On The Allies We’re Not Proud Of: A Palestinian Response to Troubling Discourse on Syria


We, the undersigned Palestinians, write to affirm our commitment to the amplification of Syrian voices as they endure slaughter and displacement at the hands of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime. We are motivated by our deep belief that oppression, in all of its manifestations, should be the primary concern of anyone committed to our collective liberation. Our vision of liberation includes the emancipation of all oppressed peoples, regardless of whether or not their struggles fit neatly into outdated geopolitical frameworks.

We are concerned by some of the discourse that has emerged from progressive circles with regards to the ongoing crisis in Syria. In particular, we are embarrassed by the ways in which some individuals known for their work on Palestine have failed to account for some crucial context in their analysis of Syria.

The Syrian revolution was in fact a natural response to 40 years of authoritarian rule. The Assad regime, with the support of its foreign financial and military backers, is attempting to preserve its power at the expense of the millions of Syrians whom the regime has exiled, imprisoned, and massacred. We believe that minimizing this context in any discussion of Syria dismisses the value of Syrian self-determination and undermines the legitimacy of their uprising.

We also believe that an important consequence of all foreign interventions, including those purportedly done on behalf of the uprising, has been the setback of the original demands of revolution. The revolution is a victim, not a product, of these interventions. It is imperative for any analysis of Syria to recognize this fundamental premise. We cannot erase the agency of Syrians struggling for liberation, no matter how many players are actively working against them.

Though we maintain that the phenomenon of foreign aid demands thorough critique, we are concerned by the ways in which foreign aid has been weaponized to cast suspicion on Syrian humanitarian efforts. Foreign aid is not unique to Syria; it is prevalent in Palestine as well. We reject the notion that just because an organization is receiving foreign aid, it must follow then that that organization is partaking in some shadowy Western-backed conspiracy. Such nonsense has the effect of both undermining humanitarian efforts while simultaneously whitewashing the very crimes against humanity that necessitated the aid in the first place.

Furthermore, we object to the casual adoption of “war on terror” language. Enemies of liberation have historically used this rhetoric to target humanitarians, organizers, and community members. From Muhammad Salah to the Midwest 23 to the Holy Land Five, our community is all too familiar with the very real consequence of employing a “war on terror” framework. Therefore, we reject a discourse that perpetuates these old tactics and peddles harmful and unwarranted suspicion against Syrians.

Along these lines, it is our position that any discussion of Syria that neglects the central role of Bashar Al-Assad and his regime in the destruction of Syria directly contradicts the principles of solidarity by which we abide. We have reflected on our own tendency to heroize those who advocate on behalf of the Palestinian struggle, and we fear that some members of our community may have prioritized the celebrity status of these individuals over the respect and support we owe to those Syrians affected most directly by the war, as well as those living in the diaspora whose voices have been dismissed as they have watched their homeland be destroyed.

We will no longer entertain individuals who fail to acknowledge the immediate concerns of besieged Syrians in their analysis. Despite reaching out to some of these individuals, they have shown an unwillingness to reflect on the impact of their analysis. We regret that we have no choice left but to cease working with these activists whom we once respected.

We would like to encourage others who are guided by similar principles to do the same.

Sign here

Important note: I am merely one of the signatories. Thank you to those who set this up.

Another Important note: there are pro-Assad trolls adding names to the petition to try and delegitimize it. From the looks of it, they either add prominent Palestinian intellectuals – like Ramzy Baroud, who was since removed – in the hope of provoking some backlash of the ‘how dare you add my name without my permission’ type or unpopular Syrian fighters like Zahran Allouch of Jaish Al Islam (who was killed a year ago). The goal is obviously to try and distract people from the statement’s content.

List as of 1:00 pm Ramallah time, October 15, 2016 (Check link above for latest updates.)

