When Were the Minorities Oppressed?: Michel Kilo

Source: Asharq Al-Awsat Newspaper

By: Michel Kilo

Published: 9th September 2012


In the past, minorities in Syria were not oppressed. If we studied the Kurdish example, we would find the Kurds to be founders of the national Syrian state, amongst them those who held the highest governmental positions; from the first Prime Ministry to the first Presidency to the first Army Generals. The Kurds did not endure persecution, indeed many of them were Arabized and in return many Arabs were taken in by Kurdish tribes known as Mawali. They did suffer greatly, however, in the years following 1963, as the regime set in motion a highly vindictive criminal plan known as the “Arabic Belt”, that sought to separate and surround areas which they had long occupied, changing the names of their towns and villages and installing Arabic tribes in their place, turning them into a foreign, hostile body in a land where they had long played a formative role, serving it with loyalty and devotion just like any of its other loyal children. On the other hand, the regime worked to incite the rest of Syria’s factions against them, under the pretext that they were conniving strangers waiting for the opportunity to pounce on the homeland, insisting that they must be harshly repressed as a preventative measure to limit their harm and eliminate their evil.

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Les chrétiens de la Syrie et le régime en pouvoir

Article in English

المقالة باللغة العربية

La Syrie et le régime en pouvoir

      La Syrie est une des pays du Proche Orient dont la population s’élève à des 20 millions d’habitants, gouvernés par le parti Baath depuis 1963, et par la famille El Assad depuis 1970. Il s’agit d’un régime totalitaire, dictatorial, qui consacre le centralisation du pouvoir entre les moins des membres d’une éthnie religieuse représentant environ 10%, des habitants du pays, qui sont les Alaouites. Ceci constitue un exemple claire de l’oligarchie.

Pour bien éxercer un contrôle stricte des affaires du pays, plusieurs appareils de sécurité ont été créés, jouissant de autorisations indéterminés, ces appareils tiennent concurrence entre eux pour jouir de la satisfaction du président.

Parmi ces appareils citons : la Sécurité de L’Etat, la Sécurité Politique, Le Service Général des Renseignements , les Renseignements Militaires, Les Renseignements des Forces aériennes ….

Le régime au pouvoir à imposé la loi d’urgence le long de 40 années ; cette loi facilite, et réglemente les violations des droits de l’homme et du citoyen, et elle est toujours en vigueur jusqu’à présent  bien qu’elle a été théoriquement annulée depuis des mois.

Il s’agit d’un régime militaire ne savant que la violence et les chantages comme moyen pour traiter avec autrui, peuple ou pays. Les dérnières années et décennies sont témoins d’innombrables violations quantitatives et qualitatives des droits élémentaires de l’homme: poursuite, violation de la vie privée, arrestations, torture systématiques, massacres à Palmyre, à Alep et à Hama.

La déclenchement de la révolution syrienne.

     Il y a presque un an, une importante masse du peuple syrien s’est révoltée en voyant l’exemple en Tunisie, en Egypte puis en Libye, brisant le barrière de la peur dans un pays qui fut surnomme « Le royaume du mutisme ». Sa révolte a trouvé une violente suppression qui a dépassé les limites. Une suppression qui est arrivée à bombarder les quartiers peuples par les chars, les mortiers et les missiles.

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The Revolution and the Christians in Syria

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En Français

Early March 2012

Syria and the Regime

          Syria is a Middle-Eastern country, with a population of more than 20 million, ruled by Al Baath party since 1963 and by Al Assad family since 1970 [1]. The regime is a totalitarian dictatorship whose power is concentrated in power centres controlled mainly by Alawites, a religious sect constituting about 10% of the population; a clear example of oligarchy. To ensure a strict control over the country, security bodies with sweeping powers were established and supported. These bodies are in continuous state of competition among each other to gain the content of the President. Some of these bodies are: State Security, Political Security, General Intelligence, Military Intelligence, Air Forces Intelligence, etc. For more than four decades, the regime has also enforced ‘emergency law’ – a law that facilitates and legalises the violation of Human Rights. In practice, it is still applied though it has been, theoretically, cancelled several months ago.

          It is a security-oriented military regime that knows nothing but violence and bargaining as means of communicating with others: people and countries. Past years and decades witnessed so many extreme violations of basic human rights, in quantity and in quality: surveillance, privacy violation, detentions, systematic torture, Tadmur massacre, Aleppo massacre, Hamah massacre [2], etc.

The Outbreak of the Syrian Revolution

          About a year ago the Syrian people started their uprising encouraged by what they witnessed in Tunisia, Egypt and later Libya, breaking the ‘barrier of fear’ in a country which was called the ‘Kingdom of Silence’. The revolution was encountered by extreme repression that crossed many lines which mounted, nowadays, to shelling populated areas with mortars, tank artilleries, and ground missiles. The casualties, currently, have reached 8,000 in addition to tens of thousands of wounded and a lot more detainees. The worst consequence of this extreme violence and crackdown is the shift of a considerable part of the uprising to a poorly organised armed rebellion, after they have adapted and were committed, for several months, to a peaceful struggle as well as the spread of a negative Islamic tendency, especially among the armed rebels as a result of all their disappointments with ongoing extreme suppression and the inability of the political efforts of the international community and the outside opposition to put an end to their suffering.

The Attitude of Christians

          Statistics estimated the Syrian Christians to be between 5-10% of the population, divided into several churches: Eastern Orthodox, the majority, Eastern Catholic and limited numbers of Latin and Anglican churches. The majority of the Christians back the current regime in spite of what has taken place and is currently taking place. Only a minority of Christians stand on the other side and support the rebels in their demands and take part in their struggle especially the peaceful one.

          Those who support the regime have different motives. Some have Islam-phobia – Islam here is exclusively the Sunni Islam [3]. Others, mainly the youth, have been brought up and their awareness of their country was formed while Bashar Al Assad was in power. They were impressed by the image in which this president was presented: young, modern, open-minded, studied in the west, has a beautiful and active wife, etc. The attitude of this group of Christians was a result of their ignorance of the true history of Syria. The history that has been taught to them in schools and universities through official curricula, shows that the history of Syria has almost started with Al Baath party and Al Assad family. Moreover, there are Christian supporters, mainly businessmen who back the regime for financial benefits.

          Finally, part of the group known as ‘greyish’ or ‘sitting-on-the-fence’ that includes a considerable number of intellectual Christians who declare their neutrality in the current struggle as they cannot justify the brutality of regime’s actions, but at the same time, they secretly support it for different reasons, some of which are stated above.

          On the other hand, there is a minority of Christians who stand with the uprising against the regime. Most of them have never been known as being politically organised or committed. They are generally educated people and most of them are seculars. Moreover, a good number of them do not hide being atheists or agnostics, though they are considered ‘socially’ Christians.

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