Sunday, July 29, 2012
Among opponents of the Syrian Revolution, there is a state of amazing denial, which exceeds refutation of its legitimacy, the undermining of the nobility of its cause and the questioning of its practices, and attempts to deny its very existence. This denial leads to a dismissal of the inhuman, tragic and catastrophic acts committed by the security forces, and “Shabiha” [regime militia] against the people in the rebellious areas.
For those opponents, what is happening is not what it appears to be; it is prepared behind closed doors. It is merely a play, with theater sets, decorations, make-up, montage, directors and actors. This is just a cosmic conspiracy, the latest of many others, prepared by Western powers with the participation of “satellite” television channels. In fact, the president himself expressed this state: “They control the space and we control the ground!” So, months ago, his supporters followed suite using extremely vile wreaking expressions, like “finished” and “Baba Amr was eliminated”, when referring to the tragedies of the people.
It was possible to understand this state of denial in the first months of the revolution. But after nearly a year and a half and with the spread of the revolution across Syrian cities and villages, and with more than 21000 victims, i.e. 21000 stories entailing the tragedy of 21000 families, denial of all that is either a pathologicalstate which cannot be healed or a hopeless case of schizophrenia.
This situation can only be explained as a kind of neurotic and narcissistic reaction, of the same nature as the “opposition and resistance” claimed by revolutionaries of the past. These include the “left” and “nationalists” for whom downplaying the reality has become the last trench where they defend their claimed resistance and opposition “camp”.
It seems that this case of separation from reality helps clears the conscience and creates a form of “moral” self-satisfaction of those who have difficulty living with and recognizing that something is really happening in Syria; from Daraa to Idlib, from Banyas to Bokamal, passing Aleppo, Hama and Homs; with horrific massacres in Trimseh, Kafr Owaid, Houla, Jisr Al-Shoghour, Qubeir, Zamalka and Sayeda Zainab; and with all this destruction of whole neighborhoods in Daraa, Douma, Zabadany, Barzeh, Nahr Eisheh, Harasta, Mazzeh, Qaboun and Deir Ezzor.
The mentality of denial has been fed over four decades of the one family rule. This rule which has dominated the public scene from kindergartens, schools, universities to the Baath [children] vanguard, students, youth, labor, peasants, women and teachers organizations as well as the judiciary, the army, the media, the security agencies and songs, symbols, photographs and statues which occupy the whole scene.
Thus, the “Assad” occupied the public scene and even the public imagination. Wherever you go, you find his statues, photographs, symbols, words, and informers. This is why it is impossible to identify [with what has happened in] Afrin, Qameshli, Hasakeh, Jisr Al-Shoghour, Salamyeh, Mesyaf, Aellatamna, Binnish, Kafranbel, Deir Qanoun, Douma, Khan Sheikhoun, Qusair, Dumair and Qubeir.
However, this denial was a general and comprehensive state. It included the top of the pyramid itself, especially with Assad Jr., who convinced himself for years that he could preach to Arab presidents and kings. As a result he believed that his role included giving lessons to them and advising them on how to manage the states of the nation so they can be considered as true “men”! Then, with the his rapid rapprochement with both Qatar and Turkey, as well as Iran and Chavez’s Venezuela, he imagined that he has become capable of managing the Arab and perhaps the Middle East profile. Even worse, he later came up with the theory of “uniting” the five seas, fancying turning into an international powerbroker! Perhaps this is what encouraged a member of the Syrian Parliament to publicly address Assad Jr. with full gratitude and recognition: “Syria is not enough for you, Mr. President, you should be president of the world”!
If we take the [Baath party] slogan: “Unity, Freedom, Socialism”, favored by the party of the ruler (not the ruling party), we find an appalling level of denial. As much as this slogan is present in signs and literature, it is absent in the policies and strategies.
However, the peak of denial is the denial of the people or sidelining them to the margins. From the perspective of Assad and his supporters, there are no people There is just tame, meek, and obedient masses whose task is clapping and cheering for him in the squares, and any different scene if nothing but a fabrication.
Anyway, the state of denial is no longer relevant after the revolution. Syrians who were surprised by their sense of belonging to Syria, who after not able to recognize themselves – let alone recognize each other – are now living the uproar of the revolution, with the challenges it unfolded and sacrifices it required. They are discovering -albeit in noisy fashion- themselves and getting to know each other, their differences and common grounds. So, in the meantime, and after everything that has happened, it is certain that the Syria, which has unfolded suddenly and emerged in a violent and flagrant manner, has become completely different from the Syria of “Assad’s Syria forever”. What remains is the formulation of that change in a new social contract, based on a democratic citizenship state.
In short, who believes that Syria is just an inherited “farm” and mere a strategic location will not intuitively see its people, their suffering, sacrifices and yearning for freedom and dignity. Who says, “Assad’s Syria” will not see the people’s Syria; this is the story in a nutshell.
Original article in Arabic was published in the al-Hayat newspaper