Assad propagandists & their flunkeys are posting triumphal photos of Syrian troops holding up the Assad dynasty’s flag as they take over more areas. They are ignoring apocalyptic images from Assad’s scorched earth slaughter & destruction in Idlib & Aleppo, now the front lines of the counterrevolution against the Arab Spring. They are also ignoring videos of Syrian troops marauding & desecrating civilian graveyards.

There are estimates that nearly 750,000 civilians are fleeing for their lives, leaving ghost towns & bombing rubble. Hundreds have been killed in Syrian & Russian bombing & ground assaults. Tens of thousands of displaced civilians are freezing in below zero temperatures. Tens of thousands remain in Assad’s gulag where torture & hanging are routine. Half of Syria’s population has been displaced, either living in exile or in squalid refugee camps within Syria subject to regime bombing. Assadists & Stalinists call this ‘liberation’? The most corrupt & deranged ones call this ‘self-determination for the Assad dictatorship’.

The Syrian counterrevolution will be remembered for its fascist & Stalinist propagandists, modeled on Goebbels, who promote militarism as justification for slaughter & a counterforce to revolution. There will be an accounting, even if the Syrian Arab Spring is defeated by the combined militarism of Syria, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, & the US-coalition. That accounting will be led by Syrian refugees who were partisans of the Arab Spring & who are not remaining silent & by the emergence of the Iraqi Arab Spring which will help set the record straight. Military force against a popular democratic uprising is counterrevolution, not a ‘liberation’.

The Syrian Arab Spring has not been decisively defeated. Its political spirit will never be defeated. Part of their struggle is getting antiwar & human rights activists around the world to understand the truth of the Arab Spring–as the Sudanese & Iraqi protesters do–& reject militarism as an ’emancipatory’ force against democracy.

This photo is a small child in an IDP camp living in flimsy tents in freezing weather. The photo is dated today.

(Photo via Free Syria Media Hub)

Several Kashmiris report that iconic freedom fighter Syed Ali Geelani is extremely ill. He has long had cardiac & renal health issues which must have been aggravated by the stress of the lockdown. They are asking for people’s well-wishes & prayers for this extraordinary figure who has remained steadfast now into his 90th year.

(Portrait of Syed Ali Geelani)

Harvard University is sponsoring an India Conference on February 15th & 16th. It is almost certainly part of an Indian government propaganda campaign to counter criticism & legitimize the occupation of Kashmir & persecution of Indian Muslims. The featured speaker is Sandeep Chakravorty, the Consul General of India in New York who called for ethnic cleansing in Kashmir.

Stand With Kashmir is on a campaign to pressure Harvard to disinvite Chakravorty in the same way they would, or at least should, disinvite an avowed Nazi. They have listed here the phone numbers & email addresses of Harvard officials & are asking us to contact & pressure them to cancel Chakravorty & in fact this entire propaganda event.

“Shops remain open in Afghanistan. Does this mean that all is well in Afghanistan? You saw shops open, does this mean all is well in Kashmir?”

–tweeted by Kashmiri Zulfiqar Ali @ali_z000 to the Afghan Embassy about the tour in Kashmir today

“Which VPN is this Afghan joker using?”

–tweeted by Zulkarnain Banday @ZulkarnainAli_ in response to a photo tweeted by Tahir Qadiry, the Afghan who saw Kashmiri children walking to school today even though the schools are closed

Tahir Qadiry, the Afghan diplomat who claimed he saw Kashmiri children walking to school today even though the schools are closed, posted several vainglorious photos of himself during the Kashmir tour. He posted this photo saying the 22 member diplomatic delegation are here meeting with ‘traders, businesswomen & entrepreneurs in Srinagar about the status of business & tourism in J&K’. There are only 25 discernible people present in this room so, excluding the 22 members of the delegation, that would mean they met with exactly three ‘traders, businesswomen & entrepreneurs’. The boredom on the faces here? Priceless.

(PS: he corrected himself in another tweet, saying there were 25 foreign diplomats on the delegation. So they met with no ‘traders, businesswomen & entrepreneurs’.)

(Photo tweeted by Tahir Qadiry)

One interesting thing reported by the NY Times article today about the foreign delegation to Kashmir is that outside access to Kashmir is limited, with no foreign journalists allowed. After August 5th, for about two months, there was considerable reporting about Kashmir by international media. They reported that India was making on-the-ground reporting difficult, especially with limited internet access to file reports, but there was fairly good coverage of the lockdown. That ended in a matter of weeks & there has been no news at all from Kashmir. It was not widely reported that foreign journalists were barred from entering Kashmir. If that is true, why isn’t media making an issue of it? Of course, there is also almost no reporting from Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Iraq, & increasingly Syria.