Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett attempts to clarify issues about the Syrian conflict in a debate with two Americans, one of whom, is Stephen Zunes, a political science professor at the University of San Francisco. From his perch in California, Zunes, who seems to have a peculiar facial tic, pompously suggests he knows more about the situation in Syria that does Bartlett, who has filed numerous reports from on the ground inside Syria.
Zunes apparently relies a lot on the mainstream media for his information. For one thing, he believes there are “moderate” rebels. He also asserts that protests held in 2011 at the outset of the conflict were “brutally suppressed by the Assad regime,” and he refers to the democratically elected president of Syria as a “war criminal.” If Zunes is typical of university professors in America, it’s no wonder the country is in such a sad state.
When Bartlett attempts to set the record straight–for instance on the early protests–Zunes basically dismisses everything she has to say.
The other guest on the show, Gareth Porter, is not one of my favorite writers either, but at least he has the grace and good form to concede at one point that Bartlett “knows much more about this than I do.” No such concession is made by the presumptuous and overbearing Mr. Zunes.
In a few more days it will officially be autumn, and then of course after that comes the Christmas season. I’m kind of reminded here of the passage from the Gospel of Luke often referred to as “the Song of Mary.” Here the future mother of Jesus raises her voice in a lyric carol which opens with the words, “My soul glorifies the Lord.” She goes on to say:
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
I posted this video–of Assad and his wife Asma visiting a Christian church in Damascus–in a post I put up on December 30 last year. Since the visit to the church is mentioned by Bartlett during the debate, I’ll take the liberty of posting it here again:
Blessed are the people of Syria, blessed is the grace of God, and blessed is Eva Bartlett.