Thursday, April 14, 2011

Syria: I Hoped for an Evolution but Got a Revolution

Like many Syrians I had hoped for a transformation in Syria over the last decade with the ascendancy of Bashar to the presidency.  There was not much logic behind my hope except for a Syrian's natural tendency to want to avoid conflict and wish the best for his beloved country.  This wishful thinking eroded gradually over the years, as other than applying a shiny veneer of wealth to the privileged -well connected- few in Damascus, the president achieved no real reform. However, as late as a couple of weeks ago, even after the outrage in Daraa, I was still, against all odds,  willing to give Bashar the chance to do the right thing.  He failed miserably.

The harsh reality, as clearly demonstrated in the last month, is that the Syrian regime of 2011 is no different than the Syrian Regime of 1990 or 1980.  Worse than the brute force with which the protests were put down, is the way some in the security forces (or is it the Shabiha) sadistically handle anyone taken into custody.  The most recent appalling example can be seen on Youtube video of armed security officers in the village of Baida, brutalizing the men they had taken into custody.  The behavior is meant to sow fear, dehumanize and debase the citizens.  It is as if the regime is in an abusive relationship with its own people. And as in abusive relationships, the abuser will intermittently feign concern and sympathy between bouts of abuse; hence the meeting of the president with delegates from Banyas to try "reduce tension".

The regime's clumsy propaganda has worked on no one but their most die hard supporters and many disillusioned apologists have given up on them all together.  If the regime of 2011 is no different than that of 1980, the Syrian citizens of 2011 are. The people have lost their fear of the regime and brute force will not work, as it did in the past, to quash the legitimate aspirations of the people.  The sooner the regime realizes that the better it is for Syria. Unfortunately, a system based on fear and intimidation is not equipped with the flexibility to adapt to new realities.

I fear that we are looking at many more months of strife and bloodshed.


Anonymous said...

God is going to save Syria the same way he saved Tunisia and Egypt from the tyrants and their corrupted government. That bloodshed in Syria has to be stopped. What the Syrian people in Syria and abroad need to do is to let the whole world know of the torture and the bloodshed. In addition of using the YouTube, Twitters, and social media like Facebook to make their voice heard. They need to send petitions condemning the Bashar El Assad and his regime's killing and torture of the protesters to UN, Obama, US Congress, Amnesty International, and the presidents of all countries who are friendly to the Arabs. This is what we Egyptian living abroad did few month ago during the Egyptian Revolution which forced Mubarak to resign and stopped the bloodshed in Egypt. Currently, Mubarak, his sons, all of his cabinet, and friends are in jail waiting for their trails. We have our brothers and sisters in Syria, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, and Jordan in our prayers.

An Egyptian-American

Sammy said...

At long last Syrians are emerging from the dark agaes and into an "Age of Renaissance". The brave Syrians, after succumbing to a brutal, mafia style dictatorship for nearly five decades, have decided that enough is enough. Syrians have realised that nothing will happen until something moves. And move they did. My countrymen are taking to the streets knowing full well they will be paying with their lives to send their message to this ugly dictatorship that treats Syria as their playground, going around plundering it's wealth and abusing it's people. The head mafioso latest speech rings hollow and devoid of clear concrete steps that will be taken to:
1. End the Baath party singular rule of the country
2. End the Assad family grip on and control of profitable business monopolies
3. Immediate release of all political prisoners
Hedging his bets on his criminal thugs will only delay the inevitable and make the end worse for him and his family. Mubarak is 82 and will probably die shortly from stress heart failure. Assad is 45, and being thrown into one of his prisons for the rest of his life, is a very long time indeed.

Abu Kareem said...

Thanks for your comment. It is the Egyptian people that made this possible. You make us proud.

I never dreamed I would see the day that Syrians would be out in the street speaking their mind without fear.

Sammy said...

It's getting better Abu Kareem: Two parliamentary resignations along with that of the Mufti of Daraa! Seems like the bad old days of eavesdropping on people's conversations are back in Syria. Speaking to family and relatives in Aleppo over the past couple of weeks the response to 'How are things' is 'All is good'...Bullet holes from the 1982 uprising can still be seen on some walls along major thoroughfares in the centre of Aleppo. They were never patched up lest people forget.

lebanese american said...

The choice between "self-interest" and basic human rights is a false one that leads to madness. What kind of rational self-interest is even possible when self-interest erases all sense of the worth of a human life. Prayers for the Syrian people and for their courageous struggle. Thanks for all your posts!

kareem said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Abu Kareem said...

The support of our Levantine neighbors is much appreciated. This dichotomy is also evident in the numbers game some in Syria are playing. It goes something like this: the numbers of protesters are very small, which means most people are happy with the regime. Never mind the illogic of the statement, what is left unsaid is that because the numbers are small it is therefore OK to murder 500 unarmed citizens. Self-interest first and foremost and trumps basic human rights.