a beauty to all of this: we can still consider ourselves as superior ethical beings, because we are not ignoring (and we would never admit we are facilitating something negative!) the situation, but instead we can remain great humanitarian activists who are looking out for the best interests in those populations who do not have the dialectical positions we have. We resolve our painful cognitive dissonance and at the same time give ourselves hefty pats on the backs for being so very clever and anti-imperialist.

I believe I am like most of the others reading this: not directly involved, but not able to avoid the empathic response of shock and disgust at the violence, yet also deeply entrenched in my “activist identity” that seeks to analyse what is seen within a larger framework. This means that I am a consumer of punditry, and for better or worse, the vast majority of it is done by those who might move onto the next “hot spot”, and that means that whatever the outcome, it’s not going to affect them personally, because it’s someone else’s lives, someone else’s country. So, the logical assumption is that if you are not personally involved, your stakes in the situation are completely different than those who are involved, and your “personal” stakes may not at all be lofty ideals such as “saving the Arab people from the evil empire”, since the evidence that imperial interests are the driving force in the uprising of the Syrian people is nil. The personal stakes may quite simply be learning to live with yourself after seeing what is objectively “unacceptable” violence committed by the regime with very little excuse for this except that they CAN.

How is that done? Simple! Claim that the justification of the violence is a greater cause or that “both sides” commit unacceptable deeds. The fact that you will always find a bit of evidence to justify that thesis comes in handy, and it avoids the need to actually ANALYSE, but to stick selected evidence into a pre-conceived analysis. You can use even contradict yourself, no one is keeping score! If in January there was NO such thing as Al Qaeda, in August they can be the driving force of the “rebels”.  If you spent years stressing the absolute right of the Palestinians to select for themselves parties that are overtly Islamic, no one will spend too much effort to point out the hypocrisy of determining that Assad “needs” to stay in power to guarantee a Secular Syria. No one will point out the vaguely Islamophobic comments that you might make as you lump all the freedom fighters into the “Salafist” bag. And do not worry that people are going to argue that the concept of a wider “homeland” has always been a part of uprisings in the Arab world, that the Umma should at least theoretically participate in the struggles and armed conflicts where called upon.

The kitsch aesthetic reigns supreme in self-styled pundits

If you are like me, you have read dozens of articles that bear lots of information but almost no factual data. Much of this information is by self-styled pundits, quite kitschy most of the time, who have no direct access to information, and what they actually do is pass off regime dispatches as being their independent analysis. RT, Press TV and Global Research are going to tell you about hundreds (and at times thousands) of troops of Libyan soldiers fighting in Syria, but that is pretty much all you will ever find out about them, though meaningless and fact-deprived mega titles like this will float from article to article:

The “Free Syrian Army” is Al Qaeda, led, armed, funded by Western-backed LIFG (Libyan Islamic Fighting Group) terrorists.

No need to prove any of that! Just saying it is enough, and throw in the word “terrorist” referred to Arab fighters and you can actually take almost any analysis by the Neocon Think Tanks and arrange it to suit your needs.

And this is the problem: Those who are closer to the revolution / uprising because they identify with the persons actually undergoing these events are reacting empathically, humanely and emotionally. They believe that it is sufficient to show the world what is going on and human decency will do the rest, will stop saying “this is unacceptable” and will MAKE it unaccepted. Those who are farthest away, whose involvement with it is fickle, transitory and laden with the cognitive dissonance that forces them to justify atrocities are the ones analysing the situation. They are not presenting all that is seen, but are clipping out those things that support the effort they are making in order to continue to back a regime that is objectively engaged in violence against a civilian population that is obscene. They will point to the Palestinian cause, repeating the regime’s slogans that have no support in truth! It is clear that if the regime has shelled the Palestinian refugee camps (bringing about destruction and also the death of over 400 Palestinians) because these places are considered as supportive of the revolution, there is something in that argument that is enormously flawed!

Russian Veto serves Assad

If they are using the “no intervention” argument, they simply ignore the fact that there is heavy intervention and actual material support of the regime from Iran, Russia and Hezbollah. It is not a theory, it is actual fact. If they claim that the UN veto serves the interest of imperialism and the West and has been a grotesque miscarriage of Justice regarding Palestine, the veto of Russia and China to sanctions is seen in a completely different light. If the No Fly Zone was slammed for Libya, is labelled as a NATO device when applied to Syria we have to simply ignore that, “I Support a No Fly Zone Over Palestine” was a campaign that was adhered to particularly by these same pundits. Or, could it be that there are some humans who are more human than others and whose rights are worth stopping at nothing to protect?

The range of arguments that these people use is often contradictory, almost always lacks research and most of the time is detached from the will and reality of the persons who are directly involved. Even the idea borrowed from the pro-Assad people outside Syria who do not see the pro-regime intervention but are obsessed with that of the uprising, whether that intervention is real or imagined which states: “let Syrians settle it among themselves”. This is a way to avoid the internal conflict of being an “activist” in someone else’s struggle and urging that all issues are resolved without others butting in. Non-intervention is selective, and it follows the trends.

I would like to close this paper by making two points. The first is that since we have shifted much of this war into the “social sphere” where communication happens, we are aware of the weight of conformance to social conventions in our interactions. We are horrified at the prospect of clashing with those who in the past have had such accurate insights or at least who along general lines followed the same ideas we did, those of the revolutionary struggle for freedom from oppression and a people’s rights to self-determination. This means that many of us, accepting these paradigms of justification of human rights violations have removed our critical abilities in a lazy manner. We simply fail to recognise the hypocrisy that exists where Pro-Palestine activists are posting up hateful pictures of icons of the resistance, Shiehk Raed Salah, Azmi Bishara, or journalists and writers such as Khalid Amayreh or Elias Khoury only because they have insisted that the Syrian liberation struggle is a struggle of an oppressed people against a tyrant and that this tyrant has continually put the “rights” of Israel before the rights of the Palestinians and Syrians.

One of the more intricate “proxy war” maps, though it ignores Israel, unlike some of the simpler ones circulating

It is ironic that these pundits specialised in revolutionary slogans are busy labelling the uprising and revolution, brought ahead heroically by the brave Syrian people almost single-handedly, as a “Proxy War against Iran”, which is not only a meaningless phrase but it takes away any agency that the Arab and Syrian people have in determining their own fate and making their own history. They will also tie into this concept all the regional and international powers, as if they are the point and Syria is not an issue. And it’s not only the anti-imperialists who have a problem, there is something really wrong in pacifists who are busy equating the massacre of almost 700 people in a day to the throwing off the roof of two snipers who had been killed in combat. It simply defies a sense of measure, a sense of perspective and reality!

The second point I want to make is that while the pro-revolution faction outside Syria is very busy in the noble task of disseminating the information that leaks out of Syria, at times with enormous difficulty, informing the entire world of the situation there, and honouring the martyrs with the testimony of their suffering, it is missing out on the “analysis” aspect. It is a shame that of the thousands of analytical items to read, half of them are reprints of the same 3 or 4 articles by faraway pundits (often without experience or credentials) in London, Chicago, Naples or Florida. If some of them are nearer, they have a specific dog in the fight, and they themselves are “obsessed” about sectarianism, so they see it in everyone else, whether it is there or not. I believe that we activists who are both empathic and who support the people of Syria in their struggle for freedom have to make an extra effort to fight the propaganda, to debunk the fallacy of the information presented as argument (lacking the evidence, the big words such as Imperialist fly!) The truth is on our side, but the Assad-supporting activists are beating us in the information game only because they are required to play it so that they can look at their faces in the mirror and not hate who they see.

Welcome Ramadan, Get Lost Bashar

WRITTEN BY ASMAE SIRIA DACHAN, translated by Mary Rizzo

20 July 2012, 1 Ramadan 1433. Today is the beginning, for millions of Muslims the world over, of the month of Ramadan, considered by the faithful as a moment of sincere devotion, of purification and of prayer and it is for this reason welcomed with great celebration. It is one of the acts of faith that creates the greatest amount of gathering together, with families who reunite, sharing their meals at sunset even in the places of worship. Visits to the sick, as well as to friends and relatives increase in this period precisely to reinforce the connections between people and to mend any possible fractures that may have occurred.

Ramadan has a social meaning, as well as the religious one, so much so that it is felt even among persons who are generally less observant, because it expresses that sense of sacrifice, surrender, purification and rebirth that gives one hope. It is a light that shines at the end of the tunnel… even when the tunnel is long and it takes months and months to get to the other side of it. Just like the tunnel from which we see emerging, with great human sacrifices and an unmatchable commitment, the Syrian people, who find themselves welcoming Ramadan, for the second consecutive year, under the bombardment of the regime. The picture above refers to last year: Sawret al karamah, the “Revolt of Dignity”, had been started at that time already for four months by a group of young protesters, who wrote in candles: “Welcome Ramadan, Get out Bashar”. Perhaps no one could have predicted such a lengthy repression, which has already exceeded sixteen months, causing more than 19 thousand victims, among them, at least 1,400 children. The most recent veto of China and Russia has left the Syrian people feeling indifferent, who by now know that the International Community will not give them any real support, the contrary is true: the halting character of the world only reinforces the murderous folly of the regime, which has made its offensive even more brutal, and one once again we are hearing talk of the use of chemical weapons.

I say “once again” because it has already been months that the doctors of Baba Amr, the long-suffering neighbourhood of the old city of Homs, have denounced the use of white phosphorus, documenting irreversible damage provoked by its use.

Even the “Neighbours”, the Arab nations that are considered as “Sisters”, are enacting a policy of indifference regarding the humanitarian tragedy that is striking the civilians, even going so far as rejecting the entrance of refugees, pushing them back and treating them inhumanely, as the humanitarian associations have been stating.

It is such a sad Ramadan, the one that is beginning, which only this Thursday, on the first night of the vigil, has been grieving the deaths of over 280 persons killed, slaughtered in various locations in the suburbs of Damascus and in the Homs Province. Many Syrians who live abroad, even here in Italy, were used to spending Ramadan with their loved ones, returning to Syria or perhaps inviting their parents or grandparents to come here. Today the repression prohibits Syrians from living that very “normality”, forcing them into atrocious suffering, wounded by the loss of relatives, friends and acquaintances, for the destruction of homes, entire neighbourhoods and yes… entire cities… and especially for the wounds caused by the indifference of the world. It might sound like a paradox, but giving strength to those Syrians outside the homeland, telling them to not give up, to smile and to trust God with even greater force, as well as to have more belief in themselves, are actually those Syrians who are living under the repression, who yesterday by means of internet found a way to give the world their greetings for Ramadan, expressing the prayer that the Ramadan of 2013-1434 will be a different Ramadan, in which the Syrians will be rebuilding everything that the regime has destroyed, finally finding the longed-for peace and freedom.

original in Italian on My Free Syria

Beware the Gatekeepers! They want to control all discourse, especially since open discourse might reveal the facts and the ugly truth!

WRITTEN BY CHRISTINA BASEOS

+++
I left the below comment under this piece (http://www.salem-ews.com/articles/july102012/rizzo-lies-sd.php).

QUOTE
Christina Baseos July 11, 2012 7:01 am (Pacific time)

Mr. Davis, In regards to the few paragraphs mentioning my name and making reference to the R2H’s convoy and the shipping incident that took place in Libya, please note that I can prove your claims false. In light of this, the admins of this page are kindly requested to advise how I can upload a couple of pictures in the comments section. If uploading pics is not possible, please let me know and I will give you the link to an external page where you can redirect yourselves in order to see them. Thank you.
UNQUOTE

Given that I haven’t received an answer from SN’s admins, I post here my response to Mr. Davis, who, given that he’s a a ‘fan’ of this blog, will read it.
+++

Mr. Davis,

First of all, let’s make clear that we do not know each other. We have never met and none of us have the slightest idea on each other’s existence. Just as I know nothing about you, you know nothing about me as well. For the purposes of this comment and just for the sake of good order, please note that I’m a shipping professional (and not a lawyer as falsely claimed by Ms. Merton in one of the below pictures). Moreover, please note that, unlike the hundreds of people who posted & commented back in 2010 about the R2H shipping incident in Libya, I was the only one (except for the infamous “Gaza 10” of course) who was there, on board the vessel, together with Ken O’ Keefe and the rest of the 9 members of the convoy and their Greek lawyers and all involved authorities. I was also there when the “Gaza 10” were arrested on the ship, brought to the port authorities and then to the court house.

Ken O’ Keefe and myself talked while they were all on the ship and I also talked to other members of the convoy, as well as to their lawyers. I believe Ken O’ Keefe will have no objection whatsoever to confirming the above, should you feel the need to cross-check this.

The reason I’m stating that I was there is in order to clarify that I don’t talk on behalf of anyone else, except for myself, and I certainly do not rely on third parties’ words, in order to take a position on this issue.

Having said this, let me cut to the chase, but before I do, note that I will not respond para by para to your ‘analysis’ of the alleged kidnapping incident in relation to Mary Rizzo’s article. I will though make an effort to explain some things, for the umpteenth time, which they should make you reconsider your stance on this, if you are indeed objective as you say and if you indeed base your thesis on facts & proof.

