I assume you’ve read “While you were neutral about Yarmouk,” published here on January 17. If you read my comments on that piece, you will see that I am entirely in agreement with you on this issue of collective punishment, so I won’t rehash those thoughts here.
What I do want to address, though, is what you say in the penultimate paragraph:
“And why do some try to discredit this revolution by using the claim that there are certain elements that pander to the West and are ripe with corruption when at the same time our own leadership in Ramallah is in bed with Zionist politicians in Tel Aviv and Washington? Should we not clean our house before we tell others to clean theirs? Or do the Syrians not deserve the same moral standards that we apply to ourselves?”
This is a point I’ve heard before, and it remains frustratingly common despite its conspicuous fallacies. No one is saying that the Palestinian cause isn’t worthy because of the ineptitude and collaborationism of current Palestinian “leadership”–and for what it’s worth, I am not saying that wishing to dislodge an authoritarian regime in Syria is a cause not worthy of sympathy (quite the opposite).
But then again, no one should look at the fractured and rudderless Palestinian national movement, with its venal, collaborationist cronies serving in “leadership” positions bereft of the substance of the term, as being a “revolution” either, and to call it so evinces either an undue enthusiasm for said crony class and/or a shallow understanding of the word “revolution.” I am a proud supporter of the Palestinian cause, writing and engaging in solidarity activism in its favor alongside Palestinians who are trying to build a principled national movement that can be the pride of justice-loving people everywhere; I also regard many Palestinian actors in disdain, such as the post-Oslo PA crony class.
The same can be said for Syria: I detest Asad’s rotten autocracy (the nefarious, murderous four-decade history of which many progressives seem to have magically forgotten in 2011) and believe that justice-minded people should oppose it (and ALL other autocracies, be they in the American imperial orbit or outside of it). But that does not mean that the most salient opposition on the ground today constitutes a “revolution” of such moral clarity that it demands our solidarity. Irrespective of the uprising’s genesis, what’s happening in Syria today bears more in common with the civil-cum-proxy wars that have wracked the Congo for much of the past two decades than any “revolution” in the historic sense (e.g. French, Russian, Cuban, Iranian). And besides, not all revolutions are forces for moral good.
So anyway…. other than that somewhat tangential (yet important in its own right) aspect, I wholeheartedly agree and applaud you for writing this. We should all reject collective punishment wherever it rears its head.
(side note: I am apparently inept at using html tags; can’t figure out how to block quote to save my life)