Trump Meets the New Leader of the Secular World, Pope Francis

Photo by thierry ehrmann | CC BY 2.0

After two days lecturing a collection of head-choppers, dictators, torturers and land thieves, Donald Trump at last met a good guy on Wednesday. Pope Francis didn’t ask for a $100bn (£77.2bn) arms deal for the Vatican. He wouldn’t go to war with Iran. He didn’t take the Sunni Muslim side against the Shia Muslim side in the next Middle East conflict. He didn’t talk about Palestinian “terror”. And he looked, most of the time, grim, unsmiling, even suspicious.

So he should have been. Trump’s broad, inane smile on confronting the Holy Father might have been more appropriate for the first of the Borgias, Alexander VI, whose 15th century womanising, corruption and enthusiasm for war would match Trump’s curriculum vitae rather well. But the poor man’s pope, who last year suggested that Trump wasn’t much of a Christian because he wanted to build walls, didn’t seem to be very happy to see the man who called him “disgraceful” for questioning his faith. “One offers peace through dialogue, the other security of arms,” one of Francis’ advisers said of the visit. Which pretty much sums it up.

It was indeed an odd sight to see the head of the Catholic church – whose anti-war, anti-corruption, anti-violence and pro-environment beliefs must surely now represent the secular world – greeting the present if very temporary leader of the secular world, whose policies are most surely not those of the Western people he would claim to represent. For more and more, the Good Old Pope is coming to represent what the Trumps and Mays will not say: that the West has a moral duty to end its wars in the Middle East, to stop selling weapons to the killers of the Middle East and to treat the people of the Middle East with justice and dignity.

No wonder the 29 minutes which the insane president and the sane pope spent together – Francis himself suggesting that they both keep away from the microphones – remain secret. Until, I suppose, Trump starts twittering again. They supposedly chatted about climate change, immigration, even arms sales. O fly upon the wall, speak up. And they talked, we are told, about “interreligious dialogue” and the need to protect Christians in the Middle East. They shared, we were finally informed, “a commitment to life, and freedom of speech and conscience” – which is more than most of Trump’s other hosts would have approved of these past two days.

Trump duly handed over a bunch of books by Martin Luther King which he hoped Pope Francis would enjoy – whether he had read them himself remains a mystery – and the Pope gave Trump some of his own writings on the environment. “Well, I’ll be reading them,” said the US President. A likely story.

When the Pope emerged from his private meeting with Trump, he was smiling in a relieved, almost charming way – like a man who had just left the dentist’s chair – and his joke with the veiled Melania about Croatian cookies, if not quite understood, showed that even a distressed pontiff can retain a sense of humor amid spiritual darkness. Trump thought it all “a great honor”. Not for the Pope, one imagines.

And there was the inevitable send-off from Trump, the kind he probably gave to all the greedy kings and criminals of the Middle East. “I won’t forget what you said,” he told Pope Francis as he left. O but he will, reader, he will.

Robert Fisk writes for the Independent, where this column originally appeared. 

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Being In Time: Gilad Atzmon’s journey through post-modern crises

May 22, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

By Adam Garrie, theduran.com/

In Being In Time, author and musician Gilad Atzmon explores the historical and psychological basis for the many crises gripping the western world.

Many of the same people lament the state of a broad, however amorphous western society that has succumbed to the trends of hyper-identity politics, political and economic sectarianism, brutal financial capitalism and the death of industry and censorship in societies that still preach the self-righteous yet vague cause of ‘freedom’.

In Being In Time, author Gilad Atzmon offers a philosophical explanation for how these divergent trends are actually systematic outgrowths of societies simultaneously bewitched and confused by the abject failures of the three domineering ideologies of the 20th century: communism, fascism and liberalism.

Atzmon approaches how an uneasy calm in mid-20th century western states has given way to a world where the dams of free speech, prosperity and political predictability have been burst open leading to a flood of insecurity, third world style poverty and perhaps most importantly for Atzmon, the poverty of ideas.

Atzmon who has previously written about his personal struggles with and opposition to Jewish identity politics in The Wandering Who, takes his dialectical approach further, subjecting many contemporary and post-modern trends to the same scrutiny.

Such trends include, post-modernism, Cultural Marxism, post-Freudian social theory, the sexual identity agenda, post-modern attitudes to race and religion and the so-called populist political phenomena of Brexit and Donald Trump.

