Bansky's Rebel Rocket Attack

#Art

Wed, Oct 9th, 2013 20:00 by capnasty NEWS

Titled Rebel rocket attack, this satirical video by British street artist Banksy spoofs those posted on YouTube by Syrian rebels. The video was, unsurprisingly, not well received "by Syria-watchers, some of whom have described its 'crude politics' as an over-simplification of the conflict."

If the video feels a bit awkward, it may be in part because the globally minded leftist movement that Banksy so often speaks for has grappled with how to think about Syria. The idea of any Western intervention in the Middle East can carry, for them, echoes of imperialism. Skepticism of religion also makes the Syrian rebels, a number of whom are Islamist, less than attractive. And the Bashar al-Assad regime has long claimed to represent a kind of anti-imperialist bulwark against the West and against Israel.

So there's been a real hesitancy among leftists like Banksy to embrace the Syrian opposition, which is reflected a bit in his choice to skewer the rebels, portraying them as murdering beloved children's cartoon characters. But no one — or virtually no one — can bring themselves to back the Assad regime, which has done and continues to do terrible things to its citizens. That's led a lot of people in international leftist movements to talk around the conflict, to decry specific aspects of the West's approach to the war without fully engaging the thing itself. There's no good guy for them; Islamist rebels — especially ones who might receive support from the West — are the closest they can get to a pure bad guy.

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