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Toward a People’s History of the Syrian Uprising—A Conversation with Wendy Pearlman

October 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

In the increasingly disfigured debate about Syria, it is scarcely even remembered that it all began as a popular uprising—indeed, as a nonviolent and non-sectarian one whose goals were dignity, justice, and freedom from a one-family mafia torture state in power for more than four decades.

Wendy Pearlman is out to set that record straight and explain why the Syrian uprising happened in the first place.

Pearlman, an associate professor of political science at Northwestern University in Chicago who serves on the faculty of the university’s Middle East and North African Studies Program, is the author of Occupied Voices: Stories of Everyday Life from the Second Intifada and Violence, Nonviolence, and the Palestinian National Movement.

For the last two years Pearlman has been working on a book that she conceives as something of a people’s history of the Syrian uprising. She has interviewed more than 150 Syrian refugees in Jordan and Turkey about their experiences in the uprising and war. Along the way, she has published a series of powerful articles, among them “Love in the Syrian Revolution”, “Fathers of Revolution” and “On the Third Anniversary of the Syrian Uprising”.

In September, our Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver had the pleasure of co-hosting Pearlman (along with the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy) for a pair of presentations about her book-in-progress. While she was in Denver, I conducted this interview with her for our Middle East Dialogues video series:

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Refugee camp Röszke in Hungary

Michaela Spritzendorfer-Ehrenhause was together with Klaus Kufner and Ilse Lahofer in the night of the 9. sebtember in the Refugee camp Röszke 1, to bring relief supplies. She brought home shocking pictures and photographs. 
The variety of impressions about Roszke 1 reach from a female journaliste who made a refugee trip ,the use of pepperspray by authorities and to these pictures. The people who made it into these halls are already priviledged in comparsion to those that have to sleep in tents or outdoor. Food distribution about 8p.m. in the hungarian refugee camp at the serbian-hungarian boarder. About 300 people tried try to catch sandwiches and waterbottles in plastic bags which are thrown in the crowd by the policemen wearing face masks. Women place their children on the fences hoping that they will get their food handed directly to them or sitting with their children on the dirty mats and waiting for someone to bring them a ration. There are no medical supplies. Two paramedics from the hungarian red cross sitting in an empty room on the first floor waiting for emergencys. They are not allowed to give any information about the camp to the journalists. The ambulance can be called in for emergency cases. In the emergency room there is only a little round table with three chairs and blankets. There are band-aids, two kitchen rolls and a stethoscope. On the wall there are one and a half packages of toilet paper and some diper packs. Some poeple try to get in contact by holding up passports or signs with telephone numbers and names of their missed relatifs (a father is looking for his 14 year old son who got taken away by the police) in Kamera hoping that the world doesn´t look away and helps him. The camp exists since about three years, since the beginning of july the flow of refugees has strongly increased. Only within 3 months the camp couldn´t organise the food distribution anymore and coulnt keep it on a fair and human level.

The refugees welcome in Vienna

Today was an emotionally charged day for many Syrians and friends of Syrians in Vienna. When we heard that trains were running from Nickelsdorf (on the border with Hungary) to Vienna, those of us who could went straight to Westbahnhof to help welcome mostly Syrian refugees and to assist them in this stage of their epic journey. It was crowded, it was chaotic at times and it was overwhelming.

As they came off the trains, exhausted refugees would be met by dozens of volunteers offering drinks, food, medical help, and general assistance. We wore signs on our chest listing the languages we spoke, and we directed them as best as we could. For all the goodwill of all involved, it was difficult to know which trains would be the next to leave, and where to direct those continuing to Germany (the vast majority).

Platform 1 was entirely occupied by trolleys overflowing with food, drinks and hygiene items, with blankets, with clothes. Medical staff was on standby in a dedicated area clearly marked for all to see, in Arabic as well. On another side, some volunteers offered sim cards while others gathered cash donations for those who were continuing their journey beyond Munich. All travellers to Munich travelled for free, courtesy of the Austrian National Railways. Inside the arrival hall, multiple outlets were available for people to charge their phones, and signs in Arabic explained that free WiFi was available.

