[Marxism] (Don’t) Stop the War: Agnes meets the pseudo-pacifists
lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Nov 16 19:14:11 MST 2013
(The putrid Mother Agnes is no longer going to speak at the Stop the War
event. She dropped out after Jeremy Scahill and Owen Jones said that
they would not speak if she appeared.)
November 15, 2013
Later this month, Bashar al-Assad’s favorite nun, Mother Agnes-Mariam,
is set to receive perhaps the most significant legitimization of her
career, when she will speak in Britain alongside the former chairman of
the Labour Party, Tony Benn, current Labour MPs Diane Abbott and Jeremy
Corbyn, and more than half a dozen writers, including Guardian
columnists Jonathan Steele, Seumas Milne, Tariq Ali, and Rachel Shabi,
at an event sponsored by the Stop the War coalition.
Indeed, to judge from the event’s write-up on the STW website, Syria
will take center-stage at the ‘International Anti-War Conference’,
making Agnes something of a guest-of-honor: the description begins by
cheering the “historic setback for the organizers of the War on Terror”
engineered by Russia in September. Though the conference will also
include such sessions as “Imperialism, war and resistance” and “The new
scramble for Africa,” the main event will surely be “The Syrian war in
Below, NOW imagines how that panel might kick off:
Jonathan Steele: Many thanks to all of you for coming to what I hope
will be our most enlightening panel, on what is perhaps the most
important and dangerous conflict facing the world today. Of course, we
all know the mainstream media has been totally one-sided on the
so-called Syrian “uprising,” and what’s needed more than ever is to put
this war in its proper context, free from nefarious state-sponsored
Mother Agnes-Mariam: You have to understand, all Free Syrian Army
fighters are terrorists.
Steele: That’s a great place to start, thank you Mother Agnes. It’s a
great irony that, while one of the most perfidious lies of the War on
Terror propagated by Orientalist imperialism is that all Muslims
carrying guns are “terrorists,” this has in fact turned out to be
entirely accurate in Syria.
Tariq Ali: Some things are true even if George Bush believes them.
Seumas Milne: If I could just jump in here, on that point, what’s been
especially depressing for me to watch is the decline of al-Qaeda in Iraq
from a resistance force, as I described them in 2011, to a reactionary,
counter-revolutionary one in Syria.
Ali: Hamas, too. Don’t forget they’ve become terrorists now as well.
Milne: Right, yes. The very Palestinian cause itself is threatened as
never before by imperialism.
Steele: Is anti-Zionism the new Zionism?
Milne: We should have called one of our sessions that. Next year.
Steele: We could invite Galloway.
Milne: Definitely. But back to the point, obviously propaganda-wise what
we’ve seen in Syria fits a familiar pattern. Just as the number of
Stalin’s victims has long been inflated by capitalist agitprop, so the
alleged crimes of President Assad have been hugely exaggerated, if not
outright fabricated. And this is something I know Mother Agnes has often
spoken very courageously about.
Agnes: Yes. Whether it’s the Houla massacre, or the chemical weapons
attack in East Ghouta, there’s never been any evidence of Syrian
Owen Jones: I’ve said that too.
Milne: Me too.
Steele: We’ve all said that. It’s disgraceful how so-called journalists
rely on YouTube videos for their reporting nowadays.
But I think more broadly the problem is a fundamental refusal to
understand that Assad is not the problem in Syria. As I’ve often
written, it’s the rebels themselves who are responsible for the
Agnes: Assad is a merciful man. Let me give you a personal example. When
I negotiated the handover of hungry civilians from Moadamiyah to
government forces last month, not all of them were arrested.
Milne: Remarkable. Even though they were Sunnis.
Milne: And people have the gall to say Assad’s government is sectarian.
Steele: They use the same smear on Hezbollah, even though Sayyid
Nasrallah has made it very clear that his fighters are in Syria to save
Sunnis as much as Shiites.
Milne: And what do they get in return? Human hearts eaten out of
corpses. I mean we’ve all seen that YouTube video.
Agnes: Can I just say, it’s so nice to be here in Britain. I deeply
regret that, during his recent visit to Syria, I wasn’t able to meet
with the head of your National Party, Nick Griffin.
Steele: [Coughs] Coffee break! Anyone fancy a coffee break?
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