"Human Rights" and Syrian and American Censorship of websites in Syria

This post is not well-documented for I don’t have the time to search for links to support my claims, hence I realize my argument is weak nevertheless I don’t think it’s baseless.

A lot has been said and done, both by Syrian netizens and by western human rights organizations, about the vicious no good evil Syrian regime censorship of websites in Syria. It’s the favorite topic for almost all of the human rights websites and organizations, alternative and mainstream ones, to pin point the illegal censorship policies of certain regimes mostly Syria and Iran.

Whenever a website is found blocked in Syria, these organizations hurry and publish their appealing reports to the western world condemning the act that devalues one of the most important human right to the western world, freedom of speech. A right I think it’s also important to us here in this region, but in a whole different context.

Whenever a prominent blogger or a Syrian/Iranian activist is arrested, or rather, whenever the Syrian regime commits the crime of censorship, reports in the western world never stop from flowing.

But what is not known to many people who follow and salute these human rights organization is that many Syrians are arrested and recently prevented from leaving the country for no explained reasons (which is now considered the threat to Syrians activists than imprisonment) and contrary to a stupid report published here calling US and European officials to put pressure on Syria concerning its human rights record. Only the prominent political prisoners get attention from these organizations and from the mainstream and alternative western media. Of course the case is relatively the same with Syrian human rights organizations, not every Syrian political prisoner or detainee get the same attention from local human rights organizations and many prisoners remain unknown.

My point is that the term “human rights” is never about people’s rights really. It’s one of the major political terms used heavily in political contexts to support or condemn certain people or regimes according to the organization’s agenda or its source of funding agenda. If an authorial regime arrests people who resist its authority, authorial human rights organization support authorial political prisoners and ignore “marginal” ones. If Syria censored websites, all western human rights organizations heavily condemn the illegal act, but these very organizations stay still, and thus become cooperatives, when censorship is practiced “legally” by American websites and corporations like Google, which prevents Syrian users from downloading most of its products like Google Talk, Chrome, Gears, Video chat and from uploading a video to Google Videos.

this-product

I cannot upgrade and renew my wordpress account from Syria, because wordpress deals with Paypal and Syria and Lebanon are not listed in its countries’ list to allow me to pay. I have to rely on my friends on other parts of the world to do so. And the only reason I reserved a domain on wordpress is because the domain blogspot is blocked in Syria and I fear wordpress domain might be blocked in the future as well.

So what did Amnesty or Human Rights Watch or Reporters Without Borders have to say about these websites who censor, as the Syrian regime, Syrian users from using their services?

Absolutely nothing.

Yes, these three websites have not published not one single report condemning Google or Linkedin or Paypal about their decisions to prevent Syrian users from using their services, but they did however, publish heavily on Syria’s act of censorship. These so called prominent human rights organizations do not condemn the act of censorship itself but rather the doer of that act, and this condemnation always goes hand in hand with the American foreign policy, sorry no, intervention, hmm not really, “imperialistic occupation” in the region, as Azmi Bshara rightly once called it.

From how I see it, human rights organizations are like the United Nations, their job is not to defend people’s rights but rather to show the world who’s in power at the moment. We can see that from Human Rights Watch reports on both of the Zionist war crimes on Lebanon in 2006 and on Gaza 2008-09. HRW reports on July war were clearly biased to Israel because the whole world was siding with it, whereas with Gaza, the story was slightly different; HRW can no longer ignore the heavy amount of documentations and visual proofs circulated widely around the world by the Gazans and activists condemning Israel of committing war crimes in sieged Gaza. HRW is not objective and certainly not condemning Israel as much is depicting a historical moment the world is processing right now against Israel as a war-crimes state.

Western human rights organizations are only tools used by authorial western countries to put political pressure on Syrian and Iranian regimes exactly because of their support to Hezbolla and Hamas, the one thing that pleases me about these regimes.

Syrian regime censor websites and arrest people to secure its domination over the country, some American websites prevent us from using their websites because we support Hamas and Hezbolla. President Assad did not claim not once that Syria is a democratic country, but these websites, coming from proud democratic and civilized nation that is, are punishing us Syrians for our democratic choice; supporting resistance. So please, don’t ever talk to me about democracy, human rights and freedom of speech before, and as a starter, put Bush and his soldiers on trial and fucking kill him in front of his people (who elected him) on Christmas as you killed Saddam in front of his people (who did not elect him) on Eid.

Shame on Homophobic Al Quds Al Arabi

Taken from Improvisations: Arab Woman Progressive

Shame on Homophobic Arab Media

Al Quds Al Arabi insists on calling gays being murdered in Iraq “sexual deviants.” It has that in the title and throughout the news report about how they are being hunted down and killed. By refusing to use the neutral word “Methli,” which is what Arab gays like to be called, and by insisting on the expression that denigrates homosexuality and cast it as a disease and a sin, Al Quds al Arabi, under the guise of neutral reporting, are cheering on the killers.

Shame.

Homosexuality on LBC this Wednesday on A7mar Bil Khatt el 3areed

A friend sent me this, I will try to call the bastards:

I have my reservations on the list presented in this email, but I am busy with my thesis lately, will write on how one should deal with homophobia and discrimination and post-racism soon. Please try to participate and help our just cause.

This is a call to an urgent action by all of us.

Tomorrow Wednesday, January 27 at 9.30 pm (Beirut time), LBC is going to tackle the subject of homosexuality on their show A7mar bel khatt el 3arid.