Amidst all the chaos was great dignity. The dignity of the refugees, who smiled when we said “alhamdella alsalameh” and who often politely refused to accept offered food, merely asking to be directed to the trains to Munich. The dignity of the children, who when handed chocolate bars and urged to take another would say no thank you, one is enough. The dignity of the volunteers, who seemed to instinctively know when to circulate, when to initiate contact, and when to stand on the side with trays of warm drinks, small things to eat and even cigarettes.

The generosity of the Austrian people and of the Austrian authorities was incredible; Caritas couldn’t accept more donations of clothes, shoes and toys for today. The kindness and calm shown by the police force was stunning; at one point, as a departure to Munich was announced, the platform became so crowded that a couple of employees were pushed and fell (on their feet) on the tracks. Yet, police remained calm and managed to restore order without force or roughness.

It was cold, windy and rainy in Vienna today, but to those fleeing war, misery and genocide, and especially after the stupefyingly harsh treatment they received from Hungarian authorities, Mother Nature was no match for the warmth of Austria’s welcome.

Tomorrow, Nickelsdorf.

Photo de Rime Allaf.
Photo de Rime Allaf.
Photo de Rime Allaf.

‘No Camp, No Camp’: Migrants Forced Off Train

Desperate migrants lie on train tracks in protest at being taken to a camp, as one family is wrestled off the ground by police.

14:49, UK, Thursday 03 September 2015

Video: Refugee Family Wrestled To Ground

Desperate migrants hoping to reach western Europe have been forced off a train by riot police in Hungary, as authorities try to take them to a holding camp instead.

Sky’s Europe Correspondent Mark Stone, who was on the train originally bound for the Austrian border and was earlier on the platform at Bicske, said: “We have just witnessed the most awful, awful sight.”

He described seeing a crying mother holding a baby and pleading with police on the platform in the town 22 miles (35km) outside Budapest.

The father, clearly overcome with emotion, then pulled his wife and child onto the tracks, before he was handcuffed and taken away.

The train, which earlier left Budapest’s main railway station, was halted in Bicske, where there is a migrant reception centre.

Migrants, most of them from Syria, banged on train windows from the outside and shouted “No camp, no camp”, while dozens of riot police looked on.

Dozens more lay on the tracks in protest against being taken to the camp, while others caught in the underpass pushed back dozens of riot police blocking the stairs to fight their way back to the train.

Those still in the carriages are demanding water as they sit at the station in the heat.

Hungarian police have declared the area an “operation zone” and have told all media there to leave. They are using batons to push reporters out of the station.

Video: Sky Reporter On Station Platform

Earlier on Thursday, thousands of desperate migrants poured into Keleti railway station after it was reopened, forcing their way onto a train despite announcements that there was no service to western Europe.

The migrants pushed into the carriages and tried to cram their children through open windows.

The train that left Keleti, the first in two days after authorities closed the terminal on Tuesday, was initially thought to be heading to Sopron, a town near the Austrian border.

Hundreds more migrants remain at Keleti, and are waiting on crowded platforms for the next available trains.

Video: Station: Cops Out, Migrants In

An Austrian police spokesman said there are no services running from Budapest to Vienna, while the Hungarian government told Sky News no international trains will be leaving Keleti for “safety reasons”.

Keleti had been closed for two days, but migrants poured into the terminal on Thursday as police withdrew. Thousands had slept outside waiting for the station to reopen.

Amid the chaos, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said his country had done everything to stick to EU rules on border protection, and revealed the army will be deployed to defend Hungary’s border with Serbia.

More than 150,000 migrants have travelled this year to Hungary, a gateway to the EU for those crossing by land from nations including Syria and Afghanistan, across Macedonia and Serbia.

Video: ‘This Is Germany’s Problem’

Mr Orban, meeting European Union leaders in Brussels to discuss the crisis, said other politicians should not criticise his country for “doing what is compulsory to be done”.

He said: “The problem is not a European problem. The problem is a German problem.

“Nobody would like to stay in Hungary… all of them would like to go to Germany.

“So if the German Chancellor insists on it, Hungary must register them.”

Video: Refugee Baby Born In An Underpass

Berlin has agreed to take in some 800,000 migrants from Syria and the Middle East.

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, said the influx of migrants “is a problem that concerns us all in Europe” and added her country is doing what is morally necessary.

French President Francois Hollande said he and Ms Merkel are putting forward a series of measures to deal with the migration crisis.

