, 24 tweets, 8 min read Read on Twitter
1/ Even if a potential review of the application for asylum of Kevork Almassian leads to no results, it is necessary to debate about his role as a pawn in a greater strategy of far-right populists in #Germany. While there are many sympathizers and supporters of Assad on the left
2/ or right side of the European party spectrum, in Germany the support for Assad comes from the far right, namely the #AfD. The party recently sent a "diplomatic delegation" to the regime to get first hand informations about the situation in #Syria spiegel.de/politik/deutsc…
3/ Almassian is not only an employee for the MdB Markus Frohnmaier, he is currently announcend as an analyst in the german far-right media. It is definitly worth to take a look on his assessment on Syria & the threat of refugees for Europe, while representing himself as a refugee
4/ In 2016 he was interviewed by the right wing media outlet Sezession. Sezession is published by the Institut für Staatspolitik, which calls itself the face of the new right in Germany. sezession.de/56397/als-syri…
/5 The publisher is Götz Kubitschek, who is close to the German Identitarian Movement and the AfD. In a recently published article Almassian was interviewed by the right-wing populist side Compact. compact-online.de/ard-hetzt-gege…
/6 Compact is published by Jürgen Elsässer, formerly a convinced communist, today a frontman in the right echochambers of Germany. Compact is known for spreading conspiracy theories & hate speech against refugees. It is called the mouthpiece of the AfD and PEGIDA.
/7 At the time of the interview with Sezession, Aleppo was still divided & contested. Here, he claims that among the 4 million Sunnis in Aleppo, most were against the "dubious revolution", & he also propagates that the regime had no choice but to besiege it to protect human lives
/8 The narrative of Almassian is absolutely congruent with that of the Assad regime. For him there is no revolution, no peaceful protests. Everything that is presented in this insightful dissertation by Jospeh Daher does not exist for Almassian. serval.unil.ch/resource/serva…
/9 For him, there is only the fear of the radicals who will come after the fall of the regime. And here we can see the actual interesting point of the cooperation between Almassian & his right-wing populist friends: How the discourse of these regime propagandists complements
/10 the discourse of European right-wing populists & therefore construct an identity of "the refugee", which serves both of them for their political intentions. The worldview of Almassian reveals not only features of an authoritarian personality
/11 it also serves all characteristics of the populist discourse formulated by Priester. This becomes particularly important in his construction of the refugee, which is in a reciprocal relationship with the discourse on the refugee by right-wing populists bpb.de/apuz/75848/wes…
/12 1. A dichotomous world view: There is only Assad vs. the terrorists. Us vs. them. A secular, civilized government against fanatic savages. According to him, there is no group in #Syria, which fights against Assad & is not a terrorist group.
/13 He also claims that the great amount of refugees are supporters of ISIS. The term Terrorism serves as the moral justification for this discourse to gather sympathy in the West, while its also a common tool of authoritarians to brand pol. dissidents
/14 2. The moralization of the discourse: In this section, he warns readers against conditions such as those in Syria, if Germany is not aware about the threat & acts harder against these people, who are violent & aggressive. The discourse remains onesided.
/15 There is no consideration of the origin of this aggression. Its not because of their traumatized experiences of violence, not because they have to leave their families in the war zone, or that these people have been crowded together in confined spaces.
/16 3. Threat to the heartland: Almassian describes his experience in the refugee camp in GER, which serves as the example for his securitization speech (Hansen 1997) to the German ppl., which allegedly will be soon confronted with the same social polarization/violence as Syria.
/17 He accuses the German police of being too passive in their dealing with refugees (a customary charge of the AfD towards the German police). He even uses a cliché that leaves me speechless & that could be seen as a modern example of Edward Said's concept of Orientalism:
/18 "It is necessary to crack down hard on Arabs, as this is required by the Arab culture." Arabs need a Leviathan. Without an Assad, there will be chaos. Those are the words of the regime. He claims that those people who fled the "pedagogy of fear" (Ismail 2018), need to be
/19 confronted w/ the same methods they fled from. This implies that only a replication of the authoritarian social space of Syria, w/ all its methods of violence, can be the solution to deal with the Syrian refugee. Just a reminder those are the words of a man who fled violence
/20 Almassian is the useful pawn of our right-wing populist parties. He can be presented as the insider who, as a Syrian, speaks the "true words" about Syrians so that the European right-wing populists can assert: "look, he tells you about his peers. That's what awaits us"
/21 This is not only shameful, but really dangerous. Not only for our liberal democracy, but also for many Syrians, who live in Germany. It's the example of the authoritarian alliance between right-wing populists & dictatorial regimes.
/22 It is desirable that this case will be debated in the German public. It is necessary to emphasize this international alliance of authoritarians and to give Syrians a discursive space to find out how far-reaching this mindset is among Syrian refugees in Germany.
/23 I will end this thread by retweeting this wonderful piece by @AlexGSimon , in which he appeals to western governments to create discoursive spaces for Syrians to speak about their viewpoints & to discuss about their social experience of violence. synaps.network/retreat-reconc…
/24 A discoursive space, which is not dominated by violence or characterized by an inequality of force, so that Syrians in the diaspora have at least the possibility to remediate the narrative of their misery to enable something like a real social reconciliation.
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