Perhaps the best invention to come out of Facebook is the clicking on “like” to express admiration, appreciation, love, compassion, and acknowledgement or to show courtesy or all these combined. This small link, the “like”, can be used for a “page”, a person, a cause, a book or an event as well as when coming across a photo or following reading a comment or post, or even a comment on a comment or a post. It becomes addictive after getting used to it as one feels an urgent desire to have such a tool in hand, clicking it in secret and suddenly bringing it out if he/she likes something or someone or a voice or a speech or any scene whether he/she is walking down the street, at home, university, a café or any other place. Furthermore, one can imagine a society armed with the “like” links which can be clicked left, right and centre, and released in celebrations which convey “on the ground” a communal sense of unity in emotions and excitation.
More than a year has passed since the start of the Syrian revolution demanding freedom, dignity and the departure of the Assad family. Over ten thousand dead, a hundred thousand injured and more than 40 thousand refugees fled to Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordon as well as about a hundred and fifty thousand citizens who were arrested, twenty thousand of them are still in detention. All this in addition to damages to property and infrastructure and the systematic destruction of many regions.
The original article in French can be read here. An Arabic text is also available here.
Tens of reports have been published by various human rights organisations including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the United Nations Council for Human Rights, and Médecins Sans Frontières documenting verified cases and eye witness accounts. All these, as well as films and interviews conducted with doctors, activists, and defected soldiers ascertain that atrocities and violations are being carried out in Syria which can be classified as crimes against humanity.
There are still some people, perhaps innocently, asking what exactly is the Freedom the Syrians are seeking? Can the revolutionaries formulate a crystal clear concept of Freedom? Won’t the Syrian revolution present a risk to the Syrian society as a whole in case the Salafists took control of the State of Syria? Aren’t the Syrians risking replacing one despotism with another?
Those people are seeking a comprehensive vision of the concept of Freedom along with a clear picture for the future of the revolution and the nature of the desired regime.
The protestors and the revolutionaries are providing answers that do not appeal to the regime supporters nor those who are sceptical of the revolution. The answer of the protestors is decisive and final. We are here to topple the regime. Everything else is just details. This article is an attempt to explain the reasons why the protestors’ answer is the only acceptable and ethical answer. Any scepticism of their answer springs from unethical attitudes that ignore reality.
From a philosophical perspective, the answer to the question of Freedom arises from the circumstances the people are living. The question of Freedom is the question of Syrians living under a dictatorial regime since forty years ago. The answer to this question is their answer. Anything else is pure ranting that is not related to the lives of the citizens and does not take into consideration their circumstances, tragedies, hopes and aspirations. Any answer that does not take into consideration the specific realities in Syria is not a satisfactory answer. This analysis of the concept of Freedom extends to other concepts. The revolution is the revolution of the Syrian people and only they are able to give a true meaning to the revolution through their practices and choices.
Why do Syrians believe that toppling the regime is the means for attaining Freedom and everything else is just details?
Let us consider both the regime’s and opposition’s perspectives on Freedom.