Robin Yassin-Kassab


with 3 comments


Mazen Darwish

It was a pleasure to visit Oslo, where my co-author Leila al-Shami and I were hosted by the Literaturhuset and the Syrian Peace Action Centre. Of course, not every moment was pleasurable. A couple of audience comments reminded us of the rising red-brown tide of counter-revolutionary propaganda spouted by people who describe themselves as ‘leftists’ as well as those honest enough to identify openly with the far right. Sam Hamad calls this ‘the fascism of the 21st Century‘. Karam Nachar (a member of the Local Coordination Committees and editor of al-Jumhuriya) gave a fascinating talk on the intersection of political and cultural activism in Syria. Afterwards a Nordic fascist stood up and said, “You claim President Assad is killing people, but is it surprising when the rebels are being armed by colonial powers?” Such a statement not only ignores (and justifies) the Russian and Iranian imperialist assault on Syria, but also encapsualtes the stunning (willed) ignorance of those who believe that the United States is trying to get rid of the Assad regime. After another talk, a Norwegian said he’d recently visited Damascus, “where everything was fine”, and explained how Assad is defending Christians. Anyone in central Damascus in possession of eyes and ears can hear the bombs falling and see the smoke rising from the suburbs. Fortunately the exemplary revolutionary (and great writer) Marcell Shehwaro, who happens to be a Christian, was there to put him in his place.

It’s distressing enough that the violence wielded against east Aleppo and other liberated areas of Syria has reached truly genocidal levels. In addition we are forced to observe the ugly spectacle of so-called ‘experts’, ‘leftists’ and ‘journalists’ cheerleading the slaughter. (One such is the grotesque far-rightist-posing-as-progressive Jill Stein.) In such a grim context, it was balm for the brain to spend time with Syrian (and Lebanese and Palestinian) revolutionaries in Oslo. Perhaps the greatest honour was meeting Mazen Darwish of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression, a man of great principle and intelligence, who has paid a great price.

If you follow this link, you’ll see Mazen and I speaking about Aleppo on Norwegian TV.

Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

October 7, 2016 at 1:08 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Is eastern Aleppo liberated? By whom? Al nusra, who is Connected With al Qaida?

    Erlend Helljesen

    October 7, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    • it was liberated in 2012 by the people of eastern aleppo helped by free army brigades from the aleppo suburbs and countryside. at the time nusra was a minor player. aleppo is liberated because it is run by a democratic local council – something remarkable in a country that was run by a military dictatorship for half a century. it is liberated because it contains free newspapers, free radio stations and TV stations and the greatest concentration of revolutionary civil society organisations in the country – from education and health projects to theatre and art groups. these are the remarkable people under full scale military asault by Iranian-backed shia jihadists and Russian imperialist bombers. please take your ignorance, or more likely propaganda, elsewhere.

      Robin Yassin-Kassab

      October 7, 2016 at 11:06 pm

  2. Did anyone remind him that the 2nd Biggest (or the biggest depending on which source) massacre in modern Lebanese history was the October 13 massacre which ended the Lebanese civil war where Hafez had 740-1000 Christians slaughtered? Or that when Hafez took over the Baath Party he had Michel Aflaq sentenced to death, but fellow Aliwite Salah Jadid was just jailed for the same crimes (if anything Jadid probably killed more than Aflaq)? Or that the only prominent Christian in the regime was Dawoud Rajiha the defence minister who had an Aliwite deputy minister, despite the fact that no previous defence minister nor the current one has a deputy and non of who were Christian?


    October 7, 2016 at 10:10 pm

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