Asma and Complicated Syria (by SYRIAN HAMSTER)

Word from OFF THE WALL

This post by SYRIAN HAMSTER also appeared as a comment titled “Complicated Syria” response to an article on Syria Comment titled “in Defense of Asma al-Assad,” by an Anonymous Syrian writing under the name Cicero with S.H’s intent to also publish it on 7ee6an if I agreed to  cross posting.  There are only a few editorial corrections including a slight change of the title by SYRIAN HAMSTER in this post.

Complicated Syria

Regime promoters always attach a paragraph about Syria being a complicated country with rich heritage …. and so on. Take for example the first segment of this paragraph from the above “defense of Asma”

Syria is a complicated country, with a rich cultural heritage that is the result of the intermingling of the many religions and ethnicities, customs, beliefs, habits, ideas and values left behind by all the civilizations that have passed through and made Syria their home over thousands of years.

Further reading, shows the real objective of this paragraph which follows

It is at the nexus of the most heated schism our world faces today, between Iran, and Saudi Arabia, between Christianity and Islam, between East and West, and between Arabs and Israelis.

A logical link between the first and second segments is possible if one argues that 1. Syria is culturally diverse, 2. Syrians are connected, then it may follow that Syria is place where regional and global powers and cultures face each others through Syrians. This of course assumes good intention on the writer’s side. But when such argument is put forth by a regime loyalist in defense of Asma Al-Assad, it is used as an attempt to de-legitimize the revolution and to insinuate that what we see is merely the result of external forces using Syrians as if Syrians themselves have no choice or hand in their uprising and as if those dying are merely agents of external schism. The untold conclusion–premise of defense would then become: “Bashar is defending the country against these powers, and by extension, Asma is.”

Asma’s past deeds, some of which may be laudable had they reflected anything other than a PR campaign, are irrelevant to her current and recent actions. Furthermore, it is natural and common to say that she “embarked” on this or that project, but giving her the credit for the projects is a neither fair, nor accurate and it reflects a grave misunderstanding of how NGOs work. NGO activists are the real ones who design these projects, they manage them, they implement them, but to promote these projects, it is part if their work to find a “celebrity patron” to give the project visibility, and in the case of a brutal, money grabbing regime such as the Assad Mafia, some opbtain protection from the little mafiosi and some “oiling” of the machinery of the security apparatus to reduce the obstructive rejectionism so permeates the psych of the machinery. Asma Al-Assad received her rewards for playing along: a propagation of a false image of her husband and his brutal regime as a reform-minded regime, and an acceptance, and I may add, a rationalization of dealing with the regime while ignoring its continuing, but slightly lower-intensity brutality against opposition and against any attempt to establish a real powerful civil society. Not only that, she received a prime seat in the regime as its “civilized and modern” facade.

It is also well known that NGO’s approach wealthy people to serve as patrons for their projects. Some of these wealthy people are true philanthropists, and some play along for PR purposes, but in both cases, they donate money along with their celebrity status. NGOs are not shy about this, and why should they be, it is one way to provide benefit and some return to society. We are yet to find the level of Asma’s own financial contributions to her “wide network of” NGOs, knowing that her family gained significantly financially and in influence as well.

Asma’s “rose of the desert” veneer was relatively thin. It did not survive the heat produced by the first bullet her husband thugs fired at protesters. All what the email scandal did was to finish peeling off the last few specks of paint, which were more like tabloid play on speculations about whether she supports her husband or not and whether she is tormented by what he has been ordering his thugs to do. What we see is a careless woman, a woman who is fully behind her husband, and a woman fully out of touch with the multiple layers of misery her partner is causing to the people of Syria. A woman who has no qualm saying “i am the real dictator”, which reflects both bad taste and cold heart, even if said jokingly.

Her media rise as a “reform minded” “western educated” woman should in reality rile those who protest “orientalism”. Conditioning the progress of Syria on her “western” outlook (i would argue appearance) reduces Syrians to mere recipients of the “goodwill” of their “western-oriented” rulers and plays into the hand of the autocrats themselves. Not surprisingly, an anonymous regime loyalist, playing a hyper-nationalist tone, rushed to attack the anonymous Turk, who objected to one more attempt to rehabilitate an unworthy image and showed real respect for Syrians. The insult to Syrians posed by the west’s celebration of this fake image does not register on their radar despite of their constant stream of attacks on the west and “its evil plans” against Syria.

It would have been more appropriate to blast the EU for the ineffectiveness of these sanctions as real support to freedom and dignity seeking Syrians as far as the Syrian Revolution goes. The sanctions are worst than being symbolic. They are primarily at attempt to whitewash the “play along” policy over the past decade, and the propagation of the fraudulent image of the Assad mafia chieftain in hope of wooing him not cause further problem in the region. It is the west compensating itself for not challenging her and her husband to put their money where their mouths were. For that, these sanction may be condemned but never for the goodness of her heart.

