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Written By: - Date published: 1:33 pm, February 10th, 2017 - 75 comments
Categories: activism, International, Revolution, Syria, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: , ,

Inspirational and heroic acts – big ones and smaller ones –  by people old and young.

Last March,  77 year old Brian Quail (pictured) waited for the ‘green man’ to cross the road, and then lay down and brought a nuclear convoy to a halt. He was arrested and charged with ‘behaving in a manner likely to cause a reasonable person fear and alarm’. In September he teamed up with a buddy and did it again, except this time when the cops arrested his mate he nipped under one of the lorries…

I do infinitesimally small things against it (Trident), because that is all I can do. But consent by silence or inactivity I cannot give.

And in a larger scheme of things, 27 year old Kimberley Taylor has traveled to Syria to help Syrians fighting against Daesh. That’s the same Daesh western governments have been aiding and abetting in Syria btw. And yes, there’s another hero behind that last link – Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

As reported by ‘The Guardian‘… in March last year, (Kimberley) travelled to Rojava, the autonomous region of northern Syria and heartland of the country’s Kurdish diaspora, to report on the emerging women’s movement for a Swedish socialist newspaper. She immediately “fell in love” with the ideology – anti-capitalist and feminist – that had taken hold in the region, and decided to quit her degree and stay.

“They call it Democratic Confederalism,” she says. “It’s not just, ‘Oh, we’re anti-capitalist’, and doing marches and protests every week. They’ve completely recreated society putting women at the front of everything.”

I neither know the ages and names of her fellow heroes in Syria, nor the ages and names of all the heroes in New Zealand, but I suspect we could all inspire one another’s humanity.

75 comments on “Heroes ”

  1. McFlock 2


    Your link to “the same Daesh western governments have been aiding and abetting in Syria” mentions that the groups receiving US aid have entered into “battlefield alliances” with Al Nusra, an AQ affiliate.

    That battlefield alliance is fighting Daesh. So you fall down there.

    Secondly, those battlefield alliances are between the combatant groups. The US is not necessarily involved, according to that link.

    Thirdly, battlefield alliances are even less formal than the alliances formed during WW2, and that didn’t exactly make the US the same as the Soviet Union. So aiding folks who prefer to only shoot at one or two sides at a time is not automatically providing aid to the group that your friends happen to stop shooting at for a while.

    Is it messy? Yes. But it’s not providing aid to ISIL/Daesh. Quite the reverse, in fact.

    • Bill 2.1

      What link you been viewing McFlock? The Gabbard link is pretty damned clear. She says.

      Yet the US government’s been violating this law (the one about supporting terrorists) for years, directly and indirectly supporting allies and partners of groups like AQ and ISIS with weapons, money and intelligence and other support in their fight to overthrow the Syrian government.

      She then goes on to mention some WSJ and NYT articles on Al Nusra to bring forward the point that there are no ‘moderate rebels’ in Syria.

      • McFlock 2.1.1

        The wriggle room is in the “and” that is repeatedly used.

        The only example she brings up is that the US is arming groups who would rather fight Daesh than Al Nusra. You’re the one who specified Daesh. Your link doesn’t address even the weakest possible assertion that the US has been “indirectly supporting partners of ISIS”.

        besides, A battlefield alliance does not make you as bad as the people you ally with.

        • Bill

          Wriggle away (distasteful as it might be). Here’s Gabbard giving a more thorough explanation of her bill. (Isis/ISIL/Daesh being mentioned again)

          And here’s John Kerry … (bearing in mind you’ve some strange delusion that the US and others are or have been funding Al Nusra to weaken Daesh)

          “The reason Russia came in is because ISIL was getting stronger. Daesh was threatening the possibility of going to Damascus, and so forth, and that’s why Russia came in, because they didn’t want a Daesh government–and they supported Assad.

          And we know that this was growing–we were watching. We saw that Daesh was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened. We thought, however, we could probably manage–that Assad might then negotiate. Instead of negotiating, you got Putin support.

          How’s that wriggle room going?

          • McFlock

            Bill, there’s no wriggling going on at this end.

            How does your Kerry quote back up your statement that the US has been “aiding and abetting” Daesh?

