Friday, June 01, 2007

In the Aftermath of the Presidential Poll in Syria



The Syrian Brit said...

Well, my friend.. This second 'NO' is as relevent (if not more so) that the first one...
The shameful display of sycophancy on the streets of the Syrian cities and towns is simply sickening... It seems to me that people have lost all dignity.. I know that most are forced to take part in this nauseating exercise, but surely, they don't have to suck it up to the Regime THAT way!!.. It is as if each is trying to outbid and outshine his neighbour..
On a related note, I heard that the election 'campaign' has cost the trivial sum of $1 billion.. Is that true?.. or is it just an exaggeration?.. Any idea?..

GottfriedStutz said...

Syrian Brit, thank you for supporting my second NO. You don't know how much I agree with you that people "don't have to suck it up to the regime THAT way." Nobody, absolutely nobody, forced them to go that far. Look at this rubbish as a sample (if you can stand it):

If it's out of conviction, then the writer needs a serious update about many things in Syria. If it's not out of conviction, then who asked him to bl**dy write in the first place?

Haven't heard about the cost of the campaign but I'm sure that, whatever it was, the country could have benefited from it in a better way.

Philip I said...

Lisa Wedeen (a professor of political science at the University of Chicago)lived in Syria for a few years and published this book:

Ambiguities of Domination: Politics, Rhetoric, and Symbols in Contemporary Syria

University of Chicago Press, 1999. 244 pp.(paper, $17).

A review of her book appeared in a magazine called Middle East Quarterly in June 1999 and I quote:

"Why, she asks, did the Asad regime devote such a substantial proportion of its meager resources to the ubiquitous celebration of Asad? Why promote such nonsense as calling him the "premier pharmacist" of the country or suggest that he is immortal? Wedeen has a refreshingly simple answer: the cult of personality reinforced Asad's power by demonstrating that "his regime can compel people to say the ridiculous and to avow the absurd." If anyone happens to believe the drivel forwarded by the regime, that's a bonus; for all else who are compelled to take in and repeat the cult's platitudes, it serves as a powerful "mechanism of social control." The beauty of it is, the more skeptical a Syrian is, the more the cult oppresses him.

The only lightness in her morbidly interesting study comes in a long chapter where Wedeen offers up the jokes, cartoons, comedies, and rumors, underground and tolerated, through which Syrians manage to express their hatred of the rulers."

Yazan said...

It's a literal Orwellian world.

GottfriedStutz said...

Yes, isn't it, Yazan?

Philip, the analysis offered by Wedeen is sharp and a breath of fresh air. Still, it angers me to read all the trashy support for a second presidency.

Also, thank you for making me discover Wedeen's work. Your reference to her made me want to know more about her work. I just began reading a publication of hers which sounds interesting: