since I can remember, my life has been in constant reaction to some political injustice, either by a ruler or a western-induced war (.. ok, American.. not any western)..
1991, 1 am, my mom wakes me up at 3 AM, I was a high school student in my 10th grade, I had a biology exam the next day... she was crying and repeatedly saying: they started bombing iraq.. they just don't fear god!! they think they are god!!
my mom is a non-religious person.. and I remember freezing up to this scene, and trying to silently comfort her by a slight touch on her shoulder.... she apologies, gently removes my head from her shoulder, and goes to bed crying to leave me to go back to sleep..
right now, I don't know whom was she referring to.. George Bush senior for starting the war? or Hafez Al Assad for supporting this war on our closest neighbour...
and I burst into tears, not knowing why!!!
since then, every American teen movie that I see brings a taste of disgust and anger..
yes, while your high school sucks cos the popular guy didn't take you to prom, I had to comfort my mom cos your country was invading a neighbouring country, and my ruler supported your country..
and while you woke up next day in the morning, and chose not to go to school cos you're broken hearted, or chose to go and read a poem to the guy who cheated on you in class (while a nice song plays from the soundtrack).. I had to go to school in my psuedo military uniform, and cheer and swear oath to be loyal to a ruler that supported invading iraq, while still forced his people to chant slogans condemning the americans for being "imperialists"..
then comes the second gulf war, the Gazza massacre, the Lebanon bombing in 2007, and the Libya genocide.. and I grow up and leave my mom in Syria to fly to some other places, away from that ruler and his evil sadistic mob.. I leave her without my comforting touch at 3 AM, where I cannot silently try to assure her that things are going to be alright..
cos I can't.. things are not going to be alright.. and just like Iraqis have been killed, and Palestinians have been slaughtered, now Libyans are bombed by their ruler, and Syrians are jailed by their government..
I am sorry mom.. I had to run away from my jailer, and from the life sentence of being an Arab... I can't comfort you anymore, I can't stay up at 3 AM to watch TV and cry with you over Baghdad being bombed, but I hope to be able to spare my son from having to see me wake up in the middle of the night, look up to a sky where there might be a god I don't believe in, and ask him:
Somehow, I am not convinced with the fear theory everyone is talking about.
Yes, the Syrian intelligence security troops are very well known for their ruthlessness and disregard to any human values and rights.. and yes, history has hundreds of record to prove that..
but when you look at what is happening in Egypt, Iran, Libya, Yemen and Tunisia, we are talking about some of the most fierce regimes in the world.. Regimes that would dwarf the Syrians reputation in torture and disregard to human rights..
Still, citizens of those countries went out marching for their rights against their suppressors.. they defied bullets and imprisonment and bravely walked in the streets demanding their basic human rights, knowing that they might very well not go back to see their loved ones, families and friends.
So, it cannot be fear, if fear would have paralyzed anyone, it would have had its effect on Iranians and Libyans as well… so why on earth are Syrians still silent?
I would see the middle class being afraid for its precious little security and cultural gains (don’t judge me, I am middle class too).. and I could sort of try to understand merchants and traders content with the status quo.. their business has thrived within the Assads’ reign… but what about normal people? Those left without jobs, income, opportunities and future.. why don’t they match the streets asking for justice, when they see the fancy car and expensive homes that were taken away from them in their own city?
I really don’t understand!!
I am a leftist, a hard-core believer in socialism and struggle of the working class to create a better future.. History for me is split to pre-French revolution, the period between the French revolution and the communist Russian revolution, the period between the communist revolution and the French student uprising in 1967, and now....
Note how I divided history to events by the French and the Russians? Yeah.. That’s how the left should be..
But I am also Syrian.. Coming from a Damascus middle class family, living abroad (of course.. the stereotype!!), and have been on a constant nail-biting and binge drinking trip since the Tunisians started what is, and will always be noted as a landmark in history..
.. and I want in on the celebrations goddamn it!!!!!
I spent every single minute of the past 5 weeks checking the news, reading every single blog or news hub -regardless of the integrity or value of the writing- and waiting to see mobilization in the streets of Damascus and Aleppo.. and to the life of me, I still can't figure out why no one moved a finger.
sure, the theories about the fear from the bloody secret service revenge, fear of secular wars and the loss of our oh-so-precious so-called inner stability, and the fear of "what's coming next" all make valid reasons... but didn't the egyptians and the Tunisians have the same fears and phobias? they did go out in the street and killed their own pharos... why not us?
Ok, we have more sects and religions and the whole nine yards.. we have a higher chance of civil wars... but isn't 40 years of political and social oppression enough to get people out in the street calling for heads to roll? isn't the complete lack of economical integrity and the almost impossible-to-bear living conditions stronger than a simple fear from police force??
but this is not the people's fault.. this is the neo-left's fault that believes in civilized solution, negotiations, talks, signing petitions, and political agendas; when facing an enemy that imprisons 19 year old bloggers for a simple innocent wish to be part of their country's future.... an enemy that devalues their people's lives to kill and imprison them by the numbers, just to keep the reign of terror..
so, the neo Syrian left resorts to silence.. they disassociate themselves from the facebook calls for a day of anger, they turn a deaf ear to the cheers and songs of freedom coming from Egypt, and they let down all those who once looked up for them, and saw a glimpse of hope in their faces and names, imagining a better Syria with them in the lead..
and so goes away any hope I placed in the people from the Damascus Declaration, the Social Democratic movement, and the Syrian left in general... because just like Diet Cola and low fat milk, the neo left is now "civilized" and cautious, waiting for the right moment to act and for enough people to sign their petition... Hell, even the Muslim Brotherhood (my arch enemies) took 4 weeks to say that they are "considering resuming their oppositional movement"..
CONSIDERING??? REALLY?? you, the ones who keep talking about revenge for Hama and the 1982 Massacre, the ones who - once - didn't see a problem in blowing up a whole bus station to kill a few Alowite soldiers (killing tens of innocents in the mean time).. you are starting to "consider resuming your opposition" ? yeah, why not wait another 40 years until little Hafez Al Assad Junior is old enough to be president? huh?
The left is dead, a philosophy shouldn't exist for longer than 40 or 50 years.. it's time to bring something else into play.. Anarchy, digital revolution, youth and anger and frustration into play.. Fuck politics, and Fuck civilization.. the people should march to get their demands.. and if needed, there should be blood!!