            Kerry seems to be saying that they were going to let Assad get into deep trouble and use that to pressure for reforms before helping Assad fight Daesh, but the Russians don’t care about reforming totalitarian states so jumped in earlier.

            • Bill

              Aw bullshit McFlock.

              The US wanted and wants Assad gone. They were never going to help the Syrian government fight daesh (or anyone else) while Assad remained in office. And the Russians fucked them up by following international law and aiding a sovereign government that requested aid.

              btw. You any idea how many reforms Assad put through back in 2011/2012? I mean, you do know there have been parliamentary and presidential elections held since 2011 that have had international observers present, yes?

              And you know that the main reason people from the Syrian diaspora couldn’t vote was because countries had shut down Syrian embassies, right?

              • McFlock

                And all that supports your statement “That’s the same Daesh western governments have been aiding and abetting in Syria” how?

                • Bill

                  If you think Gabbard is lying when she states categorically and repeatedly that US government’s have for years been, directly and indirectly supporting allies and partners of groups like AQ and ISIS, then hey.

                  • McFlock

                    I’m quite sure that some of the groups that the US has directly or indirectly helped have also probably had cooperative or even close relationships with groups that might be similar to AQ or ISIL.

                    The Pakistani government, for example.

                    But I’m also pretty sure that the US has not “aided and abetted” ISIL/Daesh in any way other than generalised imperial incompetence in Iraq.

                    • Morrissey

                      Yes we can be “pretty sure” it was all accidental. Just like their accidental backing of Saddam Hussein. Just like their imperial incompetence that destroyed South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Just like their accidental destruction of democracy in Honduras, Chile, Nicaragua, Colombia, El Salvador, Indonesia, et cetera, ad nauseam….

                      Imperial incompetence is all it was.

                      Now if only we can get the victims to accept that line as easily as you have.

                    • McFlock

                      you’re a fucking tool.

                      Invading a country and then realising that you need to repair all the power and water plants you blew up is incompetent.
                      Literally losing $12bn in cash is incompetent.
                      Completely failing to immediately reassert law and order to avoid the creation and embedding of informal social power structures that provided legitimacy for sectarian militia was incompetent.

                      It’s not a minimisation to say that the yanks are woefully inadequate when it comes to running an empire. It’s an additional criticism.

                    • Spikeyboy []

                      When was there ever realisation that all the power plants needed repairing? Destruction was the plan. Repair not so much. Hence zero incompetence.
                      “Completely failing to immediately reassert law and order” was also the plan so again zero incompetence. When these things are done over and over again in country after country you have to be an imbecile or wilfully ignorant to talk of incompetence rather than see it as the modus operandi of the usa. If there was any good intentions on the part of the usa they would have already dealt to the headchopping monarchy of extremists that supplied the terrorists for 9/11 that launched all this misery. Of all the countries in the mid east Syria would have been one of the most functional. Its clear that destruction was the plan and the plan has been carried out with meticulous efficiency and competence.

                    • Bill

                      Have a wee swatch at the vid I left in reply to PM at comment 7 below and then come back and tell me that US incompetence doesn’t amount to aiding and abetting the likes of Daesh.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Well said, McFlock. Nice to see a functioning bullshit detector.

                    • McFlock

                      Destruction was the plan. Repair not so much. Hence zero incompetence.

                      Occupation was the plan. That needs repairs. People are easier to forment when they have no water or electricity.

                      Another example is roads. Apparently the yanks made a whole bunch of roads in Afghanistan. Unfortunately they built them to federal US weight regulations. Afghanistan has no weight regulations. The roads crumbled almost immediately. That’s not how you empire.

                      The Chinese are building roads in Africa. They build the roads with local conditions and uses in mind. Africans like Chinese roads. That’s how you empire.

                      The British built railways wherever they went. I saw recently on TV Chris Tarrant in Thailand and Myanmar, where the rail system at one point uses the original switching machinery installed in 1914, and diverted the railway around a massive Buddha statue the rail crews uncovered in the jungle. That’s how you empire.

