Instead, he is taking a page out of his father’s playbook, using the politics of violence and force to avoid democratic progress throughout the Syrian society. A previously unimaginable heavy price is being paid every day by Syria’s citizens. In the case of Syrian human rights abuses, we have seen strong objections from the so called “international community,” (which in itself is a misnomer as it assumes a joint view on Syria across nations, despite the fact that Russia and China are still not calling for al Assad to step down).
The existing flurry of initiatives to protect Syrian lives, however, leads me to notice that there is suddenly a very low profile being maintained by a certain segment of opinion makers with regard to the Middle East: the political left-wing. This vanguard of human rights, with its regular anti-Israeli declarations and, during the Second Lebanon War as well as the War in Gaza, large scale demonstrations (including over 5,000 people who came together in my native Stockholm on the first day of Israeli military activity in Gaza, proving the left’s well-honed ability to mobilise in the name of human rights), is all of a sudden nowhere to be found with regard to outspoken public criticism of the Syrian regime. Where is the flotilla to Latakia, I ask?
During the regime changes in Egypt and Tunisia, the political left was the first to state how much it supported the rights of all people to democracy. Yet it still had the audacity to claim that the human rights discourse should now be focused on the remaining key offender: the Jewish State of Israel. It openly hoped for a “Palestinian Spring.” The fact that the left had cultivated strong relations with oppressive regimes, such as Libya, as part of its effort to demonise Israel was never publicly scrutinised or condemned.
Now, with Syria, another chance is being presented to stand up and prove one’s true colours in protecting universal human rights. Which leading left-wing opinion maker or human rights group will pick up this gauntlet and organise a public burning of Syrian flags?
The fact of the matter is that for the political left-wing, even after thousands of deaths in Syria, there will still only be one country in the Middle East that deserves the bulk of its energy, criticism and action. This presents us with at least two dilemmas: Firstly, how does the left still retain credibility in the media to comment on Middle East affairs, where it is given a platform to repeatedly direct all its human rights concerns against Israel? Secondly, what is the underlying reason for a selective crusade, ostensibly acting under the banner of human rights, which is blatant in its singling out of only one state, Israel? Why does it have blinders firmly in place with regard to all other nations in the region?