Tag Archives: Assad

A Very Special Message

So I was happy to see the blog is once again getting a lot of engagement, seemingly due mostly to one of my recent posts, The Foreigner’s Guide to Appropriate Protests. I was a bit less amused to find that some of this attention is due to it being shared on several conservative and liberal subreddits. So while I made a decision to make this a humorous/satirical site a while back, forgive me for getting a bit serious for a moment.

If you’re one of those centrist liberals or conservatives who enjoyed the piece, here’s a special message for you: Fuck you, you hypocrite.

Yes, Western, particularly American leftists are ignorant about the situation in the rest of the world and arrogantly lecture people on how to behave in their own countries, but people like you not only do the same thing with protest movements abroad, but you even do it to your own people. You ignore the cause of a mass protest to focus on a window getting smashed or an upended trashcan. You whine about the lack of “civility.” Conservatives in particular are extremely fond of deliberately misinterpreting the message of a protest movement so that they can knock down a strawman, e.g. “All lives matter.”

And for the leftists whose nerves were struck by that satirical work- tough shit. You make fun of conservatives for not knowing the difference between Shiites and Sunni (though you probably couldn’t say what that is if asked right now), or for not knowing that Iranians aren’t Arab, but the truth is that so many years after 9/11 and Iraq, you’re not really that much more informed. What you’ve got is a serious case of Dunning-Kruger syndrome about the outside world, which is what happens when your frame of reference for how informed you are is comparing yourself to the dumbest people in the country. Think I’m being unfair? I just spent about half of my Twitter day slowly explaining to a bunch of self-proclaimed leftists that no, the Taliban wasn’t created or set up by the CIA, that it in fact didn’t exist as a fighting force until 1994, well after the US had all but abandoned Afghanistan, and no, they didn’t fund Bin Laden and he and his Arab volunteers actually weren’t a significant force in the mujahideen. Yes, I’ve been reading a lot of books on Afghanistan in recent years, but a lot of this stuff isn’t too hard to find. For example, you can learn about the role of Afghan Maoists in the Afghan-Soviet War from Wikipedia, of all places.

These days much of my timeline is filled with Syrians, Venezuelans, and Afghans all making a futile effort to get Western, mostly American leftists to actually listen to them and acknowledge that they might actually know a little more about their own countries’ history than people who may not even have a passport. Indeed, they may even know more than Oliver Stone or…gasp! St. Chomsky! The really infuriating thing about this is how all that intersectionality and respecting “lived experience” flies right out the window when it comes to a foreigner voicing an “incorrect” opinion. Look, being from a country doesn’t automatically make someone right, but at the very least, it demands you act a little less arrogant, and maybe listen more than you talk. Ask some follow up questions for a change. Again, it’s amazing that people who will call out someone for “mansplaining” will happily lecture a Syrian or Afghan on the politics of their own country, to which they’ve never been, whose language they cannot speak, based on shit they heard on RT or Democracy Now! 

You want to know the secret as to why I’ve never been a Chavez/Maduro backer despite being a socialist and at one time a self-identified Marxist-Leninist? It’s not just because Chavista Venezuela was never even remotely socialist. Part of it has to do with Venezuelans I’ve met over the years (oh I’m sure they were secretly millionaires in disguise though, right?) of course. But one of the biggest reasons was simply living in another authoritarian state where the leadership blames all its failures on shadowy Western conspiracies. That, and I’ve had friends who either lived under similar regimes. What you learn from this experience is that virtually all these regimes operate the same way. They all have a ruling class that siphons off money, usually form the export of natural resources, into the offshore accounts of the leader and his cronies. When times are good and commodity prices are high, some of that does manage to trickle down in the form of social safety nets. But when times get rough and it comes down to social programs for the masses or more luxury villas for the ruling class, the latter wins every time. And if the US and its allies criticize this or better yet, levy targeted sanctions- so much the better.