The worst offense of the article is not the defense of Asma, but it is in its  last few words, which attempted to tie the fate of poor women in Syria to Asma’s inability to shop. That was bad taste, a really really bad taste.


Posted on March 26, 2012, in Asad, Bashar Al-Assad, Syria and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 170 Comments.

  1. Zenobia, speaking for myself, I’ve never thought of owning a gun, never will.

    I always try to put myself in someone’s else shoes, and ask myself what will I do? Will I allow them to take my family in front of my eyes and remain silent, or will I try to defend my family, myself? Do I know?

    Having lived through two wars, and reflecting on the situation back then, my instinct then, I wish I had a gun, in case someone invades our shelter. Knowing well, what they did to Palestinians. These Syrian families are faced with the same situation, knowing well, what they did in Hama. It has been a year.

    They have a choice, dignity will cost them their loved ones, on the other hand, humiliation will not spare their loved ones.

    Syrians have come to experience precisely what the Palestinians have been enduring for decades under the Zionist colonialist racist ideology, ethnically cleansing Palestinians, slowly but surely.

    Armed struggle or non armed struggle. I am not sure.

  2. Dear Shami,
    Please try to watch what NZ posted even if it has Haytham Almanaa in it. It has another person that had the opposite point of view. Even though I personally do not see eye to eye with Almanaa, but I think he did a pretty good job of explaining his position.

  3. Akbar Palace

    Syrians have come to experience precisely what the Palestinians have been enduring for decades under the Zionist colonialist racist ideology, ethnically cleansing Palestinians, slowly but surely.


    Would you mind if I responded to your comment? Thanks.

    One obvious difference between Assad and the “Zionist colonialist racist ideology” is that the Arab-Israeli conflict is a conflict of opposing nationalities.

    What are the opposing nationalities in Syria?

    Adding insult to injury, the fact of the matter is the Assad family have killed more Syrians than Israelis have killed Palestinians, and I’m still not sure why. Not to mention Israeli-Arabs are free; Syrians are not.

    If the arab people could show a tenth of the “outrage” at Assad that they have displayed in the past against Israel, Assad would be gone by now.

    So, while you ponder that, perhaps you can ponder why Israeli Arabs are one of the few arab communities that AREN’T violently demonstrating as they are in almost every other arab country.

  4. Son of Damascus

    Dear Sheila,

    I hope you understand that I am not trying to “change” your mind, or hope to influence you in anyway. I respect your decision, and fully understand it, and I agree with you the right for self defence is not negotiable under such horrendous circumstances.

    I don’t want to negotiate with these demons, this regime is illegitimate and criminal, the only place they belong is in a jail cell with a recording playing non stop the names of all the Syrians that died because of their sick, twisted arrogance. To be reminded to the very last breath of their natural life, all those they killed.

    I just want to make it clear that you can defend your freedom with a gun, but you can never win it without your voice.

    The sound of the word Hurieh scares them more than the sound of gun fire, for with us free they are nothing…

  5. Sometime, while knives, swords, and machete around guns and rifles are not needed to commit CRIMES. Supporting the uprising against the regime should not twist your way of thinking and tilt your ethics to start accepting atrocities and inhuman actions, or taking the extreme side of justifying the mere fact of killing.

    I’m sure most of you come across this article days ago. However. nobody wanted really to cast some light on chopping and slaughtering Syrians as we speak. Being under oppression does not justify killing or grant immunity. I’d personally call for all those people who committed such cold-blooded crimes to face justice next to elBatta and his cronies.

    For those of you who would argue the authenticity of Der-Spiegel’s report, I wonder no one was criticizing it when it was hammering Betho and his filthy dogs.

    The Burial Brigade of Homs: An Executioner for Syria’s Rebels Tells His Story,1518,824603,00.html

  6. Sheila, since you are from Aleppo, can you answer my curioisty :

    Was the Masharqa massacre of 1980 and the other subsequent massacres seen as “retribution” for the Souk al Ahad massacre ? And who exactly were the victims at Souk al Ahad ? All that I could find on Google was that they were “peasants and workers” and that their killers arrived in military vehicles and were masked.

    There is so much haziness about the “events” of 1978-82. There is not one single article on the net that explains all the incidents in detail, every single big and small incident, persons involved, exact dynamics. Does anyone know where to find this information ?

  7. Oh come on True, there has been brutality from the side of the Opposition since the early days, it started with the public lynching of the mukhber in Hama. These people are angry, you have to give them some leeway. rtaher you should ask ;

    Why are parents continuing to send their sons to the Army ?

    Why are people still willing to inform and spy for the regime ?

    I think people of the above two categories are worse criminals than those petty executioners.

