A People’s History of the Syrian Revolution

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An in-depth interview with Joseph Daher

Originally appeared on LeftEast 15 October 2014, with link citations we have not duplicated. Reprinted with permission.

“We need to support liberation struggle unconditionally.”

Note from the LeftEast editors: The following interview was conducted with the Syrian revolutionary Joseph Daher by Italian journalist and activist Mattia Gallo. It provides an important perspective on the current Western intervention in Iraq and Syria that has been excluded from much of the mainstream media reporting of this conflict. We acknowledge that the views expressed here concern a conflict that has lasted over three years and has been especially divisive for the Left in both the Middle East and Europe. We therefore wish to remind our readers that our decision to publish this interview does not reflect an official position of the LeftEast editorial board, but rather our commitment to promoting a broad and informed discussion of the current conflict and its significance for the Left more broadly.

Mattia Gallo: The mainstream media have described the civil war happening in Syria since 2012 as a clash between religious groups present in the country against the Assad regime, effectively ignoring the dynamics from below. Have there been groups of revolutionaries who fought for social justice, equality, freedom?

Joseph Daher: For more than three years now, the majority of observers have analyzed the Syrian revolutionary process in geopolitical and sectarian terms, from above, ignoring the popular political and socio-economic dynamics on the ground. The threat of Western intervention has only reinforced this idea of an opposition between two camps: the Western states and the Gulf monarchies on one side; Iran, Russia and Hezbollah on the other. But we refuse to choose between these two camps, we refuse this logic of the “lesser evil,” which will only lead to the loss of the Syrian revolution and its objective: democracy, social justice and the rejection of sectarianism.

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Supporting Grassroots Movements in Syria

by Leila Shrooms

The following is based on a skype presentation I gave at a panel ‘the Syrian Revolution: Grassroots Movements and Media Coverage’ organized by the MENA Solidarity Network-US and The Global Campaign for Solidarity with the Syrian Revolution, at the Left Forum in New York.

Much of the debate on Syria by people who identify as being ‘leftists’ both in the West and the Arab world has been dominated by issues most prominent in the media such as a focus on geo-politics, militarization, Islamism and sectarianism. It’s ultimately been a very State-centric discourse. Conversely there seems to be very limited knowledge or discussion about popular struggles or grassroots civil movements in Syria. This is strange because the politics of liberation should not be grounded in discussions between political leaders and States but grounded in the struggles of people for freedom, dignity and social justice.Continue Reading

Gespräch mit dem syrischen Anarchisten Nadir Atassi

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Der Anteil der syrischen AnarchistInnen am Aufstand gegen das Regime von Assad mag quantitativ nicht bedeutend sein, sollte aber trotzdem eigentlich ein Bezugspunkt für eine europäische Linke sein bei der Fragestellung, wen man/frau/…. denn eigentlich in diesem scheinbar unübersichtlich gewordenen Konflikt unterstützen könne.

In der aktuellen Graswurzelrevolution ist ein Interview mit dem syrischen Anarchisten Nadir Atassi auf deutsch erschienen, das wir im Folgenden dokumentieren.

Laut einem kürzlich im Magazin Fast Company erschienenen Artikel, gibt es ein breites und vielfältiges Netzwerk unbewaffneten, demokratischen Widerstands gegen Assads Regime, das von lokalen politischen Initiativen, KünstlerIInnenkoalitionen, Menschenrechtsorganisationen, gewaltfreien Gruppen und so weiter getragen wird. (Die Syria Nonviolence Movement erstellte eine interaktive Karte , die das komplexe Verbindungsnetzwerk zeigt.)Continue Reading

Two Refugee Camp Sieges

by Tamim Al-Barghouti

The Yarmouk camp for Palestinian refugees in Damascus has been under siege for months, exposed to ground and air strikes, causing several of the refugees to die of starvation and resort to eating leaves and cacti, as well as the spread of intestinal and skin diseases due to the lack of clean water.

This has also resulted in the death of new-borns, their mothers, the elderly, the ill and the wounded because of the shortage of medicine. Anyone trying to leave the camp is killed and the camp has been bombed numerous times.

Refugee camp in Damascus, Syria

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Die neue europäische rechtsradikale Welle und das syrische Regime

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GESCHRIEBEN VON HISHAM ASHKAR, ins Englische übersetzt von Leila Attar und Ubiydah Mobarak

Nachrichten von Besuchen faschistischer und rechtsextremer Gruppen in Syrien, die Solidarität mit dem Regime zeigen sollen, tauchen neuerdings auf, insbesondere seit Ausbruch des revolutionären Prozesses im arabischen Raum. Es scheint, dass das Thema Syrien einen prominenten Platz in der Agenda der europäischen extremen Rechten einnimmt. Folglich versteht es sich von selbst, dass die Mehrheit der europäischen extremen Rechten das Assad-Regime unterstützt und sich gegen die Revolution in Syrien positioniert.

The Third Way march, with their Icons in

Marsch des “Dritten Weges”, mit seinen Ikonen in “yes we can”, im Stil von Shepard Fairey!

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The European Far Right and the Syrian Regime

We Write What We Like

The Third Way march, with their Icons in "yes we can" Shepard Fairey style! The Third Way march, with their Icons in “yes we can” Shepard Fairey style!

WRITTEN BY HISAM ASHKAR, translated by Laila Attar and Ubiydah Mobarak

News of the visits of fascist and far-right groups to Syria, to show solidarity with the regime, have recently started to emerge, especially with the beginning of the revolutionary process in the Arab region. It seems that the Syrian issue ranks highly on the agenda of the European far-right. So, is it axiomatic to say that the majority of the European far-right supports Assad’s regime and stands against the revolution in Syria?

Nearly two decades ago, several parties and far-right groups started to weave relations with the Syrian regime. For example, communications began between some of the French right in France and the Syrian regime, since the nineties. Many visits then followed. Most notable was that of “Frederic Chatillon“, the president of the extreme…

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Life and Work of Anarchist Omar Aziz

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OmarAzizOmar Aziz (fondly known by friends as Abu Kamel) was born in Damascus. He returned to Syria from exile in Saudi Arabia and the United States in the early days of the Syrian revolution. An intellectual, economist, anarchist, husband and father, at the age of 63, he committed himself to the revolutionary struggle. He worked together with local activists to collect humanitarian aid and distribute it to suburbs of Damascus that were under attack by the regime. Through his writing and activity he promoted local self-governance, horizontal organization, cooperation, solidarity and mutual aid as the means by which people could emancipate themselves from the tyranny of the state. Together with comrades, Aziz founded the first local committee in Barzeh, Damascus.The example spread across Syria and with it some of the most promising and lasting examples of non-hierarchical self organization to have emerged from the countries of the Arab Spring.

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