Monday, February 29, 2016

Chomsky and his Critics

"I have read Noam Chomsky for years and translated a book of his after my release from prison. I also helped translate a book about him. Not once have I seen in all his abundant work anything in reference to the Syrian people’s feelings about the Assads’ colonialism. He may have mentioned in passing something about the brutality and tyranny of the Assad regime, but that was it. All his views revolved around the United States and Israel. He doesn’t see us. He sees the Palestinians to some extent. Three years ago a few Syrian and Lebanese friends met with him in Beirut. The man knows very little and didn’t seem compelled to listen to his mostly young interlocutors. And it looked like he was irritated with them after the meeting because, instead of them listening to his views, they expressed theirs. I am talking here about a man with indisputable courage and morals, but the traditional Western left is incomparably less courageous and ethical than that in the region.

The regime’s also gained from Western journalists like Robert Fisk, Patrick Cockburn and Seymour Hersh. All of them have visited Damascus for a few days at a time, staying in five-star hotels and meeting with Bashar and some of his trusted cabinet members and intelligence officers, engaging in classified conversations about Blair and Cameron, or Clinton, Bush, and Obama. They also accompanied Assad army tanks which were carrying out punitive measures against ‘black’ Syrians like Fisk did in summer 2012, when he was the only embedded journalist in Darya near Damascus. Or they’ve fabricated eyewitness accounts of themselves like Patrick Cockburn who falsified a report a few months ago. That man calls for a coalition between the US and Assad, between Syria’s first world and the Western first world. But to him, we – the leftist opposition to the regime – are not just invisible, we don’t even exist.

— Yassine Al-Haaj Saleh

No comments: