Yesterday, human rights activist and blogger Razan Ghazzaoui was detained by the Syrian government. I cannot call it an arrest, since that would imply a trial and a justice system. It is a detention. For more information, see: https://www.facebook.com/freerazan?sk=wall
From the discussion that ensued between Mary Rizzo and myself on Facebook, it is clear that my position on Syria has not been clear enough and that misperceptions and false assumptions have been made. The recent interview I had on Russia Today seems to have aggravated that misperception. I should have spoken clearer on RT. So, let me clarify.
(1) There is never an excuse for any government to torture anyone. Period. There is never an excuse for any government to set aside a fair justice system (or not to instill one). This is an absolute. It does not matter if the detainee is a citizen of that country per se, a foreigner, or even an “enemy of the state.”
(2) All peoples, everywhere, deserve the right to be heard, to be represented, to be respected. All peoples, everywhere, deserve the right to influence decisions that impact their lives. Again, this is an absolute.
(3) Freedom of speech is a human right. We cheapen this right when we only respect it for those whose opinions are like ours. The same applies with respect to human rights. If a government violates human rights, regardless of its political position, it is still in the wrong.
. I oppose the Arab League position on Syria. It lacks any credibility and is but an avenue for foreign armed intervention and foreign influence. That foreign influence, by the way, is not interested in democratic reform or human rights but in transforming the position of the Syrian government on certain key foreign issues.
I made that position clear in my RT interview. I should have also clearly stated that the Syrian government is, and has been for decades, guilty of human rights violations, and it is the right of the Syrian people to demand their rights.
My opposition to Syria becoming ‘a Libya’ does not imply support of the Syrian regime. My opposition to the use of arms by a small group of protestors does not imply my support of the government’s use of institutionalized violence. (nor does it imply that I oppose armed resistance)
I hope I have clarified my position. If I am to be interviewed on the topic again, I will be sure to emphasis the rejection of this binary approach.
Thank you, Mary, for alerting me to the (mis)perception made of my position.
On a more personal note, I find that words fail me in thinking of Razan in Syrian detention. Her release, safe!, and the release of all those who spoke their mind and their heart, is vital.