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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Far from freedom

Ominous news from Bahrain:

"Three Bahraini bloggers are facing criminal charges, including defaming the king, for running a web forum that allows free political debate."

The expression, "fighting a battle they will never win", comes to mind.

"The government said bloggers had to register with the ministry of information - and has even proposed a bill to regulate the use of Bluetooth technology on mobile phones."

In more positive news from the Middle East comes this interesting piece of blog writing on the bankruptcy of Syria's Ba'ath Party:

"It does not mean anything like a political party or any political or organizational entity. It just exists around us and between us like that black-cloud of pollution on top of Damascus and Banias, like the sewage stink, or like the Mukhabarat's Peugeot white cars."

President Bashar Assad will not be pleased.


Blogger Jozef Imrich, Esq. said...

Bloggers Without Borders are making some positive moves ...

Thursday, May 26, 2005 7:43:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait, have we finally found a Ba'athist whom Ant supports the overthrow of?

Thursday, May 26, 2005 8:04:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Achieving democracy in Syria is different to 'importing' democracy, or violently invading, illegally at that.
These things can happen without a rampant, violent US superpower...

Thursday, May 26, 2005 10:28:00 am  
Anonymous michael said...

Of course it doesn't matter what Antony says about Assad and Syria now. When the corporate media gets around to focussing on human rights abuses in Syria the US stooges will repeat ad nauseum that the Left have never criticised the Syrian Baathists and have always been Neville Chamberlain style collaborationists.

Might be worth recalling at this point that Syria was a staunch US ally during the 1991 Gulf War and was rewarded with a US blind eye turned towards their military occupation of Lebanon. Of course, that deal is no longer convenient to Washington, so it has been torn up and is in the process of being airbrushed from history.

The following statement from War Resisters International is looking kind of prophetic now:
A country as undemocratic as Syria is suddenly transformed from being a terrorist state to being a favoured ally of the US, a position President Assad can occupy only by going against the overwhelming feeling of his subjects. The ground is already being laid for post-war power struggles in the region.

Any bets on which will be the next human rights abusing regime that the Right will claim was always supported by the Left and which they always opposed?

Uzbekistan's Karimov government perhaps?

Thursday, May 26, 2005 1:17:00 pm  

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