Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Syria and Politics of Impaling People Around the World

Assad and Ahamadinejad playing for keeps, forming alliance

World News
By Dallas Darling

"The King knows that all lands hate us." -Ancient Assyrian prophetic dispatch.

    Although modern day Syria was formed after World War I as a French mandate, in ancient times it was central to important trade routes connecting Asia, Africa and Europe. As a result of its strategic location, just east of the Mediterranean Sea, it became a prosperous and innovative and thriving region. But it was also an area of the world that was continually conquered and occupied by the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Hittites, Greeks and Romans. Even still, Syria, in ancient times, was home to a horrific kind of pioneering and tortuous execution known as impalement.

St. George/al-Khidr, impaler extraordinaire
Although various societies had practiced impalement, carvings and statues reveal that the Assyrian empire was the first to use it extensively. Assyrians would strip and pierce their subjugated enemies through the body with large wooden stakes, hoisting them up in a vertical position. Their conquered victims died slow, painful and agonizing deaths. A typical royal statement reads: "From some I cut off their noses, their ears and their fingers...I bound their heads to tree trunks round about the city." Impalement was a political tool for breaking the will of the vanquished, a kind of large-scale social control.

    The Romans perfected the art and science of impalement, or crucifixion. Crucifixion was a method of capital punishment. It was also an imperial message of terror, particularly reserved for the lower classes, political rebels, nonconformists, messianic pretenders and anyone who questioned or challenged Roman rulers and their empire. Historians record how the Pax Romana repeatedly crucified en mass thousands of peasants and slaves in unruly provinces. Subjugated commoners were always mindful of the military terror and psychological warfare surrounding impalement.

    Today, many have been thoroughly programmed to admire the grandeur, achievements, awesome power, law and order, and technological sophistication of their rulers and ruling regimes. But appearances and advanced weapons technologies can be deceiving. Rulers and their massive propaganda machines easily blame crimes against peace and humanity on their victims, which were really instigated and implemented by them and their security forces. Like the Assyrians, modern rulers have replaced native militias with permanent armies. It is a disguised form of impalement, the official weapon of rulers and empires.

Assad refuses to quit, will not go silently in the night
The uncontrollable images of Syria's oppressive and brutal crackdown against its civilian populations and peaceful dissenters is heartrending. In the midst of thousands of deaths, including at least 300 children, United Nation's Chief Ban Ki-moon has urged the international community to act "in the name of humanity." And yet, President Bashar al-Assad's genocidal mode of terror, or nailing innocent civilians to bullets and tear gas canisters and wooden clubs, as a reminder of their powerlessness, is symbolic of what other abusive and undemocratic rulers and regimes are doing around the world.

    Egypt's defunct military rulers have slaughtered and impaled hundreds of protesters. The Arab League, which called an emergency meeting to deal with Syria, issued an ultimatum to the Assad regime to admit observers and to end the violence in exchange for an end to regional sanctions. But many in the 22-member coalition are crushing democratic reforms within their own regimes and impaling their victims. Nearby, and since 1948, Palestinian-Arabs have lived under oppressive rule and have had to forgo many forms of impalement, such as military incursions, false arrests, and the destruction of their homes and lands.

    (Note: Syria has agreed with the Arab League to allow an observer team in. See "Syria signs Arab league peace deal."

    Meanwhile, Russia claims the West is taking an "immoral" stance towards Syria, that it should condemn the Free Syrian Army along with Assad's security forces. But Russia too has suppressed its protesters. While the United Nations Security Council manipulates and impales each other, mainly to protect their illegitimate rulers and regimes, there will be more innocent civilians impaled, as they were in Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan. China will impale more Tibetan monks through self-immolation. The U.S. will impale more veterans through suicide.(1) Occupy Wall Street protesters are impaled through false arrests.

Vlad Tepes the Impaler slaughtered Muslim Turks
Rulers in North Korea, Somalia and Sudan impale their populaces through war and starvation. Ruling regimes in the West impale youth through sex, entertainment, minimum-wage and prison(2) industries. There are many forms of impalement in heartless and arrogant and bureaucratic regimes. Calculated fear and terrorism can be concealed through unemployment, homelessness, debt and dispossession, imprisonment, racism, economic inequality, and institutionalized violence. Prophetic protesters must always be impaled and crucified by imperial rulers, for they are a reminder that there is something wrong.

   One Assyrian king wrote, "I erected a pillar opposite of his city gate, all the chiefs who had revolted I flayed, with their skins I covered the pillar, some in the midst I walled up, others on the pillar on stakes I impaled, still others I arranged around the pillar on stakes."(3) Another ruler claimed to have captured the rebel lord of the desert Bedouins and to have pierced his cheeks and jaw bones, inserted a rope, and the rest of him chained like a dog and set to guard the royal gate.(4) Liberty and democracy is allowing people to freely raise themselves up, to freely lead their own selves around.

   Will rulers and regimes in Syria and around the world ever learn this important truth and stop physically, psychologically, emotionally, and structurally impaling and crucifying their populaces?

Dallas Darling (

Dallas Darling is the author of Politics 501: An A-Z Reading on Conscientious Political Thought and Action, Some Nations Above God: 52 Weekly Reflections On Modern-Day Imperialism, Militarism, And Consumerism in the Context of John's Apocalyptic Vision, and The Other Side Of Christianity: Reflections on Faith, Politics, Spirituality, History, and Peace.

(1) According to a recent CNN news report, 18 war veterans committ suicide each day in the United States. See: Ginn, Christina. "Crisis hotline saves suicidal war veterans."

(2) According to The New York Times, one-third of Americans have been arrested by age 23. See Erica Goode's article in The New York Times, Many in U.S. Are Arrested by Age 23, Study Finds.

(3) Archer, Christon I., John R. Ferris, Hoger H. Herwig, and Timothy H.E. Travers. World History of Warfare. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 2002., p. 24.

(4) Ibid., p. 25.

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