The Syrian Revolution Lives

Syrian government statements that it had defeated the revolution with its brutal crack down were premature. This Friday, Syrians came out to demonstrate across the country despite the growing danger of violence. The absolute numbers of demonstrators may not have been very great, but the number of demonstrations was. As Phil Sands in Damascus reports: “A ring of suburbs around the capital all staged demonstrations yesterday – the first time they have done so on the same day.”

Obama’s speech, no doubt, gave courage to the demonstrators. But it seems clear that the culture of revolution that has spread among the young generation of Syrians will not be uprooted or destroyed by fear or firepower. As I wrote on May 11:

The Syrian opposition has successfully established a culture of resistance that is widespread in Syria and will not be eliminated. Even if demonstrations can be shut down for the time being, the opposition will not be defeated. Syria’s youth, long apolitical and apathetic, is now politicized, mobilized, and passionate.

The government is not succeeded in suppressing the demonstrations even for one Friday. Greater numbers of middle class Syrians are becoming increasingly horrified by the growing brutality. The “shoot-first, ask-questions-later” policy of the government has engendered deep anger.  Instead of stopping the revolution, government force has allowed the opposition to mobilize the Western world to its cause.

The Obama administration seems to have accepted the notion that it must prepare for a post-Assad Syria.

The Syrian opposition has yet to offer up any leadership or unified program for the future. Before Western governments can move more aggressively to support the cause of the opposition, they will have to know who the opposition is. The opposition must develop executive institutions and a program. It is high time that political parties form and set forward their visions of Syria’s future.

Here is what Ammar Abdalhamid is saying. He is absolutely right:

The lack of any obvious opposition alternative to Assad limits what Western governments, including the U.S, can do, says Ammar Abdulhamid, a prominent U.S-based Syrian dissident. “We do want [Obama] to call on Assad to step down at one point soon, but that’s not going to happen until Syrian opposition and activists get together and formulate a viable alternative to manage the transitional period. Only then can we expect world leaders to be more forthcoming in their calls on Assad to step down.”

Anthony Shadid in the NYTimes says the same: Promise of Arab Uprisings Is Threatened by Divisions

…But in the past weeks, the specter of divisions — religion in Egypt, fundamentalism in Tunisia, sect in Syria and Bahrain, clan in Libya — has threatened uprisings that once seemed to promise to resolve questions that have vexed the Arab world since the colonialism era. …

NEWS ROUNDUP FOLLOWS

Syria’s suffers ‘another bloody Friday’
Phil Sands, Last Updated: May 21, 2011

DAMASCUS // Anti-government demonstrations turned deadly again yesterday in Syria, with at least 34 people killed by security services, according to human rights activists.

Previous Fridays had seemed to weaken the protest movement, with thousands of dissidents and residents of restive neighbourhoods in detention, a communications blackout and military units deployed in strength to prevent public gatherings.

Yesterday, however, as anti-government demonstrations entered a third month, the number of protesters on the streets grew in strength, activists and analysts said, with rallies also spreading across the country.

A ring of suburbs around the capital all staged demonstrations yesterday – the first time they have done so on the same day,

footage posted online by activists showed. There were also rallies in the central cities of Homs and Hama, while others took place in the north, east, south and west of the country.

Compared to last Friday, when six demonstrators were killed – the lowest number of fatalities in weeks – by early yesterday evening at least 34 demonstrators, including a child, had died in shootings by the security services. The deaths occurred mostly in Homs…..

“The security thought they had many of these places under control but as soon as they leave a neighbourhood, the protesters return, and they seem to be even more active than before,” said Abdul Karim Rehawi, head of the Syrian Human Rights League.State media did, however, acknowledge a dozen rallies yesterday.

“Gatherings of scores and hundreds of citizens took place in a number of provinces after Friday prayers, chanting for freedom, mostly dispersing after a short time,” the official news agency SANA reported.

It also reported that security force personnel and civilians had been shot at by “armed groups’ in Homs and near Idleb. Officials have consistently blamed the killings, including the death of more than 120 security service personnel, on Islamic terrorists with support from foreign countries.

That message is certainly believed by at least some Syrians, who talk of a plot by the country’s enemies to weaken Damascus. There are also significant fears, mainly among minority groups, that a sectarian civil war will break out if the largely secular government loses control. Syria is made of different sectarian and ethnic groups, with a Sunni Muslim majority.

Most Syrians are not taking part in demonstrations, and President Bashar al Assad, 11 years into his rule, still appears to enjoy a wide base of popular support.

That popularity, while real and widespread, is dwindling as the crisis continues, according to one Syrian political analyst, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“The silent majority is still quiet which is taken as a sign of support for the president,” he said. “But I see indications that [support] is slowly starting to shift as doubts are settling it.

“It’s still not too late for him to keep that majority on his side but it will take decisive political reforms. Things cannot just be allowed to drift as they are. At the moment, there is no actual policy; it’s just crisis management that is failing to managing the crisis.”

Clinton: “No appetite … No willingness for aggressive steps in Syria!” Thanks to FLC

“Couric: In Syria, Secretary Clinton, the government crackdown has killed an estimated 700 people in the last two months. What took so long for the Administration to put these new sanctions into place?

Clinton: Well, Katie, I don’t think it took long at all. I think we wanted to coordinate with our allies in the European Union, to talk to our friends and partners in the region, especially those that border Syria, Israel, Iraq, and others. And we also wanted to make it clear that, as the President just said in his speech, President Asad of Syria can either lead this transition or get out of the way. And unfortunately, the evidence thus far is that he’s not providing the kind of leadership that is needed.

Couric: So are you willing to say he should get out of the way; President Asad must go?

Clinton: Well, I think President Obama was very clear. And what we want is to continue to support the voices of democracy, those who are standing against the brutality. But we’re also well aware every situation is different, and in this one, Asad has said a lot of things that you didn’t hear from other leaders in the region about the kind of changes he would like to see. That may all be out the window, or he may have one last chance.

Couric: At the same time, this Syrian regime is close to Iran. They’re getting support from Iran to – for their tactics of suppression, if you will. They’re – they support terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. So why not just say he needs to be removed?

