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Palestine/Syria

On The Allies We’re Not Proud Of: A Palestinian Response to Troubling Discourse on Syria

Friday 14 October 2016

We, the undersigned Palestinians, write to affirm our commitment to the amplification of Syrian voices as they endure slaughter and displacement at the hands of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime. We are motivated by our deep belief that oppression, in all of its manifestations, should be the primary concern of anyone committed to our collective liberation. Our vision of liberation includes the emancipation of all oppressed peoples, regardless of whether or not their struggles fit neatly into outdated geopolitical frameworks.

We are concerned by some of the discourse that has emerged from progressive circles with regards to the ongoing crisis in Syria. In particular, we are embarrassed by the ways in which some individuals known for their work on Palestine have failed to account for some crucial context in their analysis of Syria.

The Syrian revolution was in fact a natural response to 40 years of authoritarian rule. The Assad regime, with the support of its foreign financial and military backers, is attempting to preserve its power at the expense of the millions of Syrians whom the regime has exiled, imprisoned, and massacred. We believe that minimizing this context in any discussion of Syria dismisses the value of Syrian self-determination and undermines the legitimacy of their uprising.

We also believe that an important consequence of all foreign interventions, including those purportedly done on behalf of the uprising, has been the setback of the original demands of revolution. The revolution is a victim, not a product, of these interventions. It is imperative for any analysis of Syria to recognize this fundamental premise. We cannot erase the agency of Syrians struggling for liberation, no matter how many players are actively working against them.

Though we maintain that the phenomenon of foreign aid demands thorough critique, we are concerned by the ways in which foreign aid has been weaponized to cast suspicion on Syrian humanitarian efforts. Foreign aid is not unique to Syria; it is prevalent in Palestine as well. We reject the notion that just because an organization is receiving foreign aid, it must follow then that that organization is partaking in some shadowy Western-backed conspiracy. Such nonsense has the effect of both undermining humanitarian efforts while simultaneously whitewashing the very crimes against humanity that necessitated the aid in the first place.

Furthermore, we object to the casual adoption of “war on terror” language. Enemies of liberation have historically used this rhetoric to target humanitarians, organizers, and community members. From Muhammad Salah to the Midwest 23 to the Holy Land Five, our community is all too familiar with the very real consequence of employing a “war on terror” framework. Therefore, we reject a discourse that perpetuates these old tactics and peddles harmful and unwarranted suspicion against Syrians.

Along these lines, it is our position that any discussion of Syria that neglects the central role of Bashar Al-Assad and his regime in the destruction of Syria directly contradicts the principles of solidarity by which we abide. We have reflected on our own tendency to heroize those who advocate on behalf of the Palestinian struggle, and we fear that some members of our community may have prioritized the celebrity status of these individuals over the respect and support we owe to those Syrians affected most directly by the war, as well as those living in the diaspora whose voices have been dismissed as they have watched their homeland be destroyed.

We will no longer entertain individuals who fail to acknowledge the immediate concerns of besieged Syrians in their analysis. Despite reaching out to some of these individuals, they have shown an unwillingness to reflect on the impact of their analysis. We regret that we have no choice left but to cease working with these activists whom we once respected.

We would like to encourage others who are guided by similar principles to do the same.

