Almost nothing has changed since I last left the place. Sitting there next to the yellow jasmine tree at my mum’s house while sipping my cup of coffee has still got the very same effect on the soul. I sat there, waiting to wake up from a dream that kept recurring a lot during my recent expatriate years of immigration. I was sure something in the dream will definitely take me back to my comfortable bed under that inclined European ceiling. When awake, man can usually distinguish between reality and fantasy, yet for sure, in our expatriate life we did learn how to differentiate between those two extremes even when we’re dreaming.
I woke up of course. I slowly walked into the bathroom; and I shall skip some of the details of what happened with me there! I looked for my glasses, made myself a cup of coffee and went out to the balcony… I sat near the yellow jasmine tree. The sun was shining… Damascus’s sun… Damascus’s air… Damascus’s traffic and voices speaking my same language… Even the microbus flashing by like an arrow, causing unbearable noise, and releasing enough carbon dioxide to pollute half of Europe. استمر في القراءة ←
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.
The chain of historic disasters that the Assad’s (the father) regime brought upon Syria and the Arabs in the past decades are being crowned by the catastrophic additions of his son’s regime. These disasters will place him on the wrong side of history.
The regime’s mouthpieces and means of propaganda have been boasting and clapping for its “defiance” and “resistance” (to Israel and the super powers in the world). They keep repeating dumb slogans and tailoring all the crimes and disasters that were committed by the regime to accuse the Syrian people and its revolutionaries. Where the regime creates the disasters and fabricates the financial, political and ethical crimes and accuses the opposition of creating them through starting the vulgar whining and weeping claiming innocence and virtue. This is not too smart on the regime’s part, it is in fact a total ethical degeneration repeatedly cloned and reproduced in a manner more repulsive than anything else. Having said that, we have to admit that the regime proved superiority in the ability to continuously manipulate many voices that are still deceived by the tales of “the regime’s resistance” and “the strategic plan” aiming at toppling it.
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.
ولد عمر أميرالاي (1944- 2011) في دمشق من أسرة لها أصول شركسية وتركية وكردية وعربية. درس المسرح في جامعة “مسرح الأمم” في باريس عامي 1966-1967، ثم التحق بالمعهد العالي للدراسات السينمائية في باريس، لكنه انقطع عن الدراسة بسبب أحداث الطلبة عام1968. عاد إلى دمشق عام 1970.
Omar Amirallay (1944-2011) was born in Damascus, he descended from a family with Sacristan, Turkish, Kurdish and Arabic roots. In 1966-1967, he studied at the university of “the theatre of nations – Théâtre des Nations), then joined La Fémis (École Nationale Supérieure des Métiers de l’Image et du Son) in Paris before he had to stop his study due to the events of the students in 1968. He returned to Damascus in 1970.
How did despotism succeed in subjugating Syria during the Hafez Al-Assad’s era?
This article attempts to analyse the foundations of a despotic regime in order to understand the reasons underlying its success in exerting its control over a country, crippling political life, taming people, and maintaining its rule for many years. The article will take the Syrian regime between 1970 (the year of the “Correction Movement” which led Hafez Al-Assad to presidency) to 2000 (the year the president died) as a case study.
It is important to note that several aspects concerning the analysis of the father’s era and the study of the Syrian society under his rule are outdated and no longer relevant when analysing Syria during the last few years. In addition, the Syrian revolution brought into the light new events with regard to the regime’s alliances and the structure of society, which have been dealt with by a number of Syrian writers (and some of them still do), and whose documentation and analysis will require additional time.
On the origins of the “Baath” regime rule of Syria
The leading reason that explains Syrian regime’s success in taming public life, including all forms of political participation, social activities and civil conduct, is its ability to