All of these regimes use similar tactics. Harassment of dissidents with plausible deniability. Consolidation and control over the media. Pro-regime rallies consisting of paid pensioners, public school and university students, and state workers. Constant promotion of bullshit conspiracy theories. Most of all, there’s always some kind of narrative about how the regime is coming under pressure because it has some great worldview that is opposed to the greedy Yankee hegemony. In Venezuela it was “21st century socialism.” In Syria it’s Baathism. In Russia it was “sovereign democracy.” In virtually every case, we’re told that this is an expression of the country’s sovereignty and self-determination, and the only reason why the US or the West criticizes it is because this country is going its own way and now kowtowing to the imperialist hegemony. The problem is, that in most cases the vast majority of people in those nations were never asked if they wanted to live under a corrupt and authoritarian regime that steals their country’s national wealth in exchange for supposedly “standing up to the West.” Believe it or not, but most of these people want things like food, shelter, and the opportunity to better their lives without having to have personal connections to the right family, bureaucrat, military officer, etc.

Do these experiences of mine make me an expert on Venezuela? Hell no. But living so long under Putin, plus the experiences related to me by people who lived under other dictatorial regimes has given me an ability to understand and filter information a little bit better because I’ve personally witnessed things that are near-identical to what these people are describing. Could I be wrong? Perhaps. Maybe these near identical things are just a coincidence, i.e. Maduro’s a genuine leftist who really is under siege by the US and this is responsible for his situation as opposed to his own mismanagement, while Putin is totally lying when he says similar things. But you know what? Occam’s Razor says we live in a capitalist world where states are run by ruling classes, not their working people, and it also says that if some country has some great popular ideology, it would probably be a lot more successful and the masses would support it. It’s a rule of thumb, but a pretty useful one.

The basis of a moral society, a socialist society, must in large part be empathy. It must be the concept that other people, in your community or thousands of miles away, have many of the same desires you have. If you have the desire for a better life and the will to resist oppression, you must recognize that other people also have a right to these things, regardless of their government’s relationship with the US. If not, you’re essentially dismissing those people as inferior, something less than human.

A while back, I encountered a rather burnt-out individual who turned on the left due to encountering so many leftists who refused to listen to anything Syrians had to say about their country, instead dismissing them as dupes of the CIA and Islamophobic caricatures of “jihadist headchoppers.” According to this individual, Western leftists are racists who “want these problematic people to die,” people referring not just to Syrians but also Afghans, Ukrainians, Nicaraguans, and other nationalities whose right to resist is denied by the privileged Western left.

I decided that person is far too burnt out and angry to have any use in politics, but after seeing how some icons of the American left write about Afghans and now Venezuelans, it almost makes me wonder if on some subconscious level maybe these people do want all those masses whose reality contradicts their personal narrative to die. Not so much to be killed, but to simply disappear, to be erased. If all these people would simply be silenced one way or another, the Western leftist would never have to struggle with the failings of their simplistic worldview. It’s so easy to dismiss someone’s lived experience, contemporary or historical, if you can just write them off as a kulak, a bourgeoisie, a jihadist, a dupe of the CIA. Then you don’t have to feel bad about your fetish for Soviet aesthetics or your admiration for a regime in a country you’ve never visited.

I realize this is a hard pill for a lot of the Western left to swallow, but look at it this way. You’ve been doing things more or less the same way for a long time now. Where are your results? What genuine US imperialism have you genuinely prevented? Who is in power in your country and what policies are they promoting? For nearly all my life, you’ve had a parade of neoliberals and fascists. You’re at a point now where voting for neoliberals has often becoming your only way to keep literal fascists out of power. Hell, the fascists in America are some of the dumbest people on the planet and yet they’re still running circles around you. So with that track record of solid failure after failure, maybe, just maybe, it’s time to start reevaluating your movement and your ideology to see if there aren’t any flaws in there that might actually be benefiting the far-right and hampering your own success.

Or you can dismiss me as an “ultra-leftist” or “Ukrainian fascist” (because associating ethnic groups with political ideologies is fine for some countries!), and we can watch this all play out. Me, I’ve already seen this show. All those things you think can’t happen here; I see them happening. So if you don’t know what life is like under people like Yanukovych, Putin, Maduro, or perhaps worst of all, Assad, keep on doing what you’re doing, and one day you’ll get a taste of it right here.