Clinton: Well, you’re right that Iran is supporting them, and the President mentioned that in his speech today. It hasn’t been publicly talked about as much as the facts warrant, and we’re calling them out on it. But I think we also know that there are many different forces at work in Syria, like in so many of the countries in the region. And we think it would be better if the people of Syria themselves made it clear to Asad that there have to be changes. And part of what the President – our President – Obama was doing today, was to say, “Do you want to end up like Iran, Syria? And President Asad, do you want to end up like a leader of a country that is further and further isolated?” So each of these situations has to be carefully calibrated, and I think the President got it just right.

Couric: So is the U.S. pursuing regime change in Syria?

Clinton: What we are doing is exactly what President Obama said: Either you lead the transition or get out of the way. How that happens is up to the people of that country….

Couric: Why does the killing of civilians in Libya justify U.S. military involvement, but the killing of civilians in Syria does not?

Clinton: Well, part of the reason is look at the difference in the reaction of the world…. we also know that there’s no one size fits all …

Couric: Why not exercise U.S. leadership, though, Secretary Clinton, and galvanize the international community to take more aggressive steps in Syria?

Clinton: There’s no appetite for that, Katie. There’s no willingness…. “

amnesty international

The Syrian authorities must carry out a prompt, impartial investigation into reports that a number of bodies were unearthed near the city of Dera’a and into how those deaths occurred, Amnesty International said today.

Sources have told Amnesty International that local residents on the outskirts of the southern city of Dera’a yesterday found a shallow, unmarked grave containing the bodies of at least five people – said to be ‘Abd al-Razaq Abazaid and his four sons, Samer, Samir, Suliman and Mohamed Abazaid.

France Sees Majority Backing Syria Condemnation at UN, AFP Says
2011-05-17 By Inal Ersan

May 17 (Bloomberg) — France’s foreign minister Alain Juppe said a majority consensus is forming within the United Nation to condemn Syrian government violence against protesters, Agence- France Presse reported.

Lower Violence, Promises of Dialogue Reduce Tension in Damascus Syria Report

Another week of protests across Syria has ended with hopes of less violent future demonstrations and promises by the Government that it would launch a national dialogue to help find a solution to the stalemate.

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has the “desire to coordinate the opposition” Syria Report

“People on the street are getting tired, they’re running out of resources, and they don’t have that much experience,” said one protest coordinator outside Syria. “They recognize, and we have to recognize, that the Brothers are better organized and better funded.”

“Religion is the most important aspect in my life,” said one conservative, Sunni landowner in Damascus. “But we do not like Salafism—we all want to live in a moderate community in peace,” he said, addressing the government line that the hard-line Islamist movement has stoked the protests.”

Too Big to Fail?
Is Syria’s repressive dictatorship really so crucial to Mideast peace and stability that we can’t let it fail? The Obama administration still seems to think so.
BY AARON DAVID MILLER | MAY 12, 2011, Foreign policy

Bad options, bad outcomes. So, for now, we watch and wait to see where the arc on the Assads is headed — north or south. But if the Assads do survive, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Washington at some point resumes a business-as-usual posture with the only surviving repressive Arab dictator that’s too big to fail.

From Pomed

Syria Isolated in International Community, Egypt Quietly Supporting: The Turtle Bay blog at Foreign Policy obtained confidential documents from U.N. negotiations demonstrating that Egypt has been providing Syria with diplomatic cover. Egypt not only supported efforts to derail a U.N. Security Council vote against Syria, but actively proposed resolutions affirming the “principle of non-interference” in matters of state.  Syria has dropped its bid for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council; Kuwait will replace it as a candidate.  Kuwait’s ambassador to the U.N. stated that Syria had not withdrawn its nomination completely, but that the two countries were simply swapping terms.

ArabCrunch: (Warning) Syrian’s Secret Police Main Suspect Behind Man-In-The-Middle Attack against Facebook Users in Syria
2011-05-16

It seems that Syrian secret police or “Mukhabrat” is behind issuing forged facebook’s security certificate in Syria when accessing via https connection or man in the middle attack, which enables them to get users password and spy on Syrian …

Comments (199)


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151. Sophia said:

# 143 Aboud,

What is going on in Tel Kalakh is clearly not a revolution of the people. It is an insurrection financed by Lebanese parties to make trouble for Hezbollah. These parties have in the past tried to make trouble for Hezbollah, through many ways, including calling on Israelis to bomb the south, and now they are using the Syrian ‘revolution’ in order to get at Hezbollah and do you want Hezbollah not to react?

Tripoli is full of Salafis and they are being exported to Tel Kalakh. So yes Al Manar is correct and what is going on in Tel Kalakh has nothing to do with the Syrian revolution unless the revolution want to claim these actions of betrayal of their country and being sold to a foreign political party as their own.

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May 22nd, 2011, 4:35 pm

 

152. Sophia said:

100 millions spent by SA and UAE on financing Muslim extremists. Some of them are in Tel Kalakh.
http://friday-lunch-club.blogspot.com/2011/05/wikileaks-us-cable-saudi-arabia-uae.html

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May 22nd, 2011, 5:24 pm

 
 

154. vlad-the-syrian said:

ABOALI #121

nice friends you have in HAMA !

good friends indeeed these ABADAYAT these unmatched heroes
sure they will appoint you their minister of information as soon they take power with their pissful methods you deserve it if not better !

well , i have a friend in the security (the Amn as you knwow) and he told me :

“you know we caught many of those brave ABADAYAT (whom you are so proud of) and he added you look suprised how easy we got their confessions withou any violence
indeed it was quite easy : some among them are (i should say were) foreigners chiefly arabs, jordanians, lebabanese and saudis etc…
well we delivered to them in front of their syrians fellows a famous syrian recipe and the syrians watched them enjoy it very very very slowly and soon aftewards they all started to talk and give names”

3refet shlon ?

i’ll give you the recipe if you wish
i’m sure you’ll like it 🙂

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May 22nd, 2011, 5:35 pm

 

155. Aboud said:

@145 Sophia

The notion that a town of 33,000 people that resembled the wild west for years, would suddenly turn into a Salafi client state of Said Harriri is so absurd that it’s not worth the time rebutting. Unfortunately, Baathists actually believe this stuff.

