[Marxism] FYI: More on Mother Agnes-Mariam

Clay Claiborne clayclai at gmail.com
Wed Nov 6 16:34:54 MST 2013


 What is a pro-Palestine activist doing promoting an Assadist
nun?<https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/commentaryanalysis/517553-what-is-a-pro-palestine-activist-doing-promoting-an-assadist-nun>
*Mother
Agnes-Mariam, accused of complicity in a French journalist’s death in Homs,
is now on a coast-to-coast speaking tour of the US*

Alex Rowell <https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/Author/Alex.Rowell>
 October 26, 2013

The figure of Mother Agnes-Mariam will be recognizable to anyone familiar
with the record of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the early 1990s. Never
happier than when hysterically decrying the unbounded barbarism of Bashar
al-Assad’s opponents, the Carmelite nun has made her name by both
fabricating<http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2255103/Syria-rebels-beheaded-Christian-fed-dogs-fears-grow-Islamist-atrocities.html>rebel
atrocities and imputing real ones carried out by the regime, such as
the 2012 Houla massacre<http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19273284>,
to the opposition. Among her more memorable recent stunts has been her
claim that the videos of the aftermath of the regime’s chemical weapons
attacks in East Ghouta two months ago were
faked<http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24358543>.
Much more seriously, she has been
accused<http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/22/world/middleeast/seeking-credible-denial-on-poison-gas-russia-and-syria-turn-to-nun.html?_r=1&>by
the widow of the late French journalist Gilles Jacquier, killed in
Homs
last year, of personal complicity in a regime-orchestrated plot to murder
him. Not since Mother Teresa
herself<http://www.salon.com/2012/12/14/how_christopher_hitchens_proved_that_nothing_is_sacred/>has
anyone better exemplified Orwell’s injunction that the saintly are to
be judged guilty until proven innocent.
Not that any of this stopped Agnes from being invited last week on a
coast-to-coast speaking
tour<http://www.buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/assad-apologist-nun-embarks-on-us-speaking-tour>of
the United States by, of all people, a pro-Palestine activist.  Paul
Larudee is a founder of the Free Gaza Movement, whose aid boats famously
challenged Israel’s naval blockade of the Strip’s waters, and is also
involved with the International Solidarity Movement, which carries out
non-violent activism in the West Bank. One might have thought a man with
such a background would take a dim view of a regime that now
air-strikes<http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/dec/18/syria-palestinian-refugees-flee-yarmouk>Palestinian
refugee camps. But Larudee has found a new calling, and
recently started a nonprofit called the Syria Solidarity Movement (which,
like the “Hands Off Syria” slogans, would be more accurately worded if
‘Syria’ were replaced with ‘Assad’), whose
website<http://www.syriasolidaritymovement.org/>appears to double as a
clearinghouse for the latest Press TV and Russia
Today reports. It is this organization that brought Agnes, whom Larudee
describes<http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/21/the-first-syrian-casualty/>as
“charismatic,” to America’s shores on Thursday.

How did this happen? The answer lies in Larudee’s first meeting with Agnes,
during a trip to Lebanon and Syria in May sponsored by an outfit called
Musalaha (“reconciliation”), of which the nun is a leading organizer. Along
with eighteen other Western personalities, including Irish Nobel Peace
Laureate Mairead Maguire (who
describes<http://www.veteranstoday.com/2012/06/29/the-peace-people-and-nobel-peace-laureate-mairead-maguire-says-no-to-war-in-syria>Agnes
as “a modern hero of peace”), Larudee spent a week meeting refugees,
religious leaders, and officials from both the Syrian and Lebanese
governments – including, according to
one<http://www.buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/assad-apologist-nun-embarks-on-us-speaking-tour>report,
Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun. (One wonders if the
General floated his party’s longstanding
proposal<http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2012/Dec-24/199736-bassil-draws-racism-charges-over-call-to-expel-refugees.ashx#axzz2ikZ51STO>to
expel Palestinian refugees from Lebanon.)
Indeed<http://othersite.org/paul-larudee-reports-peace-delegation-to-syria-may-2-10-2013/>,
Musalaha’s president is none other than Dr Hassan Yaacoub, a card-carrying
member of the Hezbollah-aligned FPM bloc.
Accordingly, while in more unguarded moments Larudee
asserts<http://www.pressenza.com/2013/05/a-peaceful-solution-of-the-conflict-must-be-decided-by-the-syrian-people-alone-interview-to-paul-larudee/>that
Musalaha “has the trust of most Syrians,” he elsewhere
admits <http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/21/the-first-syrian-casualty/>that
it “is ostensibly non-political, but there is no such thing in Syria
today […] it exists with the approval of the Assad regime, which means that
there are inherent limits to its range of activity.” The reader is free to
believe this affiliation had nothing to do with the universally pro-regime
opinions espoused by the refugees from Qusayr and elsewhere Larudee met,
which he summarizes as follows:

“Whatever the faults of the Assad regime […] it is the only thing
preventing the utter destruction of Syria.”
I’ve met Qusayr refugees without Aounist politicians by my side who told a
rather different
story<https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/reportsfeatures/qusayr-families-flee-to-new-lebanon-camp>,
but perhaps that’s just how the cookie crumbles. In any event, the refugees
evidently made an impression on Larudee, who in a *Counterpunch*
essay<http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/21/the-first-syrian-casualty/>developed
what they told him into a general defense of dictatorship:

“Sometimes the only choice is between an autocratic regime that is
pro-Western and one that pursues an independent course. The U.S. will
attempt to coerce or overthrow any independent-minded government, but an
autocratic regime has a better chance of resisting because its repressive
apparatus will crush dissidence before it has a chance to breathe.”
In other words, any tyranny, no matter how absolute, is better than being
allies with America (never mind here that Assad was in fact a willing, if
duplicitous, partner in Bush’s War on Terror). Rarely does one see
enthusiasm for totalitarianism articulated so candidly. By now it comes as
no surprise that Larudee’s frequent calls to end “foreign intervention”
make reference neither to the undisguised invasion of Syria by Hezbollah,
nor the massive and vital assistance given the regime by the Party of God’s
backers in Iran (his country of birth, incidentally). Larudee prefers to
blame Syria’s carnage on the West, which we
learned<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10283758/First-Syria-rebels-armed-and-trained-by-CIA-on-way-to-battlefield.html>last
month has trained a grand total of 50 opposition fighters to date.
That such a man presents himself as a courageous speaker of truth to power
is bad enough. That he does so in partnership with a propagandist and
accomplice of a mass murderer is an insult, not only to Syrians, but also
to Palestinians, whose noblest of causes deserves far more honorable an
advocate.



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