The Revolutionary Distemper in Syria That Wasn’t
“Everything we said in Syria at the beginning of the crisis they say later. They said it’s peaceful, we said it’s not peaceful, they’re killing – these demonstrators, that they called them peaceful demonstrators – have killed policemen. Then it became militants. They said yes, it’s militants. We said it’s militants, it’s terrorism. They said no, it’s not terrorism. Then when they say it’s terrorism, we say it’s Al Qaeda, they say no, it’s not Al Qaeda. So, whatever we said, they say later.” 
“Assad saw foreign troublemakers at work among his people. This, after all, was the emotional and political legacy of colonial rule—a legacy painfully evident in most of the post-colonial world, but one that is almost unnoticed in the Western world. And the legacy is not a myth. It is a reality that, often years after events occur, we can verify with official papers. Hafez al-Assad did not need to wait for leaks of documents: his intelligence services and international journalists turned up dozens of attempts by conservative, oil-rich Arab countries, the United States, and Israel to subvert his government. Most engaged in ‘dirty tricks,’ propaganda, or infusions of money, but it was noteworthy that in the 1982 Hama uprising, more than 15,000 foreign-supplied machine guns were captured, along with prisoners including Jordanian- and CIA-trained paramilitary forces (much like the jihadists who appear so much in media accounts of 2013 Syria). And what he saw in Syria was confirmed by what he learned about Western regime-changing elsewhere. He certainly knew of the CIA attempt to murder President Nasser of Egypt and the Anglo-American overthrow of the government of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh.” 
C: ‘Why won’t your organization engage in peace talks with the Israelis?’K: ‘You don’t mean exactly “peace talks”. You mean capitulation. Surrendering.C: ‘Why not just talk?’K: ‘Talk to whom?’C: ‘Talk to the Israeli leaders.’K: ‘That is kind of a conversation between the sword and the neck, you mean?’C: ‘Well, if there are no swords and no guns in the room, you could still talk.’K: ‘No. I have never seen any talk between a colonialist and a national liberation movement.’C: ‘But despite this, why not talk?’K: ‘Talk about what?’C: ‘Talk about the possibility of not fighting.’K: ‘Not fighting for what?’C: ‘No fighting at all. No matter what for.’K: ‘People usually fight for something. And they stop fighting for something. So you can’t even tell me why we should speak about what. Why should we talk about stopping to fight?’C: ‘Talk to stop fighting to stop the death and the misery, the destruction and the pain.’K: ‘The misery and the destruction the pain and the death of whom?’C: ‘Of Palestinians. Of Israelis. Of Arabs.’K: ‘Of the Palestinian people who are uprooted, thrown in the camps, living in starvation, killed for twenty years and forbidden to use even the name “Palestinians”?’C: ‘They are better that way than dead though.’K: ‘Maybe to you. But to us, it’s not. To us, to liberate our country, to have dignity, to have respect, to have our mere human rights is something as essential as life itself.