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May 22nd, 2011, 5:36 pm

 

156. vlad-the-syrian said:

#149 ABOUD

it is not stuff : facts and evidence and lot of money

and Baathists are not the only ones who believe this

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May 22nd, 2011, 5:48 pm

 

157. Sophia said:

#149 Aboud,

The situation in Tel Kalakh:

“We will defend ourselves by baring our chests to their bullets and fighting with our bare hands. Our cause is righteous. Even if we lose 2 or 3 million people, we are willing to put up with that high price to get what we want,” he says”

“One woman who arrived in Lebanon from Homs on Monday, who also cannot be identified for security reasons, said that bodies of people shot by security forces in the city were being mutilated and left in the street so that the authorities could blame “Salafists,” or Islamic extremists. But she added that claims by the Syrian authorities that armed groups are responsible for some of the deaths were not unfounded. She said cars full of unidentified men routinely open fire on civilians and security forces alike.”

More here:
http://www.lebanonwire.com/1105MLN/11051102CSM.asp

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May 22nd, 2011, 5:51 pm

 

158. why-discuss said:

ABOALi

‘I have friends in Hama who are amongst the protesters, and for your information there are protests every single day in AlHader.’

Can you tell me what is the slogan of their demonstration?
Dialog or the head of President?

By the way, can you try to show some respect to the other bloggers, or it is too much to ask?,

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May 22nd, 2011, 5:55 pm

 

159. Aboud said:

@151 Sophia.

You can go down to Telkelakh right now and ask the army guys manning the check points whether they saw any mutilated bodies or Salafis.

I’ve spoken to people from Telkelakh who fled to Marmarita and Homs, and I know exactly what went on there. Needless to say, Salafis didn’t figure anywhere in the events. It was a brutal invasion by a regime, angered by a town freely demonstrating in their thousands upon thousands. For daring to demand freedom, dignity and an end to tyranny, they were labeled as Islamic extremists and their homes were shelled by tanks, their streets invaded by Shabiha scum. Baathism has failed, and failed spectacularly, if the only response to a demonstration is to send in tanks.

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May 22nd, 2011, 6:38 pm

 

160. aboali said:

#152

Their slogans are quite simply the fall of the regime, or dialogue with certain pre-conditions, as follows:

And Vlad, you must have the gullibility of a school boy, not to mention the brain power. So your friends at the Amn told you how they captured foreign fighters and interrogated them eh? We’ve heard all this crap before in the Egyptian, Libyan, Yemeni and Bahrain uprisings, no one believes those lies anymore, well maybe school kids might but no one else.

—— Aboali please do not use words like “scum” and the like. You will be banned. I know that there are many provocations from others I will try to warn everyone.

I don’t have time to play editor to the comment section. Every sane person is leaving because of the insults and hate. Let’s keep the discussion reasoned. I know passions are high, but we all need to restrain ourselves.

Thanks. Joshua Landis

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May 22nd, 2011, 6:38 pm

 

161. Akbar Palace said:

Sophia,

Why should I have to be Syrian to understand racism? Your reply is what we call a “cop-out”.

Racism is recognizable by law. If an employer says I hate Jews, Arabs, or Syrians, then he/she is a racist.

I still didn’t see what you found racist in Friedman’s article.

BTW, do you hate Israelis Sophia?

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May 22nd, 2011, 6:43 pm

 

162. why-discuss said:

Abboud and AboAli

I understand your frustration but I think you are abusing the words ‘scum’ and ‘rot’ together with other curses. It seems inappropriate here. Please keep these to when you will go to the street with your friends the protesters.

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May 22nd, 2011, 6:52 pm

 

163. why-discuss said:

AP

I like non-Israelis Jews and I dislike most Israeli Jews, especially the Israeli leaders, yes!

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May 22nd, 2011, 6:54 pm

 

164. Sophia said:

# 155 AP,

“Why should I have to be Syrian to understand racism? Your reply is what we call a “cop-out”.”

I didn’t say this. You are twisting my comment. And I am not going to justify myself on the basis of your intentional or unintentional erroneous reading of my comment.

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May 22nd, 2011, 7:02 pm

 

165. Sophia said:

#153 Aboud,

You really read whatever suits your thinking and you keep repeating the same thing.

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May 22nd, 2011, 7:06 pm

 

166. qunfuz said:

a comment (not from me) on the shabeeha and who represents the Alawis. http://qunfuz.com/2011/05/22/regime-versus-alawis/

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May 22nd, 2011, 7:17 pm

 

167. vlad-the-syrian said:

Vlad please do not use words like “crush you,” “scum” and the like. You will be banned.

I don’t have time to play editor to the comment section. Every sane person is leaving because of the insults and hate. Let’s keep the discussion reasoned. I know passions are high, but you must restrain yourself, as must others.

This is true for everyone. Joshua Landis

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May 22nd, 2011, 7:35 pm

 

168. Louai said:

I am not religious but We need plenty of these moves
صلاة “من أجل دوام المحبة” تجمع رجال الدين الإسلامي والمسيحي في محافظة اللاذقية

http://www.syria-news.com/readnews.php?sy_seq=132922

but first we need not to hide our sectarianism and acknowledge it so we can fight .
if i was in the opposition side i would stop saying its not a sectarian revolution but more importantly would admit the violence natures of at least some of the demonstrators and condemn it it the strongest words possible
the peaceful demonstrations are mostly the Kurdish ones ,how beautiful was the very first demonstration the one was in Damascus Al Hamedya souk? Those demonstrations are a positive action that creates a positive reaction and outcome.
Many people changed their mind when they heard the sectarian slogans and saw violence involved.
If we don’t know what our problems are ,we can never solve them .

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May 22nd, 2011, 8:06 pm

 

169. Akbar Palace said:

Why Discuss,

I’m a non-Israeli Jew and so are all the other American Jews.

