22 March 2011

Syria: No More Fear

This is from a Reuters article regarding the popular mood in Syria, another country which has seen larger protests over the last few days

The preacher of the Saladin Mosque was reflecting on the joys of Mother's Day, his sermon straying far from dramatic protests now gripping Syria, when a young man jumped up to the pulpit and grabbed the microphone.

"Why are you talking about this in these circumstances? Tell us about the political situation!" shouted the youth, before secret police arrested him and hurried him away.

In Damascus, as in the provinces, a barrier of fear which had blocked dissent is breaking down. Uprisings across the Arab world have not stopped at the door of one of its most hardline administrations.

For the first time, placards other than those glorifying Syria's ruling elite and the "historic achievements" of the Baath Party are being raised in the towns of the strategic Hauran plain south of Damascus.

A single word is etched on them -- "Freedom."

The region,, has seen the first non-sectarian protests against the Baath Party since Assad's late father Hafez al-Assad crushed leftist and Islamist opponents in the 1980s.


In a sign of changing times, Montaha al-Atrash, whose father led a revolt against French rule in the 1920s, addressed Assad directly in an interview on BBC Television.

"Dr Bashar, listen to us. Non-stop pressure and repression will generate an explosion. You know, and you see how the region is boiling,"

Opposition figure Riad al-Turk, who spent 25 years as a political prisoner said Syrian leaders face "the moment of truth." 

"What is required is serious and clear steps to transform Syria from repression to democracy…. They are steps outlined repeatedly: release political prisoners, abolish the state of emergency, legalize a multi-party system, separation of powers, the independence of the judiciary, and scrap the clause that makes the Baath Party 'leader of state and society'," he said. "All I know today is that Syria will not remain the kingdom of silence. Fear will no longer suffocate, and my homeland will not remain a big prison."

I wonder what will happen in Syria over the coming weeks, f I can’t see Assad going without bathing in the blood of a lot of ordinary Syrians,


susan said...

The times are changing. People will only be pushed just so far.

jams o donnell said...

Here's hoping they get the change they want

Anonymous said...

Just possibly we are entering the most significant few years for many hundreds of years. The age of the Dictators may be about to pass. It's not like me to be optimistic though, so I will temper the thought with wondering what will really follow on from it when the dust settles in a few years from now... The age of the catastrophic battle between religion and reason? Hopefully not, but just the age of reason. But this is just the overture to the real drama of China, Russia (phase 2), Africa, Asia and the rest. We live (and many will die) in interesting times.

jams o donnell said...

This is certainly a momentous time but the end of dictators? Sadly I doubt it. I wish it ere otherwise

There are a few permutations for the participants in the final conflict and none of them fill me with hope for the future