Mr Hollande said this would include a “permanent and obligatory mechanism” by which refugees, “notably Syrian”, would be distributed among the 28 countries in the EU.

These will be submitted to a meeting of European interior ministers on 14 September.

Last weekend, Hungary had allowed migrants to travel by train to western Europe without going through asylum procedures.

Trainloads of migrants arrived in Austria and Germany from Hungary on Monday as asylum rules collapsed under the strain of a wave of migration unprecedented in the EU.

However, Budapest’s stance has since hardened, as demonstrated by the Keleti closure and plans to deploy the military to the border.

source

Refugees are human. This simple fact seems to have been forgotten

Refugees clamber through barbed wire on their way from Serbia to Hungary.
 Refugees clamber through barbed wire on their way from Serbia to Hungary. Photograph: Darko Bandic/AP

They’re not people: nobody would tolerate hearing about the drowning of human beings over and over again. At best they are bleak but intangible statistics, the object of a bit of tutting before mundane everyday life takes over. For others, they are an unwanted and uninvited swarm that Fortress Europe must keep out: full of undeserving would-be leeches who have no place in the west. In the hierarchy of death, anyone labelled “migrant” must take their place somewhere near the bottom. It is a dehumanised word: for all too many people, it is somewhere down with “petty criminal”, and who mourns petty criminals?

As the news of up to 200 dead refugees, drowned off the coast of Libya, filters fleetingly into news coverage, the only guarantee is that more will drown. And with news of more than 70 refugees found dead in a truck in Austria – to try to imagine their last living moments triggers a horrible feeling in the pit of the stomach – we know that more bodies will be found in more trucks. Those of us who want more sympathetic treatment of people fleeing desperate situations have failed to win over public opinion, and the cost of that is death.

For those who believe that hostility to human beings from other countries who lost the lottery of life is somehow hardwired into us, there is evidence to the contrary. Germany takes in around four times as many refugees as Britain does; and for every Syrian asylum seeker received by Britain, Germany gets 27. And despite German generosity comparing starkly with our own, half of Germans polled support letting in even more refugees.

This is a debate that cannot be won by statistics. We can tell people that those reaching Europe represent a tiny fraction of the world’s refugee population; that while developing countries housed 70% of refugees a decade or so ago, that has now leapt to 86%. Far smaller and poorer countries take in far more than us, such as Lebanon, with its population of around 4.5 million including 1.3 million Syrian refugees. But it won’t shift people’s attitudes. We have to do it with stories, humanising otherwise faceless refugees.

Other than a tiny proportion of sociopaths, our species is naturally empathetic. It is only when we strip the humanity from people – when we stop imagining them as being quite human like us – that our empathetic nature is eroded. That allows us either to accept the misery of others, or even to inflict it on them. Rightwing newspapers hunt down extreme and unsympathetic stories of refugees, and we fight back with statistics. Instead, we need to show the reality of refugees: their names, their faces, their ambitions and their fears, their loves, what they fled.

Yes, the solution to global human misery is not to extricate a tiny lucky number and parachute them into richer countries. We need the west to take responsibility for disaster zones it helped create, like Libya and Iraq. We should pressure our governments to do more to solve situations that compel human beings to flee. At home, communities with higher levels of both migrants and refugees should be given extra resources and support. But as long as there is misery, people will flee it, and a tiny proportion will come this far. If we want to help them, we need to change public attitudes by humanising refugees. If we fail, then more and more women, men and children will spend their last few hours drowning in seas or suffocating in lorries. It is as bleak as that.

The daily trauma of a Sudanese man locked up in Israel

Posted: 04 Jul 2015 05:32 AM PDT

African migrants face countless struggles in Israel, from racism to discrimination to outright hatred. I’ve been reporting (for the Guardian and The National) on some of their lives when they leave the Jewish state and end up in South Sudan and across Africa.

Israel houses many African migrants in the Holot detention centre in the Negev Desert. A recent Haaretz editorial outlined the inhumanity of the situation:

The Population and Immigration Authority has begun over the past few days to inform asylum seekers held at the Holot detention facility that if they refuse to leave the country within two weeks for Uganda or Rwanda, they will be incarcerated at Saharonim Prison for an indeterminate period. This step marks the beginning of the Interior Ministry’s new deportation program, which brings to new heights the ongoing cruelty to asylum seekers, while breaking international law and principles set down by High Court of Justice rulings.

