conflict zones, empire watch, latest, Syria
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Syria: The Middle Eastern Stalingrad

by Andre Vltchek, NEO

Day and night, for years, an overwhelming force has been battering this quiet nation, one of the cradles of human civilization.

Hundreds of thousands have died, and millions have been forced to flee abroad or have been internally displaced. In many cities and villages, not one house is left intact.

But Syria is, against all odds, still standing.

During the last 3 years I worked in almost all of Syria’s perimeters, exposing the birth of ISIS in the NATO-run camps built in Turkey and Jordan. I worked in the occupied Golan Heights, and in Iraq. I also worked in Lebanon, a country now forced to host over 2 million (mostly Syrian) refugees.

The only reason why the West began its horrible destabilization campaign, was because it “could not tolerate” Syria’s disobedience and the socialist nature of its state. In short, the way the Syrian establishment was putting the welfare of its people above the interests of multi-national corporations.

* * *

More than two years ago, my former Indonesian film editor demanded an answer in a somewhat angry tone:

“So many people are dying in Syria! Is it really worth it? Wouldn’t it be easier and better for Syrians to just give up and let the US have what it is demanding?”

Chronically petrified, this young woman was always searching for easy solutions that would keep her safe, and safe with significant personal advantages. As so many others in this time and age, in order to survive and advance, she developed a complex system resting on betrayals, self-defenses and deceptions.

How to reply to such a question?

It was a legitimate one, after all.

Eduardo Galeano told me: “People know when it’s time to fight. We have no right to tell them … but when they decide, it is our obligation to support them, even to lead them if they approach us.”

In this case, the Syrian people decided. No government, no political force could move an entire nation to such tremendous heroism and sacrifice. Russians did it during World War II, and the Syrians are doing it now.

Two years ago I replied like this: “I have witnessed the total collapse of the Middle East. There was nothing standing there anymore. Countries that opted for their own paths were literally leveled to the ground. Countries that succumbed to the dictates of the West lost their soul, culture and essence and were turned into some of the most miserable places on earth. And the Syrians knew it: were they to surrender, they would be converted into another Iraq, Yemen or Libya, even Afghanistan.”

And so Syria rose. It decided to fight, for itself and for its part of the world.

Again and again, it retained itself through the elections of its government. It leaned on its army. Whatever the West says, whatever the treasonous NGOs write, simple logic proves it all.

This modest nation does not have its own powerful media to share the extent of its courage and agony with the world. It is always the others who are commenting on its struggle, often in a totally malicious way.

But it is undeniable that whilst the Soviet forces stopped the advance of the German Nazis at Stalingrad, the Syrians have managed to stop the fascist forces of Western allies in its part of the world.

Of course Russia got directly involved. Of course China stood by, although often in the shadow. And Iran provided support. And Lebanon-based Hezbollah put up what I often describe as an epic fight on behalf of Damascus against the extremist monsters invented and armed by the West, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

But the main credit has to go to the Syrian people.

Yes, now there is nothing left of the Middle East. Now there are more tears than raindrops descending on this ancient land.

But Syria is standing. Burned, wounded, but standing.

And as is being widely reported, after the Russian armed forces came to the rescue of the Syrian nation, more than 1 million Syrian people were able to return home … often to encounter only ashes and devastation, but home.

Like people returned to Stalingrad, some 70 years ago.

* * *

So what would my answer be to that question now: “whether it would be easier the other way”, to surrender to the Empire?

I guess something like this:

“Life has meaning, it is worth living, only if some basic conditions can be fulfilled. One does not betray great love, be it love for another person or love for one’s country, humanity or ideals. If one does, it would be better not to be born at all. Then I say: the survival of humankind is the most sacred goal. Not some short-time personal gain or ‘safety’, but the survival of all of us, of people, as well as the safety of all of us, humans.”

When life itself is threatened, people tend to rise and fight, instinctively. During such moments, some of the most monumental chapters in human history are written.

Unfortunately, during these moments, millions tend to die.

But the devastation is not because of those who are defending our human race.

It is because of the imperialist monsters and their servants.

Most of us are dreaming about a world without wars, without violence. We want true kindness to prevail on earth. Many of us are working relentlessly for such a society.

But until it is constructed, until all extreme selfishness, greed and brutality are defeated, we have to fight for something much more “modest” – for the survival of people and of humanism.

The price is often horrible. But the alternative is one enormous gaping void. It is simply nothing – the end, full stop!

In Stalingrad, millions died so we could live. Nothing was left of the city, except some melted steel, scattered bricks and an ocean of corpses. Nazism was stopped.  Western expansionism began its retreat, that time towards Berlin.

Now Syria, quietly but stoically and heroically, stands against Western, Qatari, Saudi, Israeli and Turkish plans to finish the Middle East.

And the Syrian people have won. For how long, I don’t know. But they have proven that an Arab country can still defeat the mightiest murderous hordes.


Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”. Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. Point of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.

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7 Comments

  1. Alan says

    From a layman’s perspective a perceived understanding comes from a myriad of sources, the article, as a source ranks higher than most. Worryingly the narrative is framed using common assumptions, for example “The West”, who are the West, is this geographical, political or religious?. Terms used, Fascist, NGO, Nazism, Empire are loaded, they solicit specific responses, responses that don’t apply to 21st century geopolitics. We end up with an undeniable good versus evil feeling. Granted the audience format dictates a certain style, however one can’t help but feel, that in this case, style obfuscates content.

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    • I often poke fun at our (cultural) use of “the West” as a geographic and civilizational term, but there’s really no confusion about what it refers to. It’s a political term and we all know that it refers to the EU and the political entities created by Anglo-Saxon imperialism, i.e. North America, Australia, New Zealand.

      The other terms you list are also non-controversial: thus, for example, fascism has been defined most clearly by Mussolini (the EU and North America are both fascist in that authoritative sense of the term), etc.

      It’s hard to understand how terms NGO or Empire could be “loaded” — they have specific denotations, so that it would be absurd because inaccurate to call the US State Department an NGO, or to claim that the USA is not the world’s only empire today.

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  2. Women and children make up 76.7% of all Syrian refugees. And you have to be a bigoted idiot to pass judgement on the approx. 140 000 Syrian men (that´s less than 2 percent of the total male population if we consider that 15 is already “fighting age”) that arrived to Europe. Many of them left to increase the chance of survival of their families (surely you would send your orphaned children across the desert, later in a boat, to stay and fight?: “bye kids, try not to drawn, or be captured by human traffickers, don´t forget to claim your benefits, see you later, maybe”), avoiding forced conscription by groups like the IS, or infinite other reasons that, yes, also include, escaping justice after being involved with terrorist groups.

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  3. “tremendous heroism and sacrifice. Russians did it during World War II, and the Syrians are doing it now.”
    Is that ‘tremendous heroism and sacrifice’ the reason why hundreds of thousands of Syrian men of fighting age have gone to the most welfare-generous nations in Europe to claim asylum?

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