Atzmon calls his book a post-political manifesto, but it could equally be called a post-dogma manifesto. Atzmon laments a western world that has forsaken the Socratic method of embracing wisdom based on a combination of logic and ethics. Instead, Atzmon sees a western society obsessed with legal minutiae that he traces to strict Talmudic jurisprudence.

The book is very much in the tradition of the great secular conservative leaning sceptics and metaphysicists of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Those who have read Nietzsche or Spengler will recognise familiar diagnosis to modern problems combined with Atzmon’s unique world view shaped by the rejection of the Zionist creeds of his Israeli place of birth.

One might be so bold as to say that a great deal of geo-political philosophical commentary in the 21st century is largely shaped by people trying to either debunk or revise the manifestly ludicrous hypothesis of Francis Fukuyama.

At the dawn of the 1990s, Fukuyama in The End of History and the Last Man stated that history had ceased to move forward and was comfortably numbed to the neo-liberal realities that everyone had accepted.

The problem is that not everyone accepted them and even those who did, have largely been failed by them both materially and spiritually.

Atzmon doesn’t merely lacerate the post-Fukuyama developments in the metaphysical crisis currently gripping an increasingly hysterical liberal western establishment, but instead explains the root of these problems from the perspective of an historic prism illuminated through a combination of late-modern cultural analysis and Atzmon’s own unique trials and tribulations with the crises inherent in intra-Zionist Jewish identity.

I personally rarely recommend such books. I highly recommend this one.

The book can be ordered on Amazon.co.uk  & Amazon.com

The book is now available here

 

«النكبة»… وذكرى مختلفة بمفهوم مختلف

«النكبة»… وذكرى مختلفة بمفهوم مختلف

مايو 15, 2017 أولى تكبير الخط + | تصغير الخط –

صابرين دياب

فلسطين المحتلة

مرة أخرى، وعام آخر تحت الاستعمار. وهذه مرة مختلفة بمستويين على الأقلّ: مستوى الانكشاف ومستوى المقاومة والتجذير.. بل تموز 2006، كنا نستذكر يوم اغتصاب وطننا بلعن حكام الخزي والعار في محميّات أشباه الرجال الخليجية، وحكام عرب آخرين ساهموا بالتواطؤ مع هؤلاء في محاولات دفن القضية الفلسطينية والتخلّص منها، بعد أن باعها السعودي والأردني للحركة الصهيونية، على فترات زمنية مختلفة قبل إعلان اغتصاب فلسطين رسميا عام 1948 وبعده. أما بعد حرب 2006 فصار استذكار الغدر بفلسطين بأمل أكبر وأقرب الى دماء الشهداء السابقين واللاحقين، لا يتلوّث بذكر الأذلاء والحكام التابعين الأتباع، ذلك أنّ سيد المرحلة، قلب الموازين وعرّى العدو ومطاياه، فاتسع الأمل ولم يعُد إلا قابلاً للتجدّد والاتساع، من دون نأمة إحباط مهما صغرت او تفهت رغم نار الألم والجراح!

لا غضاضة هنا في الإشارة الى حديث مسجل دار مع نائب رئيس الحركة الإسلامية في الداخل المحتلّ عام 2010 لجريدة «العربي الناصري» القومية المصرية، أول صحيفة عربية انتصرت للمسجد الأقصى، وقد تولّى رئاسة تحريرها آنذاك عبد الله السناوي، الذي احتضن قادة الحركة الإسلامية في صفحة «العربي» الأولى، وقد تحدّثوا كثيراً لها منذ 2004 حتى نهاية 2010 عن مأساة المسجد الأقصى، رغم إمكانياتها المتواضعة، بسبب معارك مع نظام مبارك آنذاك، ووضعية الحزب العربي الناصري الاشتراكي، بل إنني أرى ضرورة لهذه الإشارة، لتوضيح نقاط لاحقة، فقد قال رداً على سؤالنا حول النظام الرسمي العربي وتعاطيه مع استهداف المحتلّ وتدنيسه للمسجد الأقصى، «إنّ الأمة العربية والإسلامية لم تخُض حرباً بعد وفاة الرسول الأكرم وصلاح الدين، إلا حرب 2006»!

