On Saturday I went to an event on Pico Blvd in Mid-city organized by the Syrian American Council in Los Angeles. The main attraction was two activists from Syria. Razaniyat Ghazzawi, a Syrian activist and blogger and Raed Fares, the man who lead in the creation of Kafranbel's famous banners, demonstrations and political cartoons. Kafranbel is a small town of about 30,000 - before the conflict - that was unknown, even to most Syrians. Today it has become world famous as a center of art and culture for the Syrian Revolution. It is what the media would call a "rebel held area." [revised as per comment from Razaniyat]
|Raed Fares at Sunday's event|
“In April 2011, we launched a revolution in Syria,” Raed Fares said through an interpreter. “Don’t call it a civil war; it’s a revolution.”
They found they had to re-invent civil society themselves, with mixed results. Raed Fares said "We tried a military council and that fell apart, we tried a local council, and that fell apart." They've had to rebuilt schools and clinics, do without the help of Damascus, and tend to the needs of their community. Now their latest problem is the ISIS, or Da'āsh, the Islamic fundamentalist group. They said they don't intend to trade one master for another. Still they soldier on.
They call their city a liberate it area, because they have removed the regime controls on the ground and are free to organize things the way the local community desires. The regime calls it a "rebel held area" implying that an invading army of foreign jhadists has taken over the city at gun point and the NATO mainstream media agrees because you will never hear them refer to any liberated areas in Syria, they are always "rebel held areas" that need to be brought back under control. The last thing the chiefs of NATO want to see, even in Syria, is autonomous communities running their own affairs. So they spend this fiction of "rebel held areas" which then in turn, allows Bashar al-Assad to blame the wholesale bombing of "rebel held areas" on the "rebels" who are using the otherwise loyal citizens as "human shields."
When the mainstream media uses the phrase "rebel held areas" they are selling us the prospective of the master, in this case, the prospective of the fascist dictator Bashar al-Assad. And most of the US Left just laps it up!
Since writing about the origins of the phrase "Viet Cong," I have been thinking about how they shape the language to build support for a certain political view. But then, how could it be otherwise? It just depends which view, that of the master or that of the slave, because they have different and conflicting interests.