The shameful story trapped between two fires

One day 10 years ago I was thinking a lot about a quote attributed to Honoré de Balzac. This statement not only spells out the difference between the story of past events reported in the history books and the actual tale that comes from those facts. This sentence is both a complaint and a philosophical assumption. Complaint since it acquires a logical consequence of power (that chooses the contents of history books in fact) and the removal of the true causes enclosed in facts, so that the responsibilities of power are not detected. The philosophical assumption, especially for the benefit of all those who try to tell the history with a free spirit, is a sort of Epicurean acceptance of a fact: if you want to write history books, make yourself be on a good payroll. If you want to tell the story as it is, limit yourself to tell it to your relatives, your friends, and occasionally slightly to wider audiences. Marco Polo himself told his Million to one person, in a closed cell, Rustichello. He was not the one who wrote those stories. Who knows what history Balzac has told, who knows if he was the victim of censorship and oblivion, how he has circumvented them in case, if he gave up sometimes to tell the truth to make it more attractive to current tastes or if he just tried to manage it between two opposites .
This still is the phrase that opens "Isti'mariyah - windward between Naples and Baghdad":
<<You have to know that there are two stories: the official one, full of lies, the one that they teach in school, history to usum delphini; and then there is the secret history, the one that contains the true causes of the events, a shameful history>>.
When I came across these lines I was editing the documentary shot in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. I was dealing with "shameful stories", there was no doubt. Stories of people whose reasons would have never interested anybody and whose actions would affect only in instrumental key depending on the circumstances. They were boys that in summer 2005 went to Iraq to fight the US occupation from Lebanon and Syria and other surrounding countries. For these guys to fight against the US military meant rejecting the political reading of the "war on terror" of Bush, the new page in the history of colonialism, but at the same time meant (at least for those whom I had the good fortune to meet) also fight for open spaces of freedom in the Middle East, once brought down the dictator of the moment. This is because the two opposites, the occupation and dictatorship, were and are actually two sides of the same coin. Our "boy", the one through whose story we wanted to tell the phenomenon, eventually return from the experience in Iraq, also rejects the military way as a form of struggle realizing that this is also an ephemeral solution that gives back sooner or later, at best, the two above possibilities: dictatorship or occupation.
This story was shameful and it remains such 10 years later. This work already sets a reading dilemmas that still torments Syrian victims of an absurd civil war. A war that had to be and could be avoided if everyone had not acted exactly to get the current results. Pretending not to have known it, is not just criminal, it is not feasible. Because "the true causes of the events" were already under the eyes of all for some time.
It was the cynicism of American and the docility of its partners, under our eyes.
It was the waste paper which the United Nations have reduced the international law to outlaw aggression on a sovereign state, Iraq, without a warrant and with the clear aim to strip it of all independence and political and economic autonomy.
It was the changing world balance which today sees Russia and China more involved in international disputes.
They were the strategic interests (vital?) of Iran in Syria.
It was the criminal inhumanity of the Assad regime.
It was the ruthless and delusional neo-Ottomanism of Erdogan.
It was the aspirations of Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
It was the blind rage of a lost generation for our sins, that of boys at Isis, those who between dictatorship and occupation have chosen religious fundamentalism (a choice that will pay hard for their first, because it is not their choice, is a choice that others have done on them).
All this was already before our eyes in 2011. What could arise if not an infamous civil war destined not see a credible way out?
Last week I came across a bad article of one of the many splinter groups that hark back to one of the parties of the conflict to feel important (given that butt is safe in Europe).
Unfortunately this article quoted a friend who in turn cites another friend of mine.
The article wants to demonstrate something without having neither the analytical tools nor evidence to prove anything.
These two friends were both part of the expedition that with no permit or authorization in July 2005 crossed Syria to document what now still nobody wants to see.
K.M., one of the two friends who lives in Italy, in the months of spring 2011 contacts Hamed, the second friend, a Syrian journalist, who has always been an opponent of the regime, which took care of that trip, say, aspects of security related to our work.
K. wants to be told the situation. These are the words of Hamed, reported by K. on his blog and reported by the bad article:
<<On the street there were students, young people, workers, women, youth, adults, families. Leftist movements, some fellow Muslims, nationalist Syrians ... all of a sudden appeared from nowhere Salafis filled with weapons and money, and the situation has worsened.
You do not understand anything. People die like flies from side to side. Other trends have found themselves taken between two fires.
Threatened by the state and by armed groups. In many cities, it is said that the groups of the so-called Free Army behaved worse than the government with torture, mutilation and murder of people in public presented as collaborators.
(...) Here if the government falls at this time and under these conditions, what has happened in Iraq will look to end a small thing compared to what is likely to happen here>>.
That of Hamed is really a shameful history. These phrases, extrapolated in the bad article from a much broader reasoning, well placed, cast a dim light on the so-called "revolution" in Syria and it is the intention of the author of the bad article.
And certainly these sentences are true, I met Hamed, I know that is a free spirit, who says it like it is, he wants to understand.
However Hamed also is known as a bitter opponent of the regime.
Hamed died after this talk as a result of torture suffered in a Syrian jail because of his opposition.
But the author of the bad article, P.R., doesn't report it. Maybe he does not know it. I doubt it. Anyway I tried to let him know. No one responded, except his employer, A.A., ranting and insulting (I exempt you from reading) and especially preventing me from continuing the debate (what if his loyal readers discover a bit of contradictory arguing once in a while).
The life of Hamed is the very negation of the author's thesis. The shameful story of Hamed shows that there were people against the regime, they were a lot and with more than right reasons. But that soon were made "between two fires". And these two fires are still shooting today, four years later, with weapons or with the toxic narratives of parrots we Europeans, we that only report the idea of ​​who protect us and we don't know how to develop and independent thinking called ours.
I am also between two fires. Of course, those narratives are much less painful than the fire of real weapons.
A few weeks ago an opponent of the Syrian regime, one of those saved in Europe that make careers repeating formulas and poisoning the free judgment of us European citizens (but it is also our fault that want to believe whatever) wrote these lines to me, justifying why he did not think that the Syrian community in Berlin faithful to the revolution, had to take part in the screening of Isti'mariyah that we organized for the tenth anniversary of the shootings:
<<To tell you the truth I'm afraid to invite my friends for the evening, because it will be used against the revolts in the Middle East and I will be responsible for having invited the activists to something contrary to our initiatives. 10 years ago the film showed many things that many political activists in Europe have not understood. As to today I say that I fear that the same logic will be used against the revolution>>.
This same activist, a few months ago, during the discussion following the screening, intervened ba calling it "the best documentary ever seen on Syria". A few minutes later, in Arabic, in a whisper, scolding another Syrian who was referring to the atrocities committed by the FSA (Free Syrian Army) with these words: "there is no need to talk about these things, the Europeans would not understand".
Unfortunately for him, there are Europeans who understand it very well, as they had understood 10 years ago. And Hamed had understood it very well in the spring of 4 years ago. And maybe many others have understood, however, those who pretend not to understand. Those who recite pages of history already written by ideology, that is one of the Nation, of the Revolution or that of God.
I know where the real cause of the events lies, what the history books do not tell. So I curse Assad, his regime and his hacks, especially the European ones. I curse at the same time, however, those who could support Hamed and his reasons rather than the realpolitik of the Gulf and the hasty way of Turkey (supervised from Washington) and instead have left that someone reduced him to be treated as an apologist of the regime, something which he has always fought against and against which he gave his life.
Michelangelo Severgnini

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