“All that is holy is profaned”: Vanessa Beeley & Fares Shehabi toast carnage in east Aleppo

Beeley & Shehabi partying

Reports & images of slaughter & retribution against civilians in east Aleppo by the Syrian Army as it takes over are apocalyptic. In response, Assad supporters on social media are exuberant & celebrating the killing field as a liberation.

Vanessa Beeley, an Assad propagandist, was scheduled to tour the US with Eva Bartlett, another propagandist for the regime, but is instead in Aleppo posing with Syrian soldiers giving the victory sign & dishonestly posting photos of happy children delighted to be freed.

Here she is dining with Fares Shehabi who recently hosted Bartlett in Aleppo. He is an industrialist & chair of the Syrian Federation of Industry, a member of the Syrian parliament representing Aleppo, & a candidate for Syrian Prime Minister.

Toasting & giving the victory sign (as Beeley is again doing here) whilst civilians in east Aleppo are dying gruesome deaths & bodies are piling up in the streets is that point when reactionary politics shades into sociopathology. It is a point of no return. It is a time of separation from old allies & ruptures that cannot be healed.

“All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, & humanity is at last compelled to face with sober senses their real conditions of life & their relations with their kind.”

Politicizing the Islamic veil

Over the past few weeks I spent quite a while researching all the countries where Islamic veils (burqa, niqab, hijab, etc.) are banned. Exploiting feminism (which they anyway oppose) for reactionary purposes, governments, including those headed by Muslims, have politicized the veil & made it the focal point for discrimination & persecution of Muslims, a justification for denying asylum to refugees & for military intervention.

The geographic scope & character of the bans is quite alarming whilst only two countries (Iran & Saudi Arabia) mandate veiling for women. This is obviously an important discussion to understand how systematic & integrated Muslim-hating has become in world politics.

The problem is that the veil incites indignation up the wazoo & addressing it is considered a provocation. That is no reason why those of us who want to understand the issue should be reluctant to address it.

So I will be posting about the legal restrictions & outlawing of the veil & don’t want to take any guff about it. The post will be about what politicizing the veil means for women, Muslims, refugees, & for war. All comments about the theology, comfort, & judgements of its character as imposed would be inappropriate.

On those damn Clinton emails

After Clinton lost the election, the email furor came to an abrupt halt. Now the CIA claims Russian hackers were behind their release & those who talk the “Russian lives matter” nonsense are rushing to defend Putin from this accusation.

Maybe this is big news to those who didn’t grow up during the McCarthy witch-hunt, never watched the “I Led Three Lives” TV series about an FBI double agent or never read a John le Carré spy novel.

Spying is what the CIA & Putin’s revived KGB do. There’s no honor among spies & Putin would know that since he’s a former KGB agent in the USSR. Radio Free Europe has been blasting into Russia since the 1950s so if Russia hacked & released those emails, that’s the way the spy game operates. It could even be claimed Russia performed a service by exposing the corruption of the Democratic Party.

Spare us another few years going around on those damn emails.

‘Kashmir is Abu Ghraib itself.’

Kashmiri Facebook friend making comparison between occupied Kashmir & notorious torture prison in Iraq.

Eva Bartlett: propagandist for Assad dictatorship

Bombing of field hospital Aleppo Dec 9 2016 Reuters Dec 12 2016

Supporters of Assad who also defend Syrian & Russian bombing of civilians as a freedom struggle against “jihadist terrorists” are touring Eva Bartlett around the US to convince antiwar activists to support that point of view. They promote her as an “independent journalist” with on the ground experience in Syria.

Perhaps those not already committed to Assad-think that war is peace could ask Bartlett about her political collaboration with Fares Shehabi. Shehabi is an industrialist & chair of the Syrian Federation of Industry, a member of the Syrian parliament representing Aleppo, & a candidate for Syrian Prime Minister.

According to Bartlett, Shehabi organized a trip to Aleppo in November for herself & 13 unidentified western journalists with security provided by the Syrian Army.

Bartlett says she has been to Syria six times in the past four years, has met with Assad, & knows for sure the majority of Syrians support his regime. Is it possible that when she interviews Syrians they are reluctant to express criticisms to an Assad supporter accompanied by Syrian soldiers? There is, after all, a notorious Syrian gulag where thousands have been tortured, murdered, disappeared.

It would be so useful if Bartlett would explain to activists on her speaking tour how traveling several weeks in a country as a guest of the regime & embedded with its military makes one an authority on its complex politics & war. Many have spent much more time in England & still can’t explain the Labour Party, let alone the character of the opposition groups within it.

If one follows Shehabi’s social media posts, they are indistinguishable from the allegations made by Bartlett, Vanessa Beeley & other Assad propagandists. In fact, Shehabi often posts their so-called journalism. It’s all there: the shameless maligning of baby Omran; claims the White Helmets don’t even exist outside of videos; that the militias are all US-backed “head-chopping jihadists”; that “terrorists” are holding civilians hostage & using them as human shields; that there was never a popular uprising against the beloved dictator.

So perhaps Bartlett could explain on her speaking tour how her journalism is “independent” from the Assad regime & clarify how she is not functioning as its propagandist.

Photo is scene after the December 9th bombing of a field hospital in east Aleppo. Reporting is by Waas Al-Kateab, a Channel 4 news journalist reporting from east Aleppo & not protected by Syrian Army soldiers.

(Photo from Reuters)

Jon Snow interview with Fares Shehabi on Channel 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyvW7fCmpvc

Day 156 (month 5) of the military siege in Kashmir

Kashmiri ambulance (Kashmir Freedom) Dec 12 2016

Day 156 (month 5) of the military siege in Kashmir: thousands attend funerals of youth murdered by occupying army; father dies of shock when son is arrested second time under Public Safety Act (indefinite detention without charge); army continues abductions of youth from homes; army continues arresting youth for stone throwing & continues use of pellet guns against protesters & ambulances taking injured to hospital.

Today Reuters published a photo of Muslim youth praying at a religious shrine; the Guardian published a photo of women praying at the same shrine. Media interest in Kashmiri prayer rituals is only exceeded by its fetish with Hindu prayer rituals. No fake news here.

End the occupation. Self-determination for Kashmir.

(Photo from Kashmir Freedom)

Facebook reports 88,000 people are talking about Kylie Jenner cuddling her niece. Don’t mock it. It sure beats thinking about Trump’s cabinet choices.

No forbearance for social hatred

Sometimes a comment on my wall will include a derogatory comment about Jews, those with learning disabilities, religion, etc. When I’ve objected to the comment (right before I delete it), it’s happened that the person will say “But I’m from a persecuted group myself so there should be some forbearance.”

My beloved younger brother Paul was stigmatized as “retarded” in early childhood in an era when enlightenment had not yet dawned. He was taunted as a “retard,” humiliated, bullied, socially isolated & considered inferior. To cope, he became alcoholic & at the age of 40 took his own life.

He lived with me off & on, including a period when he was recuperating from a broken leg. We would go for check-ups to an affordable clinic near my house where the waiting room was always crowded, mostly with Latino immigrants.

It annoyed me that no one would offer him a seat when he was on crutches but never said anything to him. One day, as we drove home he said: “Mary, all the people in the waiting room except me are–what do you call them?–Hispanics or Latinos. But I don’t like to call them names because they’re just human beings like us.”

That’s my answer to that forbearance thing.