‘Your turn will come’
As the big powers push toward their desired "settlement" in Syria, the world is witnessing the most vicious war crimes of the century. The Assad regime's patron, Russia, is carpet bombing cities and towns. Thousands of civilians are dying by conventional weapons; by crude, indiscriminate weapons like barrel bombs; and by illegal weapons like chlorine gas, white phosphorus bombs, and cluster bombs. More thousands have died under torture.
Unbearable photos of children, their skin burned off by napalm—or charred to ashes, dead—cry out to the world. The great powers—President Putin, President Obama, the UN Security Council members—pretend not to see. Almost a re-rum of Vietnam war threate. The difference is Syria symbolises too many Vietnams. The ‘Chinese Communists’ in UN Security Council are silent about war crimes in Syria.
UN agencies are compromised by collaboration with this genocide. The regime collects 90% of UN aid. Liberated areas receive little or nothing.
The Women Now Center of Daraya, a stronghold of the American coalition backed ‘Revolution’, addressed a powerful call to the world :
"Our town has witnessed the worst of bombing and destruction and cruel siege for over three consecutive years... There is no food at all in Daraya. There are cases of malnutrition, and we have resorted to cooking soups made purely of spices in order to stave off hunger. There are signatories to this letter that have not eaten for at least two days—some longer. There is no baby milk and no breast milk due to malnutrition".
(April 5, 2016)
The call was unheeded. In August Daraya became the latest liberated area to be emptied of people through violence. The hundreds of thousands of Free Syrians in Aleppo remain under threat.
By the hypocritical standards of big power rhetoric, Daraya did everything "right." It was defended heroically by "moderate" Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters under the control of a civilian council. Yet Russia bombed it mercilessly. Iran supplied endless soldiers as cannon-fodder to attack it, and the US and its allies held back the FSA Southern Front from coming to its aid by threatening to cut off their meagre support.
The ‘Revolution’ was and is about new human relations. It was never reducible to military terms, although armed self-defense became a necessity in 2011 when the Assad regime massacred peaceful demonstrators. Yet even the FSA has never been exempt from revolutionary critique by civilians.
This is still a principle that is alive among the revolutionary people. Mass demonstrations have always asserted that the particular aims of the armed factions must be subordinate to the revolutionary overthrow of Assad. If that broad view wasn't shared by the state powers or fundamentalist organisations that were the only source of weapons, it didn't mean those powers subsumed the ‘Revolution’. It means that that has been a form of class struggle within the ‘Revolution’.
The most principled struggles against ISIS and Al Qaeda have also arisen through this grassroots dynamic.
Aleppo journalist Ali Abu Joud lost his four children to a bombing on August 20. Standing in the ruins, he said, "People of the world, if you don't protest, the same thing that was done to us may be done to you. I'm not even going to bother calling on the UN, or Arab or Western leaders. My message is to the people. Your turn will come."
Vol. 49, No.20, Nov 20 - 26, 2016