I’m glad you like us.;)

So what makes us American Jews so much more likable than Israeli Jews?

Sophia,

I see that it is difficult for you to articulate Friedman’s “racism”. This maybe an example of why some of the more open-minded people on this forum take issue with your opinions.

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May 22nd, 2011, 8:15 pm

 

170. vlad-the-syrian said:

sorry but i didnt use the word “scum”

some people are getting annoyed by mere truth and facts – for instance what really happened in Tell Kalakh as well as the peaceful demos performed by ABOALI friends in HAMA and other places right out from the mosques

it is clear that the so-called revolution has reached a critical point for their own propaganda is now playing against them

that’s why the regime is showing almost all of the vids that they are posting on youtube

i suggest that we stop contributing because we are unwillingly helping these zombies improve their methods 🙂

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May 22nd, 2011, 8:17 pm

 

171. vlad-the-syrian said:

#163

AKBAR there is no difference … since you get paid to comment 🙂

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May 22nd, 2011, 8:24 pm

 

172. Louai said:

some of what happened two days ago in my beloved neighborhood bab el sba3

burning Hizbulah’s flg yesterday as posted on youtube on the same day

isn’t it a shame? bab elsba3 is a beautiful mixed neighbohood ,it has two churches there christians and Muslims lived there with a complete harmony ,i never had ANY trouble with any of the Muslims there ,i am not there now but i cant belive that those people belong to bab elsba3 ! i hope they are not!

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May 22nd, 2011, 8:37 pm

 

173. syau said:

The Israeli flag was raised in Bab Alsbaa by the revolutionists, and when someone attempted to take it down, he was shot to death.

The ‘revolutionists’ that continue to say the protesters are not armed, can explain their ridiculous suggestions to the family of Ramez Al Akari who was slain for being patriotic and refusing to be a traitor of his country by allowing the Israeli flag to be raised.

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May 22nd, 2011, 8:38 pm

 

174. Sophia said:

#163, Akbar Palace

“I see that it is difficult for you to articulate Friedman’s “racism”. This maybe an example of why some of the more open-minded people on this forum take issue with your opinions.”

Can you be more precise, please? Otherwise I am not going to answer your generalisations and your distortions.

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May 22nd, 2011, 9:21 pm

 

175. Joshua said:

qunfuz,

I have no disagreement with anything you say or AK says in his post. Well, I cannot agree with AK’s statement that Alawis are poorer today than they were 40 years ago. Surely that is not correct.

My post about the sectarian battles in Masyaf and Qadmous, where the violence was worse, can be found here:
http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/L/Joshua.M.Landis-1/syriablog/2005/07/alawi-ismaili-confrontation-in-qadmous.htm

I am not sure why AK believes we have a disagreement. I have written at some length about Jamil’s pretensions to be the spiritual head of the Assad house and the Alawites.

Here is one comment about him that I wrote in 2005
At one time in the 1990s Jamil sought to present himself as the Mahdi al-Muntazir but Hafiz stopped that pretense in its tracks. He was sent abroad for a spell.

Jamil has two sons by his wife (I don’t know her name but she is one of at least 4 wives) – Fawwaz and Mundhir, who is the oldest. Fawwaz was always a troublemaker, involved in smuggling, etc. Mundhir was the “good” son. He is married to Hikmiyya (last name may be Shalish, a relative) Hikmiyya is well educated and a good mother. Mundhir is reportedly a good family man and was always interested in business and kept out of the limelight, unlike his brother. Mundhir, though, like his brother watches al-Manar TV (the Hizballah station)and may well have been caught up in the nationalist ethos of resisting the American invasion of Iraq. This is probably the case with many power brokers in Syria.

There is some proof that Bashar is not afraid to discipline his cousins. In 1999 he had Fawwaz’s bodyguards thrown into jail for a time, after they beat the living day-lights out of someone for no good reason other than he had looked at them in the wrong way. When a friend complained to Bashar of this lawlessness, he didn’t hesitate to shame Fawwaz by chucking the toughs in the clink. In a separate incident, Bashar forced Fawwaz to open the street in front of his house in Latakia to traffic. Fawwaz had closed it in order to connect his front yard to the park which spread out on the other side of the road. The closure created havoc with local traffic. When someone complained to Bashar about the closure, he didn’t hesitate to tell his cousin to back off, much to the delight of the Ladhqanis. And this was all before Bashar had become president. Bashar was a positive force in Latakia during the late 1990s. He disciplined the “Shabiha” as they are called – the young and lawless Asad relatives or their retainers who largely come from Qardaha and who ran roughshod over the town.

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May 22nd, 2011, 9:48 pm

 

176. why-discuss said:

AP

Many american jews do not approve the policies of Israel but they feel solidarity with them because of the same kin and help them financially and take their defense when Israel is attacked or criticized. Yet unless they are very religious or poor, most US jews do not consider moving to Israel. Except for the ones involved in politic, they are generally open minded, relaxed in their everyday life and feel at ease with arabs.

Israelis are nervous, tense, always on the defensive. They don’t seem to be in peace with themselves. I imagine that living in the ghetto of Isreal is not particularly relaxing. They feel surrounded by hatred and victimized. Many also have a guilt feeling about the Palestinians and they compensate that by more arrogance and show of force. Many others have simply stop having any emotion about the palestinians. They just ignore them. Anyway all this is not very healthy for a society to develop harmoniously.
Most of that is apparent in the israeli cinema, a window to the israeli reality. When you compare that to american films by jewish american, you realize how different they are.

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May 22nd, 2011, 9:53 pm

 

177. aboali said:

so what are we left with now in Syria? Protests that simply won’t go away, a regime unwilling or unable to reform itself, a rapidly deteriorating economy, international sanctions and isolation, a spiral of violence and counter violence. Are we all collectively staring into the abyss? and when do we start playing the inevitable sectarian blame games? the Alawis for ruining Syria and bringing it to this after 40 years of their rule? The Sunnis for protesting and refusing to calm things down at the critical juncture? The Christians who stood on the sidelines? Everyone of us only has themselves to blame if we screw it up and destroy our country, remember that people.

