[Marxism] What a Palestinian Marxist thinks about the "anti-imperialist" Bashar al-Assad
lnp3 at panix.com
Tue May 22 10:39:52 MDT 2012
Syria: Marxist intellectual arrested -- Free Salameh Kaileh!
By Omar S. Dahi and Vijay Prashad
April 26, 2012 --Jadaliyya -- At 2 am on Tuesday, April 24, 2012, the
Palestinian-Syrian intellectual and activist Salameh Kaileh was arrested
from his home “without explanation”, as his lawyer Anwar Bunni of the
Syrian Centre for Legal Studies and Research put it. This is not Salameh
Kaileh’s first time in a Syrian prison. He was a guest of the Assad
family in its several jails for eight years and 11 days in the 1990s.
Born in 1955 in Birzeit in the West Bank (Palestine), Salameh studied in
Baghdad (Iraq) and Damascus (Syria). Salameh emerged out of the
University of Baghdad in 1979 with a BA in political science, already as
one of the brightest Marxist thinkers and as a brave fighter for
universal freedom. His reputation would soon span across Syria, in
Palestine, around the Arab world and elsewhere. He wrote many books on a
variety of themes, on imperialism, on Marxism, on the limitations of the
Arab nationalism movement, on globalisation, on Zionism and on the
legacy of the scientific method. Some of his books (in Arabic) include
Arabs and the National Question (1989), Critique of Mainstream Marxism
(1990), Imperialism and the Plunder of the World (1992), Socialism or
Barbarism (2001), The problems of Marxism in the Arab World (2003) and
The Problem of the Arab Nationalist Movement (2005).
Ex-detainee: Syrian prisons are 'slaughterhouses'
JAMAL HALABY, Associated Press
Updated 05:39 a.m., Tuesday, May 22, 2012
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — A prominent Palestinian writer who was jailed in
Syria for nearly three weeks described the facilities as "human
slaughterhouses," saying security agents beat detainees with batons,
crammed them into stinking cells and tied them to beds at night.
Salameh Kaileh, 56, was arrested April 24 on suspicion of printing
leaflets calling for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who is
fighting a 15-month-old uprising against his rule. Kaileh's story offers
a rare inside glimpse into the conditions faced by detainees held by the
country's feared security services.
"It was hell on earth," Kaileh told The Associated Press on Sunday,
nearly a week after Syrian forces released him and deported him to
Jordan. Speaking at his friend's home in an Amman suburb, Kaileh had
bluish-red bruises on his legs, which he said were the result of
beatings with wooden batons that were studded with pins and nails.
"I felt I was going to die under the brutal, savage and continuous
beating of the interrogators, who tied me to ropes hung from the
ceiling," said Kaileh, a soft-spoken man with a shock of white hair who
appeared frail, barely able to stand on his feet.
Born in Birzeit, West Bank, Kaileh has suffered under the regime in
Damascus before. He was imprisoned by the Syrian government in 1992 for
eight years because of his alleged links to underground Syrian communist
and leftist opposition groups. A well-known leftist, he has written
books on subjects ranging from Marxism to Arab nationalism.
This time, he was held in at least four detention centers after security
forces arrested him at his home in Damascus, the Syrian capital where
he's lived for more than 30 years.
Kaileh denied printing the leaflets, which he said angered the regime
because they read: "For Palestine to be free, Syria's regime has to fall."
Syria often has touted its support of the Palestinian cause to boost its
credentials as a bastion of Arab nationalism.
Kaileh's detention caused an outcry by Arab intellectuals, who called
for his release and lashed out at Assad — whose crackdown has not spared
other intellectuals and artists.
Ali Ferzat, a political cartoonist whose drawings expressed Syrians'
frustrated hopes for change, was beaten by masked gunmen as he left his
Damascus studio last August. The assailants broke his hands and dumped
him on a road outside Damascus.
A group of intellectuals and artists, including Syrian actress May
Skaff, were rounded up and jailed for a week last summer after holding a
protest in Damascus.
Recalling his arrest, Kaileh said Syrian intelligence stormed his house
in an upscale Damascus district shortly after midnight. "They handcuffed
and blindfolded me, took my three laptops, cell phones and any shred of
paper they could lay their hands on."
"I told them I had nothing to do with the leaflets, but the
interrogators insisted that they had information I was distributing them
and that I had printed them out," he said.
He said Syrian security wanted to intimidate him by being "disdainful to
Palestine and the Palestinian people, cursing us and saying the Israelis
were better than us."
In one of the detention facilities in Mazeh — a Damascus suburb — Syrian
security threatened they will "rape me and tape it to put the clip on
the Internet," he said.
Rights groups have accused the Syrian government of torture of
detainees. Claudio Grossman, the chairman of the U.N.'s Committee
Against Torture, said this month that the Syrian government has carried
out widespread killings, torture in hospitals, detention centers and
secret detention facilities, as well as torture of children and sexual
torture of male detainees.
Kaileh said he shared a cell with at least six army defectors and
several doctors who had treated wounded civilians.
At night, he said he heard other prisoners "cry and scream while they
Days later, Kaileh said he was admitted to a government hospital to
treat his leg wounds. There, the conditions were "worse than in the
He said he was squeezed into a small room with 30 other prisoners,
mostly activists who allegedly participated in anti-government protests.
"The room was barely enough to accommodate five people," he said. "It
was filled with body stench, dirt, urine and stool. Two people shared
small beds and were tied to them, the food was lousy and we couldn't eat
properly because our hands and feet were handcuffed day and night."
"We were not allowed to go to the restroom," he said. "Still, we were
beaten if we urinated in our sleep."
"The detention facilities I was taken to were human slaughterhouses,"
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