                      If you want to occupy, it pays to provide some infrastructure to the locals. At the very least it makes meetings of the revolutionary council a bit longer

                    • Spikeyboy []

                      The Chinese are happy to build local capability but Usa is ideologically opposed to this. If you dont engage the locals you cant find out how to build to local conditions. The Chinese arent so big on the destruction side either. For the Usa destruction is primary and any rebuild just a chance to throw money in the way of corporations. 12 billion wasnt lost it was handed over to corporations. The lack of accountability is deliberate and so is the poor rebuild end result

                    • McFlock

                      The Chinese are still in the carrot phase of expansion, so don’t get your hopes up. Look at Tibet.

                      American corporations made tens if not hundreds of billions. I was referring to the cash the yanks physically flew to Iraq to pay local infrastructure and civil workers to keep services running. They have no idea whether that cash was disbursed properly or who it went to. They literally lost plane loads of cash. In addition to the payments they know they made.

  2. dukeofurl 3

    There have been good things said about the Kurdish groups. But of course often revolutions work for high ideals but come a cropper once in power.

    • McFlock 3.1

      They’re pretty solid, but apparently they have much higher safety concerns about IEDs when the villige they capture is Arab rather than Kurdish. If a village has too many IEDs, apparently the safest course of action is to bulldoze it.

      Sigh. 🙁

      • Bill 3.1.1

        Turkey wants them wiped.
        Assad probably wants them gone too.
        And numbers of Arabs around the Rojava region want them gone. (The head of the Baggara tribe – “How do you participate PYD party and they want to seize our region and capture it to establish their cantons.”)
        The Iraqi Kurds would probably rather their example disappeared too.

  3. esoteric pineapples 4

    Here’s a link to the Kurdish Female Fighters on Facebook for anyone who wants to keep up to date with what they are doing. There are good Facebook pages for the Kurdish forces as well.


  4. roy cartland 5

    That’s a Tienanmen shot right there. Nice one.

  5. Macro 6

    Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, a 36-year-old mother of two US citizens, was a nonviolent felon who had for years complied with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) orders after being convicted of using a fake Social Security number to work.

    But on Wednesday, when she went in for her usual check in, Ice agents took her into custody instead, separating her from her husband and children, who were waiting outside.

    By Wednesday night, more than 100 protesters gathered outside the Ice office in Phoenix and blocked several vans that were coming out. One of the vans was carrying Garcia de Rayos.

    One man tied himself to one of the van’s front wheels, and seven demonstrators were arrested by Phoenix police officers, who showed up in riot gear at around 10pm.

    Garcia de Rayos’ two children also tried to block the van carrying their mother.


    Welcome to the world of the chump.

    We will need many more such Heroes

  6. And in a larger scheme of things, 27 year old Kimberley Taylor has traveled to Syria to help Syrians fighting against Daesh. That’s the same Daesh western governments have been aiding and abetting in Syria btw.

    She’s helping the Kurds against Da’esh. Western governments have also helped the Kurds against Da’esh (NB: Turkey is not a western country). There is no western government “aiding and abetting” Da’esh in Syria.

    • Bill 7.1

      I refer you to the Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard link in the post. (And you can spin it like McFlock if you want) -shrug-

    • Bill 7.2

      And try this interview from about 3 min that was put up by ‘The Canary’.

      Guy wants “an in” – pretends to be ‘a moderate’ – gives (as put in the vid) “cookie cutter answers”… and then off back to….well, could just as easily be Daesh as anyone else, right?

      • McFlock 7.2.1

        lol seriously?

        It can’t be proved that some individuals who might have been running a racket or hated Assad much more than they wanted to fight ISIL weren’t actually secretly in ISIL, therefore you’re happy to explicitly state that Western governments have been aiding and abetting ISIL?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Yep, that’s what it looks like.

        • Bill

          On the basis of that video interview alone? No, of course fucking not McFlock. But I sense you could be given a veritable encyclopedia of pointers and you’d still cling tenaciously to your bullshit.

          • McFlock

            You made a specific claim.
            As evidence you linked to a politician making a much broader (and slightly different) claim.
            As supplementary evidence you linked to someone making an even broader claim, but at least one that points towards a 135 degree arc that actually encompasses your original, specific claim (but could point at a lot of different claims in the same general direction).

            And I’m being unreasonable for stating that you’ve overegged the cake with your original, specific claim?

            edit: actually, make that rhetorical. I’m off to dinner soon, and frankly I think the point has been made.

            further edit: and while I disagree with you on that point, I do respect your efforts in general at TS and elsewhere. Just to make that clear. Don’t be a stranger in the supermarket 🙂

            • Bill

              Your ‘further edit’ wasn’t required McFlock. Jist saying….

              • McFlock

                I’ve been known to be insensitive to having caused serious offense or insult on occasion (particularly to people who don’t realise the utility of swearwords as punctuation other than exclamation marks). I also sometimes have “resting rage face”. So I am learning that it’s better to overcompensate.

                The other thing I learned recently was that informing the staff meeting that one’s current task is “a bit fucked, but getting there” could do with more detail and less colour. Who knew…

        • Bill

          (Now that the rat-shit hangover from yesterday is gone)

          If the US is arming a group or individuals aligned with Al Nusra (head-choppers) and those individuals or groups then align with ISIS, then the US is indirectly aiding and abetting ISIS.

          If the groups hold their allegiance to Al Nusra (head-choppers), then the fact remains that just like ISIS, Al Nusra is trying to overthrow the Syrian government, meaning that some of the heat comes off ISIS as a beefed up Al Nusra is combated…thereby indirectly aiding and abetting ISIS.

          And the two groups or networks aren’t at war with one another anyway. The FSA fights alongside Al Nusra fights alongside ISIL. And they then vie among themselves for control over occupied areas . And once they’ve bumped off a few of each other and control is established, all groups fight under that control structure (usually Al Nusra or ISIS).

          Okay. Then we have the allegations that ISIS convoys were allowed to exit Mosul and head off towards Palmyra while the Syrian army was liberating eastern Aleppo.

          And there’s the odd situation whereby a US and European air campaign that was ostensibly targeting Daesh in Syria was so utterly ineffective (as Kerry notes – the US saw the growth of ISIS) while a Russian/Syrian air campaign seems to have borne fruit rather quickly.

          • McFlock

            So the nature of “aligning with” al nusra involves shooting at each other after letting each other bleed their forces fighting Assad?
            With aiding and abetting like that, who needs enemies.

            If I recall the same incident, the convoys weren’t bombed because ISIL had an unacceptable number of civilians as human shields in that convoy.

            “Ineffective” is a strong word. There were ebbs and flows prior to the russian intervention.

  7. gsays 8

    cheers bill,
    great story.
    i have always held in high regard, those who ACT according to their talk.
    like the 4 (or 5) who attacked the waihopai spy base.

    the question arises more regularly, “what am i prepared to do?” in terms of civil disobedience.
    ballanced of course by building community resilience.

    • North 8.1

      Hey Gsays…….your comment reminds me of the several times I saw them at court during those times……..yeah……..admiration of them. Like you look at them and it’s automatic. Very humbly they stand very high in the hearts and minds of many.

      We’d be a fucked hopeless people without manifestations of ‘deep’ justice.

  8. greywarshark 9

    Inspiring stories. What a great lot of warriors we could get if able oldies with a sense of caring and daring, set out to do things like that and even if killed would die heroes fighting the forces of oppression and callousness.

  9. Glenn 10

    A mother in Southern California wrote to me today about her 10 year old son…

    “***** is even more lefty/liberal/progressive than we are. At the school board meeting about concealed carry handguns on school campuses, he spoke before a packed audience. We didn’t know he would do this and we couldn’t do it ourselves (we wrote letters). I suppose this scenario (generations getting more “liberal”) plays itself out the world over.

    I’d call that kid a hero.

  10. Maybe I’m just an overly cynical America-worshipping shill of capitalism, but this is an odd post. It starts off with something which is guaranteed to find favour – a sweet old man opposing nuclear proliferation in the UK – and directly connects it to a topic which is far more fraught and subject to a lot of debate.

    A suspicious person (who’s also obviously an America-worshipping shill of capitalism) might think that connecting these two events is a deliberate attempt to manipulate readers into sympathizing more with a one-dimensional portrayal of the incredibly complex situation in Syria. But that’s probably just my CNN programming talking.

    • Ordinary John 11.1

      What have you done to help your fellow citizen recently, Stephanie Rodgers?

      Apart from telling every white man in shouting distance to pull his socks up.

