Revolutions are great mass movements carrying within themselves the promise to stop time for a while then perform a jump either to the future, or bend upon themselves to jump backwards and revert to a point in time where dichotomies are revealed in all their glaring descripancies in order to unravel them. There is no revolution that does not shake and rock the old frames of references, the systems of thought, the social structures and the sensibilities that prevailed before. Revolutions generate a tornado of dynamism that will inevitably spend itself in rebirth or destruction, but where the revolution moves what it leaves in its wake is a changed landscape , altered beyond recognition.
Men tend to think of revolutions as male in spirit and character. This is far from reflecting the reality because, although, it is men who fight or wreck, trailing mayhem in their wake, women are always at least half of the societies which generate revolutions. The women in the Syrian revolution for instance have been overwhelmingly present in creating some of the most impressive luminaries in the skies of Syria on the one hand, and in being on the other hand at the receiving end of untold suffering, savage violence and harrowing displacement. Women and children make up the majority of the population of the camps. Yet when women try to bring the question of the future of women in the proposed brave new world of the Syrians, the male section of the revolution rushes to say, let us defeat Assad first, then we can discuss the fate of women and the rights of women. The same line of argument tends to emerge when discussing the abuses and crimes committed by the Islamists, specially the Nusra Front and Da’ish: we should wait until Assad is defeated, then we can deal with these issues .
It is simplistic, deceptive, overbearing and unethical to postpone crucial pressing issues and leave them hanging in the murky space. We are bearing witness to what Da’ish and the Nusra believe to be the place of women. The public statement implied in their actions is that it is under the shroud-like niqab, hidden, invisible and to be governed by the patriarchal law. The fanatical Islamists are silencing every liberal and every civic voice gradually, methodically and surely, but of special emphasis in this policy is silencing women either by intimidation or incarceration. There were four prisoners of conscience taken in Douma by the Islamists including two women activists. In this context I have the gut feeling that the lawyer and writer Razan Zaitouneh, with, her valiant history in the defense of human rights and her pronounced role in furthering civil activism, was the prime target.
A revolution which postpones crucial integral and organic issues, will remain incomplete and fragile. The issue of women human rights, for they are sometimes unclear under the larger umbrella of human rights, should remain in the forefront of the Syrian revolution, for to postpone it until the Revolution prevails might be too late for the women of the Revolution.