Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Rant for Syria

What a week it has been. The Khaldiyeh district in Homs was overrun by Assad's army, the Syrian rebels are in disarray, Syrian women forced to offer "survival sex" in Lebanon, and fatwas in Aleppo banning the croissant. Well, I have to say I am impressed with the historical knowledge and zealousness of whoever thought that one up, after all the croissant was a symbol of the second defeat of the Ottomans at the gates of Vienna. The people there were so jubilant at this victory that an enterprising baker came up with the idea of the "croissant" after seeing the crescents of the Ottomans. In all fairness the Ottomans did also give Europe the inspiration for cappuccinos in return, so we really should call it even. But that hasn't fazed the hapless zealots who seem intent on righting every historic wrong of the past four hundred years, although I don't really understand how right it is that the Ottomans were trying to conquer Vienna in the first place, but I guess if the Ottomans lost then that is supposed to be a bad thing, and since they were Muslims and we are Muslims then that means we lost at Vienna, right?

This is all such a farce, Syria is such a farce. Has anybody looked at Bashar al Assad? What makes me feel like crying is that anybody would think this person is a leader, let alone inspirational. He sits there and pretends to be Mr Big Man in his expensive suits, and I bet you those suits weren't even tailored by a Syrian - even though Syrians are probably the best tailors in the world, and barbers too (it's true). His adoring fans celebrate a great "victory" in Homs, as they did in Qusair, and pretend as if they have something to be proud of. Have they even seen what those two places look like now? For goodness' sake any more victories and there won't be a country left to rebuild. But they don't listen or see, they just tell us they feel "sad". And then we have to listen to their constant drone about how "arming" the revolution was a mistake and a betrayal. Their shooting the jaws off adolescent boys wasn't reason enough for these jingoistic Assad fans. After all what would people say if they saw Syrians as nothing more than a dysfunctional and inbred family? And how embarrassing would it be for young Hafez and his Acton mummy to shop in London and pretend to be normal if everybody knew that they came from a country that was as unfashionable and icky as Afghanistan. No, weaponizing this conflict was a big mistake, you hear me? and all you people who supported this revolution should be ashamed of yourselves. Think how embarrassed you've made Bashar Assad in front of the world. After all everybody knows that even though his allies are Iran and Russia what he and his wife really want is to get "in" with the West. It's just like with the Ottomans really. They tried to invade Europe, then tried to join it, and all they ever wanted was to be Europeans. But what did the Ottomans get? Croissants thrown right back in their face. Oh the agony.

Besides, all this revolutionary business distracts us from our sacred mission, Palestine. The rebels you see, are part of a global conspiracy but at the same time we are one and the same, family. You understand. On the radio we have alternating narratives. One narrative wishes to kill these people and squash them like cockroaches. The catchphrases on fascist Assad radio channels like Sham FM is that "God willing we are going to make Syria better than it was. We are going to take it back". Take it back from whom exactly? And who do you mean by "we"? Oh, yes, "we" is anybody who worships that lame duck you call a president, the one whose only accomplishment in life was to be the son of Hafez Assad. At least that dictator fought his way to power - not that that would ever wipe away his crime in Hama of course.

The other narrative on those radio channels is that these people we are fighting are "our brothers" and that they can be reasoned with to put their weapons down and "reconcile". We'll all sit down around the fire in a bedouin camp, the elders will talk of great things and nod their heads as they drink the bitter coffee, and we will magnanimously forgo the wrongs of the past and agree to unite our ranks once again. We'll just blame this on the Jews - who are everywhere apparently and had planned this entire Arab Spring just after writing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

People think I'm joking, but we do have Syrians in Syria who believe this stuff. I would know as I've met some of them - in fact some of them are even family. That's what happens to a nation that is cut off from the outside world and stops reading and asking questions. It becomes inbred and stupid. This is the Syria that Assad is trying to defend, because it is the only Syria he can rule over indefinitely. Anything else and people start prodding and poking, sticking their noses in all sorts of things such as elections, free associations, books and other such dangerous and seditious activities. Anyway I'm tired now and I've had enough of writing. The only thing I found remotely inspirational and interesting this week was that Youtube video of a young Syrian officer who decided to put his weapon down and actually speak to Syrians instead of killing them. He's dead, apparently he was killed a few months ago, and now all the pro-Assadists have mental erections because they finally found somebody in their ranks who wasn't an animal. That's how it always is in Syria, we never hear of good news until it's too late.


Sam said...

One of the best realistic rants I've read recently relevant to Syria.

tpopop said...

You can't give up abadhai, I don't think you have (a beaten person doesn't usually get angry or rant), but I think it looks like you are on the way too. Too many of our people (on any side) have given up on Syria, too many of them have died and too many more have just abandoned the place hoping that they can forget it and live their comfortable lives in the west. I try not to think about it but I've given up.

I remember when jeddo (who was a great and powerful man in Damascus, well known and well liked) used to tell me how much pride Syrians had in Syria, how they loved other Syrians and their country, how they loved their cultural and historical fabric woven from many places and peoples, they loved the Mark Twain quote 'Damascus measures time not by a calendar but by the empires it has seen rise and fall', and they loved the simplicity of life, even with the hardship.

It wasn't just him, all of my family, rich and poor, were proud of Syria, they loved it, no other country in the world can claim to have existed for millenia yet less than a century. There's still a lot to fight for and be won, not by violence, but by effort, rebuilding etc.

I truly believe the Syrian people (all Syrian people) are great and have the potential to be great, but emotionally and mentally I've given up on them, I've cut my losses (familial and material) and I'm now a stranger in a place I'll never belong, and I'll never have a real identity or culture, I'll just be a 'Middle Easterner who comes from the fertile crescent area and lives in the UK'. You on the other hand, have that connection, you are a true Syrian, don't give up on that. I think our children and grand children will grow up in a world where people move to the Middle East (it's already happening in Iraqi Kurdistan) to move to a better place and for jobs, not the other way around, I hope we get to see that and be part of that.