The council that does not represent others’ rights to disagreement and freedom does not represent me – By Berhan Ghalioun
translated by SouriaHouria
The assault that befell the Syrian political figures of the National Coordination Committee in front of the headquarters of the Arab League in Cairo is a grave event. It is detrimental the National Council, for which the protestors wanted to express their support, as it is detrimental to the opposition in its entirety.
It is detrimental to the council as it came from a section of the public that considers the National Council as its representative. It connects indirectly allegiance to the council with refusal of others and the non-acceptance of difference of opinion, rejecting even its existence among the ranks of the opposition itself.
It is detrimental to the Syrian opposition in its entirety as it makes it appear to be divided, in conflict and unable to reach a single position, or even contain its differences. Consequently it offers the regime an opportunity to harm the opposition and the revolution by using the assault as evidence that it is incapable to come to agreement.
The National Council only represents us as an embodiment of our hopes of freedom and democracy and mutual respect. Otherwise it is just a tool to build a new dictatorship that thousands of people sacrificed their lived to get rid of. It only represents us as a people as it unites all forces of the opposition representing the people and brings them together and it guarantees the democratic coexistence amongst them. Its battle and our battle are only valuable because it promises a new pluralistic, and democratic Syria, where all are accepted, on the same footing, regardless of their views and their political positions. The relations between the ranks of the opposition are an illustration of what we want in the forthcoming state.
Therefore if we are not able to tolerant the political and ideological differences today, then what is the legitimacy of our demand for freedom that defends the right of all to have a personal opinion and that invoking public opinion by peaceful means is the only way to reach consensus, in other words, defining the political majority as decision makers?
Interpretation of allegiance to the National Council as intolerance of opinion and lack of mutual respect is not allegiance to the revolution of freedom and dignity. Hitting people and throwing stones is an insult to us all and to our blessed revolution which we are truly sacrificing ourselves for its victory.
Therefore this assault is an assault on the spirit of the revolution and its ideology and harms the legitimacy of our struggle against the tyrannical regime. Those who carried out this assault and those who incited them to do it must apologize for what they have done and correct the mistake that they have committed and not do it again.
As I condemn with all my strength this sick act, I express at the same time my solidarity with our brothers in the National Coordination Committee who have been subjected to this insult. Most of them are veteran militants who have spent long years in prison and have been subjected to various kinds of oppression and humiliation by the current regime. I use the occasion of this painful event to invite all my sisters and brothers in the revolution and the opposition to concentrate on what brings us together not on what divides us. To acknowledge that differences of opinion and of political position are natural and that the only solution to this is dialogue, debate and invoking public opinion. Not violence, or alienation, or insults or accusations of betrayal and distortion of the image of the other. This is the first chapter of any democratic and free life that we desire and are striving for.