  8. Antoine, Yep for 1ce I agree with ya.

    So it’s an alarming shit we’re talking about here, isn’t?
    How would we manage/fix this culture of machete/slaughtering further to toppling the regime? I can’t see these folks going into rehabilitation centers!! At the same time having them around civilians would be bloody risky. You know it would be really hard to obey the law after a long period of constructing & executing your own interpretation of law.

  9. Dear Antoine,
    I really do not know exactly what happened and why. No one really knows except those who committed the Masharqa massacre. As you well know, there was no investigation and no one went to jail for it. What I know is what I heard through the grape vine: Some high ranking Alawi officer heard the news that his brother was killed by the Muslim Brotherhood. He was stationed in Halab, consequently Halab had to take the brunt of his rage and quest for revenge. It was the first day of Eid. He took his soldiers and went to Al Masharqa, had his men bring all males including teenage boys from two buildings, lined them up against a wall and executed them on the spot.
    I think that once Syria is liberated from these thugs, there has to be an attempt to find out what really happened in the 80s.

  10. Dear True,
    I am really surprised that you are shocked. Were you not expecting this? The people in the Syrian army who are bombing cities and murdering the population are actually Syrian. The only difference between them and the others is that they have been raised by the army and the intelligence services to become ruthless thugs. As the Syrian regime has never been an equal opportunity employer, Alawis take the top spot in the number of thugs in the army. The Sunnis and others in the population have just as many potential thugs that never got the chance. Every action creates a reaction that is just as powerful. After a year of the barbering actions by the regime, now the rest of the population is being raised to become just as bad. This is precisely why this has to end and has to end quickly, before the situation gets completely out of control. Under pressure, human beings are capable of doing the unimaginable. History is full of these stories.

  11. From my cousin:
    Most of small towns in idlib are completely destroyed. People in Jabal Alzawieh have no bread to eat. No schools no water no roads no healthcare. The countryside is completely destroyed. Our house in ariha was damaged, all for asad family to stay in power. Alla yl3non

  12. Easter is a time to celebrate new beginnings. Will like to wish you all a peaceful Easter and a happy Passover.

  13. Listening to this live :

    They want to level Homs before any ceasefire. Bastards !

  14. Thanks NZ. Happy Easter and Passover to all.

  15. Antoine, those petty executioners in Homs are nornal human beings with family like you and me. the situation has mde them like that. If I was in Homs I would have executed every prisoner they would have caught, these guys executed just 20 % of the prisoners. The rest 80 % prisoners’ daily needs – food, clothing, shelter, medication – are all being met by the revolutionaries, at their own cost. These shabiha animals do not deserve to be judged on the scale of humanity.

    These men who are doing the “dirty job” of the revolution were normal human beings before the Uprissing. So I think its a bit of exaggeration to say they are a threat to civil society. Rather, I very much think these sort of killers are pretty much admired in their own neighborhoods as the “protectors” , in the same way as the “men” in the 4th Division and the shabiha are seen as protectors by many Syrians.

  16. ^ I meant to adress the above comment to TRUE, lool.

  17. Sheila,

    What sort of neighborhood was Masharqa ? Middle class, or working class ?

    Why was that particular neighborhhod targetted ?

    Arre the family members of the massacres of 1980 still living in Aleppo ? Are those neighborhoods taking part in the protests ?

  18. Sheila,

    Is it possible that Assad still enjoys some supprt in reef Idleb ?

    I have heard that for years the regime gave many subsidies and free land to the farmers in Idleb. Do you think they aree still supportive of the regime ? I also heard that before 1963 most of the land in Idleb was owned by feudal lords, and the regime gave the land to the farmers.

    So is it possible that the peasants and farmers of Idleb are all regime loyalists ?

  19. Akbar Palace

    Easter is a time to celebrate new beginnings. Will like to wish you all a peaceful Easter and a happy Passover.

    N.Z., Sheila,

    Thank you for the holiday wishes.

    Just thinking about our Seder meal, we are commanded to tell the story of our people’s freedom from slavery. The orthodox seders go SLOOOOOWLY, recounting the history in as much detail as possible. I would say in Israel, it is the most important Jewish holiday (a little less so in the US).

    Just to recap, Jews celebrate our freedom from bondage under Pharoah.

    Can you guys think who may be “Pharoh” today?? Exactly.

    And the “Ten Plagues” show you how stubborn and selfish this Pharoh was. He subjected his people to horrible diseases and tribulations until he could no longer withstand the wrath of Hashem when the first born of all Egyptians were slain.

    I hope this Passover ultimately finds peace and freedom for the Syrian people from tyrants and Pharoahs like the Assads.

  20. Dear All
    Hope for a serene easter and passover. May we all celebrate a liberated Syria next year.

    A new post is up.

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