    • Bill 11.2

      Yup. I’m picking “overly cynical”

      I’ve no idea whether Brian Quail is a “sweet old man” or a cantankerous git…and don’t really care one way or the other.

      And then I’m not quite getting how linking to an article about a woman voluntarily taking herself off to Rojava is presenting “a one-dimensional portrayal of the incredibly complex situation in Syria”.

      If you wanted to get a handle on what the peoples of Rojava are doing or trying to do, you could begin with their constitution (seriously) and then maybe try the likes of this article from The Atlantic and go on to the likes of this in The Jacobin for a bit of deeper insight of the underpinning ideology.

      • No thanks, Bill. You’re smart enough to know exactly what you’re doing – capitalising on people’s lack of time, attention or inclination to wade through floods of conflicting, biased data, pushing them to sympathize with the people on the side of the fight you’ve determined is the only right one to support. Then when criticised you waggle your finger and say “Well YOU just don’t understand THE FACTS!” and link to long detailed pieces in Atlantic and Jacobin, or surface-descriptor level Wikipedia pages (LOL).

        This is how the game’s played. I’m just content to point out who’s playing it.

        • Bill

          Nah. I’m not playing any games Stephanie.

          If you don’t have the inclination to get yourself some knowledge of Rojava (which until recently has only ever received scant attention in our media) then that’s your decision. If you don’t have the time, then you don’t have the time.

          But if you essentially refuse to know anything of Rojava, and the political space it occupies or the potential it presents for Syria and the wider region, well it’s simply ludicrous to then accuse others of offering only a one dimensional portrayal of the situation(s) in Syria.

          The pieces I linked are not “floods of conflicting bias data” – they are explanatory pieces…Bookchins political philosophy and its adoption by peoples in Rojava and another offering a largely descriptive window into the region. Here’s the full English version of the constitution for those with the inclination and time.

  11. Jenny 12

    Below this post is the revolutionary Syrian song; “Time for you to go Bashar”

    In which, is the line;

    “You create thieves every day, Shaleesh, Rami and Mahar”

    The “Rami” that the song refers to is Rami Makhlouf, Basha Assad’s cousin. And the richest man in Syria.
    Rami Makhlouf is Syria’s version of Roger Douglas, Don Brash and Graham Heart, all rolled into one.
    Rami Makhlouf, is commonly known in Syria as “Mr Ten Percent”, for the personal cut he got for his role in selling off and privatising Syrian state assets.

    As well as being the political architect of the Neo-liberal reforms the ruling elite around Assad imposed on Syria of the 1990s, Rami Makhlouf was the single biggest beneficiary. (apart from the foreign banks that is) of these reforms.

    Just like here in New Zealand, but to a much greater degree, the neo-liberal reforms imposed on Syria by Makhlouf devastated the working class and poorer Syrians while massivley increasing the incomes of the wealthy elite around Assad.

    Compounding their robbery and oppression of the Syrian people, to preserve their beleagured positions as the rulers of Syria, Rami Makhlouf and Basha Assad are responsible for monstrous crimes against humanity.

    One of the heroes murdered by the regime was the man whose voice is on this recording, whose body was found in the river with his tongue cut out.

  12. Jenny 13

    Hero singer throat cut and voicbox and tongue cut out.


    The slogans that the demonstrating crowds in Hama have repeated again and again are from a song which was composed by the locally based folk singer Ibrahim Kashoush (also spelled: Khashoch, Qashosh or Qashoush) — a folklore singer who chanted traditional Aradah tunes as protest songs, adding new lyrics he wrote himself to the old wedding and celebration melodies.

    On an evening in late June 2011, Ibrahim’s voice had soared over the crowds on the main square of the city centre of Hama, leading a chorus of thousands of demonstrators singing “Bashar, depart from here”. On Friday 1 July 2011 an even bigger demonstration gathered an estimated 250,000 of the city’s population on the same square.

    Four days later, his body was found dumped in the Assi River (also spelled: Isa River), with a big, open and bloody wound in his neck where his adam’s apple and voice chord had been removed. A clear message to those who dare to raise their voice against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    [Sick and tired of you habitually posting mostly irrelevant comment upon comment on the bottom of threads that mention Syria in any way. I’m banning you for the weekend so I don’t have to keep an eye out, and I’ll ban you for a very long time if you ever pull this bullshit again.] – Bill

    • Peter Swift 13.1

      That’s a shame as I thought Jenny had provided an on topic example of a hero standing up against an oppressive regime, putting himself very much in harms way for doing the right thing.

