Syrian Revolution Bookmarks #3

1- The Syrian Revolt Enters New Phase published on LENIN’S TOMB:

Finally, there is the question of the FSA’s human rights record.  Those who want to oppose the revolt say that the armed insurgents are a bunch of thugs or even – some will actually use this propaganda term – ‘terrorists’.  Well, the fact is that the armies have captured and tortured and killed people they believed to be regime supporters or informants. I believe they have blown up regime apparatuses and probably have killed civilians in the process.  My answer?  You can criticise this or that attack, you can say that the Islamists who bombed Damascus and issued a sectarian statement are not allies of revolution.  But you can’t keep saying this is a ‘civil war’ and then express shock when one side, the weaker side, the side that has been attacked and provoked, the side that is ranged against a repressive dictatorship, actually fights a war.

2- Assad Apologists: The Ostrich Syndrome published by Hicham Safieddine:

instead of invoking Fanon, apologists will go so far as to invoke Lenin’s quote about third-party politics, which is really a language trick no different than someone quoting Tony Blair’s own reference to a “third way” in order to undermine third-way politics in Syria. Lenin was at times more than willing to compromise when it came to dealing with imperialist forces (i.e., the Brest Liovsk treaty). In the instance of his critique of third-way politics, the communist leader was actually more concerned with class struggle and was contemptuous of those, like liberal socialists, who did not take a firm and uncompromising position in this struggle against the bourgeois class. In fact, a reference that would have better served Assad apologists is Lenin’s disagreement with Rosa Luxemburg over backing the third-world bourgeoisie. Lenin’s critique of third-way politics may thus ironically lend itself more to backing calls for no compromise with Assad, given that the Syrian uprising’s class composition is largely made up of the countryside peasantry and suburban working class. It is true that the peasantry have a very dubious representation in the intellectual history of Marxism. In the case of Syria, the dominant political expression of their uprising has not only taken on a reactionary form (read “religious” in Marxist terms). It is in fact, contrary to what many pro-uprising folks want us to believe for romantic or more sinister reasons, backed by imperialist and reactionary regional regimes. However, admitting this problematic political expression of the uprising necessitates a third way, not a stance that is apologetic for the Assad regime.

Kafarsousah Neighborhood, Damascus.

3- Blanket Thinkers by Robin Yassin Qassab:

To call the Free Syrian Army a sectarian gang is tantamount to calling the Syrian people a sectarian gang. It betrays a willed ignorance of reality. The FSA was formed in response to the sickening violence perpetrated by the Syrian regime, which at this stage is certainly a sectarian gang. Its Alawi military units work with armed Alawi civilians to slaughter Sunnis. This is a disaster for the Alawis and everyone else; it sows the seeds of a potential war which would destroy the country for generations, and it’s one of the first reasons why the regime must go as soon as possible. But the FSA is in reality hundreds of local militias which sometimes cooperate. It consists of defected soldiers (these people are heroes – they fled the army at huge personal risk because they were unable to stomach murdering their people; most soldiers who try to defect are killed before they leave base) and local men who have taken up arms to defend their neighbourhoods. Because the FSA is made of ordinary men, it covers an enormous range of political opinion. Some fighters are disillusioned Baathists, some are secularists, some leftists, some support the Muslim Brotherhood and some are attracted by extremist Wahhabi rhetoric. Some, I’m sure, are criminals, because some of the Syrian people are criminal. Some will be in it in the hopes of financial or sexual profit, because that’s the way people are.

4- Posting a Syrian blogger’s status on Facebook, Sherry Hayek writes:

Occupy Wall St. page is making me sick, they upload pictures of the free Syrian Army and say they are terrorist from AL-Qayida with American weapons. Fine, this is arguable, however, not a single picture of the regime hitting or killing the people, when the page has picture of police all over the world fighting people in the Streets. This means either that there is no police in Syria, or this page watch only Al-Dounia TV.

Hussam Eddine Armanazi, an activist who quit his fourth year in medical school in Germany and came back to Syria to support his own people in their struggle against the barbaric Assad regime, he was arrested several times in Aleppo when he was protesting against the regime. Hussam joined the FSA recently and adopted a kitten, who accompanied him wherever he went, he took good care of her and she felt at peace with him. Hussam was martyred while defending his own people two days ago (Not my translation).

5- The Womb of Murder by Amal Hanano:

The neonatologist explained to me that an incubator is just a sophisticated box with controlled temperature and humidity that imitates the environment of the womb. Bashar grew up in an incubator of ultimate privilege, believing that his life is more important than all others. He was raised to take up more space than he needed at whatever cost. He made Syria his personal incubator.

Sometimes destiny has a way of marking who you will become. A doctor may become a murderer and a young political prisoner from Tadmor may go on to become a Harvard graduate; or four babies will die so one will live. And the one who lived will grow up to kill babies, just like his father.

6-Statement to the People of Syria Regarding the Transitional Government by Local Coordination Committees:

Our revolution for dignity expects the representatives of the Syrian people to act in a noble and respectful manner. One of the primary values in our revolution is equality among all Syrians; and in our traditions, high-ranking positions are not normally given to people who merely ask for them; rather, they are bestowed upon those who are believed capable of doing the job efficiently. We believe that one of the main criteria for this government is the willingness of its candidates to move to Syria and perform their functions there, thereby putting themselves at the same level of risk the Syrian people face.

7- Syria’s first astronaut defects to Turkey.