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May 22nd, 2011, 10:04 pm

 

178. aboali said:

#170 contrary to popular belief, media incitement, and cultural bias in the Arab world, most of the Jews and Israelis I’ve met have been very nice decent people. But then again, formulating and demonizing a common enemy is very convenient for all sorts of political ideologies, whether in democracies or authoritarian countries. It seems hate unites people in a way that national identity or a common culture or a shared history just simply can’t.

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May 22nd, 2011, 10:16 pm

 

179. Shami said:

The Israeli flag was raised in Bab Alsbaa ….yes Mr moqawama .We will send you to the front with maher and makhlouf.
It was the flag of the iranian theocracy and that of its extension hezbollah that were burnt…of course these soldiers of khomaini in lebanon and the mukhabarat became crazy that their symbols are desecrated and the answer from them was to spread such usual lie,it’s very typical khomainist-asadian hypocritical behaviour.

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May 22nd, 2011, 10:25 pm

 

180. daleandersen said:

Memo to aboali:

Sometimes, when you stare into the abyss long enough, you have the sense it’s staring back at you…

http://playwrighter.blogspot.com/2009/04/give-somalia-to-kenyans-ethiopians.html

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May 22nd, 2011, 10:34 pm

 

181. Usama said:

Aboud,

Hamas isn’t neutral but has to remain silent because if they speak they WILL lose their support from MB in Egypt, and they need that desparately right now. Also there is never an excuse to burn Hezbollah flags.. NEVER. Nor Iranian. They have never hurt us, never attacked us, never killed us, never sanctioned us, never expressed hate towards us as a people, never backstabbed us, never conspired against us, never used us, never pressured us into something we don’t want, never never never. I don’t know if you realize this, but Hezbollah is not just Lebanon’s first line of defence against the Zionist entity, but also Syria’s due to the geographic and topographically strategic nature of the region.

And just so you know, there was an emirate set up in Tel Kalakh. Again, whether you like to believe it or not, it did happen, and there is a lot of reliable testimony to support this, while you’re listening to some “refugees” that literally said that the army told the Alawis to go home then shot at all the Sunnis (thank you Robert Fisk). If you believe that latter testimony, then no wonder you think this way. Syria isn’t like that. How can you even say the army is “invading” our cities? This is our army! OUR ARMY! There are good people in the army serving in their hometowns and governorates, and they’re INVADING? Do you reall believe tanks are being used against protesters? Isn’t it much more efficient to just spray the “crowds of thousands” with bullets? They’re all bunched up so it would be quite effective, and it would cause thousands of deaths, not the tens. The tanks were brought in because we already lost more than 100 soldiers, and they’re good armor. We already saw all the shelling rumors were unfounded. Tank shelling doesn’t make holes in walls, it destroys big chunks of buildings.

Oh and btw, 230 Ba`thists resigning is not mass resignation. That’s like a tree falling in the forest and no one being around to hear it… except Al-Jazeera of course.

AboAli,

Sophia hasn’t insulted anyone. Although she’s French, she’s clearly more educated about Syria that most people on here. She hasn’t said anything wrong and she works off of evidence, while you work off of videos that have been proven to be fabrications over and over and over, or videos that say “Soldiers killing peaceful protesters” but show nothing of the sort. It’s interesting that you tell her to stay out while welcoming the Zionist guests on here who care so much about Syria and its future (how touching).

AbuGhassan,

Is the government really based on the Alawi sect? I’m very disappointed that you say this without giving evidence. Maher al-Asad being leader of the Republican Guard doesn’t mean Alawis make up the government. We already have ethnic equality among our people and all have representation in the cabinet and council. And like I said in the other post, only 134 of the 250 seats in the council are held by Ba`thists.

AP

The article is racist. It paints our people as so pathetic that they sit at a checkpoint with laptop asking “do you have a Facebook?” Why that grammar error? Did the soldier speak in English? How ridiculous is this? I know that internet and Facebook access have not been cut off in Syria like they have in Egypt, and my relatives have been adding me one after the other since January, which I think is when access was opened up with the introduction of MTN broadband.

“…tightest police state in the region could lose control over its population, armed only with cellphone cameras and, yes, access to Facebook and YouTube.” Oh ok, no weapons.

“Several Syrian dissidents have banded together and from scratch created SNN” Right, it just started spontaneously with a large network of people equipped with satellite communication devices, all from scratch.

“Many global TV networks, all of which are banned from Syria…” Ha..

“…not because of Facebook, which his regime would love to confiscate, if it could only find the darn thing…” Oh those stupid Syrians. They can’t find a Facebook, that darn thing, har har har.

“This is a fight to the death now…” Thanks for that. Everyone else implodes, but we like to explode just to be different.

“…for Israel, which has counted on Syria to keep the peace on the Golan Heights since 1967…” Yes sir Israel can count on us! (since 1967?) Or maybe we found a better way to fight than to bomb the Golan where our people live and where we have a huge strategic disadvantage without air superiority.

“…for Iran, since Syria is Iran’s main platform for exporting revolution into the Arab world…” Oh yes those dirty Iranians! Naughty Naughty!

“…for Iraq, which suffered from Syria serving as a conduit for jihadist suicide bombers…” Right because bombers killing US soldiers was a major problem for Iraq, which loves the US soldiers so much and appreciates them causing the killing of over a million Iraqis to relief their non-existent overpopulation crisis.

Wow that’s only half way through the article. It takes too long to show you everything. He insults the reader’s intelligence and paints a picture of Syrians with laptops as retarded, trying to find a Facebook. It may not matter to you, but it matters to us… well to most of us with any national dignity. Thank you Sophia.

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May 22nd, 2011, 10:38 pm

 

182. abbas said:

Joshua:
Why is it that Bashar need to tell his cousin to unblock the street? why can’t the local authorities deal with that, if someone breaks the law shouldn’t he be punished no matter who he is related to? that what the uprising is all about, they simply want no one to be above the law and to have equal opportunity to be as rich as Rami is

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May 22nd, 2011, 10:49 pm

 

183. why-discuss said:

Rising Literacy and a Shrinking Birth Rate
A Look at the Root Causes of the Arab Revolution

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,763537,00.html

In a SPIEGEL interview, French social scientist Emmanuel Todd discusses the demographic roots of the Arab revolution, which he argues was spurred by rising literacy and rapidly shrinking birth rates. He also muses on the ghost of Osama bin Laden, arguing “al-Qaida was already dead,” and on why he believes Germany is not a part of the “core West.”

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May 22nd, 2011, 10:59 pm

 

184. Mick said:

Usama,

Don’t you know that Maher and Asef Shawkat run a Wahabi network of Al Qaeda into Iraq, Iranian revolutionaries through the Arab world, Fatah Islam in Lebanon, and my damn ice-maker that never works.

They can convince Palestinians to fight to the death just to ‘destabilize Lebanon’ like they directed Fatah al-Islam. They can direct Hizballah to kill people at will to push their agenda. They turned me into a newt.

I don’t know why you don’t understand why these two people are more powerful that the U.S. military and political forces and the mass sums of money Saudi has. And the inherent goodness of the Syrian people who just want freedom. They are evil incarnate.

I mean if that faux-4th division soldier’s testimony didn’t tell you anything! Just because the 4th Division wasn’t even in Dar’a doesn’t mean that Maher’s hand wasn’t behind the evil!

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May 22nd, 2011, 11:03 pm

 

185. Joshua said:

Abbas,

You are correct that Syria would have a better government if it were based on law and not personal loyalty.

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May 22nd, 2011, 11:05 pm

 

186. Akbar Palace said:

WD’s Night at the Movies

Why-Discuss,

Thanks for the feedback; just trying to understand how some of the posters here think and their reasoning…

Many american jews do not approve the policies of Israel but they feel solidarity with them because of the same kin and help them financially and take their defense when Israel is attacked or criticized.

WD,

“Many” Israeli jews ALSO do not approve the policies of Israel. So I find it interesting how you have built this difference in your mind. In fact, American Jews tend to have a more “hard-line” approach to the ME than Israelis do, yet you seem to be forgiving of American Jews.

Yet unless they are very religious or poor, most US jews do not consider moving to Israel.

Perhaps this is the main reason you like American Jews over Israeli Jews. American Jews live in America, Israeli Jews live in “occupied Palestine”? I think I “get it”.;)

Israelis are nervous, tense, always on the defensive. They don’t seem to be in peace with themselves. I imagine that living in the ghetto of Isreal is not particularly relaxing.

They feel surrounded by hatred and victimized. Many also have a guilt feeling about the Palestinians and they compensate that by more arrogance and show of force. Many others have simply stop having any emotion about the palestinians. They just ignore them. Anyway all this is not very healthy for a society to develop harmoniously.

WD,

You’ve made several observations about Israelis that are quite interesting. And, pray tell, how many times have been to Israel to makes all these sweeping generalizations? How long were you in Israel? Where did you stay?

Most of that is apparent in the israeli cinema, a window to the israeli reality. When you compare that to american films by jewish american, you realize how different they are.

Relying on cinema to determine cultural factors is a BIG mistake. All the sex is great, the good-guys always win, and Spider Man can climb walls.

I certainly wouldn’t want to judge Arabs from the American cinema…

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May 22nd, 2011, 11:09 pm

 

187. Abughassan said:

I never said that the alewites dominate the government,please read my post again,however,there is a heavy influence of alaweties in the army and security forces for a number of reasons,and that influence is felt in most branches of the government. Bashar indeed was more permissive than his father in appointing non alaweites in leadership positions both in the army and the security forces.It is also true that Sunnis and Christians are well represented in the Syrian government and certainly in the business sector.the regime did not survive for more than 40 years just because there is a lot of alewites in the army and security forces,it survived because it built an alliance within Syria that includes all sects. In a sense,the regime is more secular than many Syrians are willing to admit.
Personally, I could not care less who is where as long as there is justice and peace in Syria. I did not think Bashar was the right man when he was appointed president but I am willing to give him a chance to make good on his promises,but if he does not,he will lose most of us,not just the youth (since I am not young anymore 🙂 )

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May 22nd, 2011, 11:23 pm

 

188. why-discuss said:

AP

It maybe a rough generalization but this the perception that is shared by many Arabs. Many European friends (non jewish) who passed by Israel have confirmed to me many if these traits among Israelis, and what I see of Israelis in the media is another confirmation.

About the cinema, I think you misunderstood me:
I meant Israeli films made by Israeli directors with Israeli actors like “The Lemon Tree”, “Waltz with Bashir”, “Lebanon” and many others. They give a lot of information on the Israeli mind, worries and obsessions, much better than any propaganda or misconception.
If you want me to change my opinion, tell your Israeli movie makers to make films that show more pleasant side of the Israeli psyche!
I keep thinking that Charlie Chaplin was a Jew…. I doubt we would see another born in Israel.

As for your other remarks, I won’t argue with you. You have your views, I have mine.

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May 22nd, 2011, 11:27 pm

 

189. JOHN KHOURI said:

ABOUD ( ABU HAYDAR FROM ALJAZEERA ) –

U SAID U HAVE SPOKEN TO MANY PEOPLE FROM HOMS AND MARMARITA? MARMARITA U SAID? 10000% OF SYRIANS IN MARMARITA HATE THE ISLAMISTS FROM TELKALAKH WITH A PASSION. DO NOT TRY AND SPIN UR STORIES ON THIS BLOG PLZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. THEIR WERE SALAFIS IN TELKALAKH AND ISLAMISTS. DID U FORGOT ” ALAWIS TO THE TABOUT AND CHRISTIANS TO BEIRUT ” . ABOUD WHY DONT U GO BAK TO READING UR HOMS NEWSPAPER WITH THE SAMSUNG TV ADVERTISMENT ON THE FRONT PAGE 🙂 MY WIFE IS FROM MARMARITA, SO PLZZZZZZZ DONT TRY N SPIN UR STORIES AGAIN. BTW DID U FIND THE NAME OF THAT SHOP WHO SOLD U THE LOCK IN HOMS :-p HAHAHAHAHAHA

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May 23rd, 2011, 12:25 am

 

190. Usama said:

AbuGhassan,

My apologies, I do tend to read your posts the wrong way. I’ll try to break that habit.

