These posters have appeared in Bogotá's university neighborhoods over the last few days. They celebrate Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, who spent the last year massacring his own people for protesting against his tyrranical government.
The posters, which someone spent a good bit of money to print and distribute, frame Syria's tragedy as an issue of 'imperialism' and 'Zionism' - handy catchwords for the dogmatic left.
There are many legitimate observations to be made about Syria and the Middle East (none of which have been made by Mitt Romney), but praising a man who lives in luxury while massacring his own people, including the reported killing of more than 100 people today at a gas station, is way beyond the rational.
It's also a real shame and injustice to see the name of the late Colombian sociologist and defender of the peasantry Orlando Fals Borda associated with this distorted campaign. Orlando Fals Borda's links to the M-19 guerrillas suggest he wasn't wholly dedicated to non-violence. But he fought his whole life for the underdog and to open Colombia's governing system to the voices of the most humble - values completely opposite to those of Syria's dictator.
Yet another distortion here is associating a justification for a murderous dictator with 'socialism'. It's a real pity that some Latin American groups (read Hugo Chavez, for example) have hijacked the 'socialist' label and used it to mean 'anti-American.' And that evidently includes al-Assad, a tyrant whose ire against the U.S. has nothing to do with socialism - if his and his wife's habits of giving interviews to slick American fashion magazines and ordering luxuries over the Internet while bombing their own people are any indication.
Finally, I'm left with a curiosity about who is paying for this sad campaign. It's certainly not the students, and hopefully not a public university. My suspicions fall on the Iranian, Russian or Venezuelan embassies, three of the dictator's few remaining allies.
|Graffiti in the National University says 'A people is disgraceful when its youth doesn't make the world tremble and its students are submissive before the tyrant.' Have al-Assad's supporters read this?|
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours