So I was wrong. I admit. However moronic Bashar had been at one point, he has now very much proven to be his father’s son. Or, at least, as it might be easier for some of us to believe, “fate” seems to have conspired to make him so. Still, no matter how about we put it, the end result is the same: Bashar is now a full-fledged autocrat, worthy of our full-fledged contempt.
The trials of the past seven years were not centered on reform, as some have imagined, but on the consolidation of power, with the specific purpose of continuing the transformation of Syria into a virtual family estate, as evidenced by the activities of the regime’s new business elite.
The trials of the past four years to be specific also serve to demonstrate that unless there is a consistent long-term international consensus for isolating such rogue regimes, the situation will almost always end in their favor, for managing external crises is a skill that these regimes have had plenty of time to develop and hone. Meanwhile, the situation can always be used as an excuse for a continuing internal crackdown on basic liberties, and all signs of dissent.
So, and as the US gradually turns its attention inward and gets immersed again with the usual partisan politics of the elections, the belligerence of the Syrian regime, and all others in the region, just look at the continuing crackdown against bloggers in Egypt and Bahrain and the arrest of Haleh Esfandiari in Iran, will only increase. The lion will continue to devour the flock, with an appetite rendered more voracious with rage.
Do all dictators have to look like Saddam or Ahmadinejad to be convincing? Isn’t their record of misdeeds enough, especially when it reads more like a rap sheet?
No. Not in partisan America, where image is everything. So long as the voracious lion looks like a lanky smiling gentle-looking giraffe, who is often accompanied by an equally lanky smiling gentle-looking wife, the American public can be allowed to be fooled. The pundits have spoken.
It is clear now that Bashar is going to have a joyride though the American media over the next few months, and will receive a kiddy glove treatment by most pundits even while his goons deliver stiff jail terms to dissidents in contravention to all international norms in this regard.
And why should they not behave with such impunity, they have just been “engaged?”
Anwar, Kamal and soon Michel, are the first casualties of engagement. And that’s only the beginning.
But this is only a crashing wave, and it will have to break against upon our resistance for it. For, in the final analysis, it all boils down to one thing: there is a group of ravenous predators on the prowl, and we have to protect ourselves, our children and our homes from it. This is an existential battle. It is either us or them, they have made that quite clear now. So, we now have to plan for a confrontation at one point, and let’s see who will this time around (no violence intended or suggested, on my part).
I can see you smiling even now
in your dark prison cell
laughing in the face of your tormentors
and their promises of hell to come,
yes, an even more hellish hell
than the one they put you through
before you became a symbol for us
all, that is,
a living symbol,
immersed in that special aura
for those who took it upon themselves
to show us the way.
Statement by the Spokesman Sean McCormack
Syria: Sentencing of Kamal Labwani
The United States condemns the government of Syria for its harsh and unjust sentencing of political prisoner Kamal Labwani. This action against Mr. Labwani reflects the Syrian regime’s contempt for human rights and a legal system devoid of legitimate legal standards. We are also concerned by reports that Mr. Labwani has been subjected to inhumane treatment during his imprisonment. We call upon the Syrian government to live up to its obligations under the Arab Charter for Human Rights, which it ratified in February 2007, and immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience.
Kamal was sentenced to 12 years in prison just as the Grand Asshole was delivering his speech to the People’s Assembly vowing not to cooperate with the international tribunal should such cooperation demand a concession on sovereignty. “The abandonment of sovereignty,” he said, “means that Syrian law no longer protects Syrian citizens.” A friend of mine just wrote wondering whether Syrian law does indeed protect Syrian citizens. For as we just observed, Kamal, and before him Anwar, were really given the full protection that Syrian law can afford, which did them a lot of good.