1) You claim that I was rightfully blocked by the R2H Facebook page due to my “repeated comments”, which as per your own admittance you only “assume” that they were “repeated” and that it would have been better if I had just left a post and left. Moreover, you claim that you “would have travelled half-way across the world to sue if not strangle someone who would have eased my concern only to find my loved one dead from a shipping incident”.

Since you “assume” that I repeated the same comments over & over and that they were annoying or misleading or false or whatever it is you’re insinuating, I refer you to the below 2 screenshots. One is a PM exchanged between the sister of one of the convoy’s members on board the ship, and myself. As you can see yourself, according to a FAMILY MEMBER, the info I left on R2H’s FB page was indeed relieving to the families and most importantly accurate, since according to that family member the info I posted were confirmed to her by the Foreign Affairs. Just for the record, I’m telling you that this family member did indeed call me the day she sent me the PM and I indeed handed my phone to her brother in order for them to speak.
(N.B. The last name of this lady, as well as the tel numbers shown in this PM, have been erased on purpose and substituted with “xxx” for privacy reasons).

private exchange between CB and sister of one of the persons on ship with Ken O’Keefe

In regards to repeating comments over & over again and that being somehow an abuse of ‘freedom of speech’, I will only ask you to have a look at the screenshot concerning Ms. Ellie Merton (R2H’s official liaison at that time), where she posted 10 times in less than 2 minutes the same comment (simply by copy/pasting it), falsely claiming that I am a “legal counsel”, which is not true as I have no relation to the legal profession whatsoever and this can be verified by anyone on this planet, and asking people not to liaise with me as I am ‘dangerous’. I will not comment on the second part of her post and if I’m dangerous or not, as Ken O’ Keefe and the rest of the convoy members can tell you directly if any of them were directly or indirectly endangered by me. As far as it concerns the first part of Ms. Merton’s repetitive post, please tell me Mr. Davis, given that you are a man of facts and proof, since I am not a legal counsel, how would you call Ms. Merton’s claim? Does it fall within the defamatory/libel category according to your criteria?

Ellie Merton posting repeat “warnings” containing untrue information

2) The so called “pre-contract” saga: What Mary Rizzo calls “pre-contract” is what is officially called in shipping a “firm offer”, which just for your guidance is an offer a shipowner makes to the potential charterer of the vessel (charterer in shipping = client in commercial business), which basically includes the freight the shipowner is asking for in order to execute a voyage, i.e. the carriage of a cargo between two destinations. A firm offer, except for the freight, includes a number of other terms & conditions, which are negotiated between the shipowner and the charterer and IF the two parties come to an agreement, then the fixture (as it’s called in shipping) is deemed concluded and a Charter Party (charter party in shipping = contract in commercial business) is then drafted and signed by both parties. In a few words, the ‘pre-offer’ was the shipowner’s firm offer. Note above that I said that a C/P (stands for Charter Party) is signed after the negotiating parties have reached an agreement. In the case of R2H, the charterer and the shipowner never reached an agreement, therefore all negotiations were dropped and eventually there was no fixture.

There are trails of exchanged messages between the shipowner, the charterer and their broker, which clearly show that the negotiations failed and that there was no agreement. Ken O’Keefe (and Ellie Merton) have a copy of these exchanged messages and it is THIS copy Ken O’Keefe sent to Mary Rizzo and he falsely named it as “contract”. Note, that it can only be the exact same copy of messages that was sent to Mary Rizzo by myself, as there were no other existing documents concerning the charter that could be sent, only it was named correctly by myself as “exchanged messages” and not “contract”, since it was not a contract.

At some point in your text, you write:

“…without giving any notice of if the agreement that Ken and his crew believed they had would be honored”.

Note the word you used: “BELIEVED”, i.e. the agreement Ken O’ Keefe thought he had. If he was so sure that there was an agreement and moreover if there was a breach of this agreement from the shipowner’s side, why do you insert the word “believed”? Mr. Davis, have you seen any of the proof you claim that Mary Rizzo doesn’t have in her hands, not to mention that according to you they are totally non-existent? Have you seen any document, whatever that is, with your own eyes? If you haven’t, then I suggest you check your facts first before you make any comments and if you have, then I suggest you read carefully the contents of these documents and make sure to consult a shipping professional to explain to you the process of a shipping negotiation, the meaning of a firm offer and a C/P.

3) A few words on your comments about the NATO’s involvement (or to be more specific, the non–involvement), your example of a taxi driver (although, thankfully, you admit yourself that this analogy is different by a few standards), the “international incident” and your comments about my ‘credentials’.

Ken O’Keefe admitted that he commandeered a ship’s radio and contacted a neighboring vessel seeking for help/intervention. For the sake of clarity, the vessel he contacted was a commercial one (a ship belonging to OOCL’s fleet) and not a NATO vessel. He also admitted that he made a distress call. I suggest you find out yourself the meaning & essence of a “distress call” in shipping. Anyhow, as we all saw from O’ Keefe’s own video, he sought help from a neighboring vessel claiming that he and another 9 persons were being kidnapped. FYI and because I suspect you once again have no proof of what you are claiming, all communications between the commercial ship of OCCL, which was the recipient of the distress call, with all relevant port authorities as well as the SRCC of the Greek Ministry of Maritime Affairs are recorded. Copies of the recordings are available upon request made to the relevant authorities. I presume, and I emphasize on the word presume, as I do not have firm knowledge on this, that the ‘Gaza 10’ lawyer has already obtained a copy of those recordings for the purposes of supporting their case in court. Since Ken O’ Keefe inadvertently (NOT), left out from his video the response he got from the OOCL ship, maybe you should check for yourself what it was and rest assured all your questions on why NATO wasn’t involved will be answered.

Nice try with your taxi-driver example although when you attempt to make an analogy, you should first make sure that the standards are the same. Your example is wrong by default and I will not explain why here, in the comments section of a webpage, as this would require speedy lessons on shipping and I’m not willing to give such lessons in the internet and especially not for free! I would advise you, if I’m allowed, to learn some basic shipping principles first, as well as shipping law, in depth instead of copying/pasting articles of the penal code from sources irrelevant to shipping and more importantly from irrelevant jurisdictions.

With regards to whether this incident was an “international” one and whether it almost lead to a diplomatic fallout between the involved countries, please note that Mary Rizzo, myself and I presume (again….I presume) the ‘Gaza 10’ lawyer have in our hands a document addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, marked as “Confidential and Urgent” and issued by the Maltese authorities (you might ask why the Maltese? Because the ship’s flies the Maltese flag, ergo it falls under the Maltese jurisdiction…please feel free do your research on the relationship between a ship’s flag and her jurisdiction or alternatively ask Ken O’ Keefe, who according to him is a Captain himself, therefore he should have knowledge on this), where it clearly describes all efforts made by the authorities of the Maltese, Libyan and Greek Authorities in order for a diplomatic fallout between the governments of those countries not to occur. Just for the sake of good order, Mary Rizzo was requested by me to not publish this document, as it is a confidential one, however just as the shipowner’s lawyers have it in their hands, I assume the lawyer of the ‘Gaza 10’ has it as well.

Lastly, as far as it concerns my ‘credentials’, to the best of my knowledge you Mr. Davis never asked me for them, however they are not secret. And since you wonder if Mary Rizzo sought my credentials before she,as you claim, almost entirely based her whole article on my report, I hereby inform you that she did ask for them and she did cross-check them well in advance. As far as I’m concerned, Mary Rizzo did show due diligence with regards to my credentials, in stark contrast with you, which you never did.

To conclude this long comment, I kindly request you Mr. Davis to check your facts first and have proof of your claims before you start analyzing cases, at least when they are related to shipping. Actions speak louder than words, therefore I would expect from someone who claims that he’s all about facts, proof and objectiveness to practice what he preaches.

As I said in the beginning of this comment, you Mr. Davis do not know me, just as I don’t know you; therefore you have no right to question my credibility, credentials and whatever else you question, without having firm knowledge of the actual facts and evidence of your claims. It is a paradox for someone who accuses a journalist for not having checked her facts or gathered evidence to support her writings, to question the credibility of another person, without having showed his own due diligence first.

There are numerous other inaccuracies in your statements above, with regards to R2H fiasco, but as I said, I will not respond to each & every one of them as it is of no merit and since all of them have already been addressed in the past and are posted in public fora. With regards to the rest of your piece, I have not read it as I’m in no way the right person to comment on any part of it, as I don’t have knowledge of the actual facts. The impression I have is that all this is an orchestrated attempt (if not a campaign) to discredit Mary Rizzo, in every way, on behalf of Ken O’ Keefe. I can’t help but wonder why you Mr. Davis are discrediting one person with such passion? I wonder if this orchestrated attempt is an effort to form a negative public opinion about Mary Rizzo a priori to some “big event”? Perhaps, Mr. O’ Keefe is planning his big come back to Gaza and deems necessary to prepare the ground in case Mary Rizzo dares to criticize again any of his future actions? But as I said, this is just an impression I have, in no way am I claiming that I’m right in my assumption…….

You wrote that Mary Rizzo deserves any character assassination results and you also advise her to learn what ‘character’ is.

Ken O Keefe is a great guy in my opinion. You and Kim were wrong to believe anyone is blindly following him. Thus you martyred him and now the truth is out and you all deserve whatever character assassination results. It is called responsibility.

Well, according to the Collins English Dictionary, ‘character assassination is the act of deliberately attempting to destroy a person’s reputation by defamatory remarks” and at when it comes to the R2H fiasco, your claims, comments, statements, etc are not only false but also defamatory as you don’t provide proof of your claims. I must admit though that it must have taken you some courage to admit publicly that you indeed exercise character assassination. Remember, Mr Davis, ‘Verba volant, scripta manent’.


And if that applies for Mary Rizzo, then it applies for you as well. Elbert Hubbard said that
Character is the result of two things: mental attitude and the way we spend our time”. Judging from the length of your piece, it’s crystal clear how you spend your time…as for the mental attitude, I’ll refrain myself from saying more in an attempt to keep things civilized.

Not only on FB, but FB makes it easy to avoid facts and hype rhetorical good and bad deeds

Here we go again, just when one thinks that the insanity of the personalisation of the PALESTINIAN CAUSE is finally running its course, long, long overdue, I add… I find that a blog called Shoah.org that purports to be very popular and pro-Palestinian, though featuring almost no Palestinians at all among those it publishes, has decided that acceptable content is bizarre personal vendettas becoming “our business and thus THEIR business”. The blog looks actually scarily similar to the National Inquirer. I have not had much opportunity to see the site in the past, but having seen the recent “popular” post I do worry about the state of activism and mostly, for what concerns this site, wonder if it is competing in the stakes of activism tabloids.

Happily being able to ignore the big flame wars between activists has been a wonderful luxury. I feel that most of these activists and campaigners are strictly relevant to themselves and basically just bringing grist to their own publicity mills, since they turn out to be little more than a few men glorifying their egos and repeating ad nauseam in public articles and posts their own self-worth and assuming the baton will be carried by others repeating the mantra that “if you are not with this (or that) “known” activist, you are a Zionist! You are a proven AGENT!”  But it’s easy and desirable to disengage with this lot, since when asked over and over to prove the claims made against those who dare criticise them, they never do provide any proof of it besides comical ones that they invent themselves. Agents certainly DO exist, but to call anyone an agent is dangerous and no intelligent person will accept that without evidence. It certainly does speak volumes that this claim is made so very often and at the flip of a hat, but rarely is there anything to support it, thus it is empty of meaning. It is quite clear by now that it’s more productive to ignore this lot, because it serves no purpose to engage in time-wasting battles that no one but the men involved and their “followers” (yes, their own way of referring to those who engage in battles on behalf of them or even anyone who they are “friends” with) care about.

Yet, again, I find my name brought up in one of these smear campaigns, and despite my reticence to waste more time on issues that do not interest me because they are so far removed from Palestine, this time I will respond, because the level of smearing (not only of me, but of a plethora of people, in fact ANYONE who points out a criticism of the “author” of a piece vying for the most insane bit of using the Palestinian cause to settle a personal vendetta to date) simply calls for it being exposed for what it is. The rhetoric used in these endless smear campaigns waged by a specific faction most definitely falls into what has been defined by as “Extremist Traits” by an analyst of the rhetoric and propaganda of several hundred militant “fringe” political and social groups across the political spectrum. Militant and “fringe” are not derogatory terms, they present the positioning of a cause as to how it fits into the mainstream or dominant framework of political or social opinion.  As such, I will address the issue and in those very terms. Extremist, however, is the style of the behaviour, and it certainly can be considered as being derogatory as it depends upon manipulation.

