فتى آذار… الثائر الأول

ناصر قنديل

ليس في تاريخ الأحزاب التي نعرفها عبر التاريخ، مسيرة دراميّة مليئة بالأحداث الأسطوريّة، سواء لجهة طابعها الملحميّ، أو لجهة تزاحم أحداثها الكبيرة، ودرجة العبقريّة التي تخفيها شخصية بطلها الأول، ما يشبه ثنائية الزعيم أنطون سعاده والحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي. فالحزب الذي تأسس عام 1932 ولد مؤسسه وواضع عقيدته ومنشئ تشكيله النظامي الأول في أول آذار عام 1904، أي أن الزعيم الذي وضع العقيدة بما فيها من معالجات نظرية معقدة وتحليلات تتداخل مع شتى العلوم، من الجغرافيا والتاريخ إلى النظريات السياسية الوضعية والعقائد المنتشرة، والاقتصاد وعلم الاجتماع وعلوم السياسة والاستراتيجيات وفنون وأصول الإدارة، كان في الثامنة والعشرين من العمر فقط، وخلال السنوات التي تلت التأسيس قبل استشهاد الزعيم، والتي تشكل بمجموعها سبع عشرة سنة، تحوّل الحزب وزعيمه قضية أولى على جداول أعمال أنظمة المنطقة وفي طليعتها الكيان الغاصب لفلسطين والاستعمار الفرنسي والبريطاني، بسبب التهديد الجدّي الذي مثله انتشار وتوسّع وتجذر بنائه التنظيمي وأدائه النضالي، حتى توافق الجميع على التخلص من سعاده وإعدامه الذي شكل بذاته ملحمة بطولة نادرة في حياة رجال الفكر والسياسة، جعلت الكثيرين يقارنون بين اعتقال وإعدام سعاده الثائر، واعتقال وإعدام الثائر الأمميّ أرنستوتشي غيفارا، وربما ترجح كفة سعاده لدى الكثيرين منهم.

خلال أكثر من ثمانية وثمانين عاماً عاصرت عقيدة سعاده وحزبه عقائد وأحزاب كثيرة أخرى، لكن الأحداث لم تمنح المصداقية لعقيدة بمثل ما منحتها لعقيدة سعاده، سواء لجهة ما يجمع بين الكيانات السوريّة، وحتمية فشل تقسيمات سايكس بيكو في إخفاء مصيرها الواحد ووحدة نسيجها الاجتماعي، أو لجهة الخطر المحدق الذي يمثله كيان الاحتلال الصهيونيّ لفلسطين على سائر كيانات الأمة، والحاجة لمواجهته بالسلاح المنظّم والمقاومة الرادعة، واستحالة الرهان على التسويات السياسية لاستعادة أيٍّ من حقوق الشعب الفلسطينيّ. فالصراع مع هذا الكيان هو صراع وجود لا صراع حدود، أو لجهة فشل الأنظمة المؤسسة على الصيغ الطائفيّة وحيوية الحاجة لتأكيد وحدة النسيج الاجتماعي عبر دولة مدنية علمانية، لا تتداخل فيها الهويات الاجتماعية المستحقة للاحترام على مستوى الاعتقاد الشخصي، مع الهوية الجامعة على مستوى الوطن والأمة، التي تبنى عليها الدولة.

فتى آذار لبناني المولد، عالمي المكانة العلميّة بين علماء السياسة والاجتماع، نهضويّ تغييريّ، مقاوم وثائر من طراز خاص، يمكن لكل لبناني مجرد عن عصبية أو حقد موروث أو تلاعب سياسي بالذاكرة، أن يفتخر بأنه إبن بلد، لكن على كل مَن يصف نفسه بالثائر اليوم من بين اللبنانيين، أن يتذكّر أن الثائر الأول الذي هزّ ركائز هذا النظام واستحق شهادته بامتياز، هو أنطون سعاده، الذي أخاف أركان النظام لأنه وضع يده على الجرح، وضغط فيه فأوجع حماة الطائفية وزبائن الأجنبي، ووكلاء منظومة النهب، فجعلوه هدفاً حتى أعدموه، فهل يعني هذا ما يجب أن يعنيه حول من يتسبّب بالوجع ويكون ثائراً بالمعنى العميق للكلمة، وبين مَن يكون لاعباً على القشرة يستمتع ويترف بالتلاعب به أهل النظام وينجحون باحتوائه وتقاسمه في ما بينهم، كما يتقاسمون المال والنفوذ وأدوات السيطرة، وهل يكون لذكرى سعاده فعلها في طرح الأسئلة الصحيحة لنيل الأجوبة الصحيحة، حول أصل الداء في لبنان، وفي ما حول لبنان، وبالتالي حول خطة عمل جريئة وجدّية من دونها يبقى كل جهد وتعب ووقت هباء، لأنه يلاعب القشرة ولا يصل إلى عمق الوجع.

المهم وربما الأهم في عقيدة سعاده، أنها أدركت جاذبية أفكارها الجريئة والجديدة والجامعة، فخشيت عليها من التحوّل إلى ترف الصالونات، فكان نصف العقيدة أو أكثر مركزاً على مكانة النظام والانتظام. فالحزب هو الذي يمنح العقيدة بعداً اجتماعياً، ومكانة فاعلة في حياة المجتمع، ويشقّ لها الطريق كمنبع لحلول جدية لمشكلات تعانيها الأمة ويرزح تحت وطأتها الشعب، ومن دون الحزب والنضال والتضحيات لا يعترف سعاده بمريدين ومؤيدين لعقيدته. فالقضية ليست قضية مَن يصفق ولا من يؤيد ولا من يعجب، بل من يجد في العقيدة وصفة خلاص شخصيّ وجماعيّ، ويتخذها نمط حياة وأسلوب عمل وإيماناً شخصياً يعيد تنظيم شخصيته وأولوياته ونمط حياته على أساسها، والبداية بالانتقال من الفرد كمحور للحياة، إلى الأمة كهوية وقضية يعرف ذاته من خلالها، ونواتها الحزب الذي يعيش شخصيتها ومبادئها وأخلاقياتها، ويجعلها هدفاً نضالياً يتحقق بالتضحيات.

في مسيرة مليئة بالتعرجات والإنجازات والخيبات، نجح القوميون في صيانة شعلة العقيدة واستمرار وملاءمة الحزب مع المتغيرات الكثيرة، لكنها المتغيرات التي أكدت صواب العقيدة وحاجة الحزب للارتقاء بنضاله إلى ما تستحقّ، ولم يغب الحزب عن استحقاقات الأمة التي تشهد عليها دماء الشهداء من مقاومة الاحتلال إلى مواجهة خطر الإرهاب التكفيري والتفتيتي، وإسقاط مشاريع التقسيم، ويبقى الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي، كلما نظرنا حولنا إلى الحاجة لحزب عابر للطوائف مترفّع عن الطائفية بصدق، وكلما نظرنا إلى ما حولنا من حاجة للتكامل بين كيانات لبنان وسورية والعراق والأردن وما حولها، وكلما نظرنا إلى فلسطين ودرجة وضوح الصورة لجهة سقوط التسويات وأوهامها وتظهير درجة العدوانيّة الدمويّة وآلامها، الحزب الذي يمتلك الأجوبة الحاضرة على الأسئلة الملحّة، بسهولة ما كتبه سعاده قبل ثمانية وثمانين عاماً وأكثر.