It is very important for us to watch this show to write about it, blog about it, and comment about it. It is also very important to CALL IN to express support for LGBTQ in Lebanon and to correct whatever wrong things people will be saying on the show.

So please make sure you watch the show tomorrow at 9.30 pm and call the numbers that appear on the screen. Call from Lebanon, the Arab world, and internationally.

When you call, here are some points you should raise:

1. Doctors, psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, and experts all agree the homosexuality is normal. Therefore, it shouldn’t be treated as a topic of “a7mar bil khatt il 3areed”
2. Lebanese media should deal with this topic supportively, not just put homosexuals or transsexuals on display.
3. There are hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ in Lebanon and they are tax-paying citizens. They deserve full rights as anyone else.
4. Last Thursday, two gay men were beaten up brutally by security agents were dressed in civilian clothing on Sassine Square. This inhumanity towards homosexuals is not accepted.

Be careful that your numbers might appear on the caller ID, so you don’t have to state your are gay if you don’t want to. Be brave and call on everyone in Lebanese society to accept homosexuality.

Soldiers Beat Up Gay Men at Sassine Square, Achrafieh, Beirut

You wouldn’t find this on local “free” and “open” Lebanese channels, stations and newspapers. If you’re better than the worst, doesnt make you good really.

It is worth to note that being a homosexual is against the law in all Ayrab countries. Lebanese gay and lesbian communities are very active communities in Beirut, and essential ones.

Some of the Lebanese homoexuals were hyper members of Nahr el Bared relief campaign, opposing the terrorist Lebanese Army bombing a civic establishment of Nahr el Bared.

Some of them were as well the co-founders of Samedoun movement defying “Israeli” terrorist war on Lebanon.

These two men were not beaten up and arrested because they were having a sexual intercourse in public, they were beaten and criminalized because of their very nature, because of their very identity: they were homosexuals.

This law of criminalizing homosexuals as such should be abolished. Homosexuals ARE human beings and anyone who treat them less is the one who should be criminalized.

Grumpy Citizen
Barbaric homophobia, Sassine Square
Anne-Marie el-Hage entry

The Lebanese gay community is angry, so are the human rights associations. They are outraged by the medieval practices of authorities when dealing with homosexuals who openly came out of the closet.

The incident, reported by Alef, association for human rights, took place last Thursday evening, when two gay men, reckless and unconscious, were making love in the lobby of an uninhabited building in Sassine Sqaure, Achrafieh, assuming they were safe.

Discovering the two men in action, the Lebanese army soldiers stationed in the district to submit a real public beating. Nothing was strong enough, punching, kicking, rifle butts, insults, humiliation. One of them, half naked, was exhibited to the public of bystanders, just for the fun of it.

Deaf to the pleas of the two men that were caught red handed, the soldiers were doing it with great joy. The whole neighborhood was in the street, attracted by the scene. Any customer of any coffee of the corner nearby. Both men were bloodied, but this did not diminish the determination or the savagery of the soldiers, those newly delegated to preserve public morality.

Fortunately, voices of condemnation among the crowd, taking pity at the sight, put an end to the beating. Both homosexuals were arrested, in spite of the supplications of one of the men fearing for his reputation, married man with family, with a certain reputation.

Held all night by troops, the men were transferred yesterday to the barracks of Hobeiche, by the order of Attorney General. A place known not to be particularly kind to prisoners.

Certainly, the case will be camouflaged. A beautiful Lebanese custom to avoid putting the finger on the wound. The wound in question is the barbaric and unacceptable reaction of the soldiers facing the display of homosexuality.

The men had sinful, of recklessness and even inattention. But is that a valid excuse to beat them and treat them like this? Was it necessary to bring down the whole neighborhood and humiliate them? Is it right to point them out as gangsters?

It is time for lawmakers to reconsider these laws, which are obsolete, ridiculous and from a totally different era, a law which still condemns homosexuality in Lebanon. At a time when gay marriage is permitted in many countries, the authorities continue to hypocritically deny the simplest expression of a reality that they do not understand. But they will have to face it sooner or later.

Government complains about BBC decision to ban Gaza appeal-Add your complaint now

The BBC must reverse its decision. Complain to the BBC here.

Stop the War understands that the government has contacted the BBC to complain about its decision to refuse the broadcasting of a humanitarian appeal for Gaza.

The BBC’s decision will prevent the raising of millions of pounds in emergency aid being sent to Gaza. Stop the War demands that the exchange between the government and the BBC be made public immediately.

Brendan Gormley, of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), which is co-ordinating a national appeal for Gaza said, “We deeply regret this decision. Agencies are already providing food, drugs and blankets as well as delivering clean water. But we will soon reach the limit of what we can do, without more money.”

The reason the BBC has given for blocking an appeal for emergency aid is that it wants “to avoid any risk of compromising public confidence in the BBC’s impartiality”.

Lindsey German, National Convenor of Stop the War said, “What has ‘impartiality’ to do with an appeal for humanitarian aid to a devastated people? How can you be impartial about that? Either these people need the aid or they don’t.”

This is the first time in the 48 years of DEC national appeals for humanitarian aid that a broadcast has been refused. DEC estimates that £10 million of urgently required aid would not now be sent to help Palestinians in Gaza, living in catastrophic conditions.

“This is a betrayal of the BBC’s obligation to be a public service,” said Tony Benn, President of Stop the War. “To deny the help that the aid agencies and the UN need is incomprehensible.”

It is imperative that the BBC responds to the government’s complaint and reverses its decision to refuse this broadcast. If it does not, we will see people in Gaza continue to suffer due to being denied emergency relief because of BBC ‘impartiality’.