Tuesday, June 12, 2012

In Amman, a microcosm of Syrian fascism

[Originally posted at NOW Lebanon]

Arriving in Amman last Thursday, my Jordanian friend took a detour on the way from the airport to my hotel. “There’s something you need to see,” he grinned.

Moments later we came upon a truly bizarre scene. On one side of the highway were approximately a hundred demonstrators, waving Free Syria flags and chanting anti-regime slogans down a megaphone. On the other was the Syrian embassy, recognizable by the large Baathist Syrian flag planted on the roof.

A common enough situation these days, you may say. But what distinguished this from other Syria protests I’ve seen were the concert-standard loudspeakers that embassy staff had placed on a balcony from which to blast militaristic pro-regime music in a juvenile attempt to drown out the protests.

While hardly a crime against humanity, I couldn’t help feeling this gesture contained a distillation or a microcosm of the sheer fascism that is the essence of the Assad regime. Just like the slap that the Greek Golden Dawn thug gave to a woman on live television last week, it’s the attitude that dissent is not merely to be ignored but actively, forcibly repressed that signals the utter contempt for democracy in such minds.

P.S., off topic: Take a look at these pictures from downtown Amman, opposite the famous Al-Quds restaurant. These bullet holes are some of the very few remnants of the 1970 Black September events. Hardly impressive when compared to, say, the Sodeco building, but Black September is still a highly taboo subject in Jordan. “I remember in school someone asked the teacher what happened in 1970,” recalled my Jordanian friend. “He slapped him across the head.”

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