And so die heroes

ST

In the bewilderment of what happened (the assassination of general Suleimani) it is easy to forget that this is not the first time neither will it be the last time that America gets rid of its enemies through assassination.

A quick glance at back, to the 1960’s will give a clear example of this, when the whole world shook with the assassination of Che Guevara. There were attempts to pass his assassination off as death due to fire exchange during battle.

Soon the information of how he died leaked out. Afraid of the spread of revolution that had started in Latin America- a revolution instigated by Guevara and Castro the USA decided that this revolution should be suffocated before it reached their backdoor.

It was the covert work of the CIA and their agents in Bolivia that led to the assassination of Che Guevara. De classified records show the high level of US interest in hunting down Che Guevara and his comrades. A Memorandum of understanding was signed between the American side and the Bolivian side in which it was agreed that Guevara and his group of fighters be kept under surveillance. When Guevara died the Americans viewed it as a victory. They had  managed to assassinate Guevara by proxy and had stifled his “hated revolution”.

In the official wake (1967) held for him in Cuba by President Castro he said that through they have killed Che but they can never kill his ideas “The artist may die – but what will surely never die is the art to which he dedicated his life, the art to which he dedicated his intelligence,”.

In an irony to top all ironies the man who volunteered to kill Guevara sergeant “Mario Teran” and who had to live in the dark the rest of his life in Bolivia penned a letter of gratitude to Castro which was later published by El Deber thanking Castro because Cuban doctors had operated on his eyes free of charge and thus proving that though he shot Guevara and ended his life the ideas of the revolution of equality and supporting the poor never died and in the end “Mario Teran” their killer and Guevara’s benefitted from the moral and ethical beliefs of Guevara and the revolution he believed in.

British politician George Gallaway says “one of the greatest mistakes the US state ever made was to create those pictures of Che’s corpse. Its Christ like poise in death ensured that has appeal would spread way beyond the turbulent university campus and into the hearts of the faithful, flocking to the worldly, fiery sermons of the liberation thoelogists.” The Economist magazine pointed out how Che’s post death photos resemble Andrea Mantegna’s “The Lamentation over the Dead Christ”.

 There is no country in the world today including the USA itself that doesn’t have Geuevara memorabilia-his starred hat, his face leaping out of tshirts or from schoolbags. By executing him without even a trial the US immortalized him and turned him into an icon. All his faults and failures forgotten he even found his way to myths and many people today pray to saint Ernesto.

In another Latin American country Chile – a man rose to power. Salvador Allende – another doctor, another icon representing democratic socialism. For Allende was voted for by the people of Chile despite extraneous American efforts to sabotage the vote. Allende was of the same school as Guevara. He believed in revolutionary ideas in nationalization policy and in putting the workers in charge of the economy. Thus he made a lot of enemies but none as deadly as American President Nixon in a meeting said that he aimed to make the “Chilean economy scream”.

In an interview with the Italian communist daily President Allende refers to the United States as a “real threat”. For Allende nationalized mines owned by the American companies, Araconda and Kennecot. The US even negatively affected the relations of Chile with other countries as other countries were afraid of American ire and stayed away from forming economic ties with Chile.

In the end Allende was disposed of in a US backed coup, led by Pinochet who would later be considered as one of the darkest and most brutal dictators in history. In an exhibition called “secrets of state: The Declassified History of the Chilean Dictatorship “one can hear a reenactment of the phone conversation that happened between American President Nixon and his legal advisor Kissinger confirmed their hand in the coup that removed and killed Allende”. On view are documents revealing secret exchange about how to prevent Chile’s congress from ratifying the Allende Victory in 1970, plans for convert operations to destabilize his government and reports about a Chilean military officer informing the United States government of the coming coup and requesting assistance”.

Allende was deposed off and America won the day leaving Chile under the throes of a dictator who should have had his figure in Mme. Tussaud’s Chamber of horrors.

Part II

Suleimani

A different era, a different time, but no change in tactics for the Americans .

In reality their arrogance has increased and what they think of as their God given right to eradicate all whom they deem “dangerous” has reached a point of lunacy.

In the case of Guevara and Allende though America was responsible for their demise, however they used a proxy.

However with General Suleimani, Trump proudly announced that he had given the orders to kill him as he was deemed a threat to America. Trump claimed that he had information that Suleimani was targeting four America embassies. An outright lie as even his senators didn’t believe him and “refused to give him the benefit of the doubt”.

On January 3rd 2020 a US drone attack near Baghdad International Airport targeted and killed General Qasem Suleimani. It killed nine other people beside him.   

General Suleimani was commander of the Quds Force in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

 His death affected the region adversely. Anti American demonstrations broke out in Iran and Iraq. In Iraq parliament look a vote and agreed on the need for American troops to leave Iraqi soil once and for all. Unintentionally Trump managed to unite Iranians and Iraqis in their anger and distrust of America.

Suleimani was a well known face on battle fields forming military strategies and implementing them. He relentlessly fought Isis, groups affiliated to Isis and other terrorists. His hardwork and perseverance were major elements in defeating terrorist and in bringing security to areas that had suffered fear and atrocities.

His assassination dealt the axis of resistance a hard blow, undoubtedly, so unleashing a torrent of violent events that up to this moment has not stopped.

The question that should be asked is of what benefit is the assassination of Suleimani to the Americans? Was he a real threat to their national security?

The answer lies in the ideas that Suleimani embodied. He was a man who couldnot and would not stomach interference in his country from the USA and he did not mince his ideas about that. He was willing to fight to the very end to liberate the region from terrorism – which he did – he almost liberated the area from Isis and until the day he died he was fighting. It might be useful to recall the words of Castro upon the death of Guevara for they are applicable here too – words to the effect that you can kill the man but you can never kill what he stands for. On the contrary killing the man strengthens his ideals for it shows that he was willing to die for a worthwhile cause. Assassinating Suleimani is undoubtedly unlawful and a violation of international law and indeed who better than the Americans to do that.                    

 Editor in Chief

Reem Haddad

Soleimani: The ‘Muslim Che Guevara’ dies, but revolutionary culture continues

January 05, 2020

A demonstrator holds the picture of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani during a protest against the assassination in Baghdad of the Iranian commander by the United States, in Tehran, Iran, on January 3, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

By Ramin Mazaheri – PressTV

“ A people without hate cannot triumph over a brutal enemy.” – Che Guevara

The assassination on Iraqi soil of Iran’s Qassem Soleimani will produce many things, and global resentment and hatred for Washington is undoubtedly already one of them.

Around the world the assessment is the same: Washington has committed an act of war. In their bloodlust to reverse Iran’s popular and democratic revolution – in order to keep feeding their bottomless neo-imperial greed –  Washington has electroshocked the world into remembering its brutal immorality: one remembers the pain of doctor’s needle with more clarity than the pain of a week-long illness, after all.

There will be so many ramifications to this cowardly, illegal, inhuman act – which so nakedly aims to be of profit solely to the US elite and not the average American – that we should take time to historically assess the true legacy of Soleimani: 

he is the Muslim Che Guevara.

He is not merely the “Iranian Che Guevara” because that makes no sense given Che’s ideals: Just like the Argentinian, Soleimani spent many years of his life fighting US imperialism in many countries and ultimately died in a foreign land out of his certainty in the reality of international brotherhood.

