Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rock Band Symbollizes View that Syrian Dictatorship is Preferable to Israeli Democracy

By Barry Rubin

My daughter will gladly tell you that I don’t know a huge amount about contemporary music, though she was impressed that I knew who Kurt Cobain was. Yet you don’t have to know about this specific band to realize what a perfect example this story is of contemporary thinking.

Gorillaz, a major British band, cancelled its concert in Israel during June and then played in Syria during July. “For us it’s just a wonderful experience,” said one member, Damon Albarn. Their theme was pollution, he explained: “I think the world is becoming like a plastic beach. It’s not a prediction, it’s something that exists now. We’ve got to accept that it’s got to be cool to recycle.”

Syria, of course, is a dictatorship where dissidents are arrested and tortured, where no freedom of speech or assembly exists, where Kurds are massacred. The regime killed an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 civilians in its own city of Hama in 1982. Syria supports terrorist groups attacking in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, and for many years Turkey. Syria has imposed an imperialist yoke on Lebanon, a country that never threatened it. Its media feature the most vicious anti-Western and antisemitic propaganda. You can read more about this in my book, The Truth About Syria.

Yet Syria and its support for murderous guerrillas is regarded by these gorillas of Gorillaz as superior to democratic Israel. Indeed, Israel even has a better recycling program than Syria, a regime whose main act of recycling has been with Stalinist and fascist principles and institutions.

What better symbol of the topsy-turvy nature of Western values and thinking nowadays.

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