كما قال رئيس الحركة الإسلامية الشيخ رائد صلاح، في حديث آخر، مسجل ومؤرشف بالصوت لصحيفة «العربي الناصري»، في مؤسسة الأقصى في أمّ الفحم عام 2009، في اثناء ردّه على سؤال لنا حول المأمول من النظام الرسمي العربي، قال: «ليت هناك نظامان آخران كالنظام السوري في حاضرنا العربي والإسلامي». ومثل هذه التصريحات وأقوى منها، صرّح بها ساسة حركة المقاومة الإسلامية حماس في كلّ مكان.

هذه الإشارات العابرة لممثلي جمهور محدّد من بين جماهير أبناء شعبنا الواسعة، تشير الى أنّ الوجدان العام لجميع ألوان الطيف الفلسطيني اجتمع على حقيقة واحدة، مدركاً انّ َمن باع فلسطين ومَن تسبّب بضياعها وتآمر عليها، لا يمكن ان يكون مؤتمناً على قضيتنا، ولا يمكن أن يكون بديلاً لنصير حقيقي وجدي، لأرضنا ولجرحنا ولمشروع تحرّرنا، حتى لو انتقل هؤلاء الآن الى الحضن الرجعي المتآمر على القضية. فذلك لن يؤثر على الوجدان العام، فهم جزء من غالبية لم تفقد بوصلتها، اختارت الانتصار للوطن فقط، وحين نستخدم مصطلح «النكبة» لا بدّ لنا أيضاً أن نتذكّر، من اختاروا امتدادهم الخارجي على انتمائهم الوطني، من دون ان يشعرونا بالإحباط طبعاً، ليس لأنهم قطاع محدود بين جماهير شعبنا العريضة، إنما لأنّ ثقتنا بالجيل الثائر الذي ورث الانتماء وأصوله عن دماء شهدائنا الأبرار لن يفقد البوصلة، وهم الأهمّ، كما انّ ثقتنا بأنصار فلسطين لا تهزها نكباتنا الداخلية على الصعد كافة، ولا تهزّها مخططات العدو في تفتيتنا واقتتالنا واستنزافنا في معارك داخلية مذهبية واثنية وطائفية مريضة وحقيرة لا تليق بوعي شعبنا الجمعي والفردي وإدراكه!

في لحظة الانكشاف يتقاطر التوابع إلى الأرض المحتلة عُراة تماماً، بلا خجل، لأنّ الذليل والتابع لا يردعه غير الخوف، في لحظة الانكشاف، تمّ تنبيه الغرائز الوضيعة كافة، وخاصة الطائفية، لتحلّ محلّ الوطن والقومية. والطائفية ليست سوى هوية وضيعة لا علاقة لها بالكرامة والشهامة والانتماء الوطني، بل هي تابعة بالضرورة وحتماً.

بعد قرن على وعد بلفور، وسبعة عقود على استعمار فلسطين، يبان المرج بعد ذوبان الثلج ويصبح أكثر وضوحاً عن وعود بلفور، من الصهيونية العربية للصهيونية اليهودية، ينكشف ما حصل إلى جانب الوعد المشؤوم مما ظلّ تحت ستار! نفد صبر الصهيوني والأميركي، فصار لا بدّ من ذبح ضحية العيد، ممثلة في حكام تمّ تفريخهم لهذه اللحظة، لحظة انفجار ما يسمّونه «الربيع العربي»، الذي هيأ للصهيونية فرصتها التاريخية للإجهاز على الأمة، وليس على قطر واحد هو فلسطين.. مختلفة هذه الذكرى بعزيمة المقاومة، التي أكدت الشرخ بين الشعبي والرسمي، وبين السياسي والمقاوم على الأرض وتحتها، وكشفت الغطاء عن حالة من الهوان والاستجداء و»الاستحذاء» الرسمي العربي،، من دون المقاومة كان يبدو كلّ شيء عادياً ساكناً وبلا أيّ تناقض، وبالمقاومة صار لا بدّ من التخندق: إما للوطن أو ضدّ الوطن، ولذا كانت الهجمة على مختلف المواقع القومية، وخاصة الجمهوريات، وكانت في المقابل المقاومة التي بدأت بهزيمة العدو أعوام 2000 و2006 و2014. وكانت مقاومة سورية واليمن والعراق.