Remains of Gen. Soleimani arrive in Iran for cross-country funeral

Remains of Gen. Soleimani arrive in Iran for cross-country funeralThe remains of anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani and his companions have arrived in the southern Iranian city of Ahvaz from Iraq where they were assassinated by the US early Friday.

Limiting Soleimani’s legacy to the “Iranian Che Guevara” also makes no sense given the ideals of the Iranian revolution: Soleimani’s death reminds the world that Iran – seemingly alone in the anti-imperialist struggle in 2019 – repeatedly gives their time, money, blood, love and lives to non-Iranians out of a sense of progressive political internationalism.

Che Guevara died in October 1967 in Bolivia. The group Che died with was international, including Peruvians, Argentinians, Cubans, Bolivians and even two Europeans. Without Soleimani’s presence in Iraq and Syria both of those countries would be under total imperialist domination today, and probably Lebanon as well.

The Iranian revolution is just as international in scope and reach as the Cuban revolution Che was a part of creating and defending. Iran’s critics say they want to turn every Muslim into a Shia and make the laws of Iran the laws of the entire world…. but that is obviously the hubris of the imperialist West – Iran’s progressive goal is not control but liberation of the masses and then their empowerment.

Few Westerners seem to realize that the primary motivation of Che – perhaps the very picture of internationalism –  was undoubtedly Latin American nationalism: his dream was the same as Bolivar’s (and Cuba’s Marti and others in Chile, Nicaragua, etc.). For those who see the anti-imperialist struggle with historical accuracy, there is in an obvious parallel here with the “Muslim World nationalism” of Iran’s Soleimani.

Only the religion-phobes, the uselessly pedantic and the outright Iranophobes and Islamophobes will fail to see that.

Soleimani’s assassination may trigger end of US military presence in Iraq: Paper

Soleimani’s assassination may trigger end of US military presence in Iraq: PaperGeneral Soleimani’s assassination may trigger the ultimate objective of ending the US military presence in Iraq, a British paper says.

It’s no matter to billions of people if such persons remain blind: Just like Soleimani, Che was disavowed by the leading leftists and revolutionaries of his day – the USSR detested Che and his bold resistance to Washington, which few recall. (Like Iran today, Che was appreciative of the Chinese view.) Moscow insisted – in their quite European fashion – that only they should lead and strategise the fight against Western imperialism. In short: now that the USSR had been liberated from foreign imperialism, nobody else needed to take up arms anymore. Of course, at the time of Che’s death the USSR was no longer led by the anti-fascist hero Che affectedly called “Daddy Stalin” – Khrushchev, Brezhnev and finally Gorbachev would grow decadent, corrupt, even renounce Soviet support for international anti-imperialist struggles, and finally wilfully implode the USSR from the very top and against the overwhelming democratic will of the Soviet people.

To the Western leftists – or anywhere else in the world – who can’t see clearly: Why did they kill Soleimani, too? Do they still think he was, to use a term popular in the US around 2003, an “Islamo-fascist”? Washington is certainly fascist, but they are not so very Islamophobic to kill Soleimani over being a Muslim. I hope this group keeps trying – one day they’ll finally understand. 

Che was assassinated because his explicit goal was to create “multiple Vietnams”. Surely many streets will be named after Soleimani in Syria, and Iraq, and even Palestine (if Iran could get some help from Arab nations). Soleimani was undoubtedly a success.

But the invasion, sanctions, re-invasion and occupation of Iraq never motivated the West like Vietnam. Why? Islamophobia, perhaps. The injustice towards Iraqis did, however, motivate Iranians like Soleimani.

Was Che a success? He failed in Bolivia and the Congo, but Cuba remains the “first free country in the Americas”, and many would rightly say the only. Less appreciated is how Cuba fought alongside non-Latin Angola – who had the misfortune of being colonised by the most backwards Western imperialist (Portugal) – and how this directly led to the end of Apartheid in South Africa. Che was undoubtedly a success.

Axis of resistance to respond decisively to Gen. Soleimani’s assassination: Top Hezbollah official

Axis of resistance to respond decisively to Gen. Soleimani’s assassination: Top Hezbollah officialA top Hezbollah official says the response of the axis of resistance to the US assassination of General Qassem Soleimani will be decisive.

In the West Che is only a successful way to make money – his face sells all types of merchandise – but the notion that his ideas are remembered, understood or (LOL) taught is laughable. For the West Che merely symbolises romance, not revolution, politics or morality.

And that’s where this article moves on from placing Soleimani in his proper historical context.

If Iranians think that continuing their revolution is just romance and posing – instead of a necessary self-sacrifice, which is undertaken with no expectation of earthly reward (and in fact more likely to produce quite the contrary), in order to prevent brutality and hate ruining the lives of tens of millions of Iranians – then their revolution will fail. Revolutions often fail: ask the French. They still celebrate it every Bastille Day, but that is more romance and posing.

For those non-Iranians who think the Iranian revolution is not needed globally, and especially regionally, urgently – just go ask an Iraqi, Syrian or Palestinian if they agree. Other countries will be included one day, and I am first thinking of those areas which are so deeply vital to Islamic culture, such as Egypt, Morocco and Arabia. One day the sons and daughters of Che and Soleimani will unite in countries which are neither Muslim nor Latin, Inshallah.

For those who think Soleimani will be the last atrocious slaying it is necessary to recall that the death of Che was only the first – Sukarno, Nkrumah, Ben Bella, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy soon followed.

However, we should not forget they were preceded domestically by Malcolm X and John Kennedy – assassination is not at all a new policy for the US, and we should not imagine that suddenly is now. The goal of such assassinations is clear: to discourage future revolutionaries, and also to retard ongoing anti-imperialist movements.

Iraqi parliament passes law legalizing Popular Mobilization Units

Iraqi parliament passes law legalizing Popular Mobilization UnitsThe Iraqi parliament votes to transform Popular Mobilization Units into a legal and separate military corps.

However, I am not worried that the Iranian Revolution will fall with Soleimani, and I mean that with reverence for his sacrifice and achievements: the idea that a popular revolution can (or should) rest on the work of one man alone… this is not revolution, nor popular, but the “great man-ism” of Western capitalism-imperialism. This is Macron, Rhodesia, Louis XIV, Churchill, and, of course, Trump. A successful revolutionary culture produces a system which is able to produce moral and capable leaders over and over and over until the revolution is truly secure – Iranians have more than 40 years of successful revolution upon which to justifiably base their faith in the future, despite these sad days.

Trump has committed an act of war, but a quick, hasty revenge will almost certainly be detrimental to the many just causes Soleimani and others have sacrificed so much for. Soleimani did not become the Muslim Che Guevara and repeatedly triumph over a brutal enemy by placing the good of one person over the good of the nation and the good of the struggle.

Angola provides the best example of how Che’s death should have been dealt with: they launched an anti-imperialist offensive called “Che is not dead”, which proved to be the beginning of the end of Portuguese control over Guinea-Bissau and then of the entire Portuguese empire by 1974.

Thanks in large part to Soleimani’s efforts, after so many decades of Western-led corruption, hate and brutality Iraq appears strong enough that they may even be able to expel the US immediately and even peacefully. I don’t think Soleimani would ask for any greater legacy than that – this is what he died for.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.’

