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May 16, 2005


Mike's America

Was that you on the Public Broadcasting System program "Frontline" that aired tonight in the United States?

An excellent look at what is happening in Lebananon with a rather troubling look at Syria. Sorry to see the children chant something like "Our blood, our souls for you Bashir." Just like the sorry souls who were forced to chant that under Iraq's Hussein.

Sounds like your country must be one large Abu Ghraib, but there is hope.

Bryan Kerwick


General Dashing and friends just don't get it.Unfortunately, Bashir is power drunk as well. He used to live in Wisconsin not too long ago time wise but that was pre- 9/11.

The folks need to get on with demanding justice from their own government or get mine forced down their throats.

The lesser of 2 evils is for the Syrian People to take control of their own destiny. Demand, don't ask for basic rights. Demand, don't ask for a government that answers to the people and not the other way around. Demand democratic reforms. The other option is to accept what someone else thinks you should have, regardless of whether it is General Dashing's vision, Bashir's vision or President Bush's vision, all of which are probably not the Syrian People's vision. Sometimes you have to fight for yourself. Freedom don't come free, it's paid for in blood.

Not real good options but I bet the Syrian people would prefer to argue with Bashir or General Dashing any day way before arguing with the redneck.


“what is the difference between the SSNP and a stupid man? The stupid man hits the wall, the SSNP hits the Front.”

The same could be said of BLOGs and real men.


On the other hand, something might have got switched in the translation.



It's easy when your life or the life of your family isn't on the line. Reform has to come by those in country, hopefully the blogs can act as a medium for coordinating large demonstrations demanding Democracy and reform.


True what rancher said, it's easy to talk when YOU are not risking your life and your children's lives.
But...I have to say that western people, have VERY poor knowledge about the Middleeast. One example is that blogs can't and will not bring democracy and change! they just can reflect people's thoughts and what is going on, they are just a mirror. Not more. Go to the streeets in Syria and maybe you might understand a few things..Like most Syrians don't have a computer at home, they can't afford it and the economy is tuff enough, they are not even dreaming of getting a computer! And even the 200 Syrian liras it cost for 1 hour in an internet café is not so cheap for most people. And also the education level is quite low. Most people care more about finding a job and bread, they don't even have time to think about internet and pure ideals like risking their lives for the sake of democracy that many don't realy know why it's SO good and what it can offer as changes!
And most people are also suffering from the violated human rights and horrible acts comitted by " democratic" countries like Israel and USA in Iraq. Look up what human rights organization say if you think it's only "propaganda" and that western democratic countries would never do such things!
Yes ok if some westerns think that the evil today in this world comes from the middleeast and because of lack of democracy..And seem so keen on following what's going on and seeing some western regimes enterfearing in the name of that, why not try to listen to why Us politics is so unpopular here, by common people ( and they are not evil demons).
It has been often said, after 11 sep., as an answer to "why do they hate us" that it's because "they" are jealous of "you" cause you enjoy freedom and democracy!..That's unbelievably stupid! We don't "hate" American people or culture, and we don't "hate" countries that might be more democratic than Us, with much more precentage voting people for example, Sweden, Switzerland, and many others..
Take a look at this :"the face of antiamerican"



"blogs can't and will not bring democracy and change! they just can reflect people's thoughts and what is going on, they are just a mirror. Not more.

Go to the streeets in Syria and maybe you might understand a few things..Like most Syrians don't have a computer at home, they can't afford it and the economy is tuff enough"

Absolutely. A blog is an outlet for the privileged - a way to hone the mind. Thankfully, a lot of the mind-honing that goes on in blogs is just a variant of the mind-honing that's been going on for several hundred years (internationally) without blog-nology. So while blogs probably can't change anything alone, taken as a signal from our point in history - one could hope that a slow awakening is underway.

Plus, this stuff is getting cheaper and cheaper and easier and easier to use. It will find it's way into Syria, it just will. The thing is, will blogs have hit the wall and more men the front by the time it does.

Bryan Kerwick

Rancher and Catherine have no clue about my family or it's relevant military exposure so I will ignore their passioned indiscretions.

Let me try this another way. People in the Middle-East are miserable and have been that way since before the United States was even a country. I doubt you can blame those issues on us. The difference is we paid dearly for what we beleived in. Let's don't forget we had a civil war here as well as all the other wars our great men and women in the military made the ultimate sacrafice for.
We know from history that people in power generally don't give it up without a fight. Maybe you should understand fundamental differences in our culture like George Washington turning down the chance to be King of America on PRINCIPLE. Stuff you don't get from the media is what you lack most.
As far as I'm concerned, if you don't respect yourself and your individual rights and freedoms enough to fight and die for them, you will never have them. That is a cold hard fact of life. If however you do stand up for those lofty goals, you will have friends around the globe, primarily anglophones, that will stand and fight alongside you. Before we do commit to that option however, YOU must take the first step and convince enough of your countrymen that those ideals are in fact worth fighting and dying for.
Short of that, our only other option is to quell violence aimed primarily at us and our allies at the expense of good, undeserving people who just didn't have the heart, backbone or testicles to fight for themselves. Your public officials are the problem, not us.
Don't pay for their misguided ideals, pay for your own lofty ones. there really isn't a third option.