 

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Transcript of Bashar al Assad’s Victory Speech, 2020

Bashar_al-Assad_in_Russia_(2015-10-21)_08

*Applause*

Thank you! Thank you all! Throughout this long and difficult conflict I have frequently expressed my deepest gratitude to you, members of parliament, my military from the chief of the general staff to the lowest-ranking recruit, and of course, to my foreign allies Russia and Iran. A thousand speeches would not be enough to fully express how much I feel indebted to all those who rallied to the flag during Syria’s darkest hour. There are so many who deserve boundless gratitude for helping us overcome our enemies, the so-called Free Syrian Army jihadists, the Kurdish separatist terrorists in the north, the Islamic State, and the most tenacious of all adversaries, the White Helmets, better known as Al Qaeda! Damascus was besieged by terrorists of every kind, some even disguised as little children, but you did not waver and because of your resolve we have triumphed!

But I trust you will forgive me when I dedicate this speech to another steadfast ally of the Syrian Arab Republic, one which up until now has never received my thanks, our thanks, for all its unflagging support for myself and the government I lead. Naturally I am speaking about the Western left and the anti-war movement it leads.

They go by many different names, many of them claim to be Marxists, Communists. I’m sure some of you, and indeed even myself at one time, feared that their ideological leanings might prevent them from supporting our government, which is in no way Marxist or leftist and to be honest, is arguably rightist if anything. Some of us were afraid they might look upon our past actions such as jailing leftists or helping the CIA with its rendition program in the War on Terror and reject us entirely in favor of the terrorist uprising which was also totally orchestrated by the CIA, Mossad, and Saudi Arabia. But no, they were not discouraged by any of that. Quite the opposite.

Despite the fact that almost none of these people had ever been to Syria, or even anywhere in the Middle East for that matter, despite the fact that for many of them their only source of factual information about what was happening here was our ally’s satellite TV network RT and a collection of various Russia-connected blogs all citing the same sources, these people saw the truth of our struggle and boldly stood up to their own governments. When their imperialist regimes accused us of using chemical weapons as a pretext for a massive invasion on par with the 2003 Iraq War in 2013, 2017, and 2018, these intrepid anti-imperialists could not be swayed by the insidious propaganda of terrorist organizations such as the United Nations or the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. On the contrary, they were more than willing to take the word of their far-right wing ideological opponents and speak the truth- that these chemical attacks never happened, that they were staged by the Al Qaeda White Helmets. Or the chemical attacks actually happened, but the rebels carried them out. Or the Islamic State. Or the White Helmets actually gassed civilians themselves. All of those are totally real things that actually happened, and the Western revolutionary left were not afraid to speak that truth to power.

Indeed, so loyal were they to our cause that they never flinched from entering into tacit alliances with those who could honestly be called fascists in order to get our message to their own countrymen. So determined were they in spreading that message, than when our neocon and neoliberal enemies tried to point out their strange and seemingly contradictory alliances, those brave leftists simply acted as though no such collaboration ever took place, or insisted that it didn’t matter. But it did matter. It mattered so much too us.

And that is why I’m announcing that the Syrian Arab Republic is prepared to give back to the Western left that stood so loyally by its side throughout this seemingly never-ending conflict. The revolutionary movement that dedicated so much time to defending our just regime deserves no less than our material and moral support in its own struggle, which of course is something I have always deeply cared about. I especially care about the local struggles of groups like Stop the War Coalition in the United Kingdom, the Communist Party of Great Britain (ML), and the Workers’ World Party in the United States, to name a few. That is why I say to the following to them and all their comrades worldwide:

We have not forgotten your sacrifices and struggle in our name. We have not forgotten how you put off your own organizing and issues in order to march in the streets with our flag and defend our regime no matter what it was accused of doing. We have not forgotten how you were totally unconcerned with your so-called credibility when you embraced and repeated our side of the story, indeed our sides of each story, when so many people called you cranks and conspiracy theorists for doing so. We have not forgotten how you were more than willing to enter into strategic alliances with self-identified neo-Nazis and white supremacists in order to spread our message- the message that anyone who opposed us was a bloodthirsty Wahhabist terrorist. We admire your confidence and resolve as you diligently and consistently lectured traitorous Syrian former-citizens despite never having been to the Middle East or speaking Arabic. Many people, lacking that kind of experience, would never want to appear so arrogant and condescending by telling a person what is really happening in their country when they have never set foot even in the region. But you were not afraid to do exactly that. You knew these people had to be terrorists and pawns of the United States and Israel, you were right, and you spoke the truth.

And because you did all this, it is now time for us to fight for you. Now that we have victory, peace, and a lot more living space in Syria for reasons you should not concern yourself with, I am ordering my generals to set up numerous educational and training camps for left revolutionaries. As a caveat I must say that you may be sharing your quarters with people who are your ideological enemies on the far-right in your home country, but from what I’ve seen you’ve managed to get along somehow for my sake and I’m sure you’ll work something out.

In addition to the free use of our infrastructure and facilities with which you can train legions of loyal, dedicated revolutionaries to struggle against your own exploiters at home, I offer you the use of our media facilities as well. Any leftist party who showed support for us will be able to obtain its own satellite network to reach viewers back home.

I was also especially touched by those of you who, after the last false flag chemical attack staged by the White Helmets in Douma, pointed out that the US government had poisoned its own people in Flint, Michigan. Others asked why no other countries were talking about bombing the US when police used tear gas on protesters at Standing Rock. Such rhetorical brilliance was so inspiring that I have decided to set aside some of our oil revenue toward providing the people of Flint the clean water they deserve! We will also provide any leftist organization in the US with high quality gas masks to protect themselves at their next protest, which will no doubt be in support of a cause I deeply agree with and care about.

Another thing these leftists have shown me is that we as Baathists need to remember the socialist aspect of Arab Socialism, one of the core ideas in the Baathist ideology. Now that we are no longer under imperialist threat, I hereby announce that we will be carrying out a new constitutional referendum with the goal of setting up not only a truly socialist society, but in fact a fully democratic communist society of which the leadership of the long-dead Soviet Union could only dream of. Our resources will be publicly owned so that every man, woman, and child will be guaranteed access to adequate shelter, food, clothing, education, and healthcare. This we shall achieve by instituting the combination of direct democracy and labor time calculation-based planning according to the theories of Paul Cockshott, an author whose work I have read extensively throughout this conflict.

Having established true functioning communism, I shall resign as president and remain merely head of the party, which will only minimally interfere in the administration of day-to-day life. More importantly, as the Syrian Arab Republic becomes the first territory living under functioning modern communism, it will become a beacon of light, spreading socialist theory and praxis throughout the world. Where the Russians and Chinese failed, we shall succeed!

And let me say this to my comrades in the Western left- this is only the beginning. You stood up for me and proclaimed the truth, that I am the Lion of Damascus and flame of secularism in a Middle East infested with hordes of bloodthirsty jihadists. For that I shall open the floodgates of my country’s wealth and back your revolutions because you backed our war for survival! Moreover, my allies Russia, as well as the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, which I assure you have nothing to do with Russia and are an internal matter for Nazi-controlled Ukraine, agree with me one hundred percent when it comes to this new initiative. They have offered to send you whatever you need so that working people in your nations can fight for and seize the rights they so sorely deserve!

The right to rebel against tyrants is universal and just! It is not like that rebellion against me because I am in no way a tyrant and those were all head-chopping takfiri Al Qaeda Islamic State terrorists who were paid by the CIA and Israel. You are nothing like them and thus have every right to revolution and freedom!

So from the bottom of my heart, and on behalf of the Syrian Arab Republic, soon to be the Syrian Communist Republic, I say as emphatically as possible. Thank you, anti-imperialists! Thank you all! 

*Standing ovation and applause*