Another week, another great event at SOAS – Syria & the Left: 7th Anniversary of the Syrian Uprising with Leila al-Shami. Leila is co-author of Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War.
The event was a really interesting exploration of the failure of the left (or parts of it) to stand with revolutionary Syrians, and why some on the left, in common with those on the right, have supported the Assad regime.
Leila did an excellent job of explaining the rationale behind those who support Assad, which was important for me to understand, since I’ve had such a hard time in understanding why anyone would support a very obvious murderous dictator. According to Leila, there is a section of the left that is so anti-imperialist, that they view Assad as standing up to “imperialist powers”, and really fail to notice or acknowledge the immense suffering of civilians under Assad’s regime. In my mind, the rights and wants of Syrians on the ground are much more important than any anti-imperialist political chess match, and we should be listening to Syrian voices.
I highly recommend watching the livestream video of the event, which you can find here.
(Note: it was a deliberate choice not to film Leila’s face for security reasons).