Gianluca Solera - 11/05/2016
Fuck Humanity. [Signed] Aleppo, April 28, 2016. This is what someone wrote on a wall of Aleppo while the recent bombing campaign of al-Asad’s regime was going on without hesitations, with the backing of Russia, after having buried the ceasefire and started doing what they have always wished to do: annihilate people to win territory. Barrel bombs, one after the other, missiles on the city’s districts controlled by the revolutionary forces. Fuck Humanity. This is the only comment we deserve.
While European newspapers were denouncing the massive attack of the dictator against Aleppo, many Italian newspapers were busy reporting on local elections to be held in Rome next June, when Conservatives will converge on a unified candidate. Nice subject! In the meantime, Juventus was celebrating the conquest of the 2015-2016 National Football League on April 25, and another share of newspapers was absorbed in it. Others were busy celebrating April 25, 1944, Italian Liberation Day from the Nazi-fascist yoke.
Remembering a struggle for freedom fought seventy years ago, while ignoring contemporary Nazi-fascism, is odd, stupid and dishonest. Then, attention converged on the Formula 1 Grand Prix held in Russia on May 1, and there was no time to care about Arab victims.
Syrian activists, who do not have godfathers left, and are scattered around the world, decided to use one of the few weapons left: Facebook. They started making the social media profiles red. And people followed. When I met Mohammed Abdullah in Zagreb, on May 2 - he was wearing a red shirt as well - he explained me what most of people do not know: the red colour does not stand for blood, though the Syrian towns under al-Asad bombing or siege are spilling blood daily. The red colour stands for love, love for humanity and for Aleppo, because Aleppo is the place where Syrian couples in love used to go celebrating San Valentine or Honeymoon. Syrian activists also asked Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, to speak out for Aleppo; they are still waiting. Mohammed is famous for being a revolutionary and a war reporter; he was the last one to leave the Syrian field. Half Alawite and half Circassian, he has been injured five times, witnessed the Ghouta chemical attack of the regime in August 2013, when more than 1,500 people were killed by Sarin gas, and himself escaped intoxication by a hair’s breadth. He lives now in Belgium, since a couple of months, and wishes to return to Aleppo to defend the revolution, once he will be recovered after all those medical treatments which do not let him walking properly yet. Fuck Humanity.
Nobody cares about Syrians struggling for freedom and escaping a factory of death regime. Nobody cares unless they reach their nation borders. Then, they start caring, but to defend themselves from refugees. Syrian resistance and opposition is asking for protecting people from bombs, is asking for a no-fly zone, and nobody cares. We keep selling weapons to every repressive fellow country, including Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or Iran, but we do not have the decency to defend the imposition of a no-fly zone. The regime is bombing hospitals, and is going for a military solution. And we watch at a distance drown in our moral and political misery. We do not even talk about it, emotionally taken by our electoral disputes, absorbed by our repetitive consumption rituals, and distracted by onanistic talk shows. And despite that: while the Syrian regime shows the most brutal side of Politics and Power, practices of self-management and local democracy are emerging in opposition-held areas, and anti-government rallies have taken back the streets during the ceasefire.
And us? What about us?
We have to interfere. More than 200 parliamentarians from the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the European parliament have asked their governments to set up airlifts to the Syrian towns under siege, using the air force already deployed in the region to fight the Islamic State. Dropping food and medicines instead of bombs without hesitations would be a strong political signal that Europe starts caring and taking steps forward. And it would be the real strong first step to stop the dictator’s military campaigns. And to reconsider the out-of-focus anti-Daesh campaign.