سليماني: وفاة “مسلم تشي جيفارا” ، لكن الثقافة الثورية مستمرة

بقلم رامين مظاهري

رامين ماظاهري هو المراسل الرئيسي في باريس لتلفزيون برس ، ويقيم في فرنسا منذ عام 2009. عمل مراسلاً لصحيفة يومية في الولايات المتحدة ، وقد نشر تقارير من إيران وكوبا ومصر وتونس وكوريا الجنوبية وأماكن أخرى. وهو مؤلف كتب “سأحطم كل شيء أنت: إنهاء الدعاية الغربية بشأن الصين الحمراء” و “الاشتراكية المتجاهلة النجاح: الاشتراكية الإسلامية الإيرانية” المقبلة.

“لا يمكن لشعب بلا كراهية الانتصار على عدو وحشي” – تشي جيفارا

إن اغتيال قاسم سليماني على أرض العراق سينتج عنه أشياء كثيرة ، ولا شك أن الاستياء والكراهية العالميين لواشنطن هو أحدهما بالفعل.

التقييم في جميع أنحاء العالم هو نفسه: لقد ارتكبت واشنطن عمل حرب. في غمرة دمائهم لعكس ثورة إيران الشعبية والديمقراطية – من أجل الاستمرار في إطعام جشعهم الإمبريالي الجديد الذي لا نهاية له – صدمت واشنطن العالم بأسره لتتذكر مخالفته الوحشية: يتذكر المرء ألم إبرة الطبيب بمزيد من الوضوح أكثر من ألم الأسبوع. مرض طويل ، بعد كل شيء.

سيكون هناك الكثير من التداعيات على هذا العمل الجبان وغير القانوني واللاإنساني – الذي يهدف بشكل مكشوف إلى تحقيق ربح فقط للنخبة الأمريكية وليس المواطن الأمريكي العادي – لدرجة أننا يجب أن نأخذ الوقت لتقييم تاريخياً للتراث الحقيقي لسليماني: المسلم تشي جيفارا.

إنه ليس مجرد “تشي تشي جيفارا الإيراني” لأن هذا لا معنى له في ضوء مُثُل تشي: تمامًا مثل الأرجنتيني ، قضى سليماني سنوات عديدة من حياته يقاتل الإمبريالية الأمريكية في العديد من البلدان وتوفي في النهاية في أرض أجنبية بدافع اليقين في حقيقة الإخاء الدولي.

إن قصر تراث سليماني على “تشي تشي جيفارا الإيراني” ليس له أي معنى أيضًا في ضوء مُثُل الثورة الإيرانية: إن وفاة سليماني تذكر العالم بأن إيران – التي تبدو وحدها في الكفاح ضد الإمبريالية في عام 2019 – تعطي مرارًا وتكرارًا وقتهم وأموالهم ودمائهم ، الحب والعيش لغير الإيرانيين بدافع الإحساس بالأممية السياسية التقدمية.

توفي تشي جيفارا في أكتوبر 1967 في بوليفيا. كانت المجموعة التي مات بها تشي دولية ، بما في ذلك البيروفيين والأرجنتين والكوبيين والبوليفيين وحتى الأوروبيين. وبدون وجود سليماني في العراق وسوريا ، سيكون كلا هذين البلدين تحت السيطرة الإمبريالية الكاملة اليوم ، وربما لبنان أيضًا.

إن الثورة الإيرانية ذات نطاق عالمي ومدى انتشارها كما كانت الثورة الكوبية تشي جزءًا من الإبداع والدفاع. يقول منتقدو إيران إنهم يريدون تحويل كل مسلم إلى شيعة وجعل قوانين إيران قوانين العالم بأسره …. لكن من الواضح أن هذا هو غطرسة الغرب الإمبريالي – فهدف إيران التدريجي ليس السيطرة بل تحرير الجماهير ثم تمكينها.

يبدو أن القليل من الغربيين يدركون أن الدافع الأساسي لتشي – ربما صورة الأممية – كان بلا شك القومية الأمريكية اللاتينية: كان حلمه هو نفسه حلم بوليفار (ومارتي كوبا وغيرها من تشيلي ونيكاراغوا ، إلخ). بالنسبة لأولئك الذين يرون النضال ضد الإمبريالية بدقة تاريخية ، هناك في موازاة واضحة هنا مع “القومية العالم الإسلامي” من سليماني إيران.

فقط رهاب الدين ، الإيرانيين الفاشلين غير المجاهدين والصواب والخوف من الإسلاموفوبس سيفشلون في رؤية ذلك.

لا يهم المليارات من الناس إذا ظل هؤلاء الأشخاص عمياء: تمامًا مثل سليماني ، تم التخلي عن تشي من قبل كبار اليساريين والثوريين في عصره – الاتحاد السوفيتي كره تشي ومقاومته الجريئة لواشنطن ، وهو ما يذكره القليلون. (مثل إيران اليوم ، كان تشي يقدر وجهة النظر الصينية). أصرت موسكو – بأسلوبها الأوروبي تمامًا – على أنها فقط يجب أن تقود وتضع استراتيجية للحرب ضد الإمبريالية الغربية. باختصار: الآن بعد أن تم تحرير الاتحاد السوفيتي من الإمبريالية الأجنبية ، لم يعد هناك من يحتاج إلى حمل السلاح بعد الآن. بالطبع ، في وقت وفاة تشي ، لم يكن الاتحاد السوفييتي يقوده البطل المعادي للفاشية تشي المتأثر “دادي ستالين” – خروشوف ، بريجنيف وأخيراً غورباتشوف سوف يزداد الدعم السوفييتي للانحطاط الدولي المناهض للإمبريالية النضال ، وأخيرا تنفجر عن عمد الاتحاد السوفياتي من القمة وضد الإرادة الديمقراطية الساحقة للشعب السوفياتي.

إلى اليساريين الغربيين – أو في أي مكان آخر في العالم – الذين لا يستطيعون رؤية بوضوح: لماذا قتلوا سليماني أيضًا؟ هل ما زالوا يعتقدون أنه ، لاستخدام مصطلح شائع في الولايات المتحدة حوالي عام 2003 ، “فاشي إسلامي”؟ من المؤكد أن واشنطن فاشية ، لكنهم ليسوا من الإسلاميين الذين يقتلون سليماني بسبب كونهم مسلمين. آمل أن تستمر هذه المجموعة في المحاولة – في يوم ما سيفهمون في النهاية.

تم اغتيال تشي لأن هدفه الواضح كان إنشاء “فيتنام متعددة”. بالتأكيد سيتم تسمية العديد من الشوارع باسم سليماني في سوريا والعراق وحتى فلسطين (إذا كانت إيران قد تحصل على بعض المساعدة من الدول العربية). كان سليماني بلا شك نجاحًا.

لكن الغزو والعقوبات وإعادة الغزو والاحتلال للعراق لم يحفز الغرب مثل فيتنام. لماذا ا؟ رهاب الإسلام ، ربما. ومع ذلك ، فإن الظلم تجاه العراقيين قد حفز الإيرانيين مثل سليماني.