Following even a bad example is the way that social pressure groups work when thinking for oneself is not encouraged

I am being referred to in comments on the “popular” post, which is very little else but a character assassination based on the personal feud someone has with the subject, I have seen probably the worst displays by “activists” available, even vying with some of the most absurd smear posts on Facebook, attempting to create a sort of mobbing and consensus as to the character of a person who shares one thing in common with me, and that is that she does not think Ken O’Keefe is such hot shit as he claims, but who actually has a big difference with me in that she once actually supported him and then changed her mind, without any solicitation from me, but independently and of her own freewill (and this shared view regarding Ken O’Keefe creates in the minds of the Ken O’Keefe Fans the automatism that this person and I are affiliated.) Besides the point being that this entire thing is nonsensical, especially as Siraj Davis (the author of the piece) is a legend in his mind alone, having claimed that I was posting things to him, totally debunked and with MY screenshots to demonstrate it, the issue of Ken O’Keefe being the pillar of activism is entirely outdated and misleading. (At the bottom of this post, 4 screenshots concerning Siraj Davis, his unsolicited harassment of me and my response to it, as well as evidence of some bizarre stalking-like behaviour in my regards and his own uncontrollable addiction to pornography, which he also has used the Shoah org blog to promote these screenshots he himself made showing his “particular tastes in that regard).

It is clear and acceptable that there are many, particularly from the ranks of O’Keefe’s former “most dedicated followers” who no longer see him as relevant enough to form the dividing line between supporters of the struggle and its opponents. Indeed, the moment they so much as voice a criticism of him, they are accused of being paid agents or somesuch. His former “spokesperson” who had publicly stated that he had hijacked a vessel, despite having claimed the opposite a few months earlier, also quite publicly, was accused by him of being an MI6 agent, and those who had most vocally defended him (by attacking those who criticise him) have been dragged over the coals, one by one and there are dozens of such examples, should anyone care to look.

For a site to facilitate this and allow the use of a space ostensibly for the Palestinian struggle to attack someone to settle a personal issue he has with someone – and without a real argument or substantial proof to boot – is the blog’s own business, but it has damaged any reputation the blog might have had as being about the Palestinian issue. Again the Palestinians are caught in the middle of some activists who are NOT Palestinian to settle their own disputes. They are used as an excuse to create a consensus surrounding someone that is not natural. Actually, Palestinians stay out of the discourse for the most part, seeing it as a distraction and an abuse of their cause. But then again, what a blog puts up is its own business. I really don’t care that much what these blogs and sites say when they are either hagiography or smears. They truly cease to hold any interest for me, and I would not be surprised if I were not alone in this assessment. Yet, again I am dragged into the smear campaigns because I have not bent to the mobbing. It would not be appropriate for me to feed this campaign, and yet, since I will be accused of not being able to support my point of view, I for the last time will refer those interested to the factual events, and they can be their own best judge of the righteousness of certain persons and of the wrongfulness of the smear campaigns, especially when they are jumping the back of the Palestinian cause to justify their wrongdoing.

I am addressing something I would prefer to ignore given my lack of interest in the persons involved, as it is clear that I do not really care about the lies and the capacity to engage in such character assassination and abuse of the cause by these subjects whose ethics and integrity (as well as mere accountability) are filled with quite a large number of gaping holes. It is generally preferable to allow those engaging in these attacks to their own devices, since it will become clear over time that they are lacking in accountability and that they invent things as they see fitting, avoiding truthfulness when they feel it suits their ends. It is evident that I have taken my position based on facts and evidence, and it is likewise evident that people are free to judge as they see fit based on the available facts. I have not attempted to influence or win over anyone. Like all I have written, it stands on its own and people are free to judge with their own minds. I do not live on internet as many of the other activists seem to do, and I do not need to convince anyone at all of the logic of my argument. If people are convinced, they have reached this awareness not by my insistence, but upon their own judgement.

As I have written, The Truth Sunk during the Road to Hope Fiasco (https://wewritewhatwelike.com/2011/06/14/truth-justice-and-peace-nearly-sunk-as-rth-convoy-facts-emerge-and-as-usual-gazans-get-the-worst-part-of-the-deal/), and caused a big mess in the meantime. No one was obligated to “follow me” as I have no followers, nor do I want them. If people are going to take a position, however, they are advised to be informed of the facts, as objectively as possible, this is itself a bare essential for TRUTH.  As Ken had refused to even be interviewed once it was clear that the article was not going to become his personal Tazibao, but all parties were going to be interviewed and all of their statements both in a public domain and those they had made in interactions with me (as declared openly and correctly that I was going to examine the evidence and write up an assessment of it) and all documents were going to be taken into consideration, not only his personal testimony and the information given by those who got it from him. Upon learning that other parties, including those who both at the time and subsequently, would be listened to and that he would not be given a list of the questions prior to the agreement to be interviewed (a condition no other parties had placed before me, all of them willing to subject themselves to “the investigation” without demanding any particular benefits or any right to view the material during its assembly and prior to publication). Ken demanded special treatment, and he wanted to control an independent observer. If he was unable to control her, he changed his tactic that she was an enemy to the cause since he believes he alone represents the cause! When the outcome did not please him, he conveniently forgot that he had the same exact opportunity to reply to questions and to express himself as all the other involved parties. Instead, he decided that it was in his best interests to “ignore” what was written, advising his “followers” to not read the (admittedly) long article complete with photos, documents, communications between the authorities and others, direct quotes taken from press releases and from communications in the public domain. His “followers” were advised to engage instead in smear campaigns against me and to use almost all of the techniques that have been pointed out so well by Laird Wilcox in his seminal study of “Extremist Traits” https://wewritewhatwelike.com/2012/06/25/laird-wilcox-on-extremist-traits/ reprinted here with definitions that come painfully close to the entire modus operandi of this faction. Most glaring was the tendency to engage in Inadequate Proof For Assertions. I was labelled as a CIA or Mossad Agent, as being a paid infiltrate, as being an Israeli and much more besides with some at times hilarious “proof” by the Ken O’Keefe minions.

However, the one thing lacking was even ONE serious attempt to provide evidence to confute the thesis of the failed Road To Hope convoy, that it was managed in a bizarre way at least from the “leadership change” and the outcome of this were false claims of being kidnapped in order to attempt to create confusion, consensus and mostly to elicit donations and support from those who were already fully determined to support Palestine – allowing the cause to morph into Supporting Ken O’Keefe.

None of them were able to confute, and Ken in primis, the lack of a contract, which was the crucial circumstance upon which all else depends in that most bizarre of events! In fact, what is most clear throughout the entire debacle is that Ken was indeed somehow convinced of the veracity of a fact that was patently false, so convinced that he himself sent me what he labelled as “The Contract”, when it was clear as the light of day that this was not a contract at all, and it was merely a pre-Contract negotiation, which by its very nature is non-binding until the stipulation of what instead IS a contract! When I pointed out that I was aware it was not a contract, it dawned upon him that he had to turn me into the adversary since his entire story had no backbone to sustain it.

That a contract was broken and the counter-party scooted off with the loot to his Israeli masters is the first of the bizarre stretching of truth, this accessory big fish story of the captain being really on the Mossad payroll and jumping off his own ship with the wad of money itself was quite hilarious and indeed worrying when spread as if it were fact the same way old gossips do, when the facts are brought to the fore instead of just one extremely false claim. I was already watching the playing out of the events, called as I was by other concerned activists to ensure the safe passage of the chartered convoy when trouble first started, in an ad hoc group I was invited to, and kicked out of when I asked that we seek confirmation of any claim being made prior to disseminating what could later be demonstrated as dangerous false rumours and nothing more.

It was when I was invited by persons whose loved ones were on the convoy and who found them stranded in Libya without any more resources that I began collecting evidence in earnest from all parties involved, deciding to not further participate in the public debate, but to merely collect the evidence. Why did these people ask me? Because for a long time I have been involved in the activism for Palestine camp and it was and still is clear that my only loyalties are to Palestinians. I am not, nor have I ever been beholden to anyone. I have been and remain thoroughly independent and am influenced merely by facts. It was this objectivity that was considered as being the best guarantee of a faithful assessment of the reality, as there was all of a sudden a complete shift from the convoy being about the entire convoy and instead being about Ken O’Keefe and those who were most loyal to him. It was indeed logical that others who had different priorities, and for this reason did they agree to sacrifice their own time, money and effort in order to participate in a long and trouble-ridden land convoy, would seek to know the truth and would be asking that a third party that had nothing but a solid record of support of the Palestinian cause to attempt to clarify all the hazy and contradictory points.

Ken O’Keefe making “distress calls” to the NATO for a kidnapping that never was, but you weren’t supposed to challenge that or wonder what good that does the Palestinians

It was the research that convinced me of the correctness of the thesis that things were NOT as they were being presented to the activists, and that the conflicting reports coming from Libya were proof enough that there was indeed a serious conflict between “factions”. Why did Ken O’Keefe claim there was going to be a “confrontation on the Egyptian border” when there had not been any arrangements for a land transit anyway and this would be detrimental in the extremely precarious situation of those in Libya without the proper paperwork and without adequate economic support? Why would he claim that he and 9 others were being kidnapped and some people spread this without it being verified? Why would it be taken as fact that this vessel had taken people against their will off the coast of Libya? Why would Ken O’Keefe engage in actions with the intent of involving NATO and the Libyan armed forces as well? Would this not endanger any future convoys to Palestine and would it not cast a very dark shadow over the efforts made to break the siege which did not resort to such reckless measures? Would not the abuse of trust that ensued be disastrous for further (more well planned and feasible) interventions? Since I presented the evidence that Ken O’Keefe did not get “kidnapped” off the Libyan coast and instead had unlawfully boarded a vessel he had no right to board and analysing as well the knee-jerk response to his “appeals” that were not backed up by facts and were instead abusing the trust of many sincerely caring individuals who were involved both in the convoy itself and those following it at a distance, I became the target of a huge smear campaign.

But I was the first of many. It seems that instead of presenting a stitch of evidence to dispute the claims, the issue has become that I am an “irrational Ken Hater, fuelled by my jealousy of him”. I could not even bother to engage with this level of discourse, though the great number of comments on this blog (https://wewritewhatwelike.com/2011/08/05/the-171-comments-to-the-ken-okeefe-rth-fiasco-reprinted-from-ptt/) attest to the fact that there was indeed some discussion of the facts, but never by the minions of the “Ken Followers”. It was instead just one smear campaign after another waged by them, and at a certain point, valuing my time more than needlessly “debating” people who do not know how to debate and would not be interested in it anyway, I simply began ignoring whatever it is they do or say, and focussing on the Arab and Palestinian freedom causes, which has always been my priority. I find the whole “cult” quite comical and at some level am certain that sooner or later they will self-destruct because their major enemies are those who had turned on Ken after having felt that they had been taken advantage of by him and who have opinions of him that do not match the “godlike” one that he and his cult have built around him.

It is very interesting that the way to address any human being who dares to have decided that Ken is not worth their support and they will not only not “follow” him, but they will avoid him, are subject to a more or less organised smear campaign. It is quite alarming that this has got to do with the issue of Palestine, because each and every one of these “tendencies” have been utilised in the “war” Ken has with anyone who does not think he is so “godlike”
1. CHARACTER ASSASSINATION.

Extremists often attack the character of an opponent rather than deal with the facts or issues raised. They will question motives, qualifications, past associations, alleged values, personality, looks, mental health, and so on as a diversion from the issues under consideration. Some of these matters are not entirely irrelevant, but they should not serve to avoid the real issues.

Extremists object strenuously when this is done to them, of course!

2. NAME-CALLING AND LABELING.

3. IRRESPONSIBLE SWEEPING GENERALIZATIONS.

4. INADEQUATE PROOF FOR ASSERTIONS.

5. ADVOCACY OF DOUBLE STANDARDS.

6. TENDENCY TO VIEW THEIR OPPONENTS AND CRITICS AS ESSENTIALLY EVIL.

7. MANICHAEAN WORLDVIEW.

8. ADVOCACY OF SOME DEGREE OF CENSORSHIP OR REPRESSION OF THEIR OPPONENTS AND/OR CRITICS.

9. TEND TO IDENTIFY THEMSELVES IN TERMS OF WHO THEIR ENEMIES ARE: WHOM THEY

HATE AND WHO HATES THEM.

10. TENDENCY TOWARD ARGUMENT BY INTIMIDATION.

11. USE OF SLOGANS, BUZZWORDS, AND THOUGHT-STOPPING CLICHES.

12. ASSUMPTION OF MORAL OR OTHER SUPERIORITY OVER OTHERS.

13. DOOMSDAY THINKING.

14. BELIEF THAT IT’S OKAY TO DO BAD THINGS IN THE SERVICE OF A “GOOD” CAUSE.

15. EMPHASIS ON EMOTIONAL RESPONSES AND, CORRESPONDINGLY, LESS IMPORTANCE ATTACHED TO REASONING AND LOGICAL ANALYSIS.

16. HYPERSENSITIVITY AND VIGILANCE.

17. USE OF SUPERNATURAL RATIONALE FOR BELIEFS AND ACTIONS.

18. PROBLEMS TOLERATING AMBIGUITY AND UNCERTAINTY.

19. INCLINATION TOWARD “GROUPTHINK.”

20. TENDENCY TO PERSONALIZE HOSTILITY.

21. EXTREMISTS OFTEN FEEL THAT THE SYSTEM IS NO GOOD UNLESS THEY WIN.

Since my name has been brought up countless times by a specific group of persons who do very little else but engage in their facebook wars and online smearfests, rather than debate and discuss pertinent issues, I feel it is simply par for the course to consider the “source” of this new and most ridiculous round of the eternal war of Ken Supporters against the world as being a tabloid.