Abdul-Wahab Kayyali
Abdullah M
Abed Abou Shhadeh
Abir Kopty
Adam Akkad
Adnan abd alrahman
Ahmad Al-Sholi
Ahmad Kaki
Ahmad N
Ahmed A
Aiman Abdelmajid
Ala K
Ala’a Salem
Ali A. Omar
Ali Mohammad Kabli
Amal A.
Amal Ayesh
Amanda Batarseh
Amanda Michelle
Amanda N
Amani Alkowni
Ameen M
Ameen Q.
Amena Elmashni
Amera AK.
Amir Bey
Amira S
Amjad Hajyassin
Amr Khalifa
Andrew Kadi
Aref Nammari
Arwa Alkhawaja
Atef Khalaf
Aya Khalifeh
Aziz F Ammoura
Aziz Jamous
Bashar Subeh
Beesan Ramadan
Bilal Shreidi
Dalal Hillou
Dana Itayem
Dana M
Dania Barakat
Dania Mukahhal
Danielle Rabie
Dareen Mohamad
Dena E.
Diana J.A.
Diana Naoum
Dina A.
Dina Moumin
Dina Sayedahmed
Diyala Shihadih
Dorgham Abusalim
Dr. Isam Abu Qasmieh
Ebaa Rezeq
Eman Abdelhadi
Eyad Hamid
Eyad Mohamed Alkurabi
Fadi Amireh
Farah Saeed
Faran Kharal
Faris G
Faten Awwad
Fatima El-ghazali
Fouad Halbouni
George Abraham
GMU Students Against Israeli Apartheid
Gorbah Hamed
Grace Ghunaim
Hadeel Hejja
Haitham Omar
Haleemah A
Hana Khalil
Haneen Al-Ghabra
Haneen Amra
Hani Barghouthi
Hani Kharufeh
Hani Khatib
Hanin Shakrah
Hanna Alshaikh
Hareth Yousef
Hasan H.
Hashem Asfour
Hassan Aboud
Hatem Hammad
Hazem Jamjoum
Heba Nimr
Helal Jwayyed
Husam El-Qoulaq
Ibraheem Sumaira
Ibtihal Mahmood
Ida A.
Imran Salha
Iskandar Abbasi
Ism Mustaar
Iyad El-Baghdadi
Izzaddine M.
Jackie Husary
Jane Tannous
Janeen Obeid
Jannine M
Jehad Abusalim
Jenien B
Jennifer Mogannam
Jennine K
Jihad Ashkar
Joey Husseini Ayoub
Jomana Abdallah
Jumana Al-Qawasmi
Kareana Kee
Kareem El-Hosseiny
Kareem Samara
Karmel Sabri
Kefah Elabed
Khalid Hijazi
Kowther Qashou
Laith H
Lama Abu Odeh
Lamees Mekkaoui
Lana Barkawi
Lara Abu Ghannam
Lara Kollab
Layan Jaber
Layanne H.
Laymoor Saadat
Leena Aboutaleb
Leila Abdelrazaq
Lila Suboh
Lina Barkawi
Lina Eid
Linah Alsaafin
Lojain Saadat
Lojayn Ottman
Loubna Qutami
Lubna H
Lubna Morrar
Magda Magdy
Mahmoud Elsheikh
Mahmoud Khalil
Mahmoud Qudaih
Mai Anwar
Maisa Morrar
Majed A. of Jerusalem
Majed Abuzahriyeh
Manal Abokwidir
Manal El Haj
Manal H
Maram Kamal
Mariam Barghouti
Mariam Rimawi
Mariam Saleh
Marwa Fatafta
Maura Yasin
Maxine Anwaar
Mekarem E.
Menat Elattma
Minem Marouf
Mira Shihadeh
Mjriam Abu Samra
Mohamad Batrawi
Mohamad Sabbah
Mohamed hassan
Mohamed Taleb
Mohammad Abou-Ghazala
Mohammad Al-Ashqar
Mohammad Horreya
Mohammed Sulaiman
Mohsin S
Mona Bibi
Mona Naser
Muna Sharif
Muniba Hassan
Musaab Balchi
Nadeen Shaker
Nader Ihmoud
Nadia Z. Ismail
Nadine D
Nadine H
Nawal Musleh
Nayef Al Smadi
Nida Khalil
Nidal Bitari
Nihal Q
Noor Gaith
Noor Qutami
Nora Abushaaban
Nour Azzouz
Nour Hamida
Nour Salman
Nusayba Hammad
Omar Coolaq
Omar Jamal
Omar Masood
Omar Zahzah
Osama Aburumuh
Osama Khawaja
Osama Mor
Raed Khartabel
Raef zreik
Rami Okasha
Ramsey K
Ramzi I
Rana Asad
Randa MKW
Rani Allan
Rania Salem
Rasha A.
Rawan A.
Rawan Eewshah
Rawya Makboul
Reem J
Reem S
Reema Asia
Rena Zuabi
Renad Saadat
Riad Alarian
Riya Al-sanah
Ryah A
Sabreen Ettaher
Saeed U
Salim Salamah
Samar Azzaidani
Samar Batrawi
Sameeha Elwan
Sami J.
Sami Mubarak
Sami Shahin
Samia S.
Samir Hazboun
Samya Abu-Orf
Sandra Tamari
Sara Zubi
Sarah Abu.
Sarah Ali
Sarah Aly
Sarah Ghouleh
Sarah Shahin
Sarah Z
Sarona Bedwan
Seham Alyan
Serena Umer Khan
Shadi H
Shady Zarka
Shafeka Hashash
Shahrazad Odeh
Shermin Ahmed
Shifa Alkhatib
Shirien D
Sima Dajani
SOAS Palestine Society
Soheir Asaad
Sonia Farsakh
Susan Al-Suqi
Susan Jenin Yaseen
Susie Abdelghafar
Tahani H.
Taher Herzallah
Tala Barakat
Talal Alyan
Tamar Ghabin
Tarek Abou-Ghazala
Tareq R
Tariq Luthun
Tasneem Abu-Hejleh
Tawfieq Mousa
Tawfiq Kayyali
Tsedenya Bizani
Wajih Abousalim
Wala Salameh
Wassim Kanaan
Yahiya Saad
Yahya Abou-Ghazala
Yahya Abu Seido
Yamila shannan
Yasir M. Tineh
Yasmeen S
Yasmine Nammari
Yasser Quzz
Yazan Amro
Yazan Meqbil
Yousef Y
Yousuf Soliman
Zachariah Barghouti
Zaid Khatib
Zaid Muhammad
Zainab Alkowni
Zein Rimawi
Zeina A.
Zeina Labadi
Zeyad El Omari