كان تشي النجاح؟ لقد فشل في بوليفيا والكونغو ، لكن كوبا لا تزال “أول بلد حر في الأمريكتين” ، وكثيرون سيقولون بحق فقط. أما الأمر الأقل تقديراً فهو كيف قاتلت كوبا إلى جانب أنغولا غير اللاتينية – التي عانت من سوء حظ الاستعمار من قبل الإمبرياليين الغربيين الأكثر تخلفاً (البرتغال) – وكيف أدى ذلك مباشرة إلى نهاية نظام الفصل العنصري في جنوب إفريقيا. كان تشي بلا شك نجاحًا.

في الغرب ، ليست تشي سوى وسيلة ناجحة لكسب المال – وجهه يبيع جميع أنواع البضائع – لكن فكرة أن أفكاره يتم تذكرها أو فهمها أو تعليمها (LOL) أمر مضحك. بالنسبة للغرب ، تشي فقط ترمز إلى الرومانسية وليس إلى الثورة أو السياسة أو الأخلاق.

وهنا ينتقل هذا المقال من وضع سليماني في سياقه التاريخي المناسب.

إذا كان الإيرانيون يعتقدون أن استمرار ثورتهم هو مجرد حب وتظاهر – بدلاً من التضحية بالنفس الضرورية ، والتي يتم القيام بها دون توقع لمكافأة دنيوية (وفي الواقع من المرجح أن تنتج عكس ذلك تمامًا) ، من أجل منع الوحشية والكراهية تدمير حياة عشرات الملايين من الإيرانيين – ثم ثورتهم ستفشل. الثورات غالبا ما تفشل: اسأل الفرنسيين. ما زالوا يحتفلون به في كل يوم من أيام الباستيل ، لكن هذا هو المزيد من الرومانسية والتظاهر.

بالنسبة لأولئك غير الإيرانيين الذين يعتقدون أن الثورة الإيرانية ليست ضرورية على المستوى العالمي ، وخاصة على المستوى الإقليمي ، على وجه السرعة – ما عليك سوى أن تسأل عراقيًا أو سوريًا أو فلسطينيًا إذا وافقوا على ذلك. سيتم إدراج بلدان أخرى في يوم من الأيام ، وأنا أفكر أولاً في تلك المجالات التي تعتبر حيوية للغاية للثقافة الإسلامية ، مثل مصر والمغرب والجزيرة العربية. في يوم من الأيام ، سيتحد أبناء وبنات تشي وسليماني في بلدان ليست مسلمة ولا لاتينية ، إن شاء الله.

بالنسبة لأولئك الذين يعتقدون أن سليماني سيكون آخر جريمة قتل فظيعة ، من الضروري أن نتذكر أن وفاة تشي كانت الأولى فقط – سوكارنو ونكروما وبن بيلا ومارتن لوثر كينغ وروبرت كينيدي سرعان ما تبع ذلك.

ومع ذلك ، لا ينبغي لنا أن ننسى أن مالكوم إكس وجون كينيدي سبقهما على الصعيد المحلي – الاغتيال ليس على الإطلاق سياسة جديدة للولايات المتحدة ، ويجب ألا نتصور أن الأمر أصبح مفاجئًا الآن. هدف مثل هذه الاغتيالات واضح: لتثبيط الثوار في المستقبل ، وكذلك تأخير الحركات المستمرة المناهضة للإمبريالية.

ومع ذلك ، لست قلقًا من سقوط الثورة الإيرانية مع سليماني ، وأعني بذلك تقديسًا لتضحياته وإنجازاته: فكرة أن الثورة الشعبية يمكن (أو ينبغي) أن تعتمد على عمل رجل واحد بمفرده … هذه ليست ثورة ، ولا شعبية ، ولكن “العظم العظيم” للإمبريالية الغربية. هذا هو ماكرون ، روديسيا ، لويس الرابع عشر ، تشرشل ، وبطبيعة الحال ، ترامب. تنتج الثقافة الثورية الناجحة نظامًا قادرًا على إنتاج قادة أخلاقيين وقادرين مرارًا وتكرارًا حتى تصبح الثورة آمنة حقًا – يتمتع الإيرانيون بأكثر من 40 عامًا من الثورة الناجحة التي يمكن أن يبني عليها إيمانهم في المستقبل ، على الرغم من هؤلاء أيام حزينة.

لقد ارتكب ترامب عملا حربيا ، ولكن من المؤكد أن الانتقام السريع المتسرع سيضر بالكثير من الأسباب العادلة التي ضحى بها سليماني وآخرون ضحوا بالكثير من أجلها. لم يصبح سليماني المسلم تشي غيفارا وانتصر مرارًا وتكرارًا على عدو وحشي من خلال وضع مصلحة شخص واحد على خير الأمة وخير النضال.

تقدم أنغولا أفضل مثال على كيفية التعامل مع وفاة تشي: لقد شنوا هجومًا معاديًا للإمبريالية أطلق عليه “تشي لم يمت” ، والذي أثبت أنه بداية نهاية السيطرة البرتغالية على غينيا بيساو ثم الإمبراطورية البرتغالية بأكملها بحلول عام 1974.

ويرجع الفضل في ذلك إلى حد كبير إلى جهود سليماني ، بعد عقود طويلة من الفساد بقيادة الغرب ، والكراهية والوحشية ، يبدو أن العراق قوي بما يكفي حتى يتمكن من طرد الولايات المتحدة على الفور وحتى بسلام. لا أعتقد أن سليماني سيطلب أي إرث أكبر من ذلك – هذا ما مات من أجله.

(الآراء المعبر عنها في هذا المقال لا تعكس بالضرورة آراء Press TV).

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Latin America: New Old Hot Point On Geopolitical Battlefield

Written and produced by SF Team: J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson

Latin America has long been regarded as the exclusive stomping ground of US economic interests, US military, and US intelligence services for much of the 19th and 20th centuries, to the point that the US public has grown to view meddling in its neighbors’ domestic politics as some sort of birthright which is still faintly rooted in the 19th century “white man’s burden” racialist policies. That the majority of Democratic Party presidential candidates supports the military coup in Bolivia, the escalating repressions in Chile, and the plundering of Brazil by the Bolsonaro regime is actually unremarkable in that regard. Such policies have long been the norm.

However, if one were to take a quick survey of recent developments in the “information battlefield” in the United States, one would be struck by the rapid elevation of Latin America to a place where direct US military action is needed. It is not just Trump who, in the aftermath of an apparently cartel-related murder of an American Mormon family in Mexico, “offered” Mexico the “help” of the US military in fighting the cartels. The latest boy-wonder of the US Establishment, “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg likewise allowed that he is “open” to the idea of sending US troops to Mexico. Neither of these statements was seen as in any way controversial by the mainstream media—even though the US public is broadly anti-war and skeptical of additional international entanglements, the Washington Establishment views the sovereignty of other countries as nothing more than legal fiction.

