Saskia Baas and I wrote this piece in light of the recent escalations of violence in Syria, and the problematic selectivity we observed in the response to these events among prominent leftist political publications and public figures. UPDATE: our piece was translated to Dutch and reposted by the Dutch leftist website, Socialisme.nu and the Belgian site of the SAP-rood party. A Spanish translation was also reposted by the site, Flores en Daraya. And the original version was reposted by the Transform Europe platform’s blog. We’re grateful for the positive responses.
Here’s a short excerpt:
Our internationalism must cultivate a willingness to grasp the complexity of Syrian polity, society, and culture as it unfolds in everyday life under the current circumstances of extraordinary duress. Rather than a lapse into apolitical humanitarianism, defending the lives of those brutalized by violence is based on an international solidarity that registers survival in this context as struggle. Similarly, our welcoming and hospitality to those who fled Syria in recent years must not smother them into politically pacified victimhood. We must seek out and listen to what a variety of Leftist Syrian political activists and intellectuals have to say about Syria. Their migration experiences and diasporic self-organization are part of the story of the Syrian revolution, an inexhaustibly rich resource for understanding and learning from the realities of this important contemporary struggle. It is a struggle that lives on in many of them and contains intimate knowledge of the notions of racial and ethnic discrimination, prison state, political disenfranchisement, and neoliberal policies we also fight against. The vast contextual differences make articulating the common ground all the more profound.