DEVELOPING: Christopher Hitchens, in Lebanon, is Assaulted by Fascist Admiring Anti-Semites

On Valentine’s Day, Christopher Hitchens was in Lebanon, and on an evening out on the town, he appears to have encountered a wall poster of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, an anti-Semitic, fascist admiring national party that sports this Nazi swastika-echoing political flag:

File:Flag of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party.svg

Hitchens appears to have taken out a pen and boldly written on the poster, “Fuck the SSNP”—and some admirers of the party saw his gesture and assaulted him for it.

I admire Hitchens’s courage to push back against fascism and anti-Semitism. But there is some irony here. Hitchens, who coined the term “Islamo-Fascism”—and has defended its use—was in a Muslim country and assaulted, not by “Islamic fascists,” but by nostalgic admirers of a literal, old-style kind of fascism. The Syrian Social Nationalist Party is a secular party.

Read more about the assault  here.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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4 Responses to DEVELOPING: Christopher Hitchens, in Lebanon, is Assaulted by Fascist Admiring Anti-Semites

  1. Evan says:

    Dude, there is no irony here. The only irony is that you think you’re clever.

    I don’t even need to have any background on this story or its actors to realize this. What you should have noted was that Hitchens’ positions are logically consistent (not generally, but here specifically). Had he written “The SSNP Rox my Sox!!!”, it would be ironic, or at least very hypocritical and contradictory. Instead, and the point is, he detests the elements and purposes of Fascism–the assault only validates his perspective. He might have a strong distaste for piety, but he certainly acknowledges it doesn’t necessitate “fascism” in the sense he is using it.

    Furthermore, Hitchens didn’t even “coin” (a ridiculous and inaccurate assumption in and of itself, as if Hitchens invented placing modifiers before existing terminology) “Islamofascism” (why are you hyphenating it…or capitalizing fascism when it isn’t the–as you yourself say–“literal” definition, for that matter?). I believe someone else popularized that exact term…oh wait, it’s in the article you half-assedly attributed but DIDN’T EVEN READ.

    Here it is, if you decide to be bothered by factual accuracy:

    When you have to tell the reader something’s ironic you’re probably a flaming idiot anyways.


  2. santitafarella says:


    Actually, you’re compounding the irony. Isn’t it ironic that you, as an apparently passionate atheist defending Hitchens’s use of the term “Islamo-Fascism” are treating Hitchens like, well, a religious figure in need of passionate defense by someone who is faithful to his ideas? I thought atheists didn’t have religious passions.

    Oh, and by the way, I’m a big Hitchens fan. See my review of Hitchen’s book here. It’s the sixth one down on the page:

    Manichean atheism, without nuance, is the kind of atheism that I find funny (if it wasn’t so scary).

    By the way, I’m conflicted about the use of the Islamo-Fascist term. In a limited way, it can be descriptive of Islamic movements that have absorbed Western Jocobin and totalist ideologies (of the Left or the Right). The irony I saw in the Hitchens incident is that in a stereotypical Islamic country, Hitchens was attacked by old fashioned secular fascists (not fascists of the religious variety).

    And Hitchens, by the way, has been the chief popularizer of the term Islamo-Fascism.


  3. Evan says:

    Hah, nice job of maneuvering around actually addressing what I was critical of.

    How can you assume I’m passionate about anything, particulary this term…Dude I spent 10 minutes using google to get some credible backround, which you were apparently incapable of.

    What your original post seems like is a reaction to a news story you read, which you then interspersed with pseudo-facts you were pretty sure were accurate (and that probably no one would actually bother checking) in order to make a case for your little preconceived ironic fantasy.


  4. santitafarella says:


    You’re not an atheist?


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