These politicians’ statements do not stand in isolation. Hollywood has long been “joined at the hip” with the US national security establishment and can always be relied upon to propagate the latest set of Washington talking points. While Russian villains remain the staple of US movies and video games, Latin America is gradually reclaiming its role as a battlefield and source of threats to the United States – a status it had lost after 9/11. There are now at least two currently running US TV series which specifically focus on direct US interventions in Latin America. America’s favorite CIA analyst Jack Ryan (who, it should be noted, became President on the pages of Tom Clancy’s novels after the rest of the US government was conveniently eliminated by a Boeing 747 flown into the Capitol  by a suicide pilot) is now bravely thwarting Russian plots in Venezuela. Going considerably further, Last Ship’s current season actually posits the emergence of Gran Colombia, a veritable Latin American empire which launches a Pearl Harbor-style surprise air raid which destroys the just-rebuilt US Navy with the assistance of a cyber-strike. In retaliation, the United States employs the full range of its conventional capabilities, starting with CIA covert operatives working with some modern equivalent of the Nicaraguan Contras whose connections to the drug cartels are not even concealed, and ending with US Marines landing on the shores of Latin American countries in order to “liberate” them from their own governments.

There are other indications that the US establishment is bracing for a major deterioration of the political situation “south of the border”, up to and including a major refugee crisis comparable to that which Europe has experienced. While Donald Trump has been roundly condemned for his immigration policies, particularly the deportations of Latin American refugees, the construction of a major barrier on the US-Mexico border, and the efforts to transform Mexico into a holding tank for refugees seeking admission into the United States, no senior Democratic Party politician or candidate has promised to reverse these policies.

The rekindling of interest in Latin America is a logical consequences of the drift toward a global multi-polar system. It means, first, a retrenchment in the Middle East due to the demonstrated power of Russia and China which has proved sufficient to thwart not only covert US plots but also overt uses of economic and military capabilities. This power transition has meant that even long-standing US allies such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia are adopting a multi-vector foreign policy no longer wholly centered on their relationship with the United States. It certainly does not help that the United States has proved of limited utility in resolving the many international conflicts and rivalries in that region, not only the obvious Iran-Saudi Arabia one, but also the lower-intensity Saudi Arabia—Turkey one. Since Russia is literally the only international power capable of credibly negotiating with each of these three regional rivals, its reputation as an honest broker backed up by non-trivial “hard power” has elevated its standing in the region to the detriment of the United States.

The second implication is an even closer binding of Latin American countries to the United States, with the remarkably compliant Organization of American States (OAS) which has never seen a military coup it did not like, serving as the overt instrument of control. Conversely, regional organizations which have proven resistant to US control such as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America-Trade between Peoples (ALBA-TCP) and  the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), both of which actually condemned the coup in Bolivia in strong terms, will find themselves the target of US pressure. Post-coup Bolivia’s announced departure from both of these organizations is unlikely to be an aberration, particularly since it follows on the heels of Lenin Moreno’s Ecuador’s departure from ALBA in 2018. The remaining ALBA states include Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela (in addition to several small island states), all of which are continuing targets of US regime change policies.

UNASUR also appears headed for extinction. As many as six countries, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru, suspended their membership in 2018. Chile moreover launched PROSUR, an organization explicitly intended to target Venezuela, with the initial states invited to join the new organization being  Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru, Guyana and Suriname, none of which can be described as pursuing policies contrary to US wishes.

The Trump Administration’s regional trade war that resulted in the launch of USMCA – a new trade pact by the US, Mexico and Canada intended to replace the North America Free Trade Association (NAFTA) is indicative of the future course of US policy. It’s doubtful that many in the region failed to note the new trade pact’s abbreviation is exactly the same as that of the US Marine Corps which has a long and dark history of invasions and occupations of Latin American states. Consistent with the plot of “Last Ship”, the US, Mexico and Canada will find themselves once again the final arbiter of trade arrangements in Latin America in the #MAGA era, an era that will not end with Trump.

Economic developments in countries that have suffered right-wing regime shifts in the last few years show the direction in which Latin America will evolve. In Brazil, Boeing was allowed to acquire the commercial aircraft division of EMBRAER which hitherto was able to compete, as an independent actor, against both Boeing and Airbus even in their own home markets. The move strengthens Boeing by making it more competitive against Airbus in certain niches that it lacked, and strips Brazil of a major industrial asset. Bolsonaro also aims to privatize another of Brazil’s economic “crown jewels”, the Petrobras energy firm which is all but guaranteed to fall into the hands of Washington-favored energy companies.  US interest in the lithium reserves in Bolivia and neighboring countries has also been well documented. Preventing Morales’ Bolivia from entering into a development deal with China was one of the main motives behind the coup. Like Bolsonaro’s Brazil, Moreno’s Ecuador is pursuing plans to allow oil drilling in the Amazon region.

The famed Argentinian revolutionary Che Guevara suffered a heroic death in Bolivia, attempting to mobilize an indigenous rebellion against the post-conquistador elite. The inevitable backlash to the ever more evident US efforts to ruthlessly exploit Latin America in order to compensate for the loss of influence and business elsewhere in the world means that the United States will find itself with several insurgencies and refugee crises not halfway around the world but in its own geopolitical backyard. Their intensity will eclipse the Cold War-era struggles.  Should the United States insist on pursuing its current course, it risks losing power and influence in Latin America in the same way  it did in the Middle East.

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“IF YOU LIKED WHAT WE DID TO THE MIDDLE EAST, YOU’LL LOVE WHAT WE’RE ABOUT TO DO TO LATIN AMERICA”

“If You Liked What We Did To The Middle East, You’ll LOVE What We’re About To Do To Latin America”

Written by J.Hawk exclusively for SouthFront

Latin America in the Crosshairs

Latin America has been regarded as the exclusive stomping ground of US economic interests, US military, and US intelligence services for much of the 19th and 20th centuries, to the point that the US public has grown to view meddling in its neighbors’ domestic politics as some sort of birthright which is still faintly rooted in the 19th century “white man’s burden” racialist policies. That the majority of Democratic Party presidential candidates supports the military coup in Bolivia, the escalating repressions in Chile, and the plundering of Brazil by the Bolsonaro regime is actually unremarkable in that regard. Such policies have long been the norm.

However, if one were to take a quick survey of recent developments in the “information battlefield” in the United States, one would be struck by the rapid elevation of Latin America as a place where direct US military action is needed. It is not just Trump who, in the aftermath of an apparently cartel-related murder of an American Mormon family in Mexico, “offered” Mexico the “help” of the US military in fighting the cartels. The latest boy-wonder of the US Establishment, “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg likewise allowed he is “open” to the idea of sending US troops to Mexico. Neither of these statements was seen as in any way controversial by the mainstream media—even though the US public is broadly anti-war and skeptical of additional international entanglements, the Washington Establishment views the sovereignty of other countries as nothing more than legal fiction.

These politicians’ statements do not stand in isolation. Hollywood has long been “joined at the hip” with the US national security establishment and can be always relied upon to propagate the latest set of Washington talking points. While Russian villains remain the staple of US movies and video games, Latin America is gradually reclaiming its role as a battlefield and source of threats to the United States which it lost after 9/11. There are now at least two currently running US TV series which specifically focus on direct US interventions in Latin America. America’s favorite CIA analyst Jack Ryan (who, it should be noted, became President on the pages of Tom Clancy’s novels after the rest of the US government was conveniently eliminated by a Boeing 747 flown into the Capitol  by a suicide pilot) is now bravely thwarting Russian plots in Venezuela. Going considerably further, Last Ship’s current season actually posits the emergence of Gran Colombia, a veritable Latin American empire which launches a Pearl Harbor-style surprise air raid which destroys the just-rebuilt US Navy with the assistance of a cyber-strike. In retaliation, United States employs the full range of its conventional capabilities, starting with CIA covert operatives working with some modern equivalent of the Nicaraguan Contras whose connections to the drug cartels are not even concealed, and ending with US Marines landing on the shores of Latin American countries in order to “liberate” them from their own governments.