لم يعد الأمر أنّ الإمبريالية تأمر فتُطاع، بل صارت تُضرب وتحسب ألف حساب للإمساك بالأرض، فلجأت للعدوان من السماء، ولجأت لزجّ خراف الوهابية للمذبح، ولم تعد للكيان الصهيوني فرصة حروب النزهة، كما كان يزعم قبل صعود المقاومة، ولم يعد قادراً على تحديد وقت العدوان ولا جغرافيته، وبدأ العدو يلغي الساعة الصفر لتحلّ بعدها ساعة أخرى تحلّ أيضاً. تغيّرت الساعات الصفر، وتغيّرت لهجة الأعداء من أنقرة إلى باريس فتل أبيب، وسقطت تخمينات سقوط دمشق وسقط معها مَن خان مرتكزاً على حتمية السقوط.

بقي العدو هو العدو، ولكن بقيت المقاومة. ونحن على موعد مع جولات أخرى، هذه هي الحتمية والصدّ والردّ، الذي لم يعتده العدو، وسيعتاد عليه إلى أن يكون النصر ويتحقق.

كاتبة وناشطة فلسطينية

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Erdogan: The Sultan Of An Illusionary Ottoman Empire

Global Research, March 09, 2017
Erdogan-turquie

This is the fourth and last in a series of articles based in part on eyewitness accounts about the rapidly deteriorating socio-political conditions in Turkey and what the future may hold for the country. The first, second and third articles are available here: First, Second, Third.

In many conversations and encounters I had over the years with former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, he emphatically echoed his boss President Erdogan’s grandiose vision that by 2023 (the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic), Turkey will become as powerful and influential as the Ottoman Empire was during its heyday. Under the best of circumstances, Turkey cannot realize Erdogan’s far-fetched dream. Had he stayed the course, however, with his socio-political and judiciary reforms and economic developments, as he had during his first nine years in power, Turkey could have become a major player on the global stage and a regional powerhouse.

Sadly, Erdogan abandoned much of the impressive democratic reforms he championed, and embarked upon a systematic Islamization of the country while dismantling the pillars of democracy. He amassed unprecedented powers and transformed Turkey from a democratic to an autocratic country, ensuring that he has the last word on all matters of state.

In retrospect, it appears that Erdogan had never committed himself to a democratic form of government. The reforms he undertook during his first nine years in power were largely induced by the European Union’s requirements from any country seeking membership, which he exploited as a means by which to propel himself toward his ultimate goal. A quote attributed to him in 1999 describes precisely what his real intentions were from the day he rose to power. “Democracy” he said, “is like a bus, when you arrive at your destination, you step off.”

His role model is Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (meaning “Father of the Turks”), who founded the Turkish Republic in 1923.  Both share similar personal attributes as they sought to lead the nation with an iron fist while disregarding any separation of power. However, Atatürk was determined to establish a Westernized secular democratic state while Erdogan went in the opposite direction.

Erdogan steadily moved to create a theocracy where Islamic tradition and values reign supreme while assuming Atatürk’s image, which is revered by most Turks. Erdogan presents himself as one who leads with determination and purpose, generating power from his popular support, ultimately seeking to replace Atatürk; with the new amendments to the constitution, he will be endowed with powers even greater than Atatürk ever held.

With his growing popularity and most impressive economic growth, Erdogan successfully created the status of a strong and resolute leader—the “father” of a new Turkish Republic—and artfully penetrated the consciousness of the Turkish public while using Islam as the undisputed pathway that will lead Turkey to greatness. He is determined to preside at the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic over a powerful nation among the top ten largest global economies and that extends its influence East and West, akin to the prodigious influence that the Ottoman Empire enjoyed.

To realize his grand vision, Erdogan took several measures to consolidate his absolute power.

First, clearing the way: Erdogan embarked on the complete marginalization or elimination of anyone, in and outside the ruling AK Party, that challenged his authority or advanced new ideas for solving the country’s problems. Those who did not support his policies and dared to question his judgment were not spared. He resorted to conspiracy theories, accusing his political opponents of being enemies of the state aiming to topple his government, in order to continue unopposed to realize his vision for the country, analogous to the influence and outreach of the Ottoman Empire. He even fired his long-time friend and confidant Davutoglu because Davutoglu differed from him in connection with the Kurdish problem, and especially because of Davutoglu’s reluctance to support the constitutional amendments that will grant the president sweeping and unprecedented powers.

