by Khalid Amayreh
The Syrian regime must realize that 2011 is not 1982 and that what happened in the City of Hamma then will not be permitted to happen again.
It is with a heavy heart that I am writing about the saddening situation in Syria, the country often described as the beating heart of Arabdom. The scenes of the ongoing wanton killings in the streets of Syria are revolting and repulsive to say the very least. They provoke even the most circumspect and detached of observers.
The victims are after all our brothers and sons, and their blood is as precious as that which is spilled by the Zionists in occupied Palestine. Hence, as an Arab, Muslim and above all as a human being, I just can't view the tragedy now unfolding in Syria with indifference.
To begin with, they Syrian people have an inherent right to freedom from repression, dictatorship and tyranny. This is not the cold-war era, and what was arguably permitted or necessary then is no longer acceptable.
Hence, it is necessary to point out that all the usual revolutionary slogans in the world, phony or otherwise, no longer justify opening live fire on peaceful protesters demanding liberty. The situation becomes especially repulsive, even criminal, when the usual revolutionary rhetoric, which we have been hearing ad nauseam, is utilized to perpetuate and justify repression and tyranny.
In the final analysis, every Syrian citizen has the right to ask whether the Syrian regime must continue to press its boots against the throats and necks of Syrian citizens in order to maintain its purported its pretended steadfastness against Israel.!!!
Indeed, at the end of the day, every Syrian must ask if steadfastness in the face of Israel necessitates savaging the Syrian people in ways that even Israel doesn't do in occupied Palestine.
The regime of President Bashar al Assad has been speaking of "infiltrators" and "foreign agents" who it said stood behind much of the recent killings. Moreover, in recent days, the state-run media would want us to believe that "fundamentalists" and "Salafis" are carrying out a conspiracy against Syria. But with all due respect, it is amply clear that most if not all of these claims are pure rubbish and disinformation that seem to carry no iota of truth.
Syria is a powerful state, with strong security establishment. Hence, one would have to be extremely naïve to believe that hundreds or thousands of infiltrators can suddenly overwhelm Syrian towns and population centers without being discovered or interdicted by the Syrian army and other security agencies.
The truth of the matter is that 99% if not 100% of these "Mondasseen" (infiltrators) are actually thugs working for the regime itself.
The raison d'etre of these criminal thugs or Shabbiha is to suppress any gesture of dissatisfaction with the regime at any price, even if that means riddling peaceful protesters in the streets of Dira'a and Doma and Banyas with bullets.
And now, the regime, which didn't fire a single bullet on the Israeli occupiers of the Golan Heights, is deploying tanks in Syrian cities for the purpose massacring Syrian citizens if necessary.
The Syrian regime must realize that 2011 is not 1982 and that what happened in the City of Hamma then can't be allowed to happen again now, certainly with impunity.
The amount of bloodshed spilt so far in Syria may have already reached the point of no-return to the status quo ante. The regime must consider this point with utmost gravity if it is truly serious about pursuing a sane, not suicidal, exit out of the present deadlock.
One would have hoped that the ostensibly more level-minded Bashar al Assad would avoid or at least evade the follies, vagaries and idiocies of Col. Muammar Qaddafi who has brought up foreign intervention in his country, ostensibly to prevent him from turning Libya into another Rwanda .
Must Bashar al-Assad make the same mistake again?
I know for sure that al-Assad is surrounded by a large group of hypocrites, sycophants and hangers-on who would tell him that everything in Syria is alright and that the protesters only represent a small negligible minority of conspirators, agitators and traitors who are carrying out a foreign agenda and who would be crushed sooner or later.
However, Assad should be smarter than believing these lies, however chummy and sweat to the ear.
In the final analysis, it is inescapable to face the fact that a real popular revolution is taking place in Syria; it is a home-grown revolution because even the stupidest people wouldn't take to the streets in the tens of thousands, risking their lives, for the sake of some foreign agenda or for the sake of some conspirators or puppet- in London or Paris or even Amman and Baghdad.
Having said that, I believe that President Bashar al-Assad can still prevent a total collapse of his regime if he embarks on the following, provided he does sooner than later.
First and foremost, he should adopt a new policy based on honesty, transparency and frankness toward his people. This means that not only a change of face but also a change of heart must be effected in order to rescue what can be rescued and salvage what can be salvaged before it is too late.
Second, the totalitarian police-state apparatus which has been ruling Syria since the early sixties must be dismantled and terminated once and for all. The Baath party is inherently undemocratic; it can't be reformed, it must be ended.
Third, the Syrian people, like all people under the Sun, must be granted the right (or else they will earn it themselves, Willy nilly) to elect their rulers in a free and democratic elections. The Syrians' right to freedom and liberty is no less than the right of Tunisians and Egyptians to freedom of liberty.
Fourth, the criminals who have murdered all these innocent protesters, and their bosses who gave the orders to kill, must be prosecuted and punished. Evading this issue would only demonstrate that the Syrian regime is not really serious about reforms and about reconciling with the people.
Now a word of advice to the pro-freedom forces in Syria. In your legitimate and dignified struggle for freedom and liberty, don't lose sight of the fact that our ultimate enemy is Israel, which occupies Syrian and other Arab territories.
The Shiites are not the enemy. The Alawites are not the Enemy. And Hizbullah is not the enemy. So don't allow some misguided voices amongst you to mar your struggle with blind sectarianism.
Yess, as loyal sons and daughters of Bilad al Shaam, you must show wisdom and responsibility in order to reach the shore of safety with minimal losses and sacrifices.
For sure, wisdom is as vital as courage for the victory of your revolution.
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|William A. Cook|
|Timothy V. Gatto|