There are other indications US establishment is bracing for a major deterioration of the political situation “south of the border”, up to and including a major refugee crisis comparable to what Europe has experienced. While Donald Trump has been roundly condemned for his immigration policies, particularly the deportations of Latin American refugees, the construction of a major barrier on the US-Mexico border, and the efforts to transform Mexico into a holding tank for refugees seeking admission into the United States, no senior Democratic Party politician or candidate has promised to reverse these policies.

From the Shores of Tripoli to the Halls of Montezuma?

The rekindling of interest in Latin America is a logical consequences of the drift toward a global multi-polar system. It means, first, a retrenchment in the Middle East due to the demonstrated power of Russia and China which has proved sufficient to thwart not only covert US plots but also overt uses of economic and military capabilities. This power transition has meant that even long-standing US allies such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia are adopting a multi-vector foreign policy no longer wholly centered on their relationship with the United States. It certainly does not help that the United States has proved of limited utility in resolving the many international conflicts and rivalries in that region, not only the obvious Iran-Saudi Arabia one, but also the lower-intensity Saudi Arabia—Turkey one. Since Russia is literally the only international power capable to credibly negotiate with each of these three regional rivals, its reputation as an honest broker backed up by non-trivial “hard power” has elevated its standing in the region to the detriment of the United States.

The second implication is an even closer binding of Latin American states to the United States, with the remarkably compliant Organization of American States (OAS) which has never seen a military coup it did not like, serving as the overt instrument of control. Conversely, regional organizations which have proven resistant to US control such as Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America-Trade between Peoples (ALBA-TCP) and  the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), both of which actually condemned the coup in Bolivia in strong terms, will find themselves the target of US pressure. Post-coup Bolivia’s announced departure from both of these organizations is unlikely to be an aberration, particularly since it follows on the heels of Lenin Moreno’s Ecuador’s departure from ALBA in 2018. The remaining ALBA states include Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela (in addition to several small island states), all of which are continuing targets of US regime change policies.

UNASUR also appears headed for extinction. As many as six countries, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru, suspended their membership in 2018. Chile moreover launched PROSUR, an organization explicitly intended to target Venezuela, with the initial states invited to join the new organization being  Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru, Guyana and Suriname, none of which can be described as pursuing policies contrary to US wishes.

Good-bye NAFTA, Hello USMC!

Trump Administration’s regional trade war that resulted in the launch of the US, Mexico, Canada (hence the “USMC” abbreviation) intended to replace the North America Free Trade Association (NAFTA) is indicative of the future US policy course. It’s doubtful few in the region failed to note the new trade pact’s abbreviation is exactly the same as that of the US Marine Corps which has a long and dark history of invasions and occupations of Latin American states. Consistent with the plot of “Last Ship”, USMC will find itself once again the final arbiter of trade arrangements in Latin America in the #MAGA era that will not end with Trump.

Economic developments in countries that have suffered right-wing regime shifts in the last few years show the direction in which Latin America will evolve. In Brazil, Boeing was allowed to acquire the commercial aircraft division of EMBRAER which hitherto was able to compete, as an independent actor, against both Boeing and Airbus even in their own home markets. The more strengthens Boeing by making it more competitive against Airbus in certain niches it lacked, and strips Brazil of a major industrial asset. Bolsonaro also aims to privatize another of Brazil’s economic “crown jewels”, the Petrobras energy firm which is all but guaranteed to fall into the hands of Washington-favored energy firms.  US interest in the lithium reserves in Bolivia and neighboring countries has also been well documented. Preventing Morales’ Bolivia from entering into a development deal with China was one of the main motives behind the coup. Like Bolsonaro’s Brazil, Moreno’s Ecuador is pursuing plans to allow oil drilling in the Amazon region.

 The Ghost of Che

The famed Argentinian revolutionary Che Guevara suffered a heroic death in Bolivia, attempting to mobilize an indigenous rebellion against the post-conquistador elite. The inevitable backlash to the ever more evident US efforts to ruthlessly exploit Latin America in order to compensate for the loss of influence and business elsewhere in the world means that the United States will find itself with several insurgencies and refugee crises not halfway around the world but in its own geopolitical backyard, whose intensity will eclipse the Cold War-era struggles.  Should United States insist on pursuing its current course, it risks losing power and influence in Latin America in the same way as it did in the Middle East.

Che Guevara is laughing for Cuba has triumphed

Che Guevara, the iconic revolutionary, in 1958. AFP/Getty Images/Antonio Nunez Jimenez

By: Sami Kleib

Published Friday, December 19, 2014

The sun sets behind the old neighborhoods in Havana. Lovers are scattered along the Corniche. Here, there is no racism, no religious doctrines and sects, no wars by “ISIS” and “al-Nusra Front,” and no Dahes wal-Ghabra’ battles. There are lovers from different ethnicities and races. Their African and Spanish origins give distinctive charm to the Cuban nights. The city sways to the sounds of salsa music blaring from cars parked at both sides of the street.

Havana – Slogans against the neighboring United States line the road between Havana and Santa Clara. Among the banners are pictures of the ‘Cuban Five,’ detainees who were held at the infamous Guantanamo Bay detention camp, and who the United States accused of infiltrating the Cuban opposition in the United States. Their arrest became a diplomatic issue between the two countries.

The employee at the car rental company smiles. He wipes the dust off the windshield of a car, goes underneath it and rises up, walks around it to make sure there are no damages, and then presents the rental paper for signing. He smiles again and says,

“I wish I could go with you to Santa Clara.” Like all the people in his beautiful and warm country, he seems to have maintained his love for that who is in Santa Clara.

Before leaving the capital Havana, we spot the United States Interests Section building, on which 138 black flags are raised. This is how Cuba blocked the electronic screen installed on the fifth floor of the “espionage section” – as they call it here – to prevent the broadcasting of anti-regime propaganda. Relations have slightly improved during President Barack Obama’s terms, but Cuba continues to suffer from injustice by its neighbor.

In the spring of 1960, US Secretary of State Christian Herter expressed the need to take a “positive position which would call forth a line of action while as adroit and inconspicuous as possible makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.”

Cuba endured starvation and remained steadfast. It stood high and upheld the dignity of its freedom fighters.

“Would you please show us the way to Santa Clara?” The Cuban woman clad in white smiles and bends over towards us, almost poking her head through the window. She says that she is heading to a place not far from the area. She tries to climb into the back seat, but we ask her to sit next to the driver. I sat in the back seat.

She praises our respect for women. She asks where we come from and seems more interested in knowing what is going on in our country. Here, popular culture is more inclined towards literature, arts, science, and medicine. The people seem to have had enough suffering. She says that Palestine used to be the only thing she knew about the Arab world. Despite its modest capabilities, Cuba today still hosts and sponsors Palestinian students. Today, the Cuban woman knows Syria, Iraq, the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS), Tunisia, Yemen, and Egypt. She smiles and says,

“Beware of the United States and NATO… they are the cause of our problems.”

