The Western media, perhaps because of the strength of the regime’s propaganda machine, is swinging to defending the Assadi regime, find excuses for its onslaughts on the civilians or attempt concentrate exaggeratedly on criticizing the failings of the Opposition fighters. Aberrations do happen in the ranks of the Opposition fighters and the foreign fighters who are infiltrating the Revolution against its will. The terrible destruction of homes and the civil communities, the annihilation of villages, towns and farms and the floods of refugees fleeing are creating a dangerous vacuum exploited by opportunists and infiltrating foreign fighters. But when aberrations are brought to the attention of the Revolutionaries, on Facebook for instance, they are condemned and confronted unwaveringly by many activists, the Revolution thinkers and writers, not to mention the Facebookians. Following every crime or breaching of civil rights, a barrage of criticism is launched in the form of comments, posters, redicule and rebuke. No doubt, there are those who try to defend but we stand up to them and scrutinize their arguments concentrating on the flaws and the infringements.
We are very hard on the Islamists when they deviate. The Nosra Front or the Islamists who are calling for an Islamic caliphate received from the majority of us the harshest and most vitriolic criticism. It is amazing how the debate sometimes reaches heights of enlightenment and broad mindedness in defense of justice and civil liberties, such heights as any society would be proud of. This does not mean that the extremists do not have their say as well. They do. We fight them and they fight us in a war of words, arguments and verbal ambushes. Religion should not be equated with ignorance, only many of the Revolutionaries and fighters belong to the poor and deprived classes, which were traditionally impoverished culturally because of the lack of proper education and because of the political indoctrination in the worship of the infallible President and his Ba’ath party.
When the Revolution started, the rebels wanted what we all wanted, a free democratic, just country which will give them equal opportunities and give their children fair chances. When their houses were destroyed and their towns and villages were razed to the ground, when their surviving families fled and their women and children sought sanctuary in neighbouring countries, even worse when the world turned against them refusing to give them access to arms to defend themselves and rated them as terrorists, they turned to God as their only ally and saviour. But turning to God did not mean that they became followers of Qaeda or the Nosra Front. When the guns are silent, most of them will go to their previous occupations and moderate Islam which abhors fanaticism. Many of the FSA fighters and their leaders, although almost illiterate display innate wisdom and natural intuitive preference for justice and peace for all Syrians regardless of their religions or ethnicities.
Facebook has become a platform, a forum and a mini parliament for the Revolution. All walks of life are represented, the armed struggle, the FSA, the peaceful activists, the culturalists, the political analysts, the historians, the chroniclers, the citizen journalists and photographers, the media, the archaeologists, the priests, organized and disorganized religion. the doctors, the lawyers, the relief and humanitarian organizations and workers, the human rights advocates, the civil liberties champions, the writers, the artists, the cartoonists and the humorists. Moreover, and as expected, revolutionaries of every description, organizations, groups, dispositions and principles are also represented. And please do not forget the political Opposition which raises many questions and dissatisfaction There is a lot that infuriates, stirs anger and disgust; there are plenty of unhealthy sentiments , curses and bad language, but nothing escapes the attention of the general overwhelming desire to protect the Revolution from extremism and bigotry.
If you wish to have a look at all that the Facebook Revolution pages are not , please visit the Assad loyalist pages and you will have your heart’s desire of uniform black and white, president idolatry, Big Brother indoctrination, fight against terror, terrorists, saboteurs, criminals and murderers. You will become very well versed in propaganda and its lethal ways and you will become adept at distorting everything decent, good and beautiful. You will become a friend of the Shbiha, the security forces, and the Syrian army, not to mention having the opportunity to witness at first hand the finest and most complex methods in the distortion of facts, changing reality and the manufacturing of lies. There will be no debate, no criticism of the sacred person of the ruler. Beware; you will be overwhelmed by love, floods of love and oceans of love poured over the head of the eternal president who is dripping with the honey of love. Voices are never raised against the rapists, the child killers, the murderers, the human rights abusers or the criminals within the security forces. No criticism tarnishes their whiter than white actions. In addition, the prisons are full , the hospitals are full, the morgues are full, the graveyards are full; it is a full house, ladies and gentlemen.
