John Shuck [00:28:45] You know.
Mark Taliano [00:28:46] And the West, we are supporting the terrorists.
John Shuck [00:28:48] One part of this is the language that's used here in the West. You know like it's a "regime" of Assad or something that it is not actually correct. But really he was democratically elected.
Mark Taliano [00:29:00] That's correct. I take issue especially with the nomenclature that the West uses, that mainstream, so-called journalists. They use really war propaganda terms. It isn't a "regime." And as soon as a prey country is targeted it becomes a regime and immediately you have a brutal dictator. Immediately he is committing atrocities. But none of it is based on evidence on solid evidence.
John Shuck [00:29:32] You want to step in, Andrew Ashdown?
Andrew Ashdown [00:29:36]As Mark has said actually there are quite a number of parties and I think the 20 something parties in the Syrian government. I've met most of the internal opposition leaders who are non-violent opposition leaders. It's a different kind of system. It's not the kind of system we have in the West. But there are more"the actual parliament is representational of the different groupings. So you know all the different communities within Syria whether Sunni, Shia, Druze, Christian etc all are in there. The Syrian parliament has more Christians than any other governments in the Middle East. It has more women than any other governments in the Middle East. And it is an elected government. Again a different process than we have. But who are we to dictate? You know it's up to the Syrians. I mean this is also really important. It's not up to the Americans or the Canadians or the British to decide who's going to govern the government of the country. It's only the Syrians who can choose their leader.
John Shuck [00:30:36] It's got to be just sort of"
Andrew Ashdown [00:30:38]We make all sorts of judgments. Despite all catastrophic history of intervention.
John Shuck [00:30:49] Yeah yeah. You know it's kind of interesting. I am just thinking in our own country, is there opposition to President Trump? Well sure. But would that mean we'd want China to come in and bomb us to get rid of him?
Andrew Ashdown [00:31:00]Exactly. Exactly.
John Shuck [00:31:05] We're going to take a break. I'm going to come right back.
Andrew Ashdown [00:31:09]And it is a secular based Constitution. And what is being intended to be replaced by certainly nothing that's going to be democratic. Quite the opposite. Another interesting dimension is most women in Syria. You know you go to Syria and women, particularly, and this is very important. The women can dress as they wish. They can work as they wish. They can do you know"there are cultural issues, you know, everybody in every culture has cultural norms and expectations, but under law they can do as they wish. And so if you walk around Damascus or Aleppo you can't tell what community a person belongs to by their dress because it's a secular society based on those norms. Most women I know in Syria are terrified of any of these militant groups taking over because they fear that actually all opportunities for women will be immediately crushed. Interesting in these news reports from inside so-called rebel controlled areas. What do you see of the women? They're completely shrouded. That's not Syria. That's not normal in Syria.
[00:32:29] Reverend Andrew Ashdown and Martin Taliano are my guests. We're talking about Syria. We are talking about Mark's book, in particular, "Voices from Syria." We're going to take a two minute break and then we are going to come back and continue this discussion with Reverend Andrew Ashdown and Mark Taliano. You folks stay on the line. We're going to continue. I want to talk about where we are, the level right now, what is changed in the last couple of years? Is it getting better or worse? We are going to come back with that question in just a minute. This is The Beloved Community. [Music break]
[00:34:35] That's "The Ostrich" from Steppenwolf from 1968. This is The Beloved Community on KBOO, every second Friday from 9 to 10. My name is John Shuck. My guests are two. One is from Canada. His name is Mark Taliano. His website is Mark Taliano Dot Net. His book is called Voices From Syria. Recounting his trip to Syria. And talking with the people in Syria, as well as an analysis of the geopolitical situation. Also from the UK I have Reverend Andrew Ashdown a Christian minister who has actually gone to Syria a number of times and has discussed with a variety of people there and knows the situation on the ground. Let's talk about the situation on the ground now. Is it better than it was, Mark, when you wrote your book three years ago?
Mark Taliano [00:35:26] It is better. I'm hearing that it is better. And many, many more areas have been liberated. And every time an area is liberated, that is great news. Because when terrorists occupy areas they target everyone and anyone with their mortars. For example, they murdered about 14,000 people in Aleppo when they occupied part of that area. And they murdered around eleven thousand people and in Damascus when they were in that area. So in any time an area is liberated people breathe a sigh of relief because nobody wants to be mortared and the mortar campaigns slaughter as I said many times children and women and men and they target schools and they target hospitals and they target everything and anything that makes a society function. OK? So when we're hearing the propaganda about, oh the evil regime is targeting hospitals in Idlib. OK. Let's remember, Idlib, first of all has only 12 hospitals. It doesn't have 50,000 hospitals. Second of all, the terrorists use hospitals as torture centers, command posts, weapons depots, sniper perches, et cetera. And once they do that, the hospital's no longer a hospital status. But first and foremost the government of Syria which is beloved by most Syrians has no intention or no desire to kill its own people. That's what our terrorists are doing. They are killing Syria's people. And Syria is doing what it is duty bound to do which is to protect its people. And in order to do that. There will be as in any war there will be"people will be killed.
John Shuck [00:37:40] So would you say that this isn'y so much a global war on terrorism that the UK, the US, Canada, NATO countries are fighting, but really that we are actually the terrorists in this case?