      Thanks for bringing it to our attention, Jenny.

      • Bill 13.1.1

        Jenny posts those same tired links time after time after time (two others have already been shunted to OM) and always or usually after a thread is ‘finished’ and as a block of ‘spam’ that has got nothing to do with engaging or debating.

        If you find it useful or informative to view Syria as an uprising against neo-liberal reforms, bearing in mind that Syria has a free education system and free health care, then go to almost any other Syria thread and knock yourself out Peter.

        btw – the story of Ibrahim Kashoush isn’t cut and dried. There are no depictions of the same person who is shown after death in life. And cutting throats is a Wahhabi or Al-Qaeda style of execution – not a technique of any security apparatus of the Syrian government (who could presumably just have arrested and jailed who-ever they disapproved of).

        • Peter Swift

          As a non invested, objective viewer, it reads like it’s a Jenny issue you just need to learn to personally manage better, but that’s just my impartial observation you don’t have to lose sleep (or credibility) over.

          As for cutting out his throat not being part of the security apparatus of the Syrian government’s modus operandi, I’ll add it to barrel bombs and chlorine gas attacks on children you don’t believe happened, or have serious doubts over.

          Anyway, don’t want to add to the end of a finished thread with mostly irrelevant comment upon comment nonsense that has nothing to do with debate, so have at it with your wee green man. 😉

          • Bill

            Oh, I fully believe that Syrian civilians were subjected to chemical agents and that gas canisters and water heaters were packed with both explosives and chemicals before being ‘lobbed’ into civilian areas (eg -western districts of Aleppo). I think we disagree on who the perpetrators are or were and what would constitute a reasonable motive (and the absence or presence of such a motive) for employing such a tactic.

            But that aside – well, it’s not ‘aside’ so much as in a similar vein – maybe ask yourself this. Would it be at all likely for a collaborator to have their throat cut by the likes of AQ? Would it be more or less likely for someone singing songs to have their throat cut by security agencies?

            • Peter Swift

              If I was intent on making a violent point to scare off anti regime protestors and quash dissent through fear, then cutting out this overtly vocal man’s voice box would be quite symbolic as well as shocking.
              Just like if he were a footballer and I cut off his feet. Or if he were a surgeon and I cut off his hands. Maximum effect.
              You dig, now?

              • Bill

                No. I don’t ‘dig’.

                I’d do none of those things. (Why create a martyr?)

                All the photos in circulation are of a dead man. There are no images in existence of him living and singing. None. So the man in the photo may have been a singer or may not have been a singer. Are there other instances of singing in public being punished by death? Maybe of people singing in public being rounded up and charged or jailed? Maybe a gathering of people singing in public being brutally shut up by police or others? And so on.

                On the other hand. Are there instances of collaborators being executed by having their throats slit?

                You’ll work out your own balance of probability and stack it against whatever bias you have to arrive at a seemingly reasonable answer.

                • Peter Swift

                  “I’d do none of those things. (Why create a martyr?)”

                  I take no pleasure in discovering I’d be a more effective, efficient, results driven stormtrooper than you. lol

                  “You’ll work out your own balance of probability and stack it against whatever bias you have to arrive at a seemingly reasonable answer.”

                  No frame, no play 😉

        • Jenny

          Jenny posts those same tired links time after time after time (two others have already been shunted to OM) and always or usually after a thread is ‘finished’ and as a block of ‘spam’ that has got nothing to do with engaging or debating.


          This accusation is unfair and untrue. That I am not interested in engaging or debating is the opposite of the case, it is you and the other supporters of the Syrian regime who refuses to engage or debate.

          Unfair, I repost the “the same tired old links” as you call them true. And untrue because I usually post them in a question format hoping that just one of the Assad regime’s supporters at this site would try and answer the questions I raise. So far not one of you has. Instead relying on bans and censorship rather than rational defence of your position.

          So despite your threats Bill I will repost this question again. And make it as simple as possible.

          Who did this?

          And is it not evidence of genocide?