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May 23rd, 2011, 1:32 am

 

191. Mouna said:

Raising an Israeli flag? Was there no-one to tell the protestors they are doing themselves a big disservice this way?

LOL at Syrian media 🙂

Dear Dr Landis,

“well we delivered to them in front of their syrians fellows a famous syrian recipe and the syrians watched them enjoy it very very very slowly and soon aftewards they all started to talk and give names”

The “famous Syrian recipe” referred to by Vlad-the-Syrian is actually torture. Is it legal in the West to admit knowledge of and extol torture?

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May 23rd, 2011, 5:39 am

 

192. Akbar Palace said:

The Search for Tom Friedman’s “Racism” (con’t)

Usama,

Thanks for taking the time to respond. I guess you have more energy than Sophia..

The article is racist. It paints our people as so pathetic that they sit at a checkpoint with laptop asking “do you have a Facebook?”

Friedman acknowledges that it was story, that it was something heard second hand, and that he wasn’t present. It was just an anecdote, and secondly it refers to an individual Syrian soldier, not the whole Syrian people.

“…tightest police state in the region could lose control over its population, armed only with cellphone cameras and, yes, access to Facebook and YouTube.” Oh ok, no weapons.

So where’s the “racism”?

“Several Syrian dissidents have banded together and from scratch created SNN” Right, it just started spontaneously with a large network of people equipped with satellite communication devices, all from scratch.

And the “racism”? BTW – So how did the protests start?

“Many global TV networks, all of which are banned from Syria…” Ha..

And the “racism”?

Isn’t it plain knowledge that the Syrian government did not permit news agencies in to cover the protests?

http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/05/08/148299.html

“…not because of Facebook, which his regime would love to confiscate, if it could only find the darn thing…” Oh those stupid Syrians. They can’t find a Facebook, that darn thing, har har har.

“Regime” is not the Syrian people.

“This is a fight to the death now…” Thanks for that. Everyone else implodes, but we like to explode just to be different.

Unfortunately, approximately 1000 Syrians have perished.

“…for Israel, which has counted on Syria to keep the peace on the Golan Heights since 1967…” Yes sir Israel can count on us! (since 1967?) Or maybe we found a better way to fight than to bomb the Golan where our people live and where we have a huge strategic disadvantage without air superiority.

Is there an error here? It may not be something Syrians are happy about, but the Syria/Israel border has been very quiet since ’73 (Friedman made a little boo-boo). And the “racism”?

“…for Iran, since Syria is Iran’s main platform for exporting revolution into the Arab world…” Oh yes those dirty Iranians! Naughty Naughty!

“Dirty” is your word, not Tom Friedman’s.

“…for Iraq, which suffered from Syria serving as a conduit for jihadist suicide bombers…” Right because bombers killing US soldiers was a major problem for Iraq, which loves the US soldiers so much and appreciates them causing the killing of over a million Iraqis to relief their non-existent overpopulation crisis.

And the “racism”?

Wow that’s only half way through the article. It takes too long to show you everything. He insults the reader’s intelligence and paints a picture of Syrians with laptops as retarded, trying to find a Facebook. It may not matter to you, but it matters to us… well to most of us with any national dignity. Thank you Sophia.

Usama,

Sometimes Jews accuse pundits of anti-semitism (racism) when they unduly criticize Israel. Now you know how it feels.

However, Friedman made some pretty pro-Syrian remarks IMHO:

1.) Because Syria is such a keystone nation, there is a tendency among its neighbors to hope that the Assad regime could be weakened — and therefore moderated — but not broken.

2.) Only the Syrians do, and they are voting with their feet and with their lives for the opportunity to live as citizens…

3.) More than in any other Arab country today, the democracy protestors in Syria know that when they walk out the door to peacefully demand freedom they are facing a regime that has no hesitancy about gunning them down. Lebanese have been surprised by their sheer bravery.

4.) “We have an obligation of solidarity with people in distress who are fighting for their freedom and their dignity with nonviolent means,” said Michel Hajji Georgiou…

These remarks sound rather pro-Syrian to me. And again, I don’t see any “racism”.

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May 23rd, 2011, 7:17 am

 

193. Sophia said:

# 192 AP,

Your bad faith is apparent. You quoted the entire article without the incriminated passage:

“There is a story making the rounds among Lebanese Facebook users about a Syrian democracy activist who was stopped at a Syrian Army checkpoint the other day. He reportedly had a laptop and a thumb drive on the seat next to him. The Syrian soldier examined them and then asked the driver: “Do you have a Facebook?” “No,” the man said, so the soldier let him pass.

You have to feel sorry for that Syrian soldier looking for a Facebook on the front seat, but it’s that kind of regime.”

First, you have to get the joke to understand the racism but it seems that you cannot get the joke.

Second, jokes about syrian soldiers are part of recent lebaense cutlure which show syrian soldiers uneducated and inferior to Lebanese.

Third, as this is part of running jokes about syrian soldiers in Lebanon, it is not about a particular one, but about syrian soldiers in general, which Friedman didn’t get because he has nothing to write when he has to pin down a column except what people tell him in his hotel lobby. So in a way the joke shows the racism of Lebanese and the stupidity of Friedman.

Fourth, the stories in these jokes are made up by Lebanese. They have constructed a prototype of the helpless and uneducated syrian soldier and they invent jokes about him.

Fifth, the racism of March 14th people against Syrians is well documented.

I am not sure why you were so stubborn in not seeing the evidence of racism in this but because it probaly touches on one of your friends propaganda being sold actually to the Syrian people and it touches on something very real that exist between Lebanese and the Syrian people, a haughtiness and attitude of superiority that doesn’t fit the narrative you are trying to promote right now. And Friedman, having nothing to write, bought the story and published it in the New York Time, so if you have any grievances about it and want to argue indefinitely about its apparent racism go and argue with your friend Tom Friedman.

