Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Call to Sanity?

Accusations and counter-accusations, conspiracies and confusion, that is the state of affairs between people who support this Syrian revolution and those who don't. People have managed to fall neatly on either side, and each brings its own assumptions and condemnations to the table before any discussion can begin. I wrote a few days ago about a way forward in this impasse, at least for the reasonable people who might, for one reason or another, support a particular side, but place the priority of the country ahead of some grand geo-political narrative or some narrow sectarian agenda. Unfortunately such people are rare, and I am noting an emerging trend of loneliness amongst intelligent people on both sides of the divide who are surrounded by either the fascism of the pro-Assad supporters or the sectarian ugliness of those who think Adnan al Ar'our is leading the Syrian revolution.

I want Assad and his regime to go immediately, and somebody who is pro-regime - for whatever reason - needs to understand that whilst he can come and go as he pleases, people who share my views are getting arrested, beaten and tortured by the regime's thugs. Simply telling us to come down to Syria and see for ourselves is intellectually dishonest. The fact that this person has some level of popular support is also irrelevant. The point is that people who support him are not being attacked by his thugs, whereas those who peacefully oppose him, and have demonstrated in Damascus or Aleppo, have been brutalised by his supporters. The fact that the regime claims to be fighting some salafist insurgency is not an excuse for sealing off entire cities and  the shelling of residential areas, or the mass arrests and torture of thousands of people. Finally, it is not a justification that a revolution will weaken "the cause" and benefit the West, if it is based on repression and brutality. It begs the question what kind of liberation and freedom we are talking about if we are going to be forced to be free at the tip of a bayonet and under the boots of some thugs.

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