Second, the need for a culprit: Erdogan needed a scapegoat to blame for any of his shortcomings, and found the Gulen movement to be the perfect culprit that would provide him with the cover to overshadow the massive corruption that has swept his government. This also provided him with the “justification” to crack down on many social, political, and institutional entities, silencing the media, controlling the judiciary, and subordinating the military.

The aftermath of the attempted military coup in July 2016 gave him the ammunition to conduct a society-wide witch-hunt, providing him with the excuse to purge tens of thousands of people from academia, civil society, judiciary, military, and internal security. This has allowed him to assume total control of all departments in the government and private sector. He described his purge as a necessary evil to cleanse the public of the ‘cancer’ that has gripped the country. In so doing, he ensured that the political system revolves around the presidency, leaving him completely unchallenged to pursue his imperial dream to resurrect the stature of the Ottoman Empire as the country prepares to vote in the constitutional referendum on April 16.

Third, the creation of Ottoman symbolism: To project his grandiose vision, Erdogan needed to instill Ottoman images into the public consciousness, including the building of a 1,100-room ‘White Palace’ as his residence at a prohibitive cost to taxpayers. His most recent project was the Çamlica Mosque, the now-largest mosque in Istanbul, standing on the eponymous hill that overlooks the entire city.

Recently, Erdogan started the construction of another mosque in Taksim Square—once the site of the fiercest protests against Erdogan in his career—with all the style of the Ottoman era. Erdogan has even instructed that the national anthem be played on modified drums and brass instruments to make the music sound as if it were being played by bands of the Ottoman period. His purpose is to indoctrinate the public in a subliminal way to his perspective of the glorious Ottoman period.

Fourth, foreign policy assertiveness: Under Erdogan, Turkey has become increasingly assertive and forceful in the region. In Cyprus, he is determined to strike a deal largely on his terms. In Iraq, he placed Turkish troops over the objections of the Iraqi government to maintain his ruthless war against the Kurds. In Syria, he allowed thousands of foreign fighters, including many who have joined ISIS, to cross the border to strengthen the anti-Assad fight, while fighting the Syrian Kurds to prevent them from establishing their own autonomous rule, fearing that the Turkish Kurds would also demand autonomous rule of their own.

Erdogan further promoted the policy of “zero problem with neighbors,” and although presently Turkey has problems with just about every neighbor (and its prospective EU membership has completely diminished), he continues to claim that Turkey enjoys good relations internationally. Erdogan still uses Turkey’s membership in NATO as a sign of greatness; the fact that Turkey has the second-largest number of ground troops in  NATO reinforces his illusion that Ankara enjoys unrivaled military prowess in the region and commands the respect and attention of the international community that the Ottoman Empire was accorded.

Fifth, promoting Islam as a powerful tool: Erdogan is also using Sunni Islam to promote the country as a republic with Islamic ideals supported by a loyal state apparatus. He portrays himself as the leader of the Sunni world that would restore the Ottoman era of influence while cementing his authoritarian rule in the form of a neo-Sultan. To be sure, Erdogan is vigorously promoting – with the support of his party – Islamic nationalism systematically and meticulously. Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish analyst of politics and culture and author of the new book The Islamic Jesus says that “political propaganda is in your face every day, every single moment. If you turn on TV, if you open newspapers…”

Former Prime Minister Davutoglu said in 2015 that Turkey “will re-found the Ottoman state.” Although Davutoglu was fired, he—like most Turkish officials—depicts the government as the rightful heir of the Ottoman legacy. To that end, Erdogan uses Islam as the unifying theme that would propel Turkey to the greatness that the Ottoman Empire enjoyed. In fact, Turkish religious leaders have always thought of themselves as the standard-bearer of Islamic civilization, and though this failed with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, to them it must now be corrected. As they would have it, “Turks once again should lead the ummah [Islamic community] as the new Ottomans.”

Sadly, Erdogan, who is still seen as a hero by nearly half of the Turkish population, is leading the country on a treacherous path. Turkey and its people have the resources, creativity, and institutions to make Turkey a significant power. Erdogan, who demonstrated an uncanny ability to harness his country’s natural and human resources, could have made Turkey such a power on the global stage. Indeed, he would have been the Atatürk of the new era had he simply continued with his historic reforms while protecting the rights of every individual and creating a real model of Islamic democracy.

The collapse of the Ottoman Empire was largely precipitated, among other things, by its internal political decadence, the arbitrary exercising of power, and gross violations of human rights that dramatically eroded the foundation on which the empire was built.