Her name is Maria. Her modest golden ring perhaps holds one of the many beautiful love stories in Cuba. We all go silent. She places her right hand on the car window, salutes people standing on the sidewalk as if she knows them, guides us to our destination, thanks us and gets out of the car. Here, the people are kind and love life. They are well-read and have been patient for the duration of the sanctions imposed on their country. They dream of having some extent of luxury, but not at the expense of their dignity.

Maria crosses about 50 kilometers every day to and from work. She has two degrees, one in nursing and another in world literature. A picture of Che Guevara is pinned to her chest. Pictures of “Che” – as he is affectionately called here – spread along the road between Havana and Santa Clara. He is smiling in all pictures. It is as if he is laughing at where the United States has come to be on the world stage – or perhaps at what remains of the Arab left in the era of the Islamic caliphate.

Guevara was not Cuban. He was an Argentinian doctor, intellectual, and writer. He came to Cuba to support the revolution. He was loved by the people, and his image became engraved in every heart and street. His pictures abounded after his death, while pictures or statues of Cuban leader Fidel Castro are rarely seen. Leaders here revolt, triumph, and build their country. In countries where statues are revered, the leaders rob their people. Here, history recognizes rebels and leaders alike. There, history damns both the statues and who they represent.

How beautiful Santa Clara is. The statue of Che Guevara rises skyward. It stands tall above the grave, which has become a pilgrimage site and the most visited by tourists. A square-shaped picture of the handsome rebel hangs between round-framed pictures of his comrades in struggle and revolution. A pink lily flower sits next to the picture, under which a torch burns day and night – as did the revolution – and like the dignity of the people in Cuba today.

The receptionist smiles at us. She realizes that we – as millions of visitors before us – came to experience the flame of a real revolution. Here, the revolution did not consume its children, just as others did not consume the revolution. The employee smiles and reminds us that taking photographs is forbidden, and then continues reading. We ask if we are required to pay an entrance fee. She closes the book, laughs, removes her glasses, and says in Spanish, “Dear comrades, the revolution is not for sale.” Former allies in our revolutions, who are currently part of the NATO alliance, came to my mind.

Many personal belongings of Che Guevara and his companions are here: his identity card carrying his birth date in 1928, his camera which captured the last photos of the rebels, a cup of maté (a green drink similar to tea), a Colt pistol, military clothing, an old radio, a leather belt, and many pictures of the rebel beau with the revolution’s leader Fidel Castro. Each piece is accompanied with several explanations.

Visitors of the memorial experience a strange feeling. It could be the significance of the place, or perhaps the honorable history which is embodied in a rebel’s smile and some of his belongings.

Like us, about 1,500 visitors come to the memorial every day. If every visitor pays just one dollar, it would help improve conditions in Cuba. But here, the revolution is not for sale. The majority of visitors are Italians. The memorial attendant jokingly says, “especially Italian women.”

We are the only Arabs on the visitors’ list. Arabs do not care about the history of the Cuban revolution, or perhaps do not like this type of tourism. Arab money is accumulated in American banks, is spent in the streets of Europe and at nightclubs and casinos, or is sent to terrorist takfiri groups to ruin other countries, some which look like Cuba. The attendant feels happy when we tell her that Che’s image is also engraved in the hearts and homes of many in the Arab countries.

The Cuban night falls on Santa Clara. We pull a cigar from the yellow pack, as most Cubans do. Here, cigars are not limited to the corrupt, the illegally wealthy, or politicians who rob the people, as is the case in our country. The cigar here is not a symbol of status or social class. Refuse collectors, restaurant waiters, taxi drivers, intellectuals, politicians, and everyone smoke cigars. The cigar is the pride of Cuba.

Cuban nights are beautiful. There is a general sense of happiness that rises above the dire economic situation and inhabits the hearts of the people. Since the early evening, Cuban music blares from houses, kitchens, and cafes. Cubans in their summer clothes gather in front of their houses. They bring out food and drinks, and dance to the sounds of music. It is commonplace to see housewives dancing with their ​​husbands. Everyone is hospitable, and hosts would walk hundreds of kilometers to accompany a guest who gets lost. The people exude kindness that is rare to find in any country in the world.

Cuba’s revolution did not come out of nowhere. The country’s history has a lot of similarities with the history of the Arab countries. Since its independence in 1902, Cuba has known how to punish corrupt rulers linked to the United States. The American neighbor did not hesitate to violate its smaller neighbor. The United States attacked Cuba at least three times, and helped install and protect the dictator Fulgencio Batista, who suppressed the people and sold his country’s resources to the West. Does he remind you of anyone? Does he not remind you of many rather than one?

Batista arrested the young Fidel Castro. In the dictator’s prison, Castro wrote his famous letters: “History Will Absolve Me.” And history did him justice. The Soviet Union became his ally. China supported him. The United States severed ties with its neighbor, which became a powerful symbol of dignity. The infection of revolution spread. Pictures of Che Guevara sprouted like glorious lilies across Latin America and Africa. He continued to raise the banner of pride and dignity until he was betrayed by Bolivia itself, where he revived revolutionary sentiment.

Guevara was martyred. The revolution triumphed. America was enraged, and sought to suffocate Cuba economically by punishing all companies that do business with the country. Does this remind you of something? The Europeans put their support behind Washington. How history repeats itself. The helpless United Nations – which sometimes condemns, and at other times just lies dormant – slept more than it should, just as it does when it comes to Palestine.

Cuba held its ground and stood tall. It made of its people’s dignity a commitment, and of their pride a beacon. Then came the idiotic invader George W. Bush. Iraq’s Nero sought to punish the rebellious neighbor. He said,

“We will soon bring down the Cuban regime.”

Guevara laughed in his picture and Castro scoffed at him. He said from his hospital bed:

“Bush should remember that we defeated Batista although we were just a thousand men while the Cuban dictator had 80,000 men… we will turn the life of the invader into hell.”

Threats were useless, and sanctions did not undermine the dignity of the people or education in the country. Cuba advanced scientifically, medically, and culturally in an astounding manner. The country produced medicines and drugs to treat diabetes, cholesterol, and at least 13 infectious diseases that afflict children, and developed the first vaccine against epilepsy. The country exported drugs to over 40 countries, and more than 80,000 doctors worked in neighboring Venezuela under the faithful late Comrade Hugo Chavez.

Castro said to Bush:

“You can export bombs to the world, and we will export medicines and doctors.”

The wonderful opera song “Hasta Siempre, Comandante” plays on the radio. We turn the volume up. The car slides like the flow of the river between the lush trees. The evening breeze feels refreshing after two days in Santa Clara. The green fields, colored pastures, and old wooden houses in the Cuban villages smile at us. We listen to another version of the song played by a Cuban band. Many versions of this song have been released, glorifying the memory of a comrade who came from Argentina to say to the Cubans that revolting against dictatorship, oppression, tyranny, and colonialism is one. Sheikh Imam and his song “Guevara Died” come to mind. We feel like singing “Oh Comrades in Proud Cuba” by Marcel Khalife.

Here, the revolution was not for sale, and thus succeeded. Here, the Spring was led by genuine freedom fighters, and thus yielded dignity. Here, the people remained silent for half a century, forcing the United States to apologize and admit that its policy was wrong.

Congratulations to Cuba and its people, in the hope that the US’ return will not bring an end to that beautiful era, or to the cities which still retain the fragrance of the country’s history.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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