Monday, June 27, 2011

Nur Ad-Din Al-Atasi: a democrat?

I like how history is now being rewritten by everybody, to fit the new American political agenda.  This is very true among those aligned with the US in the region, especially if they were opposed to US in the past.  Pro-Saudi advocates now claim that the reactionary fanatic, King Faysal (a truly evil man in every way, and I define evil non-religiously), fought `Abdun-Nasser on democratic principles.  Nasser's shoes had less reaction and despotism than the entire head count of the House of Saud.   Yasin Hajj Salih claimed in his lousy editorial in the New York Times weeks ago that when he was a communist, he was fighting for democracy.   Everybody now claims that he was fighting for democracy, even Joe Stalin says that now.  It is quite absurd if you think about it.  Me? I never ever fought for democracy, never.  It was never my thing.  So there is this article by Muhammad `Ali Atasi (a writer who expresses his support for democracy in Syria in the racist anti-Syrian (people) rag, An-Nahar).  Do you notice that when Arabs are allowed to write in the New York Times about their countries that the spoken rules are that Israel is not mentioned?  This is a deliberate propaganda ploy by Zionists to deny that Israel is a factor in our politics in the region, in the sense that it lends support to the despotic order.  But what struck me about the piece (aside from the boring analogy of the cologne bottle) is that he referred to his father almost as a democratic crusader.  Now, I don't hold children responsible for crimes of their father or mothers unless they bring them up in defense, as Atasi did today.  Nur Ad-Din Al-Atasi was a president of Syria in a Ba`thist regime led by Salah Jadid.  The feud between the faction of Al-Atasi and that of Hafidh Al-Asad was not about democracy at all.  In fact, the Jadid faction was in charge when the Golan was lost in 1967 (of course, the lousy Hafidh Al-Asad was in charge and does bear responsibility for the defeat too).  One thing is true: the Salah Jadid regime was not corrupt, and Atasi is right that his father and the rest of the regime did not own any wealth whatsoever.  I can even add that they were principled bunch, unlike the Asad gang in power.  But please let us not pretend that Atasi was fighting for democracy and freedom.  In fact, when Asad launched his coup he received support from the merchants and others because they were hoping that the closed and despotic structure of the Jadid regime would be dismantled.  I also give credit to the Jadid regime on one thing: they were really truly secularists and even expressed atheist beliefs (remember that famous article in the magazine of the Syrian Army which triggered protests throughout Syria)?   And also notice in this article (and this is a ploy by all secular allies of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood), that the Brotherhood is not mentioned at all.  Not one word.  Or even the religious and fundamentalist and Salafite trends in Syria.  What am I saying? That there is not, there was not, a good faction of the Syrian (or Iraqi) Ba`th party.  They were all despotic and incompetent and did a lousy job in fighting Israel.