‘Assadist list’ nothing more than McCarthyism paired with ‘hoodwink’ science
To paraphrase those Hollywood actors when dragged before the arc-lights of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC): “I am not now nor have I ever been an Assadist.”
In the long stand-off between Syria and Iraq, with all its ruinous consequences, I was with Iraq. Between 1980 and 2002 – 22 years – I never set foot in Syria and wouldn't have been welcome if I had. I have a house named after the Beirut Palestinian refugee camp Tel al-Zaatar which was razed to the ground by the Syrians with many residents massacred. My first ever solidarity mission – more than 40 years ago – was to collect bagpipes for the orphans’ band from Tel al-Zaatar.
I met the late president Hafez Assad only once – at a World Peace Conference in Damascus where I shared the stage with him, Yasser Arafat and others. I was 26 years old.
I have met the now-president Bashar Assad only twice – both times in formal meetings.
I have zero relations with the government in Syria and never have had. In fact I denounced sections of the regime under examination by Michael Mansfield QC in an inquest not that long ago.
It’s true that in the existential battle for the Syrian Arab Republic between the Assad government and its motley array of enemies I have stood foursquare with the Republic. It’s true that in a fight between the Assad forces and the head-chopping, heart-eating Islamist fanatics of Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and the alphabet soup of extremism they have spawned, I stand with the former rather than the latter. But then what sentient being without an ulterior agenda wouldn't?
It’s true I have said that Assad is being targeted by imperialism, not for the bad things about his political system, but for the opposite reasons.
The West is not against authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, to the contrary – all of its best friends are such. The West is not against one-party – even one-family – rule in the Middle East, to the contrary – we have preferred them, armed them and had the closest possible relations with such states in the Middle East for a 100 years. The West is not against rigged elections in the Middle East, to the contrary. We have facilitated them ever since such farcical elections began.
Syria as been targeted by imperialism and its local satrapies for other reasons. Because of its historic relationship with Russia, it has been the victim of a proxy war, in effect a war against Russia by other means.
Because it refuses to make a surrender peace with Israel, giving up in the process its sovereign territory on the illegally annexed Golan Heights.
Because it refuses to break relations with the Lebanese resistance, and with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Because it refused to allow its territory to be used as a back-door entry into Iraq to facilitate the Anglo-American illegal invasion and occupation of its neighbor.
For all these reasons I repeat what I have said many times: the Syrian Arab Republic is the last castle of Arab dignity.
But none of that makes me an Assadist. It just makes me an enemy of his enemies.
Yet I have made the Assadist List, compiled by a student scribbler, a Kester Ratcliff, whose name needn’t detain us for long. He is his masters’ voice and his masters are whom we should focus on.
Mind you I am in good company on the list. My friend, Right Honourable Jeremy Corbyn PC MP, Leader of Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for one. The multiply-commended award-winning, regularly British Foreign Correspondent of the year Patrick Cockburn is another. The Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott MP is another. As is Mother Agnes Mariam De La Croix, the Mother Superior of the Monastery of St James the Mutilated in Syria. The veteran Trotskyite leader Tariq Ali, who led my first ever demonstration against the war in Vietnam in 1968 when I was 14 years old, is another.
The redoubtable American author and journalist Max Blumenthal is apparently an Assadist, as is the Fox News host Tucker Carlson, as is Noam Chomsky! Baroness Cox of the British House of Lords makes the list as does Ireland’s finest MP Clare Daly. The American comedian Jimmy Dore is an Assadist, don’t you know!
Britain's best known foreign correspondent Robert Fisk makes the cut as does future US presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard. The world's most famous journalist Seymour Hersh is there – an Assadist, who’d a thunk it?
The quintessential English Christian gentleman newspaperman Peter Hitchens is too, as is the doyen of English journalism Simon Jenkins or, Sir Simon Jenkins FSA FRSL, to give him his Sunday name. An Assadist (if only the Queen had known when she tapped his shoulder with her sword at Buckingham Palace).
Boris Johnson, the erstwhile British Foreign Secretary – he’s an Assadist! (although possibly only because of his “foolishness”)
Owen Jones, the liberal milksop from the Guardian newspaper, who witch-hunted Mother Agnes from public platforms in England on the grounds SHE was an Assadist, well, you’ve guessed it, he’s an Assadist too (though a “milder” Assadist).
The British Shadow Foreign Secretary – a well known “Friend of Israel” – Emily Thornberry is an Assadist. As is the former Associate Editor of the Guardian, Seumas Milne.
I could go on, believe me, there are 151 of us – but you have probably already got the picture. This list of Assadists is a farrago of foolishness, a soupcon of silliness, a pile of what the Pope called at the weekend – “the material of the toilet bowl.”
As such it could be laughed off as the teenage student scribbling that it is.
But just like the McCarthyite witch-hunts in 1950s America, this kind of malignant list-making can have consequences for those listed. Many of those never worked or were able to travel again. For some on this list the potential consequences could be graver still. Some on the Assadist list should be subject to criminal sanctions, according to the author.
It is fitting perhaps that the list comes complete with a diagram which looks like the unhinged green-ink scrawling of a madman in a hospital for the criminally insane. It purports to map all of those listed as somehow connected even though many of us hate each other’s guts. I could make a diagram of the connections between the gun-runners, the financiers and the propagandists for the Jihadists and the crucifying Islamist Pol Pots doing their dirty work. Whilst it would make a more convincing case, ennui I’m afraid precludes it.
In any case the great Western effort to overthrow Assad and destroy the Syrian Arab Republic has failed. All their money, all their weapons, all the blood they shed have been to no avail – except for the hundreds of thousands of lives they destroyed. Come to think of it, a hospital for the criminally insane is perhaps the best place for the author and his patrons.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.