I am the son of Syrian immigrants, with family members long ago targeted by the fascist Syrian Baathists of the 1960s. Until recently, most Americans knew little about Syria other than that it is a global sponsor of terrorism and a proxy of Iran.
After more than 50 years of Baathist oppression, the Syrian people seeking freedom have finally set aside deep fears and gathered the strength to rise up against tyranny. Long before Youtube exposed Bashar al-Assad and his military henchmen, Syria’s “Dr. Mengele” has always had the murderous stripes of his father, Hafez. Skepticism born from this history led me to read Tony George’s opinions on these pages simply as Syrian statist propaganda unfit for American balance, truth and morality. George met directly with Assad in 2004 and vouched here in August 2011 for his honesty. Such an operative is hardly a credible thought leader on Syria’s path toward liberty.
A fear of Islamism and its radical byproducts cannot force us into accepting George’s assertions that Muslim-majority countries like Syria are “not compatible with democracy.” Sentencing millions of Syrians to live under the boots of tyranny because “they cannot do better” is subtle bigotry. It is un-American to accept the premise that Syrian people were not endowed by our Creator with the same basic unalienable human rights as Americans.
Our own American freedom only came after a revolution, a deadly civil war and, long after, a civil-rights movement put us closer to the universal humanitarian principles that we cherish.
Zuhdi Jasser, Phoenix, Ariz.