Does the world really want such a regime to survive? Is the eternal president brainwashing the world as well?
Below I shall publish some of the comments I made on Facebook in answer to remarks and thoughts posted by my friends. They are an example of some of the debates and discussions appearing on the Revolution facebook pages.
I wrote commenting on the current sectarian conflicts which brought Hizbolla and the Iranians to Syria, not to mention many Iraqis to fight in support of Assad against the rebels, thus kindling and feeding sectarian hatred.
A sectarian Revolution? Is there such a Revolution?
Most of us are getting bored…terribly bored with those who are all the time repeating the same sickening insipid verbal rubbish, as if trying to confine our revolution to a struggle between Shiaa and Sunnis by repeating a barrage of insults and curses. It is not such a struggle and it shall never be. They are taking us down the path of no return and we are following blindly. Assad is winning again and his triumph this time is the total distortion of the Revolution by dictating to us what we should be fighting against, something the world at large is projecting as the Revolution. This Revolution started against oppression, tyranny and the rule of one infernal oligarchy; this Revolution started for freedom and justice. Remember? Do remember please. The world is portraying the Revolution now as a sectarian civil war, something to be avoided at any cost and against which background Assad is emerging as a kind of saint. Did the thousands of the Syrian die and the millions of Syrians driven out of their smashed cities and towns for a war we never planned for, nor wanted. Can’t we understand that to adopt the war of sectarianism specially the stupid insane absurd war between the Shiaa and the Sunnis will mean the end of our Revolution, even the possible end of Syria? We fight them and fight Hezbollah because they are fanatical fascists who are attacking us and killing our people; we fight them because they are bringing darkness and hatred to our cause and because they aim at our destruction, not because they are followers of Ali, the beloved cousin of the Prophet. We must never never succumb to, against our better judgement, to the degradation, the loss of honour of abandoning our Revolution and its ideals to the darkness of a sectarian war which is likely to spread to other Arab countries, a war which none will ever win as history has proven.
In am postings some of the comments I am in the habit of making on Facebook as an example of the discussions that lead to such comments.
A friend commented saying that the situation in Syria now is like Pandora’s Box forced open to reveal all its plagues.
How true! The situation now is like Pandora’s Box: the fanatical Islamists, the abhorrent Qaeda, the Nosra Front, the regime, Hizbollah, the Alawite Shabiha, the Iranians, the Russians, the mistrust and sometimes open hostility of the West or part of it, the regional and global desire to see this Revolution dead or distorted beyond recognition and the fierce onslaught of the International Left and extreme right. Laugh or cry as you wish, but this is the reality of the situation.
But once everything is out of the box it becomes empty and there is nothing more to fear.
On portrayals of fighters from the FSA
This article is in the manner of Yassin Al Haj Saleh’s* portraits of rebels from the FSA, except that while Yassin Al Haj Saleh , with utmost objectivity, leaves it to us to interpret and think about the content, the writer here tells us now and then about his impressions and readings into the portrayals. Yassin Al Haj Salh’s narrative is like a faithful camera fixed on the other, while the present narrative mixes with the writer’s personal experience. Both narratives make me feel the crucial importance of supporting the FSA morally and materially. The FSA is the grassroots, the genuine article, born of the Revolution for the Revolution. If we are supporters of the armed struggle, we should put all our strength behind the FSA and work hard to help the advocates of moderation and common sense among its ranks. 11 June
My comments on facebook regarding the murder of the child Mohammad Qattaa by allegedly an unknown Islamist group after accusing him of blasphemy
To those who are trying to rubbish the videos showing the dead child and find excuses for the killers, I would like to say: the murder of the child Mohammad is a manifestation of a new evolving hunger for power and authority in the name of a religion they do not even understand literally because it is beyond their scant and pathetic knowledge which borders on illiteracy. This is despotism naked and blatant. By such actions they are sabotaging the Revolution of the Syrian people and joining its worst enemies. Yassin Al Haj Saleh has elucidated his objections which are the objection of the fair minded, the ethical and the just. This is a crime against humanity, against Islam and against the Syrian people. Nothing can justify it or lessen its horror. Instead of denying it, even worse crimes have been committed in the name of Islam, I suggest they join together and raise their voices against such murders in order to bring the killers to justice. We still have lawyers, judges and experts in criminal law…….