I do not feel I need to be “bullied” into participating in this juvenile “debate”, as it is clear that the editor of said site uses zero responsibility in allowing the same author to participate using at least a dozen screen names in order to be abusive to any commenter that bothered to criticise both the form and the content of said article and further commentary by Siraj Davis, and while doing it is unable to even remotely respond to the major questions about the ethical qualities of the author, as evidenced in his own screenshots which are a catalogue of his weird porno fetishes in addition to being simply too ridiculous to take into consideration by any serious person that this issue of his private war with two persons (extended to include others not even related to them, myself included). I certainly do not need to “debate” about Ken O’Keefe, as all are free to read whatever is available for reading and make up their own minds regarding the issue.

I consider my time too valuable to engage further with a group of persons I, in a moment of generosity, consider to be nothing more than clowns and self-deluded extremists.

my first contact with Siraj Davis pt 1

part 2 Siraj Davis

siraj 3

Note well the name in the search, the tab including a Tony Greenstein smear piece on me and mostly, the many open tabs of pornography, which he published far and wide on his FB page and a public site for maximum dissemination.

They tend to be motivated by feelings more than facts, by what they want to exist rather than what actually does exist. Extremists do a lot of wishful and fearful thinking.

Activists are bound to be involved (both because they wish to be or because they are dragged into it) in what are most commonly known as “flame wars” between persons who claim to be advocates of the same cause. The flame war is generally within the same “movement” and unfortunately, it sucks up huge amounts of energy from the causes itself. Yet, choosing to participate in these flame wars or choosing to characterise them instead as mechanisms of “Extremist Traits” used in militant political or social groups is essential in order to be able to devote the proper time and energy to what matters, the cause. Here is an outstanding summary by Laird Wilcox that describes the Extremist Traits so that they be identified as what they are and that those who seek truth and justice are never diverted from that course by what instead is the enemy of both of those things.

Robert F. Kennedy wrote:

“What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.”

In analyzing the rhetoric and propaganda of several hundred militant “fringe” political and social groups across the political spectrum, I have identified a number of specific traits or behaviors that tend to represent the extremist “style”…

1. CHARACTER ASSASSINATION.

Extremists often attack the character of an opponent rather than deal with the facts or issues raised. They will question motives, qualifications, past associations, alleged values, personality, looks, mental health, and so on as a diversion from the issues under consideration. Some of these matters are not entirely irrelevant , but they should not serve to avoid the real issues.

Extremists object strenuously when this is done to them, of course!

2. NAME-CALLING AND LABELING.

Extremists are quick to resort to epithets (racist, subversive, pervert, hate monger, nut, crackpot, degenerate, un-American, anti-semite, red, commie, nazi, kook, fink, liar, bigot, and so on) to label and condemn opponents in order to divert attention from their arguments and to discourage others from hearing them out. These epithets don’t have to be proved to be effective; the mere fact that they have been said is often enough.

3. IRRESPONSIBLE SWEEPING GENERALIZATIONS.

Extremists tend to make sweeping claims or judgments on little or no evidence, and they have a tendency to confuse similarity with sameness. That is, they assume that because two (or more) things, events, or persons are alike in some respects, they must be alike in most respects. The sloppy use of analogy is a treacherous form of logic and has a high potential for false conclusions.

4. INADEQUATE PROOF FOR ASSERTIONS.

Extremists tend to be very fuzzy about what constitutes proof, and they also tend to get caught up in logical fallacies, such as post hoc ergo propter hoc  (assuming that a prior event explains a subsequent occurrence simply because of their before and after relationship). They tend to project wished-for conclusions and to exaggerate the significance of information that confirms their beliefs while derogating or ignoring information that contradicts them. They tend to be motivated by feelings more than facts, by what they want to exist rather than what actually does exist. Extremists do a lot of wishful and fearful thinking.

5. ADVOCACY OF DOUBLE STANDARDS.

Extremists generally tend to judge themselves or their interest group in terms of their intentions, which they tend to view very generously, and others by their acts, which they tend to view very critically. They would like you to accept their assertions on faith, but they demand proof for yours. They tend to engage in special pleading on behalf of themselves or their interests, usually because of some alleged special status, past circumstances, or present disadvantage.

6. TENDENCY TO VIEW THEIR OPPONENTS AND CRITICS AS ESSENTIALLY EVIL.

To the extremist, opponents hold opposing positions because they are bad people, immoral, dishonest, unscrupulous, mean-spirited, hateful, cruel, or whatever, not merely because they simply disagree, see the matter differently, have competing interests, or are perhaps even mistaken.

7. MANICHAEAN WORLDVIEW.

Extremists have a tendency to see the world in terms of absolutes of good and evil, for them or against them, with no middle ground or intermediate positions. All issues are ultimately moral issues of right and wrong, with the “right” position coinciding with their interests. Their slogan is often “those who are not with me are against me.”

8. ADVOCACY OF SOME DEGREE OF CENSORSHIP OR REPRESSION OF THEIR OPPONENTS AND/OR CRITICS.

This may include a very active campaign to keep opponents from media access and a public hearing, as in the case of blacklisting, banning or “quarantining” dissident spokespersons. They may actually lobby for legislation against speaking, writing, teaching, or instructing “subversive” or forbidden information or opinions. They may even attempt to keep offending books out of stores or off of library shelves, discourage advertising with threats of reprisals, and keep spokespersons for “offensive” views off the airwaves or certain columnists out of newspapers. In each case the goal is some kind of information control. Extremists would prefer that you listen only to them. They feel threatened when someone talks back or challenges their views.

9. TEND TO IDENTIFY THEMSELVES IN TERMS OF WHO THEIR ENEMIES ARE: WHOM THEY HATE AND WHO HATES THEM.

Accordingly, extremists may become emotionally bound to their opponents, who are often competing extremists themselves. Because they tend to view their enemies as evil and powerful, they tend, perhaps subconsciously, to emulate them, adopting the same tactics to a certain degree. For example, anti-Communist and anti-Nazi groups often behave surprisingly like their opponents. Anti-Klan rallies often take on much of the character of the stereotype of Klan rallies themselves, including the orgy of emotion, bullying, screaming epithets, and even acts of violence. To behave the opposite of someone is to actually surrender your will to them, and “opposites” are often more like mirror images that, although they have “left” and “right” reversed, look and behave amazingly alike.

10. TENDENCY TOWARD ARGUMENT BY INTIMIDATION.

Extremists tend to frame their arguments in such a way as to intimidate others into accepting their premises and conclusions. To disagree with them is to “ally oneself with the devil,” or to give aid and comfort to the enemy. They use a lot of moralizing and pontificating, and tend to be very judgmental. This shrill, harsh rhetorical style allows them to keep their opponents and critics on the defensive, cuts off troublesome lines of argument, and allows them to define the perimeters of debate.

11. USE OF SLOGANS, BUZZWORDS, AND THOUGHT-STOPPING CLICHES.

For many extremists shortcuts in thinking and in reasoning matters out seem to be necessary in order to avoid or evade awareness of troublesome facts and compelling counter-arguments. Extremists generally behave in ways that reinforce their prejudices and alter their own consciousness in a manner that bolsters their false confidence and sense of self-righteousness.

12. ASSUMPTION OF MORAL OR OTHER SUPERIORITY OVER OTHERS.

Most obvious would be claims of general racial or ethnic superiority–a master race, for example. Less obvious are claims of ennoblement because of alleged victimhood, a special relationship with God, membership in a special “elite” or “class,” and a kind of aloof “highminded” snobbishness that accrues because of the weightiness of their preoccupations, their altruism, and their willingness to sacrifice themselves (and others) to their cause. After all, who can bear to deal with common people when one is trying to save the world! Extremists can show great indignation when one is “insensitive” enough to challenge these claims.

13. DOOMSDAY THINKING.

Extremists often predict dire or catastrophic consequences from a situation or from failure to follow a specific course, and they tend to exhibit a kind of “crisis-mindedness.” It can be a Communist takeover, a Nazi revival, nuclear war, earthquakes, floods, or the wrath of God. Whatever it is, it’s just around the corner unless we follow their program and listen to the special insight and wisdom, to which only the truly enlightened have access. For extremists, any setback or defeat is the “beginning of the end!”

14. BELIEF THAT IT’S OKAY TO DO BAD THINGS IN THE SERVICE OF A “GOOD” CAUSE.

Extremists may deliberately lie, distort, misquote, slander, defame, or libel their opponents and/or critics, engage in censorship or repression , or undertake violence in “special cases.” This is done with little or no remorse as long as it’s in the service of defeating the Communists or Fascists or whomever. Defeating an “enemy” becomes an all-encompassing goal to which other values are subordinate. With extremists, the end justifies the means.

15. EMPHASIS ON EMOTIONAL RESPONSES AND, CORRESPONDINGLY, LESS IMPORTANCE ATTACHED TO REASONING AND LOGICAL ANALYSIS.

Extremists have an unspoken reverence for propaganda, which they may call “education” or “consciousness-raising.” Symbolism plays an exaggerated role in their thinking, and they tend to think imprecisely and metamorphically. Harold D. Lasswell, in his book, *Psychopathology and Politics*, says, “The essential mark of the agitator is the high value he places on the emotional response of the public.” Effective extremists tend to be effective propagandists. Propaganda differs from education in that the former teaches one what to think, and the latter teaches one how to think.

16. HYPERSENSITIVITY AND VIGILANCE.

Extremists perceive hostile innuendo in even casual comments; imagine rejection and antagonism concealed in honest disagreement and dissent; see “latent” subversion, anti-semitism, perversion, racism, disloyalty, and so on in innocent gestures and ambiguous behaviors. Although few extremists are clinically paranoid, many of them adopt a paranoid style with its attendant hostility and distrust.

17. USE OF SUPERNATURAL RATIONALE FOR BELIEFS AND ACTIONS.

Some extremists, particularly those involved in “cults” or extreme religious movements, such as fundamentalist Christians, militant Zionist extremists, and members of mystical and metaphysical organizations, claim some kind of supernatural rationale for their beliefs and actions, and that their movement or cause is ordained by God. In this case, stark extremism may become reframed in a “religious” context, which can have a legitimizing effect for some people. It’s surprising how many people are reluctant to challenge religiously motivated extremism because it represents “religious belief” or because of the sacred-cow status of some religions in our culture.

18. PROBLEMS TOLERATING AMBIGUITY AND UNCERTAINTY.

Indeed, the ideologies and belief systems to which extremists tend to attach themselves often represent grasping for certainty in an uncertain world, or an attempt to achieve absolute security in an environment that is naturally unpredictable or perhaps populated by people with interests opposed to their own. Extremists exhibit a kind of risk-aversiveness that compels them to engage in controlling and manipulative behavior, both on a personal level and in a political context, to protect themselves from the unforeseen and unknown. The more laws or “rules” there are that regulate the behavior of others–particular their “enemies”–the more secure extremists feel.

19. INCLINATION TOWARD “GROUPTHINK.”

Extremists, their organizations , and their subcultures are prone to a kind of inward-looking group cohesiveness that leads to what Irving Janis discussed in his excellent book Victims of Groupthink. “Groupthink” involves a tendency to conform to group norms and to preserve solidarity and concurrence at the expense of distorting members’ observations of facts, conflicting evidence, and disquieting observations that would call into question the shared assumptions and beliefs of the group.

Right-wingers (or left-wingers), for example, talk only with one another, read material that reflects their own views, and can be almost phobic about the “propaganda” of the “other side.” The result is a deterioration of reality-testing, rationality, and moral judgment. With groupthink, shared illusions of righteousness, superior morality, persecution, and so on remain intact, and those who challenge them are viewed with skepticism and hostility.

20. TENDENCY TO PERSONALIZE HOSTILITY.

Extremists often wish for the personal bad fortune of their “enemies,” and celebrate when it occurs. When a critic or an adversary dies or has a serious illness, a bad accident, or personal legal problems, extremists often rejoice and chortle about how they “deserved” it. I recall seeing right-wing extremists celebrate the assassination of Martin Luther King and leftists agonizing because George Wallace survived an assassination attempt. In each instance their hatred was not only directed against ideas, but also against individual human beings.

21. EXTREMISTS OFTEN FEEL THAT THE SYSTEM IS NO GOOD UNLESS THEY WIN.

For example, if they lose an election, then it was “rigged.” If public opinion turns against them, it was because of “brainwashing.” If their followers become disillusioned, it’s because of “sabotage.” The test of the rightness or wrongness of the system is how it impacts upon them…

[The Hoaxer Project Report, pp. 39-41]http://www.lairdwilcox.com/news/hoaxerproject.html

Pierre Piccinin when he believed Assad had a lot of sunny days ahead of him

Frequently quoted by alternative news sources, a guest on RT where he predicted many sunny days for Assad and falsity in the “narrative” of the opposition and the media attention in the west, Pierre Piccinin had a dramatic change of heart when he finally was able to experience the full-immersion into Syrian reality, the arbitrary arrests on false accusations and physical abuse. He now states

“faced with the horror that I discovered and for each of these men I’ve seen horribly mutilated by barbarians in the service of a dictatorship which I never imagined the daring and the degree of ferocity, I agree with them, I call for military intervention in Syria, which can reverse the abomination of the Baathist regime, even if the country is sinking into civil war if this difficult passage is necessary, it must be attempted, so to put an end to forty-two years of organized terror in proportions which I had no idea.”

