RT brought a story about a new entry on medium.com called “International Assadists References Directory” listing alleged ‘Assadist’, i.e. people that whitewashed or defended Bashar Al-Assads regime or actions in any way.
Apart from the fact that the page contained factual errors, the page labels anyone an ‘Assadist’ that dares to say that the Syrian conflict is not black and white and sees faults and responsibility for the conflict not only by Assad alone.
I came in contact with Kester Radcliff, the creator of the article, about two years ago. We were friends on facebook where he spilled his propaganda blaming Assad and Assad alone for the situation in Syria. When I pointed out that the reality was not so black&white as he portrayed it and posted a link to an article by Robert Fisk, he got wild. After a few exchanges of arguments – if I can call his answers arguments – he blocked me from his fb page and cancelled the friendship. No more dialogue.
Kester Radcliff is a good example of what I would call Anti-Assad-Propagandist (AAP). The characteristics of how these AAP behave and ‘argue’ is as follows:
- put all the blame on Assad
- propagate that view emotionally (i.e. use expressions like “the worst mass murderer of the last 65 years”, “genocide”, etc.
- don’t tolerate other views. If someone disagrees, get as much angry as possible and discredit the person for even thinking outside of the above parameter.
- do not argue on an intellectual level. Just use emotions to discredit the other. “You want to defend the worst mass murderer …”, “how dare you to say … when 500’00 people have been massacred.”,
- do not accept the standpoint ‘neutral’
As it was rather difficult to get trustworthy information about Syria and the Western media – as usual – favoured the NATO view, contradicting someone that and calls himself a “human rights activist”, holds a seemingly rock-solid opinion and passionately defends it, is not so easy. Especially when you are part of the “volunteering family” you will not want to loose your community. I guess many agree therefore or at least do not oppose the view as they want to save the friendship and not end up as an “outcast”.
Kester Radcliff is not the only one. There were other people I met on facebook behaving similarly. A woman deleted all posts critical to her original posts that tried to whitewash the “White helmets”. First she retorted in short phrases like “Educate yourself before you comment please”, then she had to enter the discussion as the poster showed that he was educated. But a day later only the reaffirming posts remained on the page. See the page before and after. (At least she had a discussion even when deleting it after.)
The question is not about political opinion. The question is that a some people are trying to suppress any meaningful discussion before it even starts and demand loyalty. By bullying people into adopting an emotion-based opinion that is entirely black&white and refusing to acknowledge the existence of – fact-based – other perspectives is not at all in accordance with the alleged ideals of liberal Western democracies this people claim to represent. On the contrary, their behaviour resembles – in essence – much more those authoritarian dictatorships where censorship is standard and deviation from doctrine is forbidden. A free society where plurality of opinion is honoured and welcomed would neither bully nor censor. Welcome to Western hypocrisy.
But anyhow, as Eva Barlett wrote:
“In fact, instead of successfully smearing us, Kester has compiled a go-to list of people to follow for original and truthful content on important international issues today, particularly Syria, Palestine, and Yemen,”
So, Kester, put me on that list, too. I would be an honour!