        • Jenny

          If you find it useful or informative to view Syria as an uprising against neo-liberal reforms, bearing in mind that Syria has a free education system and free health care, then go to almost any other Syria thread and knock yourself out Peter.


          The above quote is the closest that Bill has come to explaining why he supports the Assad regime.

          What I might point out here, is that Nazi Germany also had a free education system and free health care.

          Don’t support fascism

          It really shouldn’t have to be said.

    • Jenny 13.2

      [Sick and tired of you habitually posting mostly irrelevant comment upon comment on the bottom of threads that mention Syria in any way. I’m banning you for the weekend so I don’t have to keep an eye out, and I’ll ban you for a very long time if you ever pull this bullshit again.] – Bill

      I just can’t win can I, Bill

      If I put up a post in defence of the Syrian revolution too early in a piece, I get accused of “diverting the thread”.

      Now I get accused of putting my comments at the end of threads, and still get banned.

      Accompanied with a threat that if I don’t agree to self censorship I will be banned totally.

      Sorry Bill, ain’t gonna happen. There is no way that I will agree to be my own censor to suit you.

      The eponymous hero of Orwell’s 1984, near the end of the novel, is allowed his freedom. But it is a constrained and limited freedom, and as he fully takes part in the charade, he knows he is just waiting for the axe to fall,

      For a long time now I have been appalled and distressed by the unbalanced position taken up by you and others at The Standard covering up the genocidal nature of the Syrian regime.

      In my opinion it can be reasonably argued that the failure of the Liberal Centre Left to show solidarity with the Syrian people, and instead side with the regime that is oppressing and murdering them, has helped prolong this war on the Syrian people by the Assad regime and its foreign allies, and helped fuel islamaphobia here.

      New Zealand occupies a unique position in the world. Though we are small and remote, for some reason things that happen here are widely reported and followed around the globe.

      This country could put an embarrassing amount of diplomatic pressure on the Russian ally of Assad through their embassy in Wellington. Unless I missed it, this website was completely silent on the Syrian protests outside the Russian embassy. Compare this with the more ‘Left’ Daily Blog which put up posts advertising the protest, and reported back on it, While The Standard authors refused to advertise it.

      A similar rally by Syrian ex-pats held in Auckland was attacked by Trump supporters, wearing Make America Great Again caps. In my opinion the silence from NZ’s premier Centre Left Website of this sort of thing, plus piling in on the side of the genocidal Assad regime has helped fuel the sort of Islamphobic attack we witnessed on the news last night.

      In the new Trump era, “War is peace, Freedom is slavery, Ignorance is strength”

  13. weka 14

    btw, what’s a Green Man? Just trying to get a better sense of how he managed this.

    • Bill 14.1


      The wee green man? At the pelican crossing? (Which is not a pelican crossing anything btw, any more than a zebra crossing is a zebra crossing anything.)

      So when the ‘wee green man’ (who isn’t actually a wee man) flashes, you get to cross the road and when the wee red man’s flashing, (and yup – ain’t actually a man either) you’re meant to wait for the wee green man…


      • weka 14.1.1

        That’s what I was thinking (you missed out the Lollipop Lady!), but then I was wondering why the fuck a nuclear waste convoy was travelling on a road that had a stop/go man on it. Isn’t that a tad insecure? As I guess they found out.

        Ok, duh, now I get that it’s not an actual person, but a crossing signal. Still seems odd that they would be ok with the truck having to stop in the middle of traffic like that.

        I read the old dude’s self-defence in court, that was good too. Smart man on a number of fronts.

        • Bill

          You referring to this?

          On 14th June 2001 before three judges in the Scottish Appeal Court Brian Quail appealed against his convictions for anti-Trident actions dating back to 1998. This is the statement he gave to the Court. His Appeals were not upheld.

          I liked this bit (among others)

          The Judgement claimed that it would “invite anarchy” for ordinary people to “take the law into their own hands”. But if it is the law – and the respondents always stood on that foundation – that is being acted on, then ordinary people who recognise their moral and legal responsibilities to defend and implement the law, and to sabotage or frustrate terrorist threats, are not “taking the law into their own hands” but acting as responsible citizens, conscious of their right and duty to uphold the law.