In whichever form Erdogan wants to resurrect the Ottoman Empire, he will fail because no country can survive, let alone become great, as long as the government walks on the backs of the people and stifles their freedom to act, speak, and dream.

There is where the greatness of any nation rests and endures—the Ottoman Empire never provided a model worthy of such emulation.

 

A Look at Syria Following Nearly Six Years of Crisis

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(photo by Omar Sanadiki – © REUTERS)

As the Syrian crisis approaches its 6th anniversary, we take a look at some of the Syrian government’s social, political and economic policies. This will not only give an insight into what life has been like in Syria, but it also provides an indication of what values and principles are important to the Syrian government.

Generally speaking, President Bashar al-Assad, and his late father, Hafez al-Assad operated a secular state, allowing all religions to be practised across Syria. The government itself is made up of a range of different religions, although Islam is the state religion.

A government soldier with the Syrian flag

Access to education has been a championed value in Syria for several decades, with free education being provided by the government, even at universities (although there are some private alternatives available.)

Despite the raging conflict, most schools and academic institutions continue to function in government-held areas. However, the war has displaced millions internally, and in the vast majority of cases, they have moved from areas held by Daesh or other militant groups, to areas under the sanctuary of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allied forces.

This has put a strain on facilities, including schools and universities, and many of them are now operating well-above their standard capacity. For example, more than 200,000 students currently study at Damascus University, as it has accepted displaced students from across Syria.

Damascus University, which was founded in 1923, is Syria’s largest and oldest university, and until now, it offers a variety of courses, ranging from Medicine to Engineering.

The war and economic sanctions on Syria’s economy have resulted in a sharp decrease in national GDP, whilst also triggering high levels of price inflation. This has dragged many Syrians into poverty, making basic goods unaffordable. To reduce the financial strain on many Syrians, some schools no longer require students to wear uniforms, as this would be an unnecessary additional cost.

In mid-2010, Syria became the first Muslim country ban the burka and niqab. Specifically, they were banned at public and private universities. The ban was implemented to counter oppression against women, and combat radical Islam. The Daily Mail interviewed a 32-year-old Syrian engineer, named Ahmed, who said: “Hijabs and niqabs have been a symbol of oppression and religious extremism over the past hundreds of years. They have been a tool used by fundamentalist men to repress women.”

The Syrian government, especially when it was led by Hafez al-Assad, decided to preserve Syria’s natural resources for future generations, as opposed to exploiting it for financial gain. This policy may no longer be followed in a post-war context, as Syria looks to rebuild itself, and bolster the economy.

In terms of immigration policy, Syria allowed millions of Palestinians and Iraqis to settle in the country over the past few decades. Very few Syrians permanently left the country, and in most cases, they would travel to Europe for educational purposes, typically funded by the government.

Defending and liberating Palestine is a core Baathist policy, and Syria went to war with Israel on several occasions, eventually leading to the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights, located in Southern Syria.

However, Syria adopted a pragmatic approach, militarily intervening in Lebanon against the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in the early 1980s, because PLO forces were massacring Lebanese Maronite Christians. Once again, this further reinforces their commitment to secularism.

Access to healthcare was another core value and policy. According to an article published in the Independent, Syria’s pre-war healthcare system was “the envy of the Middle East,” and the country had a life-expectancy of 75, similar to the UK.

Russian doctors provide consultations to residents of Kaukab, Syria during the distribution of Russian humanitarian aid. (File)

Syria’s pharmaceutical industry was drastically improved and developed over the past few decades, with the successful implementation of Good Manufacturing Practise (GMP), allowing Syria to export its pharmaceuticals to more than 50 countries, while also meeting around 90% of domestic demand for medicaments.

When you look at some the Syrian government’s policies, it is easy to see why President Assad still enjoys support from millions of Syrians.

It is impossible to tell exactly how things will develop once the conflict reaches its conclusion, but we can expect secularism, and access to education and healthcare to continue being the cornerstones of the current government’s policies.


SOURCES:
Sputnik News, by Suliman Mulhem
Submitted by SyrianPatriot
War Press Info Network at :
https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2017/02/26/6-years-crisis/
~

“The Media Coverage on Syria is the Biggest Media Lie of our Time”: Interview with Flemish Priest in Syria

Global Research, January 28, 2017
Signs of the Times 24 January 2017
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“Do you not know that the media coverage on Syria is the biggest media lie of our time?

