Dennis Kucinich Praises Syrian Leader, Says He Was Mistranslated a Smidge
Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich traveled to Syria this week and reportedly praised President Bashar al-Assad, the leader who has been accused of ordering attacks on pro-democratic supporters. Politico reports that Kucinich held a press conference in Damascus where he said, "President Bashar al-Assad cares so much about what is taking place in Syria, which is evident in his effort towards a new Syria and everybody who meets him can be certain of this." The international community is shocked that a congressman has held a press conference that had nothing to do with him tweeting pictures of his penis.
President Bashar al-Assad is accused of killing as many as 1,400 democratic supporters in response to protests that grew from the region-wide Arab Spring activism. Kucinich issued a statement blaming a translation sanfu by the Syrian media for his remarks, but did not fully retract his comments:
"A story written about my remarks by the Syrian Arab News Agency unfortunately mistranslated several of my statements and did not reflect my direct quotes. Arab-speaking friends accompanying me have explained that the problem may have come from a mistranslation as well as the degree of appreciation and affection their state-sponsored media has for President Assad"
He went on to say that the translation was, "unfortunate [but]... not a willful intent to mischaracterize my statements or my efforts in the region."
Foreign Policy's David Kenner points out that Kucinich's explanation may have some problems:
Kucinich doesn't speak Arabic, so his remarks were presumably in English, and SANA's article is written in English -- so no translation should have been necessary.... It seems eminently obvious that SANA was exploiting Kucinich's presence as evidence of international support for the Assad regime -- something the congressman should have known they would do before he arrived in Damascus.
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The State Department says Kucinich traveled to Syria as an invited guest of its government and not for official state business. The congressman called the journey a "fact-finding" mission. An important fact he found was that the state-run Syrian media is astonishingly pro-Syrian.
Rep. Kucinich's Syria visit raises eyebrows [Politico]
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