Sarcastic Syrian Rebels Dupe Neocon Delusionists
When Rachel Abrams, an unabashed genocide enthusiast who is also the wife of former Assistant Secretary of State Elliot Abrams, discovered the photo displayed to the left, she apparently believed she had obtained incontrovertible evidence that the Syrian revolution was yearning for the good old days when George W. Bush bombed the Middle East all the way to its liberation. "5,000 Syrians have been massacred by Bashar Assad since March, including 300 children. How are those sanctions workin’ out, Mr. Obama?" Abrams wrote beneath the photo. She told a commenter that she received the photo "from a friend who has close contacts in Syria."
Overjoyed by the images of apparent pro-Bush nostalgia emanating from the Syrian resistance, the neocon Weekly Standard excitedly linked to Abrams' post and displayed the photo in a post entitled, "Missing Bush."
I happen to have a friend with a real name -- Eman Morsi -- who has no connection to Syria, but who does possess a fluent command of the Arabic language. Morsi translated for me a number of signs from Kafranbel, the town in northern Syria which produced the banner in question, and several articles about the town. What Abrams and her well-connected friend were unable to ascertain, but what any person with advanced knowledge of Arabic could easily learn through a basic Google search, is that Kafranbel has become renowned throughout the region for its sarcastic protest signs and dark sense of humor. And the town's residents are no fans of Bush.
One article about Kafranbel on a Syrian-Kurdish website is entitled, "Kafranabel: the Syrian city most famous for its sarcastic signs." The article states, "Kafranabel...has become famous for its signs that have been circulating among Syrians on the pages of the social network Facebook, through which they express with a sarcastic style the misery that the Syrians suffer and the daily killings that they face."
Another article about Kafranabel by Rami Al-Amin described how "this little town...was able to send to the entire world messages that combine humor with severity, a kind of black comedy that the sons of this region use to tell us, 'The worst affliction is what makes you laugh.'"
Al-Amin highlighted one widely publicized banner that read, "We Ask That More [Syrian] Tanks Be Sent To Kafranabel... To Relieve Death Stricken Homs." To an intellectual heavyweight like Rachel Abrams and the Middle East experts at the Weekly Standard, this must mean that the freedom-loving people of Kafranabel love Syrian tanks.
Kafranabel residents make no secret of their opinion of George W. Bush. In the Kafranabel public online forum, several discussions of Bush dating back to 2008 refer to him with flattering titles like, "The Criminal Bush," "The Tyrant President Bush," "The Dog of the Imperialist United States," and "The Idiot Bush." Meanwhile, the US military is referred to as "The Imperial Forces," while any reference to the liberation of Iraq is placed between sarcastic quotation marks. A lengthy joke about the stupidity of Bush and his inner circle is featured in another thread at the Kafranabel forum.
Given the humorous style of Kafranabel's protest banners and the town's loathing of the Bush administration, a sentiment shared throughout the Arab world, it is clear that the sign Abrams and the Weekly Standard were hyping meant something completely different from what they believed it did. By sarcastically contrasting the "procrastinating" Obama with the hyper-bellicose Republicans, the town's residents were simply expressing their frustration at the silence of the international community and NATO's inaction.
In fact, another Kafranbel banner reflects a common view in the region: Bush and Obama share equally cynical foreign policy priorities. "If We Don't Have Oil Like Iraq Or Libya, Don't We Deserve To Live?!!" the sign reads.
But the people of Kafranbel are not only waiting on intervention from Western nations. They are also calling on animal lovers to save them. "Animal rights organizations," a Kafranabel banner declared, "Try To Protect Us!... No Body Cares For Our Humanity?!!!..."
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