Fadwa Suleiman’s Speech Represents Me

I have my reservations on the Syrian National Council, Burhan Ghalioun’s “apology” to the Kurds is shameful, and in a free democratic Syria the battle against nationalism and national Arab identity will continue, it will take a while, a long while, until we reach that separation between “belonging” and “identity.” What the hell is identity and why do we need it in the first place? Some say, that in order to lose “conventional self-identification,” or sectarianism, we need to be “Syrians.” But isn’t by becoming Syrians, we enhance a racist, national identification as being solely “Arabs”? Or else, why do we refer to “Syrian-Kurds” as such? Once we drop hyphenations, we become as one, and in order to be one, we need to lose those national preconceptions of ourselves, as Sunni Muslims or as Arabs.

I don’t know what “Syrians” means, belonging to a geographical border? owning a “similar consciousness”? Don’t get me wrong, I do relate to the people of Syria the most, but that is also relative. I am sure someone supporting Hezbolla relates to a Syrian supporter of Assad, and someone like me, relates to all revolutionaries in the region. So what the hell?

I do not believe in a ‘national consciousness,’ I don’t believe in nationality, look how it is interpreted by those apologetic to Assad crimes, and those who’re fighting for their dignity and freedom, and they’re all “Syrians.”

So please, do not talk to me about being “Syrians.” I want to be something else, like Homsi or Dar’awi for example.

Colonization made us all a bunch of nationalists, and because of that we made Arab Jews our enemies. Fighting for a label than for a value. I want to be living hand in hand with all of you, and this cannot be done if we see ourselves as “majorities” and “minorities.” The foundation of this logic lies in nationalism. Look at Iranian regime’s idea of nationalism, it’s not sectarianism we’re taking about here, it’s precisely nationalism. Nationalism that colors a whole nation in one color, one self-identification based on “majority.” I am not an Arab, I am not a Sunni, but people see me like a Sunni and an Arab nonetheless. I don’t want to be a citizen when other citizens are prevented from getting their rights, I don’t want to be a Syrian when other Syrians cannot be one.

Syrian actress Fadwa Suleiman appeared this week at a demonstration in Homs. The regime is looking for her now, her life is in danger. She begun hunger strike 3 days ago.

I came here to talk about Fadwa Suleiman’s speech she made yesterday, and here I am rambling about postcolonial anxieties. Anyways, this woman is amazing, really, and not because she’s an Alawite, I am not sure if you don’t know this, but if you’re an Alawite, and you’re opposing the Syrian regime, you’re not only considered a “traitor,” but also you will be boycotted from those supporting the regime, and you’re most likely be killed, not because you’re opposing the regime, but precisely because you’re an Alawite and opposing the regime.

This is the first and only speech made by a Syrian woman publicly addressing her people, this is the first time that a Syrian actress addresses her people and starts a hunger strike, do you understand how courageous she is? Do you understand how much she is in danger right now?

She’s fighting for a value, she’s fighting for a whole different Syria, and I want to hear from Burhan Ghalioun is to say the same.

Listen to her speech here and read the English translation on Abu Kareem’s blog here. For a little background on Suleiman, here’s a good piece about her on BBC, I am sure you won’t find it on Angry Arab’s blog or MRZine.org and the likes.

“It’s True, I was Made for You”

So for some reason, people think that my existence in conferences is useful in a way. The so-called “Arab Spring” is getting a lot of NGOs rich, and these NGOs must get “involved” in the revolutions that have swept the Arab-speaking region in 2011.  Conferences love bloggers the most. The world still assumes that the revolution in Egypt was made by bloggers, and hence bloggers in Arab-speaking countries must be invited, because they must have some interesting role in their country, and not to mention how journalism always create “heroes” in every “crisis,” the Hollywood-style. I’ve said it many times on this blog and I am saying it again: “online activists are overrated,” and not just in Syria, but all over the MENA region. And the “social media + revolutions” is the stupidest and most irritating topic made by ignorant “experts.”

Anyways, I am now in Spain, attending some geeky conference were geeks talk about stuff I’ve heard so much about but still don’t get them. I am not here for the conference, I am here for Spain. Conferences give you a free ticket, food and a free bed (in Spain we are offered a free tent). This is my first time to Spain and it’s not going well so far for reasons I cannot talk about in a Syria ruled by the current criminal and monstrous regime. Nshalla in a free Syria (in few months so please wait up).

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Helem replies to Massad: We are not agents of the West

Ghassan Makarem founding member and current Executive Director of Helem replied to Joseph Massad’s interview conducted with him by Reset Doc website. Here’s an extract of the interview:

The real problem with Massad’s interview is the lies, fabrications, and insinuations of being agents of the West against the people in Helem. This is an opinion we have heard many times from Salafists and chauvinists. The contention that homosexuals are agents of the West, that they are “imposing Western values”, and that they belong to the upper classes was also used by Khomeini before rounding up homosexuals and executing them. It is the same justification given to call for the arrest of HIV positive persons in Egypt and elsewhere and to pass a viciously homophobic law in Uganda.

Read the whole article here.

"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.

Free Hossein Derakhshan

I have seen Hoder from a distant in Budapest past summer. He was wearing a “I heart Gaza” shirt. He is in jail now, his family has confirmed, if he wasn’t in jail he would have gone mad on his laptop at the Zionists’ war crimes in occupied Palestine.

I don’t know the guy very well, but after Budapest I added him on Facebook, and HezbAlla was celebrating Samir Kuntar’s freedom. I was there in Southern Beirut (Dahiyah) and I took some pictures and added them on my Facebook and my blog. He posted the album on his Facebook as well and he had a fight with one of the friends on my list who was calling HezbAlla an extremist group.

After posting that album, Hoder linked to my blog on his Persian blog, I was blogging in Arabic then.

Hoder is a good person, he may have done mistakes in the past, but I have met him when he had thought things over, he made a huge LEFT turn, he joined the path of resistance, now he’s in jail.

The godfather of the Iranian blogsphere is in jail and no one is doing anything. I am not Iranian but Iran concerns me.

Most importantly, Hoder matters, he is not going to stay in that cell of his, he is going out and he’s going to give me that “I heart Gaza shirt” of his. This is me signing the petition.

Petition for Hoder

FREE HODER

We, the undersigned, view the circumstances surrounding the Iranian authorities’ arrest of Hossein Derakhshan (hoder.com), one of the most prominent Iranian bloggers, as extremely worrying. Derakhshan’s disappearance, detention at an unknown location, lack of access to his family and attorneys, and the authorities’ failure to provide clear information about his potential charges is a source of concern for us.

The Iranian blogging community is one of the largest and most vibrant in the world. From ordinary citizens to the President, a diverse and large number of Iranians are engaged in blogging. These bloggers encompass a wide spectrum of views and perspectives, and they play a vital role in open discussions of social, cultural and political affairs.

Unfortunately, in recent years, numerous websites and blogs have been routinely blocked by the authorities, and some bloggers have been harassed or detained. Derakhshan’s detention is but the latest episode in this ongoing saga and is being viewed as an attempt to silence and intimidate the blogging community as a whole.

Derakhshan’s own position regarding a number of prisoners of conscience in Iran has been a source of contention among the blogging community and has caused many to distance themselves from him. This, however, doesn’t change the fact that the freedom of expression is sacred for all not just the ones with whom we agree.

We therefore categorically condemn the circumstances surrounding Derakhshan’s arrest and detention and demand his immediate release.