  14. Jenny 15

    Reluctant hero – Mouawiya Syasneh

    I was in Moscow recently, chatting to people you might have thought would have known better. Educated folk, among them an experienced journalist. I had asked them a simple question: how did the Syrian war begin?
    They uniformly launched into the answer that has been peddled so often in recent times, that it has now become fact in certain circles: “It was the terrorists who started it all.”…….
    …….The surprise, even shock on their faces when I pulled out my laptop and showed them the trailer for our latest film for Al Jazeera, The Boy Who Started the Syrian War, was a wonder to behold. They simply had no idea.

    They claimed they hadn’t been aware of how, for decades, dissenters towards government authority had faced the daily dread of a visit from the secret police, of torture, disappearance and extrajudicial execution.
    Emmy Award-winning producer, Jamie Doran

    Whether Mouawiya Syasneh was the boy who started the war, is a matter of debate, when virtually every major town or city had suffered some version of what happened to Mouawiya Syasneh.

    In Palestinian refugee camp in the Syrian city of Latakia, where I stayed in 2011, there was the shooting death of young Palestinian girl, Ola Gabalawy during a government attack on the refugees for joining protests in Latakia against the regime.

  15. Jenny 16

    Kiwi hero – Anita McNaught

    McNaught reports live from inside Al Bab,

    Al Bab is allegedly under the control of Isis.

    Al Bab is one of a number of towns liberated from the regime with the dubious distinction of being targeted by the regime, the US and Russia. Al Bab has suffered air strikes from the airforce of the Regime, the airforce of Russia and the airforce of America.

  16. Jenny 17

    Reluctant hero – Mouawiya Syasneh

    “The boy who started the Syrian war”

  17. Jenny 18

    “Inspirational and heroic acts – big ones and smaller ones –  by people old and young.


    Inspirational? Heroic?


    Children in Syria burn tyres to protect their communities from the genocidal air campaign being waged against them.

    It is hard to use the word “hero” with children. But, what else can it be?


  18. Jenny 19

    The Palestinian heroes of Yarmouk

    Abdullah al-Khateeb


    Khateeb is by no means the only human rights defender to be targeted in Yarmouk. Indeed, the list of activists and community leaders murdered in the camp grows each year, with the UK-based Action Group for Palestinians of Syria documenting 16 assassinations since 2012.
    More than 3,000 Palestinians have died at the hands of the Syrian government and armed groups since the uprising began in 2011, while hundreds more are missing or unaccounted for.

    In January 2013, Ghassan al-Shehabi, who ran a Yarmouk-based publishing house that produced material about the Palestinian right of return and other humanitarian issues, was killed by a government sniper as he drove his wife and two young daughters, and a shipment of bread for Yarmouk families, back into the camp.

    In October 2013, actor and writer Hassan Hassan, who trained young filmmakers and produced documentaries and satirical videos from Yarmouk, disappeared after being stopped at a government checkpoint.

    And in February 2015, activist Firas al-Naji – who was a close friend of Khateeb’s and worked with the PLHR – was shot in the head inside his home. No one claimed responsibility for his death.

    The list goes on.

    “I’m not optimistic for the future of Yarmouk, although I hope the situation improves for civilians who have paid the price because of their attachment to their land and identity,” Khateeb said.

    “But I have a great hope that the revolution will be long-term, not short-term. There is now a generation born or grown up in revolution that has learned about liberty and justice … [They will be] more conscious and experienced, and able to change the reality of things in Syria towards a better society.”


  19. Jenny 20

    Hero uncle – Dahi Al Musalmani

    [For ignoring moderation and lying about authors…continuing with the same old tiresome pattern of bullshit – 1 year ban] – Bill

    • Antoine 20.1

      Hey Bill

      Feel good to be the one driving the bulldozer?


      • weka 20.1.1

        Fuck I hope so. Jenny is easily the biggest user of moderation time on site, mostly because she either won’t learn or is in capable of learning the boundaries around behaviour that make TS something useful rather than a free for all. She also frequently lies about authors. I’m surprised she hasn’t copped a permanent ban to be honest, but I suspect that it’s because moderators have been cutting her some slack.

        • Antoine

          Still in a thread about just resistance against authority, it feels a bit wrong for the local authorities to be laying down 1 year bans for expressing political opinions!

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