As many are aware the revolution in Syria is well under way now. Protests have spread in numerous cities, towns and villages with people untied in asking for freedom, civil rights and the ability to live in pride and dignity. Reform of government and other institutions, end of the corruption that has spread like cancerous cells in every corner of the country and the release of political prisoners who have been held on no or bogus charges are some of the most important of our demands. As well as, the end of 40+ year old Emergency Law that has given this mafia of a regime the license to tightly, unjustly and criminally hold 20 million people hostage in their own country.
So far there has been more than 170 people killed. Most of them were protesters marching in peaceful protests. They were killed by the government through its security apparatus.
I’ve recently engaged in small debates with friends and family on some social media forums about the sincerity of those who will this change and the validity of the governments’ claims and status. Having had debated a number of people I noticed that most of their arguments are the same. In this post, I will list those arguments and present my own counter-argument to each of them:
1. Syrians are living in peace and security under the Baath regime, we do not want another Iraq/Yemen/Libya/etc.
Citizens of any country are supposed to live in peace and security, this is not a gift from the government to the people. If the government fails to provide security to its citizens then it is regarded as a failure. Moreover, what is the price the Syrian people are paying for this “security”? Curtailing of civil rights and freedom of speech? Inability to criticize or disagree with any government decree or public figure? People living in humiliation under the mercy of a mafia that decides who gets what when? How is Europe living in peace and security?!
2. Syria’s animosity towards America and Israel is something the Syrian people are proud of, we are one of the very few countries in the region who have not given in to the colonial, imperialistic and Zionist entities of the US and Israel.
So?! Who said the alternative to the Baath mafia will be all “lovey-dovey” towards Israel and the US? If we establish democracy in Syria and the majority of the people wish to make Israel and the US their enemies, than that’s what will happen. End of story. I have a deep-seated animosity towards Israel and the American policies in the region, but that doesn’t mean that I also like having a totalitarian regime in my country which practices its iron-fist policies with the excuse that its defending me from my enemies. We have been in a technical-state-of-war for 40 years in Syria and we have not tasted the sweet taste of peace nor have we really gone to war. The status-quo is unsustainable and unbearable and must end or at least change.
3. Syria is economically self-sufficient and self reliant. Syria does not rely on foreign aid nor does it have any mentionable external debt. While all the countries in the world suffered from the recent economic crisis, Syria stood tall unshaken by it because of its economic policies.
This is a myth, no country in the world wasn’t effected by the crisis, including Syria. Syria has recently thrived on foreign (mostly Arab) investment flowing in, erecting various projects such as office, residential and commercial buildings. Syrians are happy now that we finally have malls! But the investment funds have dried up. Investors stopped pumping money simply because they don’t have it anymore. Investment in Syria has two sources, the first coming from the Baath mafia heads where most of the proceeds of their business goes back to them, further adding to the riches. The second coming from foreign and Arab investors. The world has been severely affected by the crisis, and so have the investors coming from the rest of the world. As for the mafia investors, enough said.
I cannot argue much about the foreign debt issue, partly because its true, and partly because I’m not an economist or financial expert and I can’t really analyze this particular point in a meaningful manner.
4. The protesters are nothing but infiltrators and saboteurs looking to shake the stability of the country and create chaos and havoc to benefit our enemies.
This is the same old broken record replayed by every tyrant in the world and the region directed at every or any sign of dissent and public outcries towards the autocratic nature of the regime and its criminal policies. The notion that if you don’t subscribe to the regime’s policies automatically means that you are an agent of the West and Israel is the very core of what dictatorship stands for. It’s what the Arab governments, including our own, criticized America about when Bush famously made his “you’re either with us or against us” doctrine. To those I say this:
I am Syrian as much as you all are. I love my country as much as you do, I fear for it as much as you do. I reject any foreign intervention claiming to save or help us. I believe change can and will come from within and that is more than sufficient. Israel is my arch-enemy. And so is the Baath mafia currently occupying my country, see my last post. To me they are two sides of the same coin. I do not subscribe to the totalitarian policies practiced by this government. I am for free speech, civil rights and liberties, healthy institutions and democracy. And I am for living in pride and dignity.
I look forward to the day when Syrians can hold their heads up high and feel proud of their country and what it has and stands for. When we excel in arts and sciences. When tourism becomes a huge industry. When my culture and history is exported to the whole world by the power of its richness and values, unstained by the filthy hands of this regime. The people of Syria are creative and smart, intelligent and respectful. We have the ability, the will and the resources to be one of the top countries of this world in almost every aspect. And it’s time to break the barriers and rise up.