HAVANA TIMES — For more than a year (since January 2011), Syria has been submerged a bloody conflict that has killed more than 9,000 people and produced much suffering, missing and displaced individuals, and everything else associated with war.
Since the inception of this strife, the Cuban press has been feeding us such a simplistic version of the situation that one would have to be either naïve or a media captive to accept it.
On one side they present the bad guys, mercenaries for imperialism, who are fighting against the government forces under the command of a reasonable president. The real Syrians of course support Al-Assad.
Years ago maybe I would have swallowed the whole thing, but today I’m a privileged Cuban who has regular access to the Internet, so it isn’t so easy to manipulate me.
Rummaging around cyberspace I’ve come across more interesting and credible approaches, like that of the Spanish philosopher and political scientist Santiago Alba Rico, who publishes on the Rebelion website.
Without beating around the bush, Alba Rico denounces the criminal role of governments and the “Western” media, but he also recognizes and supports the existence of a genuine and justified popular insurrection against the Syrian government.
He fervently the supports “alternative” and left media sources, such as Telesur and Al-Jazeera, however, but he has criticized the support his ideological siblings have given to Al-Assad and previously to Qaddafi.
In his own words:
“Sometimes we can’t think of anything else but to resort to lies or, even more, to denial: denying the killings of the Syrian regime or the existence of a legitimate popular uprising and lying about Gaddafi or Al-Assad, who are often presented as champions of anti-imperialism, humanism and socialism (using the media for this purpose, like the media we denounce, to spread all kinds of false, falsified, incomplete and manipulated data).”
“Is it honest to suggest that the regime of Bashar al-Assad is democratic? Do we want to somehow deny that he is as dictatorial — and for the same reasons — as was Pinochet in Chile, Marcos in the Philippines or Somoza in Nicaragua? It’s not honest and I don’t think that it’s befitting of us.”
I appreciate the work of this honest and astute thinker. I would like to congratulate him, offer him encouragement and suggest that he not be bothered by the malicious and disrespectful attacks inflicted by his doctrinaire comrades.
What about Cuba?
On several occasions this political scientist has publicly expressed his enthusiasm for the regime in our country. Earlier this year he participated in the meeting of intellectuals with Fidel and said there:
“I’m one of those dislocated Europeans who for many years have been supporting Cuba, for the reasons you just outlined quite well, because it’s perhaps the only country whose politics are based on ethical principles, on selfless internationalism and the true protection of human rights.” (*)
This is quite curious. To demonstrate the tyrannical character of the Syrian government (and justify the popular insurgency) the analyst drew on arguments (here called “bourgeois”) such as the lack of freedom of the press, along with the absence of a multi-party system and opposition candidates in elections.
In the Arab world it’s a sign of tyranny, but here it is “ethical” and evidence of “human rights.”
This system of ours is amazing in its capability to woo and disarm the most caustic thinkers. I would call it the black hole of intelligence.
(*) It goes without saying that while other intellectuals go out of their way in praising the El Comandante, Santiago Alba Rico has been possibly the only discordant note in calling attention to (according to him) the erroneous position taken by the “progressive” governments of America regarding the conflict in Syria.