His own site was a treasure trove for the anti-imperialist and particularly pro-Assad websites to use as a source. Take for instance this excerpt (a bit of fact checking to find out his nationality would have been a nice touch if we are talking about accuracy, but anyway)

In his latest interview with the known Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, Pierre Piccinin said, that he was able to witness firsthand, how armed men attacked Syrian government authorities in the Syrian cities of Hama, Homs and Damascus. He also mentioned that he saw the weakness of the so-called opposition and that the amount of pro-government demonstrations has never been broadcasted by international media.

The French academic also mentioned in these statements to the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, that the real image of the situation in Syria was not reflected accurately by Arab and international media and news agencies. He also stated that these media agencies use false information for their reports. This false information is in contrast to the real situation within this country of the Middle East. In line with other known people as e.g. Lizzie Phelan, Webster Tarpley and Thierry Meyssan,

Pierre Piccinin reports about his own experiences in Syria and these reports are really in a huge contrast to the coverage by international and Arab media. This is also in contrast to the false propaganda of some Western governments. Pierre Piccinin visited Syria twice in recent months and wasn`t too afraid to visit also the Syrian cities of Hama and Homs.

On his Facebook page, which has a large number of Assad supporters as “friends”, he issued his first post upon his return to Belgium. In rough translation, this is the content:

Well back to Brussels. A little battered, but alright. I thank all those who, on Face Book or by mail, have supported me in these complicated moments that I now find messages of friendship, after six hard days spent in four different Syrian prisons. I also thank my fellow prisoners who are still there.

What really happened …

Because I read a lot of nonsense about me, since I got home, late afternoon: This article from the newspaper Le Soir, in particular, is a stupidity of wickedness and filth, not only because that it is filled with mistakes and nonsense-the photo to begin with, was taken in Lebanon, along with anti-Assad Sunni militiamen, but also because it is well known for some unhealthy mudslinging, and I said that, contrary to other media who had traveled to greet me at the airport this afternoon, Le Soir published the dispatches of anything without contacting me for checking, I also wonder how many Le Soir journalists had the balls to go on the ground twice in Libya, Yemen, Syria three times, etc.., as I did, I in fact I know the answer: no

I come home exhausted and injured, and I have to read this shit.

The facts: While trying to map the rebellion in Syria (I had already visited the region of Zabadani, Homs, in Tal-Biset, where I had met the rebel military command, and to Rastan Hama), I was arrested May 17 by the Syrian intelligence services, before the rebel city of Tal-Calah, on the border with northern Lebanon, where I was also trying to get into Qouseir before going to Idlib.

After several hours of a dungeon, I was transferred to the center of the intelligence services of Homs, where I was “severely questioned” the Syrian secret services were convinced that I was spying on behalf of the French government and attending the logistics and coordination of the Free Syrian Army. I was then transferred to the center of the intelligence services of Palestine Branch in Damascus (which was the subject of a bomb attack a few days earlier). I was questioned again, but more politely this time.

When the Syrian authorities have understood that I was presenting no danger to them, I was thrown into a basement, to be expelled. With some accomplices, I was able to get a message out, the Belgian Foreign Ministry was notified and immediately made every effort to locate me and get me out of the country and I thank him for his extraordinary effectiveness .

I just got home, in Brussels. The six days of hell I experienced the night during which I was questioned, Homs, and, especially, during which I saw my fellow prisoners being tortured, so much more violently than I have been myself, were moments of intense physical and psychological suffering. Nevertheless, I thank God for bringing me into this place of pain, so now I can testify on behalf of all those I left behind me.

So far, about Syria, I have always defended the Westphalian principles of law and of national sovereignty and noninterference. But, faced with the horror that I discovered and for each of these men I’ve seen horribly mutilated by barbarians in the service of a dictatorship which I never imagined the daring and the degree of ferocity, I agree with them, I call for military intervention in Syria, which can reverse the abomination of the Baathist regime, even if the country is sinking into civil war if this difficult passage is necessary, it must be attempted, so to put an end to forty-two years of organized terror in proportions which I had no idea.

In any case, the system Assad son is not reformed and different from that of the father, contrary to how superficial analysis gave hope. Some will say that my reversal on this point the Syrian dossier shall certainly part of the trauma I experienced, but, beyond that, the fact of an objective reflection based on the reality on the ground that I have apprehended this time than before.

Fuck this bloody bastard regime! (English in original) [end]

You can imagine how his friends reacted. From once being the pinnacle of objectivity when he was stating:

I am saying that several dozens were killed in the armed conflict. But journalists are talking about reprisals by the regime. If the government attacks peaceful protesters, we can call it reprisals, but if the Syrian authorities are dealing with an army based in refugee camps in Lebanon and Turkey, financed from Qatar, and trained by the French army – it’s not repression. The regime is defending its territory from foreign aggression!

Much quoted in the alternative media, but not this blurb from the same interview:

Israel is also very concerned now. Should the Syrian regime collapse, the country could sink into chaos, and then Israel will have significant problems with it, whereas now, despite the prevailing anti-Israeli rhetoric in Damascus, Israel is in fact quite comfortable with the current regime. In reality, they are getting along pretty well.

An interesting figure, and now, a real head-scratcher for his followers. Was he lying then? Is he lying now? Some are accusing him of faking the story, including here where he was previously their darling for his opinions that were considered as expert, as they whitewashed most of what almost all Syrians know to be the truth of the crimes, repression and censure of thought:

He has been detained for two and a half days at the prison in Damascus, but not six, and never in the prison of Homs, nor at the seat of intelligence. It was therefore not able to attend to the horrific scenes he describes. He requested consular assistance, which he was immediately granted. Considered a pathological liar and not a spy, he was immediately expelled. Without comment on what Mr. Piccinin, the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the excellent cooperation from the Syrian authorities to resolve this deplorable affaire.

And the Italian media after our tips (thanks to Wassy, Tahar, Suzi, Angelo, Eleonora who had worked to get this story out), has picked up the story, which for the first time is appearing in English in this translation:

Belgian historian mistaken for a spy recounts the inferno of the prison cells of the Syrian regime

He wanted to see for himself the situation in Syria, but was suspected of being an agent for the French Secret Services. Pierre Piccinin was imprisoned and beaten. His is the eyewitness account of the terror established by Bashar Assad.

BRUXELLES – He wanted to see with his own eyes what takes place in Syria and assess how the regime was operating. But a week in a Syrian prison cell was all it took for him to understand that what the Syrians say about Bashar Assad is not fruit of their imagination.

Pierre Piccinin is one of those intellectuals who wants to experience the reality first hand, and like Jonathan Little, he travelled into the hell of Syria, like the author of Benevole, a travel diary that is shocking in its description of the repression. Belgian, History professor at the European School of Bruxelles, Piccinin was able to obtain a visa thanks to which he entered the country from Lebanon last 15 May. In Damascus, he rented a car, which he used to go to Homs, stronghold of the rebels and therefore also prime objective of the military machine of the regime. From there he went to Talbisseh, under the control of the armed opposition. “They are well organised,” he told the newspaper La Libre Belgique “much more than you can imagine”.

The moral point of no return was reached by Piccinin when he reached Tall Kalakh on 17 May, at the Lebanese border: “I wanted to go to the city in a legal way, I asked for authorisation at the checkpoint, they let me go through. Two hours later, wandering through the city I was met by men from the secret services: I could only go around in their car, they told me. Once I boarded, they handcuffed me and brought me to a building.” Piccinin was identified by them as a member of the French secret services.

The Belgian intellectual had then seen hell: his personal effects taken from him, he was transferred to Homs: interrogated, he saw being passed before his eyes prisoners who were now cadavers. In the office where he was interrogated he noted “needles, blood, fingernails everywhere”.

The agents beat him. Then they transferred him to Damascus, during the day there was a terror attack that caused 55 deaths. In the cells of the security headquarters, at Qazzaz, “people wailed and screamed all night long”. The day after, in the prison of Bab al Musalla, thanks to the “wonderful” solidarity of the prisoners, he managed to get enough money to bribe a guard into letting him use a mobile phone. Thus Piccinin called a friend, who had alerted Belgian diplomatic authorities. On 22 May the historian was released from prison. Fascinated by the Arab world, his view on Syria today is this: “Nothing will change there if there is no intervention. A regime of terror is governing”.

(translated by Mary Rizzo) HTTP://WWW.REPUBBLICA.IT/ESTERI/2012/05/26/NEWS/STORICO_BELGA_SCAMBIATO_PER_SPIA_RACCONTA_L_INFERNO_NELLE_CELLE_DEL_REGIME-35978701/

BFF

Did you doubt that there is actually a handy DIY for all the tyrants, with a few variations? This useful manual has been circulating, and some additions have been made to bring it up to date for the President  Duck Supreme of Syria, Bashar al-Assad.

Rami Kamal – Arab Tyrant Manual
-I remember the time Mugabe cracked down on protests against Gadaffi.

-Chapter One: The Tyrant is always right. Chapter Two: If He is wrong, refer to Chapter One.

-Blame your wife’s excessive shopping for the country’s political turmoil.

-When accused of atrocities, dig up instances of other countries doing the same. If others do it, it means it’s OK.

-Be sure you have a tyrant-friendly country backing you up. Bonus points if it has veto power in the UNSC.

-When in doubt, refer to the Arab Tyrant Manual.

-Blame it on a conspiracy. Our country is so awesome that everyone is trying to bring us down.

-Blame feminism for the increased presence of women in protests, and moral decay during protests.

-Tell everyone you’re the only Arab leader who supports Palestine and that Palestinians would be screwed without you.

-If world opinion is against you, state that #CNN and soccer teams are part of evil Islamist-Zionist conspiracy.

-Got grey hair? Dye your hair & moustache/beard black, it’ll make countrymen forget you are almost 100 years old!

-Hang on to power tooth & nail. If anyone comes along to challenge your legitimacy, accuse him of seeking power.

-As your regime crumbles while you massacre entire communities, do some quick online shopping. iTunes is always good.

-If any images or videos leak showing civilian casualties, call it propaganda from the opposition.

-Certainly, offer to step down if the majority of your people so desire. Then make sure they are dead.

-Kill a mother’s children then have your wife come on State TV appealing to mothers of killed children.

-Accuse media of using fake footage to fabricate, then be caught using fake footage to prove armed terrorists in your country.

-When things get really bad, address the nation in front of your Cabinet. Make sure they clap after every 3 words.

-Your favorite words are “reform” and “conspiracy”.

– You can always find a Lebanese politician supporting you.

-When sh*t hits the fan, you can always blame Barcelona FC and Messi for it.

-Tip 2: Lead your people as if they were sheep

– Claim refugees who are fleeing your violence are just visiting their families/are tourists in neighbouring countries.

-Look, if necessary you can always call on foreign governments to assist you while decrying foreign intervention.

-Some people call it mass murder. We just call it efficiency.

-Forge relations with the great republic of Venezuela & the free democratic Russia, they’ll come in handy in time of need.

-Cry during a press conference about mom’s kids who were martyred but continue to allow other moms’ children to be killed.

-Run your country like you run your mob.

Rami Kamal – Il Manuale del Tiranno Arabo

(tradotto da Mary Rizzo)

Mi ricordo quando Mugabe ha fatto la repressione delle manifestazioni contro Gheddafi.

Primo Capitolo: Il Tiranno Ha Sempre Ragione.

Secondo Capitolo: Se Non Ha Ragione, Vedi il Primo Capitolo.

– Dare la colpa del disordine nel Paese allo shopping eccessivo della tua consorte.

– Quando accusato di atrocità, trovo esempi di altri Paese che fanno la stessa cosa. Se gli altri lo fanno, non hai nulla cui preoccuparti.

– Assicurati che hai un Paese che piace avere i tiranni per amici. Punti extra se ha il potere del Veto nel Consiglio di Sicurezza del ONU.

– Quando ci sono dubbi, vedi il Manuale del Tiranno Arabo.

– Dare la colpa ad un complotto. Il nostro Paese è talmente stupendo che tutti, ma proprio tutti, hanno l’interesse di farci fallire.

– Dare la colpa al femminismo per la presenza massiccia delle donne nelle manifestazioni, che conduce al degrado morale durante le stesse.

-Die a tutti che sei l’unico leader arabo che sostiene la Palestine e che senza di te, i palestinesi saranno nella m……

– Se l’opinione mondiale è contro di te, devi dire che CNN e squadre di calcio fanno parte di un malvagio complotto islamista-sionista.

– Hai i capelli grigi? Allora, tingi i capelli ed i baffi/barba neri. Questo servirebbe a fare i tuoi soggetti dimenticare che hai quasi 100 anni e sei in potere da sempre.

– Aggrappati al potere fino al ultimo respiro. Se qualcuno arriva a dubitare della tua legittimità, devi accusarlo di cercare solo il potere.

– Mentre sbricciola il tuo regime sotto il massacro che stai facendo di interi comunità, fai un po’ di shopping online. iTunes fa proprio per te!

