Syrians have Finally Found their Voice!
Prior to the immergence of the Baathist Party, and Hafez al-Assad’s ascendancy to power, the Syrian community was well known as a closely knit environment, with neighbors helping each other out, defending each other, caring for one another. If you were sick, and could not care after your trade, or work for your honest day’s pay, your neighbors would fill that void and provide for you and your family until you are able to stand up on your feet and start earning again.
Of course there is always an exception to every rule, but everyone worked for the greater good of the country. At least that is how it was explained to me, and it might sound idealistic, but still that is how I picture the scenes in Syria of the 50’s and 60’s to be. People used to read and follow the regional political scenes, they used to enjoy poetry and fine arts. They used to go to theaters to watch plays and attend concerts of well known singers at the time.
Yes, there was turmoil in the 50’s and 60’s, with a successful or failed coup taking place almost on regular basis, and leaders promising the world to the public. Yet, there was still an element of freedom. Freedom to speak, express yourself and state your opinion. There were consequences though in certain cases, but in general, you were FREE.
In every society in the world, there are poor portions and rich portions, and nothing no matter how powerful it is can change that. This is a fact of life that no one, not even the socialist or communist beliefs, or any belief as a matter of fact, can change that fact. With a quick look at all the countries that have adopted the socialist or even communist paths, you would clearly see a major default in both ideologies. Inevitably, there is always going to be someone better off than another. The leaders, and whoever is associated with them, of both ideologies in states adopting such beliefs have and still enjoy considerable wealth and power. While the masses that have helped them reach that power are still way behind when it comes to the comfortable living and deciding their own destinies.
Regardless of all that, the leaders of the Baathist Party in Syria were smart enough to realize that power lies in numbers. So, they based their ideologies on that fact and started planting seeds of socialist beliefs in the minds of whoever is willing to listen. And within a few years a young and upcoming Hafez Al-Assad became a member of this Party, seeing in it the means to achieve his goals.
For the sake of avoiding the history lesson, which I am not very experienced at, since I only know the guidelines, we shall fast forward to the years of my youth and awareness.
As I was growing up, I never experienced Syria, except for a couple of months every year since my parents where living in an Arab country seeking their day’s pay, in view of the limited opportunities for people who are not part of the Baathist Party, and the deteriorating economic conditions back home in Syria.
However, I do remember the warnings our parents and relatives used to throw at us, carving these instructions into the stones of our heads until they became part of our subconscious, “Never speak of Hafez Al-Assad or his family! Never criticize the government! If you have an opinion, keep it to yourself! Be very polite to everyone, you might not know who they are, or they are related to! Etc…”.
Those were directives we had to live by, if not, no one knows what might happen to you and your parents, or where you might end-up. Maybe in one of the numerous security service apparatuses across the country in a cell unknown even to it’s attendant. There was genuine fear in their words, genuine concern for our safety. Yet, I do wonder, “What if?”
Fast forward to the start of the Arab spring, Tunisia’s leader was toppled and he fled, Egypt’s so called War-hero leader was toppled and he now lies in a bed, struggling for his life as his health deteriorates. Libya’s tyrant was killed at the hands of the very millions of people he claimed would defend him. Yemen’s leader was burned to a crisp, yet still alive, and has handed over the power to his second in command and left the country.
All this was inspiration enough for the Syrians to use their God given gift of speech and yell at the top of their voice “We Want FREEDOM!”
At last, the vocal cords of the Syrians have started working again, after decades of silence and oppression, after years of fear and humiliation. Yet, the bill is running high, with Bashar Al-Assad, the son of Hafez, utilizing all the might of his Army, Security services, militias and thugs striking hard, brutalizing and killing, sparing no one. No man, woman or child is spared, not even the animals (donkeys to be both exact and sarcastic).
At last, the Syrians are demanding their Freedom, Dignity and Justice. Tens of thousands have died, and that is a high cost to pay, and the Syrian Revolution will not stop until it is victorious. Fifteen months of a brutal, bloody, sordid crackdown in an effort to quell the uprising, and still they are steadfast. As a matter of fact, anyone who is reading this can put any adjective bad enough that they can think of, and it would apply to this crackdown and the actions of Assad’s regime.
“To what end?” one might ask, well it is simply put by the demonstrators, “till we rid ourselves of Assad and his rotten regime.”
“Am I proud?” you might ask, “definitely I am, in fact, I am prouder, at this moment in time, of being a Syrian than I ever was.”
As the Syrians have found their voice, and I just pray that they never lose it, ever again.