The First Anniversary of the Syrian Revolution: Freedom Between the Jaws of the Wolf and the Tail of the Fox – by Basel Adnan
DAMASCUS, March 17, 2012 – Martyr journalist Marie Colvin said before she was killed in Homs – Syria on February 24, 2012: “I feel cold and disgusted. I am amazed, how can the world just watch this mass murder and stays inactive?!”.
One year after the revolution , I still remember that day of March 25 (10 days after the revolution erupted) on which I shouted, along with around 1000 other protestors: Hurrieh, Hurrieh ( liberty …. liberty) as we were trying to push our way out of the gate of the Umayyad mosque – Damascus against, not only the regime’s thugs, but also against the fear the Syrian regime planted in us since childhood.
I still remember Barzeh (northern district of Damascus) in May 2011, and the secrete police shooting at young persons. Seven people were killed on that day (one of them was a little girl called Sara). The claim of the Syrian regime that the killings are not systematic is invalid since I saw with my own eyes, on that day, the thugs arriving to the area via government buses (one of them was Daar Al Salam school’s bus).
And I still remember July 1 on which the secret police used live bullets in Abu Habil, Midan- Damascus to disperse peaceful demonstrators. I was in the last raw of that demonstration, but the secret police ambushed us coming from the opposite side of that one way street. I found myself in the front raw and I was shot at directly but not hit.
The Jaws of the Wolf
The Syrian regime solely bears the full responsibility behind its own current quandary. President Bachar Assad enjoyed once a relative acceptance by a large section of the population. The president was marketed, when he inherited Syria from his father in the year 2000, as a young, western educated reformer. The 18 Months the president spent in London made him a true believer in democracy; Western leaders believed then.
UN chief, then, Mr.Kofi Anan expressed his happiness with the new leader, describing him as a reformer, and as “his father’s son” in an implicit signal of Anan’s admiration of late president Hafez Assad. But President Bachar’s response to the small and peaceful demonstrations of March was marked with characteristic rashness.
An unfortunate brew of denial, defiance, and contempt. Instead of handling the situation with prudence and acceptance, the regime saw in the small demonstrations a casus belli, so it re-invented its broken ancient “ universal conspiracy theory”. The West stands behind the Syrian revolution which is not more than a part of its continuous conspiracies against the Syrian regime which stood against Western influence and Israel; the regime maintained.
Then the regime resorted to the security solution which failed due to the resilience of the revolutionaries, and the fact that those poverty stricken young people have nothing to lose.
The regime, after that, adopted the military solution. The pro Assad’s army which was heavily equipped by the new Soviets does win every battle it indulges in, but the demonstrations continue still with more impetus. 600 geographical points see demonstrations every Friday in Syria.
The Tail of the Fox
All of these mistakes and miscalculations have lead to a human tragedy and a state of social disintegration. So Marie Colvin was not the only person who was cold and disgusted. The children and women of Syria are now cold and many are homeless, while the liberals of Syria are disgusted of the policies of the official Arab league, and the American administration. Appeasement and complacency have prevailed over principles and human feelings.
These two sides disguise their tacit support to the Syrian regime (despite their resentment of it) by various layers of masks:
1- “The Syrian opposition is not united” : why should the opposition be united?, is the Republican party in the USA united today?. The revolutionaries on the ground are solidly united, and this is what counts.
2-“We are worried about the existence of minorities” : But minorities have lived in Syria for thousands of years before dictatorship assumed fictitious protection of their existence.
3- “Free elections may bring Islamists to power” : Real democrats do not veto any power if the people choose it. The Islamists will win the next election, but will lose the one after it, five years later, since they don’t have real solutions to real problems.
But compared to the Russian position, the referenced positions can be considered angelic. This is Russia, pure and simple. The hat may change but the head remains the same. The poor and honest Russian people seem to be destined to be ruled by dictatorships. The Oligarchs rule Russia now, but if they go either the fossil age Communists or the nationalists (fascists) will take their place.
The sectarian regime of Iran added to the crisis and threw its lot in the battle with perturbed. The collapse of the Syrian regime will mean the end of its reactionary sectarian agenda, in its entirety.
One year after the Syrian revolution, I find myself adopting again the conclusion I made in an article in a French newspaper back in April 2011 : The struggle in Syria is a mainly class conflict, but has political and sectarian aspects as well. It will be long and hard and won’t accept half victories and half defeats.
Written by Basel Adnan, Damascus
Diplomatic Aspects Associate, Damascus