Londoners would also see the rise of extremism and gangsters if they had experienced the conflict of Syrian cities, a British-Syrian writer has argued.
Robin Yassin-Kassab, a journalist who also wrote The Road to Damascus and is a prominent blogger, said he was disappointed in the attitudes of journalists who dismissed the Syrian rebels as extremists, during a talk at the Southbank Centre.
He said: “They show a tremendous lack of imagination. If London had been put through what Homs had been put through in the last two years, it would express itself in different vocabulary but you can be certain that it would degenerate into all kinds of extremism and gangsterism and so on.
“That’s what happens when you starve people and terrify them and traumatise them and torture them. People become extreme.”
It was not the ideology of terrorist-linked groups that gained them support, he argued, but their supply of weapons and distribution of bread among hungry populations.
Yassin-Kassab was speaking alongside exiled Syrians poet Golan Haji and the writer Nihad Sirees.
Although the uprising had brought on the “worst of times” for Syrians, it had also given them the liberty to “go out and scream” about their hatred of the president, he said.