Monday, June 27, 2011

Adam Curtis: Syria today (English)

See also:
Adam Curtis: History of the post-war Syria. (English)

Nobody knows what is going to happen in Syria today. The optimistic view is that a new generation is emerging who really want a proper representative democracy in which all groups can negotiate with each other without violence. The pessimistic view is that those sectarian divisions, encouraged by the French - and then incubated further by the Assad family - will re-emerge. In truth no-one knows.

But there is a terrible naivety in the West's view of the ongoing revolt in Syria. It forgets its own history and the role it played in helping create the present situation.

Ниже есть продолжение.

Back in the 1950s America set out to create democracy in Syria, but it led to disaster. It was by no means the only factor that led to the violence and horror of the Assad dictatorship, but its unforeseen consequences played an important role in shaping the feverish paranoia in Syria in the late 1950s - which helped the Baath party come to power. And while the Western powers no longer remember this history, the Syrians surely do...

The man who had originally created the Baath vision, Michel Aflaq, was forced into exile in Iraq. He died in 1989 - a sad man, convinced that Assad had destroyed his dream of a united, confident Arab world.

The Iraqi Baaths hated the Syrian Baaths and they embraced the exiled Aflaq. After he died they built a grand mausoleum for him in Bagdhad. Here is a photo of what had happened to the mausoleum by 2006. It had been turned into a gym for the invading American troops. You can see Aflaq's tomb behind the weights and the table football.

One idea of personal transformation had been replaced by another.

...Here is a comedy sketch the BBC programme That Was The Week That Was did two days after the 1963 coup in Syria. It's not very funny, but it is interesting because of the prism through which it sees the coup. The "joke" is that the coup will only happen when the western media arrive. The plotters are waiting for the Panorama reporter to turn up because they know that coup will not be real until it is reported by the west.

It is an early example of the techno-orientalism that is being repeated today in the media's firm belief that it is the western social media networks that made possible the rebellions in Tunisia and Egypt...

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