In late 1400 and early 1401, the Mongol conqueror Tamerlane left “pyramids of skulls, like those constructed by Islamic State today” across Syria, recalls the French Middle East expert Jean-Pierre Filiu.
Tamerlane had already destroyed Aleppo. The great Arab historian and statesman Ibn Khaldun talked to him for 35 days, in the hope of savingDamascus. “The whole time, Tamerlane knows he’s going to massacre everyone in the city,” Filiu continues. “He uses the negotiation to divide and rule, to massacre more people, faster.”
Filiu wants Staffan de Mistura, the UN special envoy for Syria, to read Ibn Khaldun, for it’s impossible not to see a parallel with the behaviour of the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Read more
Excel article explaining lack of solidarity with Syrians:
Budour Hassan on grappling with prejudices of ‘how a revolution should ‘look like’ & ‘how we should react to a movement against a purportedly pro-Palestinian regime… Until 2011, my talk about breaking borders and internationalist solidarity was but a soundbite, mere rhetorics. Thanks to the Syrian uprising, I finally understood what solidarity is really about. Syrians marched in solidarity with Gaza amid the rubble of their houses destroyed by Syrian regime air strikes. The Syrian Revolutionary Youth put out posters against the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the Naqab when most of the group’s members were in hiding, jails, exile, or graves. (via Leila Al-Shami)
The world revolves around Palestine, or so I thought until 2011.
The Palestinian cause, I argued, was the litmus test for anyone’s commitment to freedom and justice. Palestine was the one and only compass that must guide any Arab revolution. Read more