13 October 2016

Signatures: Abdul-Wahab Kayyali, Abdulla AlShamataan, Abdullah M, Abed Abou Shhadeh, Abir Kopty, Adam Akkad, Adnan abd alrahman, Adrian McAfee, Ahlam abdulrahman, Ahmad, Ahmad Al-Sholi, Ahmad Kaki, Ahmad N, Ahmed, Ahmed A, Ahmed Mousa, Aiman Abdelmajid, AJ N, Ala K, Ala’a Salem, Alexis Abuhadba, Ali A. Omar, Ali Mohammad Kabli, Amal A., Amal Ayesh, Amanda Batarseh, Amanda Michelle, Amanda N, Amani Alkowni, Ameen M, Ameen Q., Amena Elmashni, Amera AK., Amir Bey, Amira S, Amjad Hajyassin, Amr Khalifa, Anass, Andrew Kadi, Areej, Aref Nammari, Arwa Alkhawaja, Atef Khalaf, Aya Khalifeh, Aziz F Ammoura, Aziz Jamous, Azmi Bishara, Bashar Subeh, Bayan Abusneineh, Beesan Ramadan, Bilal Shreidi, Boulos Bathish, Bushra Hayati, Butheina Hamdah, Dalal Hillou, Dalia, Dalia, Dana Itayem, Dana M, Dania Barakat, Dania Mukahhal, Danielle Rabie, Dareen Mohamad, Dena E., Diana J.A., Diana Naoum, Dina A., Dina Moumin, Dina Sayedahmed, Diyala Shihadih, Dorgham Abusalim, Dr. Isam Abu Qasmieh, Ebaa Rezeq, Eman Abdelhadi, Eyad Hamid, Eyad Mohamed Alkurabi, Fadi Amireh, Farah Saeed, Faran Kharal, Faris G, Faten Awwad, Fatima El-ghazali, Fouad Halbouni, George Abraham, GMU Students Against Israeli Apartheid, Gorbah Hamed, Grace Ghunaim, Hadeel Hejja, Haitham Omar, Haleemah A, Hana Khalil, Haneen Al-Ghabra, Haneen Amra, Hani Barghouthi, Hani Kharufeh, Hani Khatib, Hanin Shakrah, Hanna Alshaikh, Hareth Yousef, Hasan H., Hashem Asfour, Hassan Aboud, Hatem Hammad, Hazem Jamjoum, Heba Nimr, Helal Jwayyed, Husam El-Qoulaq, Hussain Al-Sahyuni, Ibraheem Sumaira, Ibtihal Mahmood, Ida A., Imran Salha, Iskandar Abbasi, Ism Mustaar, Iyad El-Baghdadi, Izzaddine M., Izzaddine M., Jackie Husary, Jane Tannous, Janeen Obeid, Jannine M, Jehad Abusalim, Jenien B, Jennifer Mogannam, Jennine K, Jihad Ashkar, Joey Husseini Ayoub, Jomana Abdallah, Jon Day, Jordan Robinson, Julia Hachme, Jumana Al-Qawasmi, Kareana Kee, Kareem El-Hosseiny, Kareem Samara, Karmel Sabri, Kefah Elabed, Khaled Barakat, khaled bobakri, Khalid Hijazi, Kiyan Sahyuni, Kowther Qashou, Laith H, Lama Abu Odeh, Lamees Mekkaoui, Lana Barkawi, Lara Abu Ghannam, Lara Kollab, Layan Jaber, Layanne H., Laymoor Saadat, Leena Aboutaleb, Leila Abdelrazaq, Lila Suboh, Lina Barkawi, Lina Eid, Linah Alsaafin, Linda Ereikat, Lojain Saadat, Lojayn Ottman, Loubna Qutami, Lubna H, Lubna Morrar, Magda Magdy, Mahmoud Elsheikh, Mahmoud Khalil, Mahmoud Qudaih, Mai Anwar, Mai Nasrallah, Maisa Morrar, Majed A. of Jerusalem, Majed Abuzahriyeh, Manal Abokwidir, Manal El Haj, Manal H, Maram Kamal, Marguerite Dabaie, Mariam Barghouti, Mariam Rimawi, Mariam Saleh, Marwa Fatafta, Maura Yasin, Maxine Anwaar, Mekarem E., Menat Elattma, Michael Hunt, Minem Marouf, Mira Shihadeh, Mjriam Abu Samra, Mohamad Batrawi, Mohamad Sabbah, Mohamed hassan, Mohamed Taleb, Mohammad Abou-Ghazala, Mohammad Al-Ashqar, Mohammad Horreya, Mohammed Sulaiman, Mohsin S, Mona Bibi, Mona Naser, Moureen Kaki, Msallam AbuKhalil, Muna Sharif, Muniba Hassan, Musaab Balchi, Nadeen Shaker, Nader Ihmoud, Nadia Z. Ismail, Nadia Ziadat, Nadine D, Nadine H, Naeem, NAJI EL KHATIB, Natalie Spring, Nawal Musleh, Nayef Al Smadi, Neil Fowler, Nida Khalil, Nidal Bitari, Nihal Q, Noor Gaith, Noor Qutami, Nora Abushaaban, Nour Azzouz, Nour Hamida, Nour Salman, Nusayba Hammad, Omar Coolaq, Omar Jamal, Omar Masood, Omar Zahzah, Osama Aburumuh, Osama Khawaja, Osama Mor, Raed Khartabel, Raef zreik, Rami Okasha, Ramsey K, Ramzi Issa, Rana Asad, Rana Baker, Randa MKW, Rani Allan, Rania Salem, Rasha A., Rawan A., Rawan Eewshah, Rawya Makboul, Reem J, Reem S, Reema Asia, Rena Zuabi, Renad Saadat, Riad Alarian, Riya Al-sanah, Ryah A, Sabreen Ettaher, Saeed U, Salim Salamah, Samar Azzaidani, Samar Batrawi, Sameeha Elwan, Sami J., Sami Mubarak, Sami Shahin, Samia S., Samir Hazboun, Samya Abu-Orf, Sandra Tamari, Sara Zubi, Sarah Abu., Sarah Ali, Sarah Aly, Sarah Ghouleh, Sarah Shahin, Sarah Z, Sarona Bedwan, Seham Alyan, Serena Umer Khan, Shadi H, Shady Zarka, Shafeka Hashash, Shahrazad Odeh, Shermin Ahmed, Shifa Alkhatib, Shirien D, Sima Dajani, SOAS Palestine Society, Soheir Asaad, Sonia Farsakh, Susan Al-Suqi, Susan Jenin Yaseen, Susie Abdelghafar, Tahani H., Taher Herzallah, Tala Barakat, Talal Alyan, Tamar Ghabin, Tarek Abou-Ghazala, Tareq R, Tariq Luthun, Tariq Nafi, Tasneem Abu-Hejleh, Tasneem mujahid, Tawfieq Mousa, Tawfiq Kayyali, Tsedenya Bizani, Ummi Fulani, Wajih Abousalim, Wala Salameh, Walid Shoebat, Wassim Kanaan, Yahiya Saad, Yahya Abou-Ghazala, Yahya Abu Seido, Yamila shannan, Yasir M. Tineh, Yasmeen S, yasmeensh, Yasmine Nammari, Yasser Quzz, Yazan Amro, Yazan Meqbil, Yousef Y, Yousuf Soliman, Zachariah Barghouti, Zaid Khatib, Zaid Muhammad, Zainab Alkowni, Zein Rimawi, Zeina A., Zeina Labadi, Zeyad El Omari,

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