Lebanese scholar Gilbert Achcar writes via e-mail: “Many of you have certainly seen an interview allegedly done with [Hezbollah leader] Hassan Nasrallah by a Turkish radical left newpsaper… I have enquired about it, and a source in Beirut in close touch with Hezbollah has confirmed to me that it is a forgery.” However, Counterpunch has seen fit to keep the evident forgery on its website, despite growing questions about its authenticity (albeit, with a note at the end acknowledging the controversy). The pseudo-interview is interesting because of what it reveals about the willful illusions the radical left cultivates about radical Islam. Here it is:
“Goodbye to the Unipolar World”
The Nasrallah Interview
By CounterPunch News Service
From an interview conducted shortly before the ceasefire by reporters from the Turkish Labor Party daily, Evrensel.
Q. What is the current state of your relations with the Socialist movement?
Hasan Nasrallah: The socialist movement, which has been away from international struggle for a considerable time, at last has begun to offer moral support for us once again. The most concrete example of this has been Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela. What most of the Muslim states could not do has been done by Chavez, by the withdrawal of Venezuela’s ambassador to Israel. He furthermore communicated to us his support for our resistance. This has been an immense source of moral strength for us.
We can observe a similar reaction within the Turkish Revolutionary Movement. We had socialist brothers from Turkey who went to Palestine in 1960s to fight against Israel. And one of them still remains in my memory and my heart; Deniz Gezmis..!
[Deniz Gezmis, 1947-1972, was a Turkish revolutionary in the Marxist-Leninist tradition. He led major student actions in the late 1960s, went to a Fatah training camp in Lebanon in late 1969, returned to Turkey where his group seized four US army privates in Ankara. After their release of the soldiers, Gezmis was captured, tried for attempting to overthrow the Turkish state and, with two of his comrades, was hanged in the central prison in Ankara on May 6, 1972. Editors.]
Q. What is the importance of Denizs for you?
Hasan Nasrallah: We now want new Denizs. Our ranks are always open to new Denizs against the oppressors. Deniz will always live in the hearts of the peoples of Palestine and Lebanon. No-one should doubt this. Unfortunately, there is no longer a common fight and fraternity against the common enemy left over by the Denizs. What we would have liked is for our socialist brothers in Lebanon to fight against imperialism and Zionism shoulder to shoulder. This fight is not only our fight. It is the common fight of all those oppressed across the world. Don’t forget that if the peoples of Palestine and Lebanon lose this war, this will mean the defeat of all the oppressed people of the world. In our fight against imperialism, the revolutionaries should also undertake a responsibility and should become, in the hearts of our people of Palestine and Lebanon, Denizs once again.
Q. It is possible to see the posters of Che, Chavez and Ahmadinejad side by side in the streets of Beirut. Are these the signs of a new polarization?
Hasan Nasrallah: We salute the leaders and the peoples of Latin America. They have resisted the American bandits heroically and have been a source of moral strength for us. They are guiding the way for the oppressed peoples. Go and wonder around our streets..! You will witness how our people have embraced Chavez and Ernesto Che Guevara. Nearly in every house, you will come across posters of Che or Chavez.
What we are saying to our socialist friends who want fight together with us for fraternity and freedom is: Do not come at all if you are going to say “Religion is an opiate”. We do not agree with this analysis. Here is the biggest proof of this in our streets with the pictures of Chavez, Che, Sadr and Khamenei together. These leaders are saluting our people in unison. So long as we respect your beliefs, and you respect ours, there is no imperialist power we cannot defeat!
Q. Returning to threats in the region, western governments are intensifying their pressure on Damascus and Tehran, for which they are proposing a “change of regime.” Some sources are of the view that the attack on Lebanon will be directed on Syria. According to your point of view, is a regional war possible?
Hasan Nasrallah: The centers of imperialist power want to make collaborators of our region as a whole. They expect us to kneel before them. Syria, Iran and Hezbollah are opposing this. The provocation concerning the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and the efforts to secure the withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon and — going even further — their wish to attack callously on to Tehran and Damascus are all due to this reason.
Syria, with Iran and Hezbollah will certainly resist this. We are going to resist for our motherland and freedom. We are going to resist in order not kneel before them. The imperialists of the west are seeking to make a second Kosovo out of Lebanon and our region. They are seeking to create a clash in between sects. But we have spoiled this trick. In our streets, the whole of Lebanon, with its Christian, Sunnis and Shias, are flying the flags of Hezbollah. Again, “the unipolar world” has already been left behind in history. There is us, there is Iran, there is Syria, there is Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea. There are the resisting peoples of Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan! As long as there is imperialism and occupations, these people will continue resisting. They can forget about peace. If they want peace, they should now respect the freedom of peoples and should eliminate the collaborators. God willing, the victory will be ours.
They are not going to be able to turn our country and region into a Kosovo. Now our people are aware of everything and will not play into imperialist tricks. We will absolutely not permit them to attack Iran or Syria. We are going to fight for our freedom to the last drop of our blood. Let no one doubt this. They are claiming that Iran has nuclear weapons at its disposal. On the contrary, most of the nuclear weapons are in the hands of Israel and the US. Furthermore, nuclear weapons are nothing but excuses put forward in order to create collaborating regimes in the region.
Q. There are claims that Hezbollah is being directed by Tehran. What are your views on this issue?
Hasan Nasrallah: This is a great lie. We are an independent Lebanese organization. We do not take orders from anyone. But this does not mean that we are not going to form alliances. We are on the side of Iran and Syria. They are our brothers. We are going to oppose any attack directed at Tehran and Damascus to the last drop of our blood just as we do in Lebanon. We uphold global resistance against global imperial terrorism.
Q. Is there any other additional point you want to make?
Hasan Nasrallah: Peace cannot be unilateral. So long as there is imperialism in the world, a permanent peace is impossible. This war will not come to an end as long as there are occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.
Editors’ Note: The authenticity of this interview has been challenged, maybe because Nasrallah doesn’t speak entirely according to Orientalist expectations of what a Shi’a leader should be saying. CounterPunch has confirmed that the interview did appear in the Turkish socialist daily Evrensel on August 12 and 13, provoking comment in the Turkish corporate press because Nasrallah expressed his admiration for the 1960’s generation of revolutionaries like Deniz Gezmis.
One of our more astute readers writes: “Psuedo-Nasrallah is talking like the fantasy of what a young Turkish anarcho-syndicalist stoner wants Nasrallah to represent. There’s no way he would invoke Che, even tho his roots are in the left. There’s no way he would talk about ending occupation, and then peace would follow.”
Others, such as Peter Hudis of the Marxist-Humanist News & Letters have noted the unseemly phenomenon of leftists “tailending Islamic fundamentalism.” This would appear to be a pretty egregious example.