Editorial: Syria – Revolution and Counter-Revolution

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Fightback is releasing a pamphlet on the Syrian revolution in English and Arabic. To buy a copy for $10, please email fightback.australasia@gmail.com. To subscribe to our publications for a year, please visit fightback.zoob.net/payment.html

As you probably know, this pamphlet was crowdfunded, not only to cover regular costs but to pay a translator to print in both English and Arabic. We thank everyone who contributed to the crowdfunding campaign, and Miream Salameh who translated the articles.

This pamphlet contains five articles on the Syrian revolution, originally published over five years, from 2015-2019 on the Fightback website (http://fightback.org.nz). Given this time span, some are outdated in the facts they present, representing the time of publication.

In Syria today, Assad and his lackeys are flattening entire neighbourhoods, so this little collection of writing seems like a small contribution in terms of solidarity.

However, ugly lies about Syria have become commonplace, infecting even the left1 which claims to be a bastion of solidarity. We therefore consider it important to tell the truth about Syria, as an absolute minimum commitment of anyone who believes in democracy and self-determination. As the authors of Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War put it, “the start of solidarity is to correct the narrative.”

We insist on the need to learn from a real 21st century revolution, from its inspiring highs to its tragic lows. We have tried to draw from the knowledge and experience of Syrians themselves, with two reviews of books by authors embedded in the revolution, and an interview with a Syrian artist in Australia.

Some may ask what socialists are doing promoting a revolution that’s not directly for socialism. However, as Yassin al-Haj Saleh aptly observes in The Impossible Revolution, political freedom and economic justice are intimately connected. Socialism suffocates without democracy, as the legacy of 20th century revolutions reminds us.

On a sombre note, on the 15th of March 2019 far-right terrorists attacked two mosques in Christchurch, with 51 killed. Christchurch has long been a hotbed of white supremacist groups, however this is an escalation in a country that has not experienced mass shootings for over a century. We are glad to see Jacinda Ardern call these attacks what they are – terrorism – however we also note that successive Labour and National governments have focused their ‘anti-terror’ efforts on indigenous, left and Muslim groups as far right terrorists grew unchecked. Those attacked included Syrian children, having escaped state terror at home only to encounter more terror at the end of their journey. We stand against racism, sectarianism and Islamophobia everywhere it emerges.

Meanwhile, the ‘Arab Spring’ has re-emerged in Sudan and Algeria. The revolution will never die.

We hope you find these articles edifying.

1

E.g. Chris Trotter claimed on New Zealand’s most popular left blog that the CIA armed rebels from the early days of the Syrian revolution in 2011 (in fact this did not occur until 2013): https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/10/17/a-howling-moral-vacuum-americas-syrian-policy/

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