– Se dovesse filtrare accidentalmente video che mostrano morti civili, devi chiamarlo propaganda dall’opposizione.

– Certamente, dichiarati pronto a lasciare il potere se la maggioranza del tuo popolo lo vuole. Poi assicurati che sono morti.

– Uccidi i bambini di una madre, poi fare che la tua moglie va nella TV di Stato con un appello alle madri di bambini uccisi.

– Accusare i media di usare filmati falsi per fabbricare evidenza, poi tu stessi usi filmati falsi (non importa se si sono dimostrati falsi) per dimostrare che i guai sono causati da terroristi armati nel tuo Paese.

– Quando le cose si mettono male, parla alla nazione davanti al tuo Gabinetto. Assicurati che ti applaudono dopo ogni tre parole.

– Le tue parole preferite sono “riforma” e “complotto”.

– Puoi sempre trovare un politico libano per sostenerti.

– Quando le cose si mettono VERAMENTE male, dare sempre la colpa a Barcelona FC e Messi.

– Un consiglio: guidare il popolo come se fossero le pecore.

– Devi dichiarare che i rifugiati che scappano dalla violenza sono soltanto in visita alle loro famiglie/sono turisti in Paesi confinanti.

– Dai! Se è necessario, puoi sempre chiedere che governi stranieri ti assistono nello stesso momento che tu denuncia l’intervento straniero.

– Alcuni possono chiamare quello che fai “massacre”. Noi usiamo il termine “efficienza”.

– Consolidare il rapporto con il grande repubblica di Venezuela e la libera e democratica Russia, saranno di grande aiuto nei momenti di bisogno.

– Piangi durante una conferenza stampa quando parli di bambini e di madri che sono stati uccisi, ma lascia che i bambini di altre madri continuino ad essere uccisi

– Guida il tuo Paese come guidi la tua mafia.

We Want A Free Syria / Vogliamo la Siria Libera. Syrian Italians, Syrians and Italians together in the struggle for freedom. Italo-siriani, siriani ed italiani insieme nella lotta per la libertà.

A group of Syrian Italians, joined by Syrians and by Italian sympathisers for the cause of a Syria free of the dictatorial and brutal rule of the Assad regime has been communicating (and often organising actions) together in a group that meets under “Vogliamo la Siria Libera” (We Want Syria to be Free) and other internet groups. Mirco Tau asked a simple question to everyone, “Why are you against the regime?” and the answer of some of the members follows (in English and Italian).

Why we are against the regime 

* I am against this regime for the simple fact that after 40 years it has reduced the country to their own family farm where they think they are able to do things any way that suits them, depriving everyone else of their citizenship rights. I am against this regime because it’s been able to take the smiles away from children. -FS

* I am against the regime because any regime that uses violence against dissent is a sick regime. The dimensions and the tenacity of the dissent is the proof that there is no conspiracy directed by foreign agents or secret powers. It is a revolution of the people for their most basic rights. -MR

* I am against the regime for the simple reason that it is killing children, women, young people and elderly people in a systematic way, with no regard at all for human rights, the internal or international public opinion, as it lies until the bitter end, accusing the entire world of making a coalition against it with the lie of a conspiracy… It is a regime that for over 40 years has considered Syria and the Syrians as private property to manage in a personal way, subjugating civil living to the fear and terror of the secret services that control everything in the country, even personal relationships such as marriage! It is a regime that took power with blood and for 40 years has hidden behind false elections where systematically there was a 99.9% victory of false consent. A regime that has managed to weave ambiguous relationships with the rest of the Arab world and beyond… blackmailing its allies as it wishes and managing its dirty business without anyone being able to raise their voice against it… such a Nazi-Fascist regime of the sort should not exist in this day and age!  -MGN

* In addition to the violence, rape, repression, corruption, deaths… I am against the regime because a mother has been deprived of her own son for over 35 years, because he was exiled in Italy without permission to return to his homeland, for the sole reason that it is supposed that he is against the regime, a supposition that has broken up a family, caused litres of tears to run from the eyes of my grandmother and made my father live alone, alone without his parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends from his childhood. Alone with no one to give him comfort or help when he was in need, because only your family truly understands you and helps you in the darkest moments. Now I listen to my father (a severe and upright man) speak on the phone with a broken and trembling voice to his mother of 95, who now no longer hears or recognises anyone, repeating in the sweetest way, “mamma, do you remember me? I am your son. O mamma, forgive me and be proud of me, mamma, don’t cry and you will see that one day we will see one another again.” And she cries saying, “in paradise, my son. We’ll see each other in paradise if God so wills it.” This breaks my heart, to hear those words, but as long as I live, I will fight against this regime. -GZ

ان تطلق النار على مسلح فهذا مبرر. ان تطلق النار على مدني، فهذه جريمة. أما أن تطلق النار على المستشفيات * فهذه نازية وفاشية

Faisal Kassem wrote: I could accept the fact that you shoot at an armed revolutionary, but to shoot at a civilian is a crime and to bomb hospitals is nothing but Nazism and Fascism. -MT

* The Syrian regime has been compared to a mafia regime, but I think it is light years away from that, the mafia avoids killing women and children while the Syrian regime uses such atrocities to bring fear to the men. THERE IS NOTHING MORE DESPICABLE THAN THIS! Not even in the history books have I ever read about a regime that is comparable to the Syrian one. -IS

* I am against the regime because I am tired of hearing promises and speeches by the corrupt authorities, while they are shamelessly talking about fighting corruption. I am against the regime because I don’t want any Syrian citizen to spend his life in prison, to die from torture or to leave prison in a state of madness only because he has expressed his opinion. I am against the regime because I don’t want to see children scrounging through trash dumpsters only to find the remains of our meals, surrounded by the atrocious odour of a country where wealth is robbed every day by those who should be governing. I am against the regime because I don’t want the dream of young Syrians become exile and not travel. How sad it makes me to read in the local papers about their success in the lands of their diaspora, with the indication (of Syrian origins) only because their country gives them no possibility of expressing their talents. I am against the regime because I don’t want the young people of my nation to spend their lives studying and then leaving their degree in a drawer to go in search of a job (labourer, builder, taxi driver), while as time goes by they forget all that they have learned. I am against the regime because I want to see the plates on the scales of justice be in balance, I want to see the sick enter in the hospitals, not in slaughterhouses, because I want to see a profound reform of the system of instruction, police, the military and all the national institutions. I am against the regime because it taught us its slogans since we were children and they remained only slogans. I am against the regime because I don’t know who represents the people; I have recently discovered that one of the men in power is Mansour and I discovered it only because those who accompany him violently attacked a child, ruining his face only for a verbal discussion the child had with is youngest son. I am against the regime because it gets its help from evil persons only to protect its interests. I am against the regime because it invokes democracy, but it sets its militia against every individual who is asking for freedom. I am against the regime because I am tired of recognising the individual errors that have caused thousands of martyrs. I am against the regime because it says it fights against armed gangs and its death squads (Shabbiha) bring arms and use them brazenly against the protesters. I am against the regime because it invokes reforms and at the same time raises the rank of its corrupt affiliates and protects those who are responsible for the massacre of so many innocents. I am against the regime because it talks about conspiracies against it, as if it were doing its duty towards its people. Lastly, I am against the regime, I am against the opposition, I am against every drop of blood that a Syrian citizen shed, whatever his opinion may be. I am with the free Syrian people. -HD

* I am against the regime because its folly is not killing only the Syrian people, but it is trampling over the rights of all of humanity, and it has no pity, no mercy for anyone… There is a document that is essential as an ideal for all people to aspire to from every nation: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In the preamble it is written: “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge… for this reason I believe that the Syrian people are struggling not only for themselves but for the whole of humanity. May Allah grant them victory. – JL

* I am against the regime because I am a TRUE ANTI-FASCIST and this regime is a NAZI regime.- PP

* I am against the regime, but I have used all the words I have to express the rage I feel for the atrocities it is committing, and I am finished with all the words to express the offence regarding a world (other regimes) that in part are looking silently at the massacre, and in part is unrepentant and unpunished while they feed the bloody regime. The words are ending, but there is still Faith, and it is Faith alone that sustains me against this regime outside every “human” logic. InshAllah the change is coming soon. -TI

* I principally am against the violence and it is clear that I also must say that to make the hostilities in Syria end, a No Fly Zone is needed. Don’t call me a warmonger because I still believe that diplomacy has to be used if there are intermediaries who are able to bring that ahead and who can at the same time assure that in the meantime, all violence ceases. -AC

* Before the March 2011 revolution.

I am an Italian journalist and I have always been against the Assad regime. I have always been against the regime because every regime wants to have total control of persons and I am a free woman, I would never renounce my independence and dignity.

I have always been against the regime because it incarnates the opposite of all the values in which I believe.

I have always been against the regime because human life is sacred, and the Assad’s for 40 years, have killed women, children, the young and the old.

I have always been against the regime because the regime whoever brings its armoured tanks into the cities and shells unarmed civilians is nothing but a criminal.

I have always been against the regime because the practice of censorship negates the freedom of the word, of thought, of opinion.

After the Revolt for Dignity

I am against the regime because it is true that I am Italian, but my blood is Syrian.

I am against the regime because I have never seen my land of origin and for thirty years, could not even talk about it.

I am against the regime because I saw the Syrian border from afar, but I could not go near it.

I am against the regime because that day I felt alone in the world, without roots, without a place to call home.

I am against the regime because it robbed me of my identity.

I am against the regime because it impeded me from living a great love story, the love of one’s homeland…

I am against the regime because every time that a new martyr falls a part of me dies.

I am against the regime because for every child that cries or who shakes in fear, my heart breaks.

I am against the regime because I never have forgotten the massacre of Hama and I will never forget the massacres of Homs.

I am against the regime because I am Syrian. I am a free Syrian and I would die to defend my country. -AD

* I am against the regime because I am the son of a dissenter, brother of a martyr, cousin of two martyrs, I am a dissenter until victory. -MT

* I am against the regime because I am against every form of dictatorship, especially if it is a dictatorship tolerated by powers that take advantage of it when they could make it go down in a week. I am against the regime because I believe in the human rights that you can recognise on the streets, not in the conventions and treaties signed during gala dinners and aperitifs by people who give to themselves from these achievements, which are often completely unknown by the true subjects. I am against the regime because one cannot allow that innocents live a life of terror or that they don’t live at all only because fate made them be born in that place. I am against (all) the dictatorial regimes because there are people who continue to negate the evidence with empty rhetoric and propaganda and because there are other superficial and a-critical people who continue, incredibly, to believe them.  -MMB

perché siamo contro il regime

* Sono contro questo regime per il semplice fatto che dopo 40 anni ha ridotto il paese ad una loro fattoria familiare dove credono di potere fare e disfare come vogliono loro privando tutti dei loro diritti di cittadinanza. Sono contro questo regime perchè è riuscito a togliere il sorriso dal volto dei bimbi. -FS

* Sono contro il regime perché qualsiasi regime che utilizza la violenza contro il dissenso è un regime malato. Le dimensioni e la tenacia del dissenso è la prova che non è un complotto da registi stranieri o poteri forti. E’ un rivoluzione del popolo per i loro più basilari diritti -MR

* Sono contro il regime per il semplice motivo che sta uccidendo bambini,donne ,giovani ed anziani in modo sistematico fregandosene dei diritti umani,dell’opinione pubblica interna ed internazionale ,mentendo fino alla fine accusando l’intero mondo di coalizzarsi contro di lui con la menzogna del complotto……un regime che da più di 40 anni considera la Siria e i siriani una sua proprietà da gestire come meglio crede soggiogando la vita civile alla paura e al terrore dei servizi segreti che nel paese controllano tutto anche i rapporti personali come il matrimonio! Un regime che ha preso il potere con il sangue e che per 40 anni si è nascosto dietro a delle false elezioni dove vinceva sistematicamente con il 99.9 % di falsi consensi, un regime che è riuscito a tessere dei rapporti ambigui con il resto del mondo arabo e non …..ricattando i suoi alleati a suo piacimento e gestendo i suoi loschi affari senza che nessuno abbia mai alzato la voce…………un regime del genere nazi-fascista,oggi non deve esistere più! –MGN

* Oltre per le violenze, stupri, repressione,corruzione, morti,… io sono contro il regime perchè una madre è stata privata di suo figlio per oltre 35 anni, pechè esiliato in Italia senza il permesso di tornare nella sua terra natia, per il solo fatto che si suppone che sia contro il regime, una supposizione che ha spezzato una famiglia, fatto versare litri di lacrime a mia nonna e fatto vivere mio padre solo, solo senza genitori, fratelli, parenti e gli amici dell’infanzia, solo senza qualcuno che potesse dargli conforto e aiuto quando ne aveva bisogno, perchè solo la tua famiglia ti capisce veramente e aiuta nei momenti più difficili. Ora sento mio padre (uomo fermo e severo) parlare a telefono con voce spezzata e tremolante con sua madre di 95 anni, che ormai non sente e riconosce più nessuno, che le ripete in modo dolce «mamma mi riconosci? sono tuo figlio, o mamma perdonami e sii orgogliosa di me, mamma non piangere vedrai che ci rivedremo» e lei piangendo gli dice «nel paradiso figliolo, nel paradiso ci rivedermo se Dio vuole» mi si spezza il cuore sentire quelle parole ma io finche vivrò lotterò contro questo regime. -GZ

