ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing

A R A B I C A ارابيكا

By Kristen Gillespie


FAISAL AL-QASSEM V. SYRIAN REGIME

One of Al Jazeera's most famous talk-show hosts, the combatative Faisal al-Qassem conducted an interview with a Syrian official that has gone viral in the Arab world. The highest-rated host on the highest-rated network presided over what can only be described as a takedown of epic proportions.

In this YouTube clip called "Faisal al-Qassem breaks his silence," a viewer edited down the hour-long interview to the most provocative statements. Al-Qassem, who is Syrian, opens by asking, "Why does everything in the Arab world have to be about foreign conspiracies and foreign-backed coup attempts? How can you say that looking at the Arab world today?" The official responds by blaming a Facebook and Twitter conspiracy, adding that actual citizens and parties are not involved in the trouble that "thugs' are stirring up. Al-Qassem, apoplectic, begins shouting: "Are the three million people demonstrating in Hama imaginary? The 500,000 people in Deir a-Zor?"

Al-Qassem goes on to list half a dozen cities and towns that are rising up against the regime, saying "for the love of God – then why has the Syrian military brought out its heaviest weapons and is occupying these cities and towns? Why are you trying to break up these movements?"

Al-Qassim, whose politically charged rants are high-volume on the calmest of days, shouts louder and slips into Syrian dialect and says, "Why are you trying to diminish something so important to Arabs? The wall of fear has disappeared – why do you not see this historic transformation?"

The official, who spends much of his time shaking his head and looking down as he is unloaded on, tries to insist that Syrians are happy with the government. Al-Qassim shouts back: "Why do you think Syrians are raising their voices and shaking the earth? Because they are put in jail by the security services for even discussing the price of lettuce and potatoes…Are you not ashamed for calling the Syrian people thugs?"

The unnamed official tries to stay on message, declaring that President Bashar al-Assad represents the will of the people. Al-Qassim responds promptly: "If the Syrian regime is so strong and the will of the people is to be led by Assad, then why don't you hold presidential elections and allow other candidates to run?"

But the grilling is not over yet. "How do you respond to Arabs who say, the devil himself is better than Arab rulers? If you listen to the official Syrian media, you'd think your regime is stronger than God. Are you stronger than the rest of the world? You don't have a single friend left – even Iran has distanced itself from you."

October 5, 2011

photo credit: illustir


You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Coronavirus

Why U.S. Vaccine Diplomacy In Latin America Makes "Good" Sense

Echoing its cultural diplomacy of the early 20th century, the United States is gifting vaccines to Latin America as part of a renewed "good neighbor'' policy.

Waiting to get the vaccine in Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico

Andrea Matallana

-Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES — Just before and during World War II, the United States' Good Neighbor policy proved a very effective strategy to improve ties with Latin America. Initiated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the policy's main goal was non-interference and non-intervention. The U.S. would instead focus on reciprocal exchanges with their southern neighbors, including through art and cultural diplomacy.

Keep reading... Show less
Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS
MOST READ