According to the new deportation policy, Israel forces asylum seekers – to whom group protection applies and therefore they may not be deported, based on the principle of non-refoulement – to leave to third countries (Rwanda or Uganda), in which their basic rights, including guarantees of their safety and liberty, are not insured.

A report by human rights organisations published in March revealed that there is real concern for the welfare and safety of the approximately 9,000 asylum seekers who have left Israel so far under the “voluntary departure” program. According to the report, some of those who have “left voluntarily” have had to return to the lawless regions they had fled, where they have been imprisoned and tortured.

In one of the hearings of the High Court – which twice struck down amendments to the law on illegal entry to Israel, rejecting the principle that a person can be incarcerated without due process – the state denied the claim that the intent behind the detention facilities was to break the spirit of the asylum seekers so they would leave the country.

The new deportation plan lets the cat out of the bag. The state intends to exert unlimited pressure on the asylum seekers to send them on their way, without caring what happens to them and flouting international law, Israel’s Basic Law on Human Dignity and Liberty, and refugee treaties to which Israel is a signatory.

The threat to lock up asylum seekers who Israel wants to deport at Saharonim Prison for an undetermined period not only constitutes abuse, both morally and legally, of a helpless population; it also spits in the face of the High Court and callously ignores its rulings.

About six weeks ago, the Be’er Sheva District Court denied a petition by human rights groups against the deportation and incarceration of asylum seekers who refuse to leave the country. Judge Eliahu Bitan ruled that the petition was premature because no one had yet been incarcerated. In light of the increasing pressure on asylum seekers and the state’s determination to adhere to its illegal policy, the courts could be the last barrier to a fundamental breach of the rule of law, human rights and democracy.

But even before it comes to that, Interior Minister Silvan Shalom and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein can stop the persecution and abuse of the asylum seekers.

I recently interviewed an African migrant, via email, and the full transcript of our conversation appears below. His story is repeated thousands of times across Israel:

– Please tell me briefly your personal story and how you ended up in Holot, how long you’ve been there etc?

My name is Adil Aldao, I am from Sudan, Darfur. I have been in Israel since 2010. I came to Israel through Sinai. It took me three weeks to get into Israel. Upon my arrival into Israel through the Egyptian border, an Israeli soldier caught me and held me in Saharonim prison (a place where newcomers or newly interned are held for different period of time from one month up to two years). After a month in Saharonim I was dumped into a poor neighbourhood, in Tel Aviv, like the rest of asylum seeker here with no proper documents. I got a visa but wasn’t allowed to work and had no help from the government. I used to sleep at Levinski Park in South Tel Aviv in the middle of winter for four months, where I had to work black jobs to afford some money for renting. During this time I bear the hardship of finding food for survival and work for money for rental.

Years I was living in Tel Aviv before I got summoned to the concentration camp Holot where I am staying now and it’s been the hardest time in my life experience. In those years some Knesset members alongside South Tel Aviv citizens revolt against us (African refugees) in massive, racist demonstrations. During this year African asylum seeker have faced so many verbal and physical attacks. One of the common verbal insults was from the MP Miri Regev which refer to African refugees as a cancer and infiltrators from the former minister of interior. There are so many discriminatory attacks we have heard such as black nasty, murderers, work immigrations, or even physical attack on the streets.

In the beginning of 2014 I was sent to Holot for indefinite period of time and I am staying in Holot for over a year.

– Why did you leave Sudan? 

I left Sudan because of the genocide in Darfur which left over 4,000 dead and millions including me fleeing the tragedy to save their lives.