ان تطلق النار على مسلح فهذا مبرر. ان تطلق النار على مدني، فهذه جريمة. أما أن تطلق النار على المستشفيات * فهذه نازية وفاشية

faisal kassem ha scritto: potrei accettare il fatto che tu spari a un rivoluzionario armato ,ma sparare a un civile e un crimine e bombardare gli ospedali non e altro che nazismo e fascismo -MT

* Si era paragonato il regima siriano ad una regime mafioso,ma invece e’ lontano anni luce ,la mafia evita di uccidere bambini e le donne mentre il regime siriano usa tale atrocita’ per spaventare gli uomini PIU’ INFAMI DI COSI’ NON ESISTE !neanche nei libri di storia non ho mai letto di un regime paragonabile a quello siriano… -IS

* Prima della rivolta

Sono contro il regime perché mi sono stancato di ascoltare promesse e discorsi da parte delle autorità corrotte, mentre parlano spudoratamente di lotta alla corruzione. Sono contro il regime perché non voglio che nessun cittadino siriano passi la vita in prigione, muoia a causa della tortura o esca di prigione ormai senza senno solo perché ha espresso una sua opinione. Sono contro il regime perché non voglio vedere bambini rovistare nei cassonetti e mangiare gli avanzi dei nostri pasti circondati da un odore atroce in un Paese dove la ricchezza viene ogni giorno rubata da chi dovrebbe governare. Sono contro il regime perché non voglio che il sogno dei giovani siriani diventi l’emigrazione e non il viaggio. Così come mi rattrista leggere sui giornali locali dei loro successi nelle terre della diaspora, con l’indicazione (siriano d’origine) solo perché nel loro Paese non trovano possibilità di esprimere le proprie capacità. Sono contro il regime perché non voglio che i giovani della mia Nazione passino la vita a studiare per poi lasciare la laurea in un cassetto e andare in giro a cercare un lavoro (operaio, muratore, tassista), mentre l’avanzare del tempo fa dimenticare loro ciò che hanno imparato. Sono contro il regime perché voglio vedere le braccia della bilancia della giustizia equipararsi, voglio vedere i malati entrare in ospedale, non in macelli, perché voglio vedere una riforma profonda del sistema d’istruzione, di polizia, dell’esercito e di tutte le istituzioni nazionali. Sono contro il regime perché il regime ci ha insegnato i suoi slogan da quando eravamo piccoli e sono rimasti solo slogan. Sono contro il regime perché non so chi rappresenta il popolo; ho scoperto di recente che uno degli uomini al potere è Mansour e l’ho scoperto solo perché i suoi accompagnatori hanno deturpato il viso di un bambino per un diverbio a scuola con il minore dei suoi figli.

Dopo la rivolta

Sono contro il regime perché si fa aiutare da persone infami per tutelare i suoi interessi.

Sono contro il regime perché invoca la democrazia, ma scatena il suo esercito contro ogni individuo che chiede libertà. Sono contro il regime perché mi sono stancato di riconoscere gli errori individuali che hanno causato migliaia di martiri. Sono contro il regime perché dice di lottare contro bande armate e i suoi squadroni della morte (shabbiha) portano e usano spudoratamente le armi contro i manifestanti. Sono contro il regime perché invoca riforme e allo stesso tempo eleva di grado i suoi affiliati corrotti e protegge i responsabili del massacro di tanti innocenti. Sono contro il regime perché parla di complotto ai suoi danni, come se intanto stesse facendo il suo dovere nei confronti del suo popolo.

Infine

Sono contro il regime

Sono contro l’opposizione

Sono contro ogni goccia di sangue che versa un cittadino siriano, qualunque sia la sua opinione

Sono con popolo siriano libero. -HD

* Sono contro il regime perchè la sua follia non uccide soltanto il popolo siriano ma calpesta i diritti dell’ intera umanità, e non si pente di nulla, non ha pietà per nessuno…… C’ è un documento che è essenziale come ideale da raggiungere da tutti i popoli e da tutte le Nazioni: La Dichiarazione Universale dei Diritti dell’Uomo. Nel preambolo c’è scritto: ” Considerato che il riconoscimento della dignità inerente a tutti i membri della famiglia umana e dei loro diritti, uguali ed inalienabili, costituisce il fondamento della libertà, della giustizia e della pace nel mondo;

Considerato che il disconoscimento e il disprezzo dei diritti dell’uomo hanno portato ad atti di barbarie che offendono la coscienza dell’umanità, e che l’avvento di un mondo in cui gli esseri umani godono della libertà di parola e di credo e della libertà dal timore e dal bisogno è stato proclamato come la più alta aspirazione dell’uomo;

Considerato che è indispensabile che i diritti dell’uomo siano protetti da norme giuridiche, se si vuole evitare che l’uomo sia costretto a ricorrere, come ultima istanza, alla ribellione contro la tirannia e l’oppressione;

Considerato che è indispensabile promuovere lo sviluppo dei rapporti amichevoli tra le Nazioni;

Considerato che i popoli delle Nazioni Unite hanno riaffermato nello Statuto la loro fede nei diritti fondamentali dell’uomo, nella dignità e nel valore della persona umana, nell’eguaglianza dei diritti dell’uomo e della donna, ed hanno deciso di promuovere il progresso sociale e un migliore tenore di vita in una maggiore libertà;

Considerato che gli Stati membri si sono impegnati a perseguire, in cooperazione con le Nazioni Unite, il rispetto e l’osservanza universale dei diritti dell’uomo e delle libertà fondamentali;

Considerato che una concezione comune di questi diritti e di queste libertà è della massima importanza per la piena realizzazione di questi impegni ……. Per questo credo che il popolo siriano stia lottando non solo per sè stesso ma per l’ intera umanità. Che Allah gli dia la vittoria.  -JL

* Sono contro il regime perchè sono un ANTIFASCISTA VERO e questo regime è NAZISTA.. -PP

* Io sono contro il regime , ma ho esaurito financo le parole per esprimere la rabbia per le atrocità che questi commette , e sto esaurendo pure le parole per esprimere lo sdegno di un mondo (altri regimi) che in parte guarda silente il massacro , e in altra parte impenitente e impunito foraggia il regime sanguinario. Le parole si stanno esaurendo , ma c’è la Fede ; ed è la Fede che mi sostiene contro questo regime fuori da ogni logica “umana”. InshAllah il cambiamento è prossimo. -TI

* Io principalmente sono contro la violenza sia chiaro pero’ devo dire che per far cessare le ostilità in Siria sarebbe necessaria una no fly zone, non datemi del guerrafondaio he pero’ credo che la diplomazia si possa usare se ci sono intermediari che riescano a portarla avanti e che si assicurino che nel frattempo cessioni le violenze. -AC

* Prima della rivolta del marzo 2011

Sono una giornalista italiana e sono contro sempre stata il regime degli Assad.
Sono sempre stata contro il regime perché ogni regime vuole avere il controllo totale delle persone e io sono una donna libera, che mai rinuncerebbe alla sua indipendenza e dignità.
Sono sempre stata contro il regime perché incarna l’opposto di tutti i valori in cui credo.
Sono sempre stata contro il regime perché la vita umana è sacra e gli assad, da 40 anni, uccidono donne, bambini, giovani, anziani.
Sono sempre stata contro il regime perché chi schiera i carro armati nelle città e spara sui civili disarmati non è che un criminale.
Sono sempre stata contro il regime perché pratica la censura e nega la libertà di parola, di espressione, di opinione.

Dopo la Rivolta della dignità

Sono contro il regime perché è vero che sono italiana, ma il mio sangue è siriano.
Sono contro il regime perché non ho mai visto la mia terra d’origine e per trent’anni non ne ho mai potuto parlare.
Sono contro il regime perché un giorno ho visto da lontano il confine siriano ma non mi sono potuta avvinare.
Sono contro il regime perché quel giorno mi sono sentita sola al mondo, senza radici, senza una casa.
Sono contro il regime perché, mi ha privato della mia identità.
Sono contro il regime perché mi ha impedito di vivere un amore grande, l’amor di patria…
Sono contro il regime perché ogni volta che cade un nuovo martire muore una parte di me.
Sono contro il regime perché per ogni bambino che piange o che trema dalla paura mi si stringe il cuore.
Sono contro il regime perché non ho mai dimenticato il massacro di Hama e mai dimenticherò il massacri di Homs.
Sono contro il regime perché sono siriana, sono una siriana libera e morirei per difendere la mia patria -AD

* sono contro il regime perché:sono figlio di un oppositore,fratello,di un martire,cugino di due martiri,sono un oppositore fino alla vittoria -MT

* Sono contro il regime perché sono contro ogni forma di dittatura,peggio se si tratta di dittature tollerate da poteri che le sfruttano quando potrebbero metterci una settimana per rovesciarle. Sono contro il regime perché credo nei diritti umani che vanno riconosciuti per le strade,non nelle convenzioni e nei trattati firmati tra convenevoli e aperitivi da gente che si bea di testi di cui i veri destinatari spesso non saranno mai neanche a conoscenza. Sono contro il regime perché non si può ammettere che innocenti vivano una vita di terrore o addirittura non vivano solo perché la sorte li ha fatti nascere in quel posto. Sono contro (tutti) i regimi dittatoriali perché c’è gente che continua a negare l’evidenza con propagande vuote e retoriche e perché c’è altra gente acritica e superficiale che continua incredibilmente a crederci. -MMB

A Syrian protester

WRITTEN BY ENRICO DE ANGELIS – translated by Mary Rizzo

The Syrian revolution is a conspiracy devised by the United States: thus goes the discourse of many leftists activists and their newspapers. But behind this vision is a distorted reading of reality and an increasing difficulty in interpreting the complexity of the contemporary world. Which risks making them lose credibility even in the future struggles. 

Since the revolt in Syria started, many have been convinced that it has been an American-Zionist conspiracy that has been behind the scenes, directing the uprising. They say that the majority of Syrians still support Bashar al-Assad.  They say that the living is still good in Syria and that the life conditions were better than in the other Arab states where the revolts broke out. They say that the activists of the opposition and the mainstream media that support them exaggerate the number of victims. They say that right from the start it was an insurrection armed by the United States and Gulf countries. They say that Syria is the last secular State and especially that it is the last bastion, together with Iran, against the policies of the United States and their allies in the region. Expressing this vision of what is happening in Syria since last March are persons who see themselves as belonging to the so-called Anti-imperialist camp. It is difficult to identify with precision those who belong to it: more than anything else, it is with a way of thinking, which emerges when one finds himself in discussion with human rights activists, those who sympathise with the Palestinian cause, anarchists, exponents of social centres (translator’s note, leftist student groups) and many others. In general, those who are against the world order that has the stamp of the United States. But it is a reading that at times also finds its expression in more official ways. In Italy, an example is il manifesto, which since the start had an attitude regarding Syria that can be called ambiguous at best. Any argument seems valid as long as it deviates the attention from the repression of the regime regarding the protests: the geo-political interests at play, the lack of precision in the count of the victims, the armed character of the revolt, the infiltration by al Qaeda and Iraqi Jihadists.

And, on the other hand, il manifesto is in good company – in a recent article entitles “The United States should stay out of Syria”, the American magazine The Nation  begins immediately with a geo-political analysis of the question, stressing who is against whom in the international panorama. Then it follows saying that “the Syrian opposition is, at least in its most external form, obscure” and concludes that the revolt could end in a massacre of the Alawites. Joseph Massad, the champion of the conspiracy theory writes in al-Jazeera English that the Syrian revolt has been “taken hostage” by the imperialist forces within (???) and outside Syria, and that certainly the outcome cannot be a true democracy. And in that vein still others. In these months I often found myself encountering persons who have these opinions. An example is an Italian activist I met in Tahrir Square in Cairo, on the occasion of 25 January, anniversay of the Egyptian revolt. He also came to celebrate with the victory against the Mubarak regime with the Egyptians. But when it comes to Syria, the position is striking, “the situation is completely different. The Egyptian regime was supported by the United States, the Syrian one is on the other hand against them.”

When Che Guevara talks like Kissinger – This is the first point that I’d like to discuss: the cold realpolitik that comprises this way of thinking. Suddenly the discourse of human rights, the defence of freedom at all costs, the opposition to State violence against citizens slip into the background. What counts now are only geo-political types of concerns. Though hidden behind other arguments, the discourse is essentially: the enemy of my enemy is my friend, no matter what he does. Syria and its regime is the enemy of the United States, thus it has to be protected. The Syrian people can be sacrificed on the altar of the global struggle of anti-imperialism, because, too bad for them, they happen to be fighting from the wrong side. What is important is to be against the United States, and anything that goes against the, is fine with me. This passage from a discourse based on ethics to a discourse based exclusively on political concerns seems to be experienced by those who use it without contradictions. Che Guevara all of a sudden starts to talk like Kissinger or Metternich, yet, everything seems normal. What happens on a local level counts for nothing, the struggle of a people for their freedom: the only thing that counts is geo-political equilibrium.

