MLK Would Have Supported Assad, and Other Tidbits From Dueling Syria Protests in DC

Tim Murphy

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The first thing members of Congress saw when they returned to work on Monday was dueling protests on Capitol Hill between supporters and opponents of a proposed military intervention in Syria. Both sides consisted largely of first- and second-generation Syrian-Americans. But only one faction went so far as to hold up Bashar al-Assad—who stands accused of using chemical weapons to kill 1,400 civilians on top of myriad other atrocities—as an emblem of peace and justice.

I spotted Hassan Mohammed, decked out in a biker glove made from a Syrian flag, a Syrian-flag sweatband, and red Abercrombie & Fitch sweatpants, and waving a six-foot-by-four-foot banner of the Assad. “He’s my president, No. 1!” said Mohammed, who has dual citizenship and drove down from New York to express his support. “I voted for him in 2007. I’m going to vote for him again.”

But what about his conduct during the civil war? “It’s not a civil war yet,” Mohammed insisted. And while civilian casualties are unavoidable in this non-civil-war, he’s confident that no chemical weapons have been used by the regime—it’s simply not practical. “He doesn’t have to use it; he can kill the same amount of people with different weapons.”

Milad Tabshi, who drove down from Pennsylvania, had a stern expression on his mustachioed face. “The Syrian regime did not commit any atrocities against the Syrian people,” he said. “It’s Western propaganda. It’s nonsense. It’s a war provoked, orchestrated by the West aimed to destroy every nation in the Middle East and take its natural resources.”

Here are three additional nuggets of wisdom from Assad’s defenders…

President Obama should borrow from Assad’s example and think of the children:

“American tax $$$ should fund US education not Al Qaeda.” Tim Murphy

Despite whatever else you may have heard, Assad is much loved:

Tim Murphy

Martin Luther King Jr. would have supported Assad. (At least he has company.):

Tim Murphy

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"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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