Please Bryan stop preaching from your lofty position; you say :"People in the Middle-East are miserable".
I totally disagree; they may be in economic terms but they have preserved human warmth, solidarity, generosity, they enjoy one another, their smile is not a smiley stuck on their faces. I live now both in the West and in Syria and I love Syria better in spite of its shortcomings.

Bryan Kerwick


France doesn't count when you speak in terms of the "West". Old Europe, exclusive of Anglophones, have no dog in the hunt since reconstruction. Guess who fixed that problem? See Marshall Plan for details.

By the way, aren't the French the same people that Colonialized Lebanon and Syria?

Maybe when you get to Paris, ask Chirac to help fix the problem his country created pre and post WWII.

The vast majority of the Middle-East citizens are still living under repressive regimes and that is not the American's fault.

Free Afghanistan, Iraq and soon to be Palestine are.

Try to keep emotions from distorting facts.

By the way, I have been to France and Syria and I prefer Syria as well. At least the people are honest.


WHAT?! Why am I even surprised!!
Look Bryan, indeed France has a dirty history in this area, but not so much in Syria, much more in Algeria for example. Now that is in the past, Syrians are proud of heir history of resistance against french mandate (seen as occupation here), but that is long time ago. France are a country that has alot of commerce and contact with Syria (academic, university cooperation, etc.) and that is helping Syria a lot. Also France is one of the very few countries who bothered to say something when opposition here was butcherd and human right activists jailed and more..France as a GOVERMENT, that is.
USA, on the other hand had some good NON govermental organizations, as human rights watch if I remember correctly, that did care about civilian rights in Syria too, but the USA goverment, on the other hand (AND LOOK IT UP IF YOU DON*T BELEIVE ME..I am sure it won't be hard to find info on human rights watch), never bothered!! ONLY time it did, was when the very few Syrian jews were not allowed to travel.
And, beleive me, Syrians have CURRENT problems now, that they care about more than french mandat in the PAST, and these problems are with USA blind support to Israel action, here regareded as terrorism. YOu hate terrorism too don't you? Here it has another face, it's an offical army and violent settler, and blind USA guns and arms and economical support for such action in Israel.
And by the way..It was, anglophones, brittish people, who were keeping a mandate over Palestine, when jews came with their (brittish) permisson although the Palestinians paied with their lives to say no and try to stop them from erasing Palestine from the world so Israel would appear instead, and 5 million palestines get kicked out forever from their country.
And what is this talk about not respecting freedoms and being prepared to die for it?
Do you have any clue what people in Iraq now think? Most people think they are occupied, and want their freedom! Would you dare to go there now after they were "liberated" and "enjoying" what Us politics in this area acheived?? Go ther and see for your self! GO and read some Iraqi blogers on the net, see what they say! And a lot in Syria DID and still ARE risking their lives for freedom. If you don't admit that then you have missed a whole lot about this place. Oh, by the way, all of western and central Europe , with Canada, USA and Australia ARE considered as the western world. At least here they are! So France too! (Even if France had different opinions from US politics here, that hardly bothers people in this place I can tell you!!)
Some seem to have made up their mind thinking they are superior to other people in other less developted places, so they won't even listen! You could see killed babies in front of you, Shamful pictures of Abu Gharib, Afganistan, Iraq, and many other places and still not see them!
And by the way..I think Annie if from Belgium not France..Did Belgium had political opinions similar enough to Usa or is she still outside the "western" world?


Reading you Catherine was pure honey; right on sister.

I am indeed from Belgium and my country has a shameful colonial past too in Africa.

We have to deal with the present; my parents would never have criticized America because they still remembered how the US came to our rescue twice. It is wrong though to be tied by past gratitutde or resentment.

Bryan, I picked this for you from ICH to day :

Our real enemies are the people who make us feel so good that we are slowly, but inexorably, pulled down into the quicksand of smugness and self-satisfaction: Sydney Harris


To one that advised him to set up a democracy in Sparta, "Pray," said Lycurgus, "do you first set a democracy in your own house." :

Lycurgus - Source: in Plutarch's "Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders


Catherine and Annie - er yes.

But let's hold off on the jew bashing. If Israel's army bugs you - tell it to Ariel Sharon.

There are people inside Israel and People in Palestine who are trying to work together to build bridges over/tunnels under Ariel's wall, and splitting the two by having a "jew rant" is a bit like pigeon shooting before the olive branch gets across.

Disheartened, I am.

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