In 2003, my village, Golo, was destroyed by the government supported Janjaweed militia because it was a Fur Tribe village (it has since been attacked many more times. Whenever people move back to the village it is attacked. The last attack was January 2015, here is what I wrote about the situation of my family). I had to move to the neighbouring villages to save my life. A few times after they attacked the village where I was I had to move to Nyala city to try to save my life from the new attacks. A few months after, the militia attacked the Nyala city and I had to move to Khartoum to escape the violence against my tribe. When I was in Khartoum, I was studying and working in the market at the same time. Darfuri in Khartoum were the target of the government and they arrested me in 2008 because of my ethnicity. They brought me to an unknown place and they tied me up and then hit me in a really violent way. They beat me for three days and they asked me over and over why I helped the anti-government rebels in the Justice and Equality Movement. I told my attackers truthfully that I was not helping the JEM. They took everything I had on me. After 3 days, my cousin paid 3000 Sudanese Pounds for my release. But I knew I was susceptible to get arrested again because of my ethnicity. In 2010, the government ordered me to join the army of Sudanese forces to fight in Darfur, Nubba Mountain or the Blue Nile against my own peole; I refused to do. Because of this, I was not able to continue to study anymore, I couldn’t find work, and I was suscepted. The government considered me as a rebel so my life was in danger and that’s the reasons why I fled my own country in 2010.

– What are the conditions like inside Holot? How do you interact with other African refugees and guards?

The conditions are intolerable because the main reason they built it is to kill people spiritually and torture us mentally. Many have mental disorder as a result of it.

In term of food we have a big problem. What they provide lacks basic nutrition and does not suffice. Furthermore we are not allowed to bring anything from the outside. As a matter of fact we smuggle food in order to survive and if they find out anything that was smuggled in, immediately they confiscate it, and who was caught smuggling or have smuggled staff will meet punishment by transferring him to another prison which is more closed.

There is no medical service. Imagine over 2,000 inmate are now held in Holot but we don’t have even an ambulance for emergency. At 10.00 pm we all locked up in our sections. So if there is any accident we just have to wait till the morning. And the new law says if anyone is in difficult condition of sickness the authorities have the right to release them to avoid their responsibility. However, even if the patient in critical condition gets released he ain’t got money for the treatment and this sounds to me like they are sending people to die away from Holot. Holot is just a ghetto, the only different is that they don’t kill us directly; they kill us spiritually or send people to die anywhere by so called “voluntary return”.

Education; no education in Holot, we have imagery classes without teachers. There are no programs that could benefit us in the future.

Holot was built to make our life miserable to leave, but there is one fact they don’t understand; my life and my family’s lives are in danger, the thing is that if I return back to Sudan our family is endangered and will face indefinite jail. We don’t have so much interaction with authority of Holot, because they are here to make your life hard or unbearable so that you can leave the country. One example I experienced one day was when I went to the immigration offices to take permission to go out, they refused to give permission even for one day. I told them ‘this is my right’ you set it yourself; their response was you have no right here in Israel but to leave where you came from. This is a kind of humiliation.

– Why do you think Israel locks up so many African refugees in Holot?

Israel is using Holot as a method to force people to leave while they can’t be deported to their home country such as people from Darfur.

– How do you think the Israeli population views African refugees and why?

The government has created a bad image of African refugees as bad, murder, thieves, diseases, nasty and so on. Most Israelis are brain washed by what they hear from the media. Few of them understand the issue of refugees but they are powerless to help.

– What is your ideal situation, would you like to live in Israel? If so, what would kind of work would you be doing?

I came to Israel asking for help but Israel didn’t help me. Instead of treading me as human being with dignity and basic rights I have been treated as a criminal. If it depends on me I wouldn’t stay in Israel, not even for one day. The only reason I am here is the current humanitarian situation in Darfur and risk of being killed or tortured if I return. My ideal situation is I am buried in Holot, my future is buried in Holot, my freedom is buried in Holot, and my dignity has been taken away from me in my own country and where I find myself today. My brain is frozen from the mental torture, the uncertainty of my future, when and how the situation would favour me. From imprisonment in Israel or death in Darfur. My legs are paralysed in researching life and dignity. I have no idea what to do.

– Do you fear being sent back to Sudan or somewhere else in Africa?

If there is country in Africa or anywhere else to safeguard me with legal documents, a country that guarantees not to deport me, a country that would protect me with no fear at all, I will go. I fear of being sent to where my life is in danger like Rwanda/Uganda where there is no clear agreement of accepting refugees.

– What do you think of Israel itself due to your situation? 

From the history of Jews and in the honour of hHolocaust survivors, Israel shouldn’t treat refugees this way. Migrants, refugees and a different culture are not a threat to any nation. Israel is morally obligated to welcome strangers; Israel is morally obligated to show compassion to genocide survivors. According to my current situation and the international convention, Israel is not following the Refugee Convention and it is brutally violating refugees’ rights.

