A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Friday, April 02, 2004 :::
This is worth passing on, from the indispensable MEMRI :

Syria Arrests Journalist for Condemning the Ba'ath Party

On March 23, 2004, Syrian journalist Muhammad Ghanem, of the city of Al-Raqa in
northern Syria, was arrested by Syrian military security forces after publishing
an article condemning the Ba'ath party.(1) News of the arrest of Ghanem, who is
the editor of the Syria Mirror website, was posted on the site by his son,
Mahleb Muhammad Ghanem. Mahleb also asked that all readers send letters of
solidarity demanding his father's release to: ghanm1@scs-net.org

Ghanem's article followed the rioting by Kurdish residents of Syria in the
Al-Hasaka region in early March 2004. The riots were harshly suppressed by
Syrian security forces, with dozens of protestors killed.

According to Ghanem, the forceful repression that is the policy of the veteran
Ba'athists was carried out with the help of Northeast Syrian tribesmen who
collaborate with the Ba'ath party.

Ghanem is an independent opposition journalist who speaks out against the ruling
party as well as against opposition parties, whether Islamist, nationalist, or
leftist. His articles are posted on the Internet and also appear in Arab papers
such as the UAE-published Al-Khaleej and Al-Bayan.

The following are excerpts from the article:(2)

'I am the Ba'ath, and Death to its Enemies; Arab, Arab, Arab'

"They are massacring the Kurds... I do not know why, when I, as a Syrian Arab
citizen - which is nothing to be proud of - look at our Kurdish brothers being
massacred in the Al-Hasaka, Al-Raqa, and Aleppo districts, those districts
conventionally and historically known as 'Al-Jazira,' I remember all [I know] of
the chauvinism of the Bedouin Arabs of the fascist Ba'ath [Party], and the
danger they pose to Syrian national unity.

"As a free and independent citizen, I called on President Bashar Al-Assad not to
fall into the trap set by the disciples of [Michel] Aflaq.(3) I wrote hundreds
of articles, [both] serious and mocking, on the crystallization and the
revelation of a new situation in Arab Ba'ath language and methods - methods that
had been forbidden in the days of the late president Hafez Al-Assad. I named
these methods after Michel 'Aflaq and Tikrit.(4)

"After the 'Aflaqi and Tikriti murderers were permitted to return to Syria, some
fascist thinkers in the Ba'ath [Party] began to talk of the 'thought of 'Aflaq,'
whose writing [is on the level] of schoolboy essays - and anyone who wants
evidence of this has before him 'Aflaq's book 'In the Path of the Ba'ath.'

"Apparently the blood of the Iraqis was not enough for [the Bedouin Arabs], and
they came to drink, to intoxication, the blood of the Syrians, beginning with
the Kurds. I don't know why I remembered a line from the chauvinist fascist song
of the Ba'ath ... which covers the walls of the party offices and the government
departments: "I am the Ba'ath, and death to its enemies. Arab, Arab, Arab."

"Indeed, the Arab Ba'ath is Arab, [and it acts] in accordance with its nature
and according to its banners, and it is no wonder that its enemies are dead.
(Today, the Bedouin Arabs are slaughtering the Kurds, and tomorrow, Allah
knows.) Is it any surprise [to discover] that the party with such a motto, and
hundreds more polluted chauvinistic fascist mottoes, carries out massacres like
the Bedouin Arabs slaughter [sheep] for sacrifice? The Bedouin Arabs are the
worst among men in unbelief and hypocrisy.(5)

"The above Ba'ath song goes on to say, 'Death to all those who are not Arab.'
These words are not only a challenge to human and humanist law. This party, the
'death to' party, is not satisfied with challenging the U.N. Charter and the
Human Rights Convention, but also [places itself] above all the written laws of
the human race, and against all the human customs from the creation of the world
until our time. The chauvinist hyper-Arab Ba'ath Party, of the shepherds and the
rabble, sets itself above the divine laws, [and] challenges the Holy Qur'an...

"The murderers of the Ba'ath, [who] steal the bread from the people's [mouths];
the plunderers of freedom, who have transformed the homeland into a paddock and
a farm for themselves and for their families, are collaborating with the Bedouin
Arabs who came to Syria not long ago - between 75 and 200 years - and those who
arrived the earliest came during the days of the Ottoman regime. They came to
rob the land and the people, and to collaborate with all the fascist tyrants,
and primarily with the chauvinist former Nasserites who have become Ba'athists.

"Ask the residents of Iraq, the sons of the Republican Guard members, Saddam's
intelligence, the sons of those who massacred, robbed, and raped the Iraqis, the
Shi'ites, the Sunni Kurds, the Turkmen of both sides [Shi'ite and Sunni], the
Assyrians, the Chaldeans, the Armenians, the Sabians, the Yazidis, and the rest
of the ethnic and religious components of the Iraqi people.

"In this way, 'Aflaq's successors in Syria managed to entangle the country and
the homeland, but they aspired to entangle President [Bashar Al-Assad] himself
in shedding the blood of the Kurds, as they succeeded in the past to entangle
Assad Sr. in the tragedy of Hamat.(6)

"By Allah, had the matter been in the hands of the [Syrian] patriots, and those
who are zealously loyal [to the homeland], there would be not a single drop of
clean blood in Syria. But the 'Aflaq fascists accepted [into Syria] the Bedouin
tribes of Saddam Hussein's regime...

'Ba'athists, You are Leading Syria to the Abyss, to a Bloodbath'

"Blood begets blood...

"Ba'athists, you are leading Syria to the abyss, to a bloodbath that no Syrian
wants... Ba'athists, [know] that Syria is not an endowment that belongs to the
desert Arabs who come from the peninsula of oil, those who take and do not
give... The Ba'ath Party raises the motto 'Arab Oil For The Arabs,' and all
Ba'athists complete [the phrase] with the following formula: 'And the Kurds
deserve nothing.'

"There are some hotheads [now] at the end of their days, worn-out old men, who
have nothing but the hatred upon which they were raised. They are trying to
interfere with the sight of the eye doctor [Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad]
himself, and provide him with false cards. They push him to agree to their
murderous security solutions, and in effect aspire to entangle the president in
massacres carried out against the Kurds.

"The theory of the fascist hyper-Arabs, according to which the Kurds came from
outside, is a dirty lie. It is the desert Arabs [themselves] who came from
outside. The Kurds, as Syrian citizens, have the right to study their language
and manage their own internal matters - rituals, holidays, customs, and
traditions. They are the most veteran residents of Syria, [having been there] at
least since the days of the Ayoubi dynasty.(7) The repression of any ethnic
group or minority gives it - by law and by custom - the right to ask for
protection from another body. The ones who are murdering [a group or a minority]
and attacking its land will not check what this other body is.

"The messages of democracy, freedom, and the rule of law transform all Syrians
into one family. This chauvinist hyper-Arab voice is grating, because it is a
voice against the development of history, and it does not see [how] things [are]

"The fascist Ba'athist attack on our Kurdish brethren, human beings like us who
are loyal to Syria, is the beginning of the collapse of the entire homeland. The
aggression and conspiracy by the Bedouin Arab tribes against our Kurdish
brethren, their killing, their shedding of their blood, the plundering of their
money, the burning of their homes and their property in Ras Al-'Ayn, 'Amouda,
Qamishli, Al-Hasaka, 'Afarin, Aleppo, Damascus, and everywhere the Kurds can be
found are operations that must be condemned and the authorities must prosecute
the perpetrators, Saddam's sons of evil, [and] the disciples of 'Aflaq and those
who cover for them.

"The ridiculous interviews by Syrian television of 'security elements' do not
help. [Proper] patriotic activity [will bring about] the opening of a dialogue
between the Kurdish people - by means of its national and political forces and
the Syrian presidency, while ignoring the interference of fascism and the Old
Guard, which is dominated to the point of obsession by the concept of 'death to
the enemies.' The death in question is an open invitation to kill the other who
thinks differently, behaves differently, and belongs to a different group.

"We must choose whether to tell the truth or to lead the homeland into hell. The
policy of Arabization and expulsion in Syria's Al-Jazira [region] is explicitly
a policy of chauvinist terrorism, a policy that commits its crimes the same way
that Israel does by Judaizing [its territories] and by expelling the
Palestinians. Arabization is the other face of Judaization. It is Zionist racism
in Arab dress."

"Allah, I have spoken [the truth] and I have not been silent about the sin.
"Allah, I have given warning.
"Allah, I am clean [of the sin I have fought against].
"The desert Arabs of the Ba'ath are massacring our Kurdish brethren - Allah, You
are witness!"

(1) Akhbar Al-Sharq (Syria), March 24, 2004.
(2) http://www.syriamirror.net/modules/news/article.php?storyid=1038, March 17,
(3) Michel 'Aflaq (1910-1989) founded and led the Syrian Ba'ath Party during the
(4) Birthplace of former Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein.
(5) Qur'an 9:97.
(6) According to the Muslim Brotherhood, 25,000 Muslim Brotherhood activists and
supporters were killed by the Syrian regime in Hamat in 1982.
(7) The Sunni dynasty that ruled from northern Syria to Egypt during the 12th
and 13th centuries. Its most prominent member was Salah Al-Din Al-Ayoubi
(Saladin), who defeated the Crusaders.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 5:38 PM



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