I have learnt something about Daesh last week. Spyros Sofos, of the Lund University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, gave a lecture at Subversive Festival, Zagreb, explaining the making of Being a State by the Islamic State. Every act is studied in details in order to convey the message that the Caliphate is taking roots. One of the most appealing messages is the physical destruction of the land borders between Iraq and Syria, an entrenched line of dirt which used to separate the vast territory of the two states, and whose removal represents the end of the Sykes-Picot Middle East order. “The Islamic State is the only one who has been able to challenge the colonial order and reinvigorate the dream of unity between Muslim people”. That is the message, a powerful one, a matter of fact of historical significance. An equivalent significance, this time of religious nature, conveys the public destruction of historical heritage with human features such as sculptures, and Spyros has shown how such an operation has been orchestrated at the Mosul archaeological museum.
During Sofos’ reading, a lady asks the floor and protests what she calls an aesthetic review without getting to the political arguments: who supports the Islamic State? And Spyros lists all what he knows about the beneficiaries of it. First of all, the Syrian regime, who buys cheap oil from them to distribute it in the regime-held areas and thus prevent further popular discontent. The regime keeps paying employees running energy facilities such as power stations and hydrological infrastructures in the IS-held areas, so that they serve the networks operating in both IS-held and regime-held areas. It is a full functioning cooperation! So, no surprise that the regime does not bomb IS-administered towns. No surprise that Palmyra has been retaken by the regime following an agreement with Daesh in exchange of trade benefits (oil and fertiliser).
The lady calms down. Mohammed Abdullah, the day before, had explained who kills whom in Syria with an impressive and detailed infograph based on the well respected Syrian Network for Human Rights’ data:
- in nine days, from April 20 to April 29, 2016, 147 civilians killed by the al-Asad-Russian offensive on Aleppo,
- 2011-2016: Who is killing civilians in Syria? 94,7% is the Syrian regime, followed by the rebels (1,5%), and the Islamic State (1,1%),
- 2011-2016: Who is killing women in Syria? Regime: 90,9%; rebels: 3,5%; followed by other players,
- 2011-2016: Who is torturing civilians to death in Syria? Regime: 99,5%; Islamic State: 0,2; rebels: 0,1%,
- 2011-2016: Who is killing media activists in Syria? Regime: 89,4%; Islamic State: 4,9%, rebels: 2,2%,
- 2011-2016: Who is killing physicians in Syria? Regime: 90,8%; rebels: 3,1%; Islamic State: 3,1%.
At Subversive Festival, I have met also a Russian female professor, Nina Belyaeva, teaching at the Moscow Higher School of Economics. I was too much interested to talk to her, and grasped the breakfast opportunity to seat besides her. Then, I asked her whether there are people in her country opposing Russian aggression in Syria. “Of course there are!” she replied. “As much as there is opposition against Russian military campaigns in Georgia, or Ukraine”. “The matter is very simple: reclaiming colonial grandeur through military campaigns to keep the hold on power”. Professor Nina talks about Putin, Russia’s president: “Why do you look for complicated analyses? The man is basic, primitive. He uses old methods to keep power. He is a short man, and he is scared of being less than others!”.
We are in the hand of obsessed people, and the world turns the back to people condemned to death, or gets lost in preserving material privileges. Fuck Humanity. Poor lost humanity, miserable fucked humanity.
1- “European politicians call for urgent airdrops to Syrian towns under siege”, paxforpeace.nl, April 29, 2016. The open letter is an initiative of The Syria Campaign, Heinrich Boell Foundation, Crisis Action and PAX. German weekly newspaper Die Zeit covered the news on the first page of its May 4, 2016 edition.
2 - The 1916 Sykes–Picot Agreement was a secret agreement between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the French Third Republic, with the assent of the Russian Empire, defining their proposed spheres of influence and control in Southwestern Asia, should the Triple Entente succeed in defeating the Ottoman Empire during World War I. It defined the borders of Iraq and Syria, prepared the ground to the current conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and denied the accomplishment of the Arab aspiration to a national homeland.
3 -Stuart Ramsay, “IS Files Reveal Assad's Deals With Militants”, Sky News, 3 May 2016.
4 -Numbers documented from 15 March 2011 to 1 March 2016.