What I learned about activism from President Bashar al-Assad

October 16, 2015

What I learned about Activism from President Bashar al-Assad

By: Janice Kortkamp

Although I had tried to be an informed and participatory citizen of my country, I was never an activist until I ‘met’ Syria. My first glimpse through the cracks in the wall of western narratives about the Middle East came from Assad. Since then, almost all of my words have been modeled on his approach that won me over in a matter of minutes to at least wanting to know more.

Here’s what he taught me through observing him for years (which i have failed at often enough but keep trying anyway):

1. Stay calm. The truth gives a confidence that does not require screaming and ranting.

2. Turn the other cheek. Assad has a brilliant way of just letting insults and accusations deflect off him. He listens and then gives his side – but he doesn’t take it all personally.

3. Speak clearly and openly. It wasn’t 2 minutes into the first interview I saw with him that I was struck by how he was explaining things in a way I could understand.

4. Be accurate – don’t exaggerate. When Assad knows a number, he gives a number that he can back up – they don’t end up getting exaggerated beyond credibility. If he doesn’t know a number, he just says he doesn’t have a number.

5. Give facts that can be backed up by the reality on the ground and solid sources. When I listened to the SNC’s Moaz al Khatib trying to give an interview the contrast could not have been more stark. Assad consistently gave facts that could be checked and verified. His ‘opposition’, Khatib, spoke in generalizations and platitudes and spent an hour saying nothing of substance.

6. Be genuine. Assad’s love of Syrians and Syria shows in everything he says and does. He walks the walk instead of just talking the talk.

7. Don’t just preach to the choir. I think this is what really limits the effectiveness of activism. While we all need to learn from and support each other, it is critical to be able to relate to people who don’t understand in a way that is not offensive or insulting. Most people just plain to do not know about these situations. They work long hours, they have families, what little news they get comes from MSM. It’s a part time/full time job trying to stay on top of ONE issue for me. Assad has given so many interviews with belligerent media and nations – it is a great example.

8. Engage with people. I went to a demonstration against the proposed bombing of Syria in Washington. The protesters walked around in a circle and just kept repeating slogans some woman kept shouting in a megaphone creating a wall of noise. I quickly left the group and just walked among the people and tried to answer questions and engage in conversation. I ended up on Iraqi TV.

9. Unfortunately, photos of dead children are not effective and often confuse people as they see those images from both sides. Anyone with a heart should be moved by the plight of the most innocent victims but the sad truth is, it doesn’t really work to educate. Everyone has suffered there and there are many victims. All the children of Syria were safe before the US decided to undermine the stability of Syria using terrorist/mercenary proxies. In fact, Syria was the 5th personally safe country in the world in 2010 before the war according to Gallup polls’ Top 5.

10. Be an ambassador. The most effective activism is person to person. When I got to know Syrians my intellectual curiosity changed to genuine compassion and a hunger for the truth. Assad is a very personal and gracious man. When I showed his interview to my husband, Syd said “I want to have that man over for dinner.” In so many interviews I’ve seen of his, often you can watch the interviewer coming around to Assad’s point of view because he is really present WITH the person, listening carefully to them, then he responds to them and to the question. He’s not just taking an opportunity to spout an agenda. Whoever he’s with, whether children or foreign dignitaries, he is always gives the people he is with his full attention.

So that’s it. He is called ‘brutal’. He is called worse. But what he should be called is “Mr. President”.

SOURCE | https://www.syriaresources.com/what-i-learned-about-activism-from-president-bashar-al-assad/

World Order 2018: Full Movie

Vladimir Soloviev's New Documentary Interview With Putin Now Available

Inessa Sinchougova
Fort Russ News
13 Mar 2018

The film is blocked worldwide on YouTube. I have uploaded it to the paid-for platform that is Vimeo - thanks to my Patreon members for offsetting these costs!

World Order 2018 is a new documentary movie by TV host, Vladimir Soloviev, in which he discusses with Russia's President Putin all the major events of the past few years; the Syrian situation, the destruction of the Middle East, the expansion of NATO, the immigration crisis in Europe, the destabilisation of Eastern Ukraine and the situation in Crimea, US-Russian relations, and of course the nuclear arms race. They also touch on topics rarely answered by world leaders - the eradication of national identities, the re-writing of history, and the essence of the Holocaust.

The film is 1.5 hours long, so make sure you put some time aside, instead of your next Netflix doco! If you're specifically looking for the quote in the title - it's at 1:22:00.

"No Russia, no world!" - FULL MOVIE: WORLD ORDER 2018 from Inessa S on Vimeo.

