Thursday, November 10, 2011

I've written before about how families and friendships have been torn apart by what's happening in Syria, but I feel that as much as I write about it, far more needs to be done to understand how something like a revolution could affect a society so deeply. In the past eight months, new identities and labels have been created and solidified. There are the minhibakjia (the "we love you" crowd), and the term shabiha which has become derogatory for supporters of the regime. On the other side of the divide we find the term mundaseen (saboteurs) being used, as well as mugharareen (deceived) which is meant to imply a misguided fool at best.

Where did these names come from? And how were they imbued with such power and significance? A year ago none of these terms meant anything yet today, families are divided over them. It is as if at some point two poles of gravity emerged, and something that had lain buried inside attracted us to one side or the other. I fear that whilst these divisions easily came into existence, they will take a far longer time to heