Wednesday, November 14, 2012

On Michel Kilu

Akram, Angry Arab's Syria correspondent, sent me this brief note a few days ago:  "
This isn't Lebanon, Iraq or Egypt. This is Syria heading toward its freedom by saying that the Syrians are one people, that the Syrians aren't, and don't want to be Sunnis, Alawite, Christians, Druze or Ismailis, but all of them at once

This was a part of the latest piece of Michel Kilo (Arabic)

Of course, Michel Kilo has the right to see things the way he wants, but he can't deprive us of our right of qualifying him as blind, hypocrite or George Sabra the second." 

So I asked him to elaborate, and he sent me this additional report:

"Sorry for my late response. As you may understand, it’s not only related to my own occupations, but also, and more importantly, the events in Syria make me sometimes too disgusted and depressed to read even my own e-mails.

I don’t know Michel Kilo personally but he was a friend of my late father who’s gone a couple of years before the Syrian uprising broke up. The man was an eminent figure of the political activity known as Damascus Spring that took place immediately after Bashar Assad inherited the presidency of Syria in 2000, (and repressed by the Syrian regime, especially by Abdulhalim Khaddam who was then vice-president before recognizing, long before Ryiad Hijab and Manaf Tlass, the financial advantages of defection). He participated, among 99 Syrian figures, in releasing a manifesto calling on the new Syrian president to adopt thorough political reforms. His name also appeared on “Damascus-Beirut Beirut-Damascus Declaration” calling for a full Syrian recognition of Lebanon as a complete state, less than one year after the humiliating withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon following the assassination of the Lebanese PM and the Saudi man in Lebanon, Rafiq Hariri (It’s amazing to see names like Hassan abdel-‘Azeem and Haytham Mana’a from the National Coordination Body, the main opposition body inside Syria, side by side with the name of Burhan Ghalioun, Radwan Ziadeh and Obeida Nahhas, from the Syrian National Council, and Ali Sadreddin al-Bayianouni of the Muslim Brotherhood and many others who were, then, almost unknown, before becoming superstars thanks to the dumbness and the brutality of the Syrian regime and the hard work of the oil media). Kilo’s signature on the declaration cost him three years in prison before being released in 2009 and leaving the public scene until March 2010.

With the beginning of the Syrian uprising, Michel Kilo returned back to the limelight with extensive appearances on al-arabyia and al-Jazeera and printed media with articles championing the "Syrian Revolution" and defending its popular, peaceful and secular characteristics. In the beginning, Assafir, the Lebanese newspaper, hosted Michel Kilo’s weekly articles and his criticisms to the Syrian regime were understandable despite some excesses. With the criminal oppression of the Syrian regime and the brazen western intervention, the Syrian uprising began changing its face toward more violence and extremism. News and scenes of atrocities practiced by the armed groups against Syrian soldiers, people suspected of being collaborators with the Syrian regime and civilians of the Alawite community proliferated without the rhetoric of Michel Kilo reflecting this catastrophic mutation. His articles continue repeating the same misleading narrative (unarmed people confronting "with bare chest" the lethal and sectarian machine of the Syrian regime, the patriotic Free Syrian Army protecting heroically the protesters) and promoting, prophetically, a new secular, civic and democratic Syria that will, inevitabely, emerge from the triumphant revolution, where “individuals are defined by their freedom” regardless of “their national, social, ethnic or religious affiliation” (Arabic) and live under the auspices of an organized, developed and productive state that provides its citizens “equal economic and social rights” (Arabic)

But the most striking is the dual language that has appeared in Kilo’s articles especially when he became a permanent guest in al-Sharq al-Awssat, the Saudi newspaper which expresses the point of views of House of Saud. While, in his pan-Arab version of Assafir, Michel Kilo concentrates his criticism on the Islamists, condemning the Muslim Brothers for seeking Turkish military intervention (Arabic) or using the power of money and media to seize the power (Arabic), calling them on to take a clear position from the militarization of the uprising (Arabic), in his Saudi version, Kilo remembers suddenly the incapability of “international community” toward the Syrian crisis calling for a new definition of the national sovereignty that takes in consideration the “right of peoples of life and freedom” (Arabic) and evokes all the sins of the Syrian regime and his Russian and Iranian allies (Arabic). However, in both versions, Kilo avoids any reference to the sectarian crimes committed by the FAS thugs.

But Michel Kilo isn’t a solo “leftist” singer. He is rather part of a large swath of leftists, from the Iraqi communists who backed the American invasion of Iraq, to the Democratic Left Movement in with his abnormal alliance with the Future movement and the Lebanease Forces, and the People Party of Ryiad Turk (who, one day, expressed his gratitude of the positions of “President [George W.] Bush for his solidarity with the Syrian people” and his brilliant pupil, George Sabra, the Christian/communist leader of the Muslim Brotherhood’ SNC), who sold their souls to the devil for money, posts or simply for revenge."