End game.

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May 23rd, 2011, 9:35 am

 

194. Usama said:

AP

I shouldn’t have mixed in the blatant propaganda against Syria with my argument about the racism.

First of all, “regime” IS Syrian people. In this case, the joke is about a soldier, who could be any male Syrian, 18+ in age, with at least one brother, or any other Syrian pursuing a military career. They don’t go to special schools. They (soldiers and regime personnel) study among us other Syrians in our schools and universities. Maybe it was Lebanese people who made the joke (in English, I’d assume) about “do you have a Facebook?” But then, like Sophia pointed out, he goes on to say “You have to feel sorry for that Syrian soldier looking for a Facebook on the front seat, but it’s that kind of regime.” That’s not the Lebanese talking anymore, is it? That’s basing a view of the regime based on a “joke”. Then when he goes on to say “…not because of Facebook, which his regime would love to confiscate, if it could only find the darn thing…” that’s also not the Lebanese talking anymore, is it? It’s no secret some Lebanese are racist towards us, but we still love them 🙂

Away from the racism.

Now you said that it was “pro-Syrian” when Mr. Friedman said “Because Syria is such a keystone nation, there is a tendency among its neighbors to hope that the Assad regime could be weakened — and therefore moderated — but not broken.” Of course, you fail to quote the next sentence: “Few dare trust the Syrian people to build a stable social order out of the ashes of the Assad dictatorship.” Now this could be true, but he doesn’t even try to quote someone or use personal experience to back up that statement. This is one of the things that bother me about journalism. The use of “observers say” “activists say” “witnesses say” “diplomats say” “sources say” “monkeys say” it’s all so arbitrary and could be completely made up but there is no way to find out either way. It’s like the one “eyewitness” from Dar`a speaking to al-Jazeera saying he saw Maher al-Asad with his binoculars from 300 meters, and those binoculars are so advances that he “heard” him talk about strategy to rape the living hell out of the protesters. Next day this account of Maher’s presence became a fact and the whole world treated it as if it were a fact, and even sanctioned him.

“Many global TV networks, all of which are banned from Syria…”
He said the TV networks are banned, not that outside media is banned. TV networks still broadcast home and people aren’t getting their dishes and receivers confiscated. Maybe another little boo-boo. Outside media have been fabricating before getting kicked out. Cal Perry is a good example because his work has already been thoroughly debunked even though he claims to have seen things with his own eyes.

I understand that his “fight to the death” comment was about the 1000 claimed to be dead (btw, the rebels included all the soldiers in their “deaths list” and puts them down as shot for refusing to kill), but again it paints the picture that this is a battle between people and regime, although in reality the majority of the people are pro-regime.

I’m sorry but you can’t compare this with anti-semitism. If a person says “since the Holocaust happened in the Europe, why are the Palestinians paying for it?” that’s considered anti-semitism by Zionist Jews. Don’t get me started on the use of “anti-semitism” since many people are semites but anti-semitism only applies to a very specific class of semites, so one can literally be an anti-semitic semite. You might be familiar with Dr. Finkelstein’s work “The Holocaust Industry” that goes deeper into this if you’re interested in arguing with a (“self-hating”) Jewish person.

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May 23rd, 2011, 3:00 pm

 
 

196. John said:

Please People;

Do not simply drink in the emotions and responses that the MEDIA is spoon-feeding you. There is no denying there are some very unsettling things going on right now in Syria.

Also, there are other countries in similar revolution-type issues. In this day and age coincidences rarely do exist. These governments(Syria and others) are fighting a common enemy; the problem is that their enemy is fighting from the shadows. We can’t deny the possibility that Actors really did start everything; manipulating the masses is a lot easier that you would think.

In my opinion- these governments in question are definitely responsible for leaving some reasons for revolt, though that doesn’t mean they are lying about their true enemy. I have seen many news networks and watched this topic somewhat closely. It is beginning to sicken me how much the MEDIA is trying to tell me how I feel. There is a lot of one-sided MEDIA reports and articles, the fact that they believe they are planting ideas agitates me to an uncomfortable degree.

You may think that I am on a rant, but I am really saying that the news is not completely accurate.

The MEDIA -are active players in those country’s revolution game, their TEAM is pulling for the win.–(I say ‘game’ because there is a plan to what is happening; please do not think that I don’t sympathize with the terrible thing happening).

The Politics of a country dictate the path and future of its people, please realize that we do not have control over our governments. They simply ask us- which of ‘their’ ways we ‘prefer’ to be controled.

I realize there are some opinion-based statements within this comment; but the point for those is for u to ignore them and investigate the legitimacy of what I am declaring. If I or anyone got u fired up; we all FAIL.

FOOD for THOUGHT

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May 31st, 2011, 2:44 am

 

197. Syria's crackdown - Page 5 - Turkish Living Forums said:

[…] to a blog that you might like to have a look at for different aspects of whats actually going on. Syria Comment Archives The Syrian Revolution Lives __________________ Doğruluk en iyi yol, bilgi en iyi kılavuzdur honesty the best road […]

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June 1st, 2011, 1:33 pm

 

198. ali said:

john

you have to understand that some people are just plain gullible. all they see is black and white. the medias fabricated videos and reports have time and time again been caught dead set lying. instead of digging a hole and burying themselves, they just keep going. if only the others such as abu ghassan, tara, abboud and the rest knew that Dr. Bashar Al Assad (may god protect him and strengthen him) will forever stay in power you would not be wasting your time trying to make him “step down”. the lion is the king of the jungle. so the bunch of monkeys posting offensive comments about our president, step aside. theres no room for you in syria.

Allah Yehmik Ya Assadna

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July 29th, 2011, 10:51 pm

 

199. Abu Muhammad said:

The stakes are too high for the world to let the Syrian revolution fail because new courts of inquisition will be instituted by the regime. The regime will try to make sure this time that no other insurrection against it ever takes place again. This is a new Serbian genocide and ethnic cleansing in the making.

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October 11th, 2011, 9:36 am

 

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