Protesters waving the revolutionary flag (pre-Assad era flag)

An erroneous reconstruction of reality – The second consideration goes under the name of ignorance. Because the contradiction referred to above is often overcome by claiming that it’s not truly a spontaneous revolt, but it is an armed insurrection orchestrated by the United States with the intention to intervene militarily. This is the same script that is used regarding the Iraq war of 2003 or, more recently, that in Libya. If the revolt is authentic, then the humanitarian case does not exist. There is no place here for challenging in detail all the pieces that make up this invented mosaic. And I don’t want to deny that there are foreign interests at play: there always are some. In fact, the longer the revolt lasts and the more that the clampdown of it is bloody, the more that an external intervention becomes pressing and influential, conditioning the future of the country. As a Syrian activist has said: when you don’t know who to turn to, you would even deal with the Devil.

But to think that the insurrection in Syria is fruit of a pre-ordained plan from outside is simply false. And for those who know the situation well, for those who have followed every single development since the beginning, there is no shadow of a doubt. No regional or international power wanted a revolt in Syria. It is sufficient to analyse the declarations of the American administration since last March. After less than a month Hillary Clinto declares that “Assad is a reformer”, dismissing the repression as “disproportionate use of force” and reassures Assad, excluding armed intervention in Syria. On 20 May Obama states that “Assad should lead the transition towards democracy”. On 20 May, Obama repeats that “Assad has to step down in the interest of the Syrian people”. And lastly, 6 February he excludes once more any military intervention. Clearly, it is not what one can call a defamation campaign as the one against Saddam Hussein prior to the invasion of 2003. On the contrary, the doors have always remained open for Bashar al-Assad, even when the brutality of the repression had become clear to all. The Syrian National Council, the main opposition organ abroad, has been recognised only one month ago and by very few countries. And the Free Syria Army, despite all the widespread rumours this year, judging by the rudimentary arms it possesses, has not yet received any help from foreign countries.

A revolution against the entire world – The Syrian revolution, as some activists have written, seems to be a revolution against the entire world. Not in the sense that there is any kind of conspiracy against it, but in the sense that the struggle for independence is evidently a solitary struggle. No external actor has the force to intervene, or the intention to place their bets on this revolution. Yet everyone follows it closely, anxious to understand how it will end and to know which horse to bet on so that they can cash in when all is over and done. There are many interests that must be safeguarded, except for the Syrian ones. The truth is that the Bashar al-Assad regime is convenient for everyone, the West and Israel included. Syria and the Assads have always barked tremendously and bitten very little, and they offered stability to the entire area. Fundamentally, Israel needs to have a threat to exhibit in order to continue reciting the role of victim under siege. And the Assad regime constitutes a threat only on paper. On the contrary, a truly independent Syria is a certain loss for someone and the terrible unknown for the others. It is precisely for this reason that the lack of solidarity in those movements and those persons who instead are always ready to participate in protests for Palestine or against the wars of NATO stands out even more as incomprehensible behaviour.

It is a world, that of the “anti-imperialists”, which shows that it not only has remained behind in its own incapacity to understand contemporary reality and its transformations, but also to be imprisoned within ideological prisons that impede them from reading the nature of local phenomena in their specificity. They say: one always must read events in a global key. But even if that were true, one first of all needs to read them well, and second, they need to do so without forgetting the persons who live in places where the events take place and who are undergoing more often than not local forces. As the Syrians know well, at times local powers can be more violent and ferocious than global ones. What does it matter to a Syrian if in the end the United States should make gains in geopolitical interests, if this of course is true, if the day before a follower of Assad has killed his brother? The Syrian regime perhaps is not a friend of the West, but it is an oppressive regime that has in recent years started a process of free market policies and policies of centralisation of economic power that resemble unrestrained capitalism, limited only to the need to ensure that the distribution of wealth is compatible with the interests of the authorities.

The loss of credibility of international solidarity movements – It is a paradox and disquieting that the insurrection brought forward in the first place in the name of freedom, democracy and social justice, and which is brought ahead by the less advantaged social classes of the country, is perceived as a revolt in favour of global imperialism. Why can’t one simply be on the side of the people and against the forces that limit their freedoms, wherever they may be? But this would already be an operation that is far too complex within the rigid framework of imperialism vs the free world. One is either against Iran or against the United States. These persons in general exhibit a presumptuous scepticism that often translates into a hasty conclusion: the mainstream media lies, therefore, reality is the opposite of what they affirm. In other words, if CNN affirms that there is a massacre in Syria, it means that the revolt has been organised by the Americans. They know how the world works, the others are poor lobotomised idiots who drink down anything that the mass media decides to force their way.

But unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, the world (and also that of the media) is much more complex than that. If it is true that the mainstream media are often subordinated by the agendas of governments, it is also true that one cannot so easily dismiss them and thing that there is a permanent international conspiracy woven by the United States. But all of this, for those pseudo-intellectuals who are sitting comfortably in their own armchairs while people die, is if no importance at all. They should however remember one thing, and that is when they take to the streets again to march for a just cause, against the occupation of Palestine or against another NATO intervention, they will have very much less credibility from now on.

continua su: http://www.fanpage.it/la-realpolitik-dell-anti-imperialista-da-salotto/#ixzz1nZvtmQWG
http://www.fanpage.it

detainment as a way to prevent freedom of speech

Dear friends,
As you might have heard, the office in which I work at was raided by Air Force security branch on Thursday 16-2-2012. My boss, friend and mentor, Mazen Darwich, along with 8 male colleagues and friends, are still in detention since that day at air  force security branch, known to be the worst security branch in Syria.

I spent only 3 nights there along with five other female colleagues, those three nights were the longest hours of my life. You know that I was detained previously for two weeks, which was my first experience with detention, but those 3 nights at air security branch were the worst in comparison to my previous detention.

Below is SCM statement with regards to the raid and the arrest of our male colleagues, please share it with whomever you think might be helpful in getting the word out around the world.

Raid of Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression office in Damascus, Arrest of its Staff and Visitors
In a new escalation against freedom of expression and media work in Syria, the Office of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) in Damascus was raided on Thursday 16 February at approximately one and a half PM by agents of the Air Intelligence Intelligence (Mazzeh branch). The raid, that was carried out by members of the security apparatus along with a group of armed men, who caused panic and fear among employees and visitors of the center, especially since the officer in charge did not disclose the arrest or search warrants that are supposed to be issued by a public prosecutor.

The security forces took the IDs of SCM employees and visitors in addition to their mobile phones. They were prevented from proceeding their work and were asked to gather in one room until 4 PM; they were transferred to the Air force Intelligence detention center of Mazzeh then.

Following are the names of staff and administrators who have been arrested that day:
1 – Mazen Darwish, director of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of expression.
2 – Yara Badr, Syrian journalist and the wife of Mazen Darwish.
3 – Hani Zitani, a graduate of the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Sociology and university teacher.
4 – Sana Zitani, a graduate of the Faculty of Sociology and wife Hani Zitani.
5 – Abdel Rahman Hamada, student at the Institute of Accounting.
6 – Hussein Gharir, graduate at the Faculty of Information Engineering.
7 – Mansour Al Omari, English literature graduate from Damascus University.
8 – Joan Fersso, a graduate of the Faculty of Arabic literature.
9 – Mayada Khalil, graduate at the University of archaeology in Aleppo.
10 – Ayham Ghazoul, a dentist.
11 – Bassam Al-Ahmed, a graduate of the Faculty of Arabic literature.
12 – Razan Ghazzawi, a graduate in English literature.
13 – Rita Dayoub.
Two visitors were also arrested; Shady Yazbek (student in medicine) and Hanadi Zahlout.

Female employees working at the center were released on Saturday 18 Feb 2012 around 10 PM (Yara Badr – Sanaa Mohsen – Mayada Khalil – Razan Ghazzawi) in addition to the visitor Hanadi Zahlout on one condition that at they are to show up at Air force Security every day from 9AM to 2PM for further investigation until unspecified date. Rita Dayoub was released.

The arrest of the President of the SCM, “Mazen Darwish,” and male colleagues and visitor, however, continues: Hani Zitani – Abdel Rahman Hamada – Hussein Ghrer – Mansur Al Omari – Bassam Al-Ahmad -Ayham Ghazoul – Joan Fersso, and the visitor Shady Yazbek are still in custody.

The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression strongly condemns the raid conducted against its office as well as the ongoing arbitrary detention of the journalist Mazen Darwish and its staff. SCM expresses its deepest concern regarding the fate of persons remaining in detention, demands the Syrian authorities to release all detainees immediately and unconditionally, and holds the Syrian authorities fully responsible of the psychological and physical conditions of the detainees.

The center calls upon the Syrian authorities to put an end to arbitrary arrests and harassment of journalists, media workers and freedom of opinion and expression advocates.

Finally, the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression expresses its gratitude to all institutions and individuals who have expressed solidarity with the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression against such oppressive policies.
— Best, Razan

Written by Lorenzo Trombetta for Sirialibano, translated by Mary Rizzo

Gilles Jacquier

A French journalist, Gilles Jacquier, reporter for France 2 (photo), was killed in Homs by an explosion in the Alawite neighbourhood of Akrama. He is the first Western journalist to lose his life in Syria since the beginning of the repression of the anti-government protests.

His life was not lost in Gaza, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Libya. He lost his life in Syria. One of his Dutch colleagues – Steven Wassenaar, a freelance journalist – was slightly injured in an eye (initially he was reported as being Belgian). Another seven Syrians – states the TV channel Duniya, close to the regime – were killed.

As a photographer for AFP, witness to the event, states, the journalists were part of a tour organised by the authorities in the third city of the nation and epicentre of the repression and the consequent revolt. They were going to follow a march of loyalists when the group was struck by shells. This fact stimulates some spontaneous questions.

1) Who has the possibility to use shells and mortar in Syria?

a) if they are deserters, to say it the way the conspiracy people do, the salafites-infiltrators-terrorists-zionists, then this is REALLY a piece of news. It means that a military escalation is underway. Up to this point, the deserters, and the civilians who have joined them, have shown that they are able to use automatic rifles and RPGs. At Jabal Zawiya (Idlib) they said that they were able to bring an anti-missile rocket launcher. But mortars up to this point, no one has any knowledge of that.

b) if it is not the deserters, then it must be the regime. Because the protesters at this point are still not equipped with anything of the sort.

2) If it was the deserters with brand new mortars – which came to them from the French-Turks-NATO-Israel, still bearing the plastic wrapping and tags – why aim them into a loyalist neighbourhood?

a) because, some will say, since they are really bad people, they can’t wait to exterminate their enemies, the Alawites who are victims of the conspiracy. By chance, in that moment, there were also Western journalists. But in the regime’s rhetoric, aren’t Western journalists in the service of the conspiracy? On the one hand, the agents of the conspiracy are described as being very shrewd, on the other – if it is true that they killed one of their accomplices by accident – the reporter – they show themselves to be simply bunglers.

3) If it was the regime, why shell a loyalist neighbourhood and risk killing – as had in fact happened – your own supporters and some foreign journalists?

a) to demonstrate, others will say, that Homs is dangerous and it is important to stay away from the city. Observers and accredited journalists have now been warned. To then attribute the attack to terrorists who impede free access to information operators, freely welcomed by the authorities of Damascus.

4) Why are the agents of the conspiracy attacking Syrian civilians (Damascus, 6 January) when they should have been trying to collect internal consensus? And why do they attack Arab observers (11 of them have been injured in Lattakia and Homs on 9 January), when they should have tried to convince them of the worthiness of their cause? And why attack Western journalists, when they should instead have them as allies to serve for receiving international support?

6) Why, for the first time, have the terrorists-bad guys attacked a loyalist march, and why precisely when there is a Western journalist?

7) Why does the regime organise tours only in the loyalist neighbourhoods with an Alawite majority (a circumstance confirmed by at least four authoritative colleagues who have participated in these trips)?

a) because, some will say, the other neighbourhoods are too dangerous for the Syrian authorities, who are responsible and care about the safety of their guests. For reasons of safety, in essence.

b) because, others will say, the regime does not want to show the other face of Homs. The one in revolt against the government and the one that is under siege and bombarded by loyalist artillery.

We furthermore report that it took around an hour and a half after the killing of a journalist in Homs for dissemination of the first news for the activists to be able to release any amateur videos on Internet. “Because Akrama is a zone that is forbidden to us, no one can enter at all except for the loyalists,” was what I was told by telephone from two inhabitants of Homs that were reached by phone and who live in the neighbourhoods with a Sunni majority.

The TV channel al Duniya was speedy, instead, in releasing news, something which in these ten months it has never been – which is the same case as the State-run channel Sana – which has been this fast only in case of attacks attributed to Al Qaeda, to salafites and to terrorists.

We await your questions and possible replies. In the meantime, an homage to Gilles Jacquier, winner of the Ilaria Alpi prize in 2011 for the best international reportage for his Tunisie, la révolution en marche.

ORIGINAL: http://www.sirialibano.com/short-news/ucciso-giornalista-francese-a-homs-qualche-domanda.html