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Who is Kassem Eid?

April 11, 2017

Maybe the Syrian opposition fighter in exile Kassem Eid’s words register because this blog was created for real people, not politically correct fancy pants “connected” politicians and their fan clubs.

Maybe it’s because through him we can hear a local opinion on what eight years of leading from behind did to Syrians.

Whatever the reason, if you have never heard this young man plead for Syria’s future, you at least owe him a few minutes of your time. And you should listen to him, not just read about him.

Why?  Because he presents a viewpoint never heard from the open borders crowd, namely, that not all Syrian refugees want to go to America.  In fact they really don’t want to go any place but home.

There isn’t a lot of background bio data on Mr. Eid.  The earliest U.S media reference to him seems to be an August 29, 2014 piece titled “A Weary Rebel Retreats to Fight Another Day” in the New York Times, bylined by Anne Barnard.

It’s a good read.

Interestingly, he is Palestinian by familial heritage, Syrian only by virtue of having been born there on Easter Sunday, 1987. Indeed, Syria, which does not have birthright citizenship, doesn’t even recognize him as a citizen. He is described as being “…largely secular…” rather than being a religious fanatic from either side of the Sunni-Shi’a divide.

His English is not that of a foreign-educated rich kid, but he is certainly fluent enough to understand every word he says.

He is portrayed in the article as one of the so-called “good” rebels, the ones that just want to be free to live their lives without fear in their own country. The ones that the U.S. keeps saying it can use as “boots on the ground.”  The ones who may not even still exist in any great number in Syria.

What is unique about the NYT piece is that Mr. Eid lived through the first chemical attack in 2013,  after former President Obama reneged on his red line concerning chemical weapons attacks.

Even taking his somewhat lengthy (for a cable show) segment on Neil Cavuto’s Fox Business show with several grains of salt, as skeptical Americans have learned to do when anything about the Middle East hits the airwaves, his passion and frustration are compelling.

That’s not to say that he should become some kind of rallying point for either pro- or anti-Trump factions.  As the article points out, his is the profile of so many young people who become revolutionaries.

Even he admits that he came to be a freedom fighter reluctantly, and naively.

Still, we so seldom hear from anyone but politicians on the Syrian question, his first-hand experience gives another perspective on the human side of the Syrian civil war, as does his insistence on not wanting to be a refugee in America or to live in any other country but his own.

If nothing else, perhaps it reminds us that there are real living, breathing people with a stake in how the world deals with the Syrian question.

From → op-ed

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