Flemish Father Daniël Maes (78) lives in Syria in the sixth-century-old Mar Yakub monastery in the city of Qara, 90 kilometers north of the capital Damascus. Father Daniel has been a witness to the “civil war” and according to him, Western reports on the conflict in Syria are very misleading. In short: “the Americans and their allies want to completely ruin the country.”

Interviewer: You are very critical of the media coverage on Syria. What is bothering you?

Father Daniel: “The idea that a popular uprising took place against President Assad is completely false. I’ve been in Qara since 2010 and I have seen with my own eyes how agitators from outside Syria organized protests against the government and recruited young people. That was filmed and aired by Al Jazeera to give the impression that a rebellion was taking place. Murders were committed by foreign terrorists, against the Sunni and Christian communities, in an effort to sow religious and ethnic discord among the Syrian people. While in my experience, the Syrian people were actually very united.

Before the war, this was a harmonious country: a secular state in which different religious communities lived side by side peacefully. There was hardly any poverty, education was free, and health care was good. It was only not possible to freely express your political views. But most people did not care about that.”

Interviewer: Mother Agnès-Mariam, of your Mar Yakub (“Saint Jacob”) monastery, is accused of siding with the regime. She has friends at the highest level.

Father Daniel: “mother Agnès-Mariam helps the population: she has recently opened a soup kitchen in Aleppo, where 25,000 meals are prepared five times a week. Look, it is miraculous that we are still alive. We owe that to the army of Assad’s government and to Vladimir Putin, because he decided to intervene when the rebels threatened to take power.

When thousands of terrorists settled in Qara, we became afraid for our lives. They came from the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, Europe, Turkey, Libya, there were many Chechens. They formed a foreign occupation force, all allied to al-Qaeda and other terrorists. Armed to the teeth by the West and their allies with the intention to act against us, they literally said: “This country belongs to us now.” Often, they were drugged, they fought each other, in the evening they fired randomly. We had to hide in the crypts of the monastery for a long time. When the Syrian army chased them away, everybody was happy: the Syrian citizens because they hate the foreign rebels, and we because peace had returned.”

Interviewer: You say that the Syrian Army protects civilians, yet there are all sorts of reports about war crimes committed by Assad’s forces, such as the bombardments with barrel bombs.

Father Daniel: “Do you not know that the media coverage on Syria is the biggest media lie of our time? They have sold pure nonsense about Assad: It was actually the rebels who plundered and killed. Do you think that the Syrian people are stupid?Do you think those people were forced to cheer for Assad and Putin? It is the Americans who have a hand in all of this, for pipelines and natural resources in this region and to thwart Putin.”

Saudi Arabia and Qatar want to establish a Sunni state in Syria, without religious freedom. Therefore, Assad must go. You know, when the Syrian army was preparing for the battle in Aleppo, Muslim soldiers came to me to be blessed. Between ordinary Muslims and Christians, there is no problem. It is those radical Islamic, Western-backed rebels who want to massacre us. They are all al Qaeda and IS. There are not any moderate fighters anymore.”

Interviewer: You once mentioned Hillary Clinton to be a ‘devil in holy water’, because as foreign minister, she deliberately worsened the conflict.

Father Daniel: “I am happy with Trump. He sees what every normal person understands: That the United States should stop undermining countries which possess natural resources. The Americans’ attempt to impose a unipolar world is the biggest problem. Trump understands that radical Islam is a bigger threat than Russia.

What do I care whether he occasionally takes off his pants? If Trump practices geopolitics the way he has promised to do so, then the future looks bright. Then it will become similar to Putin’s approach. And hopefully then, there will be a solution for Syria, and peace will return.”

Interviewer: You understand that your analysis is controversial and will encounter much criticism?

Father Daniel: “I speak from personal observation. And no one has to believe me, right? But I know one thing: The media can either contribute to the massacre of the Syrian people or help the Syrian people, with their media coverage. Unfortunately, there are too many followers and cowards among journalists.”

Maria Finoshina: Merry Christmas from Damascus!

Published on Dec 26, 2016

Maria: Merry Christmas from Damascus!
Santa told us he brought Peace for Syria this year.
Let’s all pray for this Christmas to be the last one in war.

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