My Lai massacre: The day US military slaughtered a village & tried to cover it up

16 Mar, 2018

Fifty years ago, a platoon of US soldiers stormed the quiet hamlet of My Lai in South Vietnam, unleashing a barrage of gunfire, grenades and sexual assault which left as many as 500 dead.

On March 16, 1968 an army unit entered My Lai. The troops were ordered to lay waste to anything “walking, crawling or growing” on a search and destroy mission that lasted four hours and left the village razed to the ground. Not even crops or livestock were spared. The atrocities of My Lai would remain largely hidden for 20 months, until vivid images and accounts of the massacre appeared in newspapers, shocking Americans and sparking massive anti-war protests.


US Infantry battalion Charlie Company entered the area under the erroneous understanding that Viet Cong guerrilla fighters were present. Instead, they found unarmed civilians, many of whom were children, women and the elderly.

Unleashing a hail of firepower from M-16s and an M79 grenade launcher, the soldiers rounded up villagers and killed them, not before sexually assaulting as many as 20 women and teenagers. The horror only began to die down when army helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson Jr landed between the soldiers and the villagers, threatening to fire at the troops.

“The whole thing was so deliberate. It was point-blank murder and I was standing there watching it,” Sgt. Michael Bernhardt recalled. “We met no resistance and I only saw three captured weapons. We had no casualties. It was just like any other Vietnamese village — old Papa-san, women and kids. As a matter of fact, I don’t remember seeing one military-age male in the entire place, dead or alive. The only prisoner I saw was about 50.”

Thompson had witnessed a soldier kill an injured Vietnamese woman from his vantage point, and then noticed the ditch filled with bodies. "It looks to me like there's an awful lot of unnecessary killing going on down there. Something ain't right about this. There's bodies everywhere,” he said over the radio. He landed and got into a confrontation with platoon leader Lieutenant William L. Calley.

After taking off again, the pilot witnessed soldiers chasing civilians and landed the helicopter between them. He evacuated the villagers and returned to the scene to search for survivors. Thompson also told his superiors about the massacre, and the order was sent back to “knock off the killing.”

“After the shooting was over, the soldiers went and were eating their lunch, really literally next to the ditch, next to the bodies. And that’s how disconnected you get,” Seymour Hersh, the investigative reporter who uncovered the story, said on Democracy Now.


Despite Thompson filing a report, a military investigation found there had been no massacre. Captain Ernest Medina, who had ordered the soldiers to be aggressive in their operations, told superiors the unit had killed lots of VC fighters.

[ Link to Twitter post | goo.gl/XkPFWf ]

In 1968, Ron Ridenhour, an infantryman who had heard about the event, started investigating what happened. In March 1969 he wrote a letter to President Richard Nixon, the Pentagon, members of Congress, the State Department, the Joint Chiefs of Staff detailing the massacre. This sparked official investigations and Ridenhour, Medina, Thompson, and Calley were interviewed.

Sgt. Ron Haeberle, a US Army photographer with Charlie company, had captured events on official and personal cameras. He handed over the official army rolls of film, but held onto his personal, more graphic ones, later explaining he thought they would have been destroyed.

Hersh, then a freelance journalist in Washington, heard what happened at My Lai from an antiwar lawyer, and started to speak to those in the unit. He saw a news report about Calley being charged with murder in September 1969, and managed to get hold of the classified charge sheet. Hersch’s resulting report, “Lieutenant Accused of Murdering 109 Civilians,” appeared in the Dispatch News Service on November 13, and was picked up by a number of publications before gaining further traction.

Bettman / Getty Images

In November, a selection of Haeberle’s images were published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The photographs backed up Thompson's claims and helped with the investigation. Years later, Haeberle admitted he destroyed the most graphic images of soldiers killing the villagers. "I had actual photos of actual guys who were doing the shooting and stuff like that,”he said.

On November 15, half a million anti-war protesters marched in Washington, with a march also taking place in London at the same time. In 1973, direct US troop involvement in Vietnam ended.

Bettman / Getty Images

A 1970 inquiry by Lieut. Gen. William Peers into the My Lai cover up found “at every command level from company to division, actions were taken or omitted which together effectively concealed from higher headquarters the events which transpired.”

Calley’s court martial ended 1971. He was found guilty of killing 22 people and sentenced to life at hard labor. However, President Richard Nixon intervened, and he was placed under house arrest instead before being freed in 1974. "There is not a day that goes by that I do not feel remorse for what happened that day in My Lai," Calley admitted in 2009.

By Christine Maguire