How can a fighter or group of fighters combine in themselves the offices of judges, witnesses and executioners? Judges in Islam issued judgments after deliberation and listening to the two side, but did not execute themselves. For Jabhat al-Nosra and the Islamists or indeed the rebels to take the law in their own hands and execute is absolutely unlawful, as it is absolutely unlawful for the soldiers of the regime to do so. Nothing legitimizes the Shariaa killings because there is no shariaa behind them but that of the jungle. Wars create uncontrollable savage contexts but for us to defend and legitimize murder is sinking into barbarism. 10 June
Yassin Al Haj Saleh is uncompromising on murder especially the murder of a child. Those who dare use religion for their lust for blood or power and the oppression of the weak are condemned in the severest terms. He is right in giving this incident unwavering attention and reading into it many possible future abuses of power and of the defenseless civilians unless confronted and condemned. We have paid dearly, more than any nation in contemporary history for the crimes of silence and turning the other way. It is a test of our Revolution that it will not turn away but bring the murderers to justice. Religious violence is barbaric and it does not have a place in the future of Syria. 11 June
My comments on spreading knowledge and the failure of the a great number of the Syrian cultured to identify with the people and spread awareness and enlightenment, a failure and a betrayal referred to and discussed on his page again and again by the well known Syrian writer Yassin Al Haj Saleh.
Knowledge which is severed from conscience and compassion is something akin to technology which anybody with sufficient training can wield without necessarily adhering to morality and embodying the human values..
I wouldn’t put the so called common people عموم الناس and the cultured in two categories, or sever them from each other. Every one of us is the common man. The fact that money can create elite is wrong and the fact that knowledge can create a (divine) elite is not a law of nature or even a law of knowledge. I hate elitism because it will eventually create a class which will strive to prove its superiority. The common man is capable of becoming uncommon if given the same opportunities and allowed free unfettered access to knowledge.
Your words and the empty men of culture you have described have reminded me of a poem by TS Eliot called The Hollow Men:
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!….
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
A friend living in Damascus observed that she felt that sponsored Syrian cultural activities abroad in art, literature, the media and research seem to be rather disconnected with the situation inside the country and tends to become more pastiche than the real thing
This is what I call artistic and literary greed for the new in order to benefit materialistically and trade in talent or what has become fashionable as talent. It is part of a phenomenon that has become popular in the West, especially in the world of art, that of creating fashions and following them or tracing the different at any cost. The Syrian tragedy has started trends and fashions in literary and artistic expression, some genuine and a lot best described as pastiche collected and encouraged, due to its claiming to be an expression of the true voices of the Syrian Revolution. I hate to see Revolutionary literature become a fashion or a commodity like any other commodity. 11 June
The Western media, more often than not, has a talent for focusing on the exotic, the showy, the sensational, the macabre and the relatively superficial and that which confirms what they believe or wish to believe.. The Syrian Revolution has become popular as a tool of expression and a showpiece, while the cause of the Syrian people and their real tragedy are conveniently kept in the background. Is parasitical or imitative art and literature more important than the people who suffered and died or who are still suffering without any hope for a future? Genuine art, cultural expression and literature do not accept that. The Guernica was not a painted cry but the cry itself.
* From Wikipedia
From 1980 until 1996 he spent time in prison in Syria for his membership in what he now calls a “communist pro-democracy group”. He was arrested while he was studying medicine in Aleppo and spent sixteen years in prison, the last in Tadmur Prison. He took his final examination as a general medical practitioner in 2000, but never practiced.
He has been granted a Prince Claus Award for 2012 as “actually a tribute to the Syrian people and the Syrian revolution. He was not able to collect the award as he is living hiding in the underground in Syria.”