– Do you know Africans who have been in Israel and now live in South Sudan? 

I know some people have left but I am not in contact with them as they are not in stable situations in Rwanda Uganda, or South Sudan and most of them made their ways to other countries.

source

Are you Progressive Except for Syria? Take the handy test here!

Posted: 02/26/2015 by editor

pes 3We have all already heard of the phenomenon of PEP (Progressive Except on Palestine), in which those who consider themselves progressives (liberals in the USA) or leftists are pretty liberal on every single issue except the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But, their syndrome has been pointed out and diagnosed fully. A lot of them justify this position by saying that supporting the government of Israel is a liberal position. Their problems are not our problem… they need help that we surely can’t provide.

However, there is another phenomenon far more worrisome because it involves those who are Progressive ALSO for Palestine, and that is the case of PES (Progressive Except on Syria). Those who are afflicted by this malady feel safety in numbers, because they are in fact the majority of non-Palestinian supporters of Palestine. They will actually USE the argument of Palestine as justification of their support of Assad, even though his regime has a terrible record regarding Palestinians, (as did that of his father).  They will argue that support of Assad is a progressive (liberal) leftist value. Whether it’s called “selective humanitarianism” “double standards” or “hypocrisy”, it is a dangerous and insidious disease and should be cured. Here is a little test to discover if perhaps YOU are afflicted with this mental illness.

pes 2Do you perhaps suffer from PES without being aware of it? Fear no more! We’re happy to provide you a self-diagnosis test with simple YES / NO replies so that you can discover your own hypocritical stance, and hopefully, be on the path to the cure.

  1. Did you protest or complain about the unfairness of the USAelections for any reason but believe that Assad won a landslide victory in free and fair elections?
  2. Do you think that Assad is fighting terrorism?
  3. Do you think that the Palestinian cause is being defended by Assad?
  4. Do you believe that the war in Syria is all about foreign aggression due to their national and pan-Arab stances” and is not a people’s uprising? In fact, you think the whole Arab Spring has got to be “exposed” as an imperialist, western plot.
  5. Do you think that the Intifada in Palestine is legitimate and that the uprising in Syria is manufactured (while of course saying so having been paid guest to Assad’s presidential palace)?
  6. Do you think that the Palestinian cause is being defended by Hezbollah even when they target and kill Palestinian refugees and ignore the growing tensions between Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Hezbollah?
  7. Do you condemn religiously-inspired militias such as ISIS and Al Nusra when they commit murder and use violence against civilians but have not condemned Hezbollah when it commits murder and uses violence against civilians?
  8. Do you think that it was a good idea for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC) to shoot on the Palestinians who mourned those killed on Naksa Day 2011?
  9. Have you called Gaza “the world’s largest open-air prison” but don’t agree with the UNHCR claim that Syria’s war “is more brutal and destructive than the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and has turned into the worst humanitarian disaster since the end of the cold war.”?
  10. Have you endorsed or thought a No Fly Zone was a good idea for Gaza but reject it as Imperialist meddling or abid to save Al Qaeda if it’s done in Syria?
  11. Do you condemn the Palestinians tortured to death in Israeli prisons (since 1967, a total of 72 Palestinianshave been tortured to death) but have not condemned the 200 Palestinians tortured to death in Syrian prisons since 2011? You naturally probably don’t know about the at least 2100 Syrians who were tortured to deathinside these prisons.
  12. Do the at least 10,000 bodies of prisoners in Syrian regime prisons that were ordered to be catalogued by the regime mean nothing to you since you don’t have details on what the reasons for their deaths could be?
  13. Do you call for release of political prisoners from Israeli jails but do not call for the release of the tens of thousands of political prisoners in Syrian jails?
  14. Have you actually asked for money to bring Gazan children to make a protest for the NFZ but think that asking for a NFZ in Syria is a bid to help Al Qaeda?
  15. Do you think Al Qaeda and ISIS are Mossad / CIA inventions?
  16. Do you protest against the death penalty in the USA: Executions in 2014, 35, but don’t do the same for Iran: executions in 2014, Between 721 and 801 at least.
  17. Do you think it is wrong for the US to provide Israel with armaments because it engages in war crimes but at the same time, think it is justified for Russia to provide the Syrian regime with armaments and military expertsbecause “it’s war against NATO”?
  18. Do you condemn Israel’s “extra judicial killing” but claim that Assad must do everything he needs to maintain power because blocking his actions in any way, even by condemning them “… could end up ousting Assad. It would mean replacing him with pro-Western stooge governance. It would eliminate another Israeli rival. It would isolate Iran. It would be disastrous for ordinary Syrians.”
  19. Have you ever praised Assad’s government because it is secular, or “fighting the enemy of the West”: because after all, you only see the alternatives being Assad or the “Islamic Fundamentalists”?
  20. Did you support Haniyeh and Meshaal until they started waving the Syrian revolution flag?
  21. Do you erroneously refer to the Syrian revolution flag as the “French Mandate Flag” ignoring that even the Assad regime celebrated it as the Independence flag each “Evacuation (Independence) Day on 17 April to celebrate the resistance against the French colonialists?
  22. Do you know the names of at least one Palestinian dissident/political writer but don’t know any Syrian ones?
  23. Do you call the opposition to Assad “Western-backed rebels” either from a Pro-Israel or Pro-Iran standpoint?
  24. Did you protest for Palestinian detainees and even know their names but not do the same for Palestinian detainees in Syrian’s prisons?
  25. Do you know the name of at least one minor arrested or killed by Israel but don’t know the name of at least one minor arrested or killed by the Assad regime?
  26. You have protested against the racist and discriminatory Apartheid Wall and checkpoints in Israel/Palestine but you have nothing much to say about Syrian military checkpoints and sniper-lined checkpoints?
  27. Did you get angry when a US newspaper used a photo of Iraqi deaths, claiming they were Syrian, but when Palestinian supporters use Syrian ones, it’s “illustrating the suffering in Gaza”?
  28. You have protested against Israeli use of phosphorus bombs but you have nothing much to say about the unconventional weapons use by Assad against both opposition fighters and civilians such as barrel bombs andchemical weapons?
  29. Are you critical of the US for intervening in affairs of other countries but think it’s normal for Iran and Russia to be sending troops into Syria to help the regime?
  30. You would never consider Palestine compromising with Israel but you believe that the opposition must compromise with the regime in Syria.
  31. Do you condemn the Saudi monarchy and refer to them as Wahhabis, Salafis, etc., but refuse to recognise that Iran is a theocracy?
  32. Do you think that Assad is simply doing everything he can to protect the minorities in his country?
  33. Do you call the Israeli occupation of Palestine ethnic cleansing but do not speak out against the regime-driven massacres in Syria that are ethnically based?
  34. Do you refer to the Assad regime, Hezbollah and Iran as the “Axis of Resistance” even when they don’t react to Israeli attacks on them?
  35. Do you think the following two statements are both true?
    a. Dissent in the United States is patriotic.
    b. Protesting in Syria is an assault on the State and needs to be quelled.
  36. Do you think the following two statements are true?
    a. Pepper spraying protesters in the USA is a violation of human rights.
    b. The Syrian regime has to use whatever force it deems necessary against protesters, because they protesters have violent intentions.
  37. Do you think that Israel must be brought to the ICC for crimes against humanity but think that the Syrian regime should not?
  38. Do you condemn the USA vetoes on the UN Security Council in favour of Israel but praise the Russian and Chinese ones in favour of Assad both to stop sanctions and to prohibit ICC investigation including three Chinese vetoes on Syria alone out of eight total vetoes in their history?
  39. Do you think the following statements are both true?
    a.Calling a U.S. citizen anti-American or un-American for being critical of the US government is ridiculous, knee-jerk, unintelligent and actually incorrect.
    b.People who are critical of Assad are closet or overt imperialists and want US control over the region.
  40. You do not believe that Russia is an imperialist state while you are certain that Syria is an anti-imperialist state defending itself against imperialist onslaught.
  41. Do you think that Erdogan is seeking to dominate politics in the region in an attempt to restore what was once the Ottoman Empire or even think the US is trying to establish an Islamic State but support Iranian domination and the Shi’a Crescent?
  42. Have you signed petitions against companies such as Soda Stream and Coca-cola but not against weapons provider, the Russian monopoly Rosoboronexport or even the western companies providing the Syrian and Iranian regimes with surveillance equipment that they use against dissidents and opposition?
  43. Do you call innocent victims killed by American drones or victims of war crimes but consider the Syrians and Palestinians killed by Syrian bombs and chemical weapons collateral damage?
  44. Do you reject the USA/UK “War on Terror” but believe that Assad has a right to use whatever means possible tokill whoever he considers as a terrorist in Syria and that Syria is a sovereign nation fighting Al Qaeda?
  45. Have you mentioned the Blockade on Gaza in conversations and know it is illegal and a crime against humanity but don’t feel the same about the Blockade on Yarmouk?
  46. Do you respond to criticism of Assad by pointing out USA human rights violations?
  47. You know the name of USA civilians killed by cops or vigilantes, but you don’t know the name of a single Syrian victim of torture in the Assad prisons.
  48. You have protested for the closure of Gitmo, but you don’t raise your voice or even one eyebrow over theSyrian Torture Archipelago in which “The systematic patterns of ill-treatment and torture [in the 27 detention facilities run by Syrian Intelligence] that Human Rights Watch documented clearly point to a state policy of torture and ill-treatment and therefore constitute a crime against humanity.” Moreover, you don’t want to notice that Syria’s government has been cooperating with the CIA extensively in renditions and the torture programme.
  49. You think that Israel should not have nuclear capacity but that Iran should have nuclear capacity. Extra pointsif you support Non-Proliferation. Super extra points if you participated in any No Nukes events in the West or signed any such petitions, super extra and mega extra points if you are against nuclear power.
  50. You believe that the Palestinian struggle is about human rights but the Syrian protests were sectarian and religious-oriented, driven by people who wanted to overthrow and overtake power illegitimately if not in factmanufactured by the West?
  51. Do you believe it’s normal for the Syrian constitution to be amended every time that it serves the Assad familybut the US Constitution is sacred and especially no amendments should be made to limit gun possessionwhether you detest the US government or think it should basically call all the shots around the world?
  52. Do you think that Jews protesting the Israel government are noble people who are fighting for human rights and justice while any Syrian protesting the Assad regime are in cahoots with the Israeli government.
  53. Do you believe that, “We must not in any way call for the removal of President Assad unless he commits acts of terror against us. Assad’s government has committed no such act, thus rendering it criminal for foreign governments to undermine the Syrian regime. You either stand for national sovereignty, or against it. The choice is yours.” While at the same time have supported efforts from the liberals or conservatives to have Obama impeached?
  54. Do you believe that foreign countries helping the Palestinians militarily to win against Israel is legitimate but helping Syrians win against Assad is meddling and think that “any further intervention in Syria would be for U.S. interests, like weakening an ally of Iran, and would encourage Assad’s allies to step up their armament shipments. The carnage would continue, and perhaps increase.”?
  55. Do you reject claims that the involvement of Iran and Russia in favour of Assad is meddling?
  56. Do you think that the entire Syrian war is for the purpose of the US weakening Syria so that it can pursue its own interests in the region but ignore the fact that Russia has enormous interests in Syria that are far more evident?
  57. Have you ever found yourself denying Assad had chemical weapons but also applauding the Syrian regime’s decision to hand them over to Russia as a strong gesture towards peace?

pes 1

How many questions did you answer YES to?

Between 1 and 5? You are headed towards selective humanitarianism, or even are afflicted with Western Privilege Syndrome!

Between 6 and 10? You are dangerously using double standards and believe that human rights aren’t something universal, but allow your ideological or dogmatic prejudices to influence your ethical judgement!

Over 10? You are a dyed in the wool Hypocrite! Maybe you should avoid “current events” altogether, you have no understanding of what human rights and justice mean, you should wash your mouth out before you ever speak about human rights for Palestinians or anyone.

Death at sea: Syrian migrants film their perilous voyage to Europe – video

This is the story of five friends – Moaaz, Majd, Rasha, Kinan and Khalid – who fled war-torn Syria to embark on a perilous trip to reach Europe. So far this year an estimated 3,000 migrants have died attempting this same journey. On 16 August 2014 they set off from Syria to Lebanon, where they caught a flight to Algeria, to begin their journey 

 All mobile phone footage in this film was filmed by Majd 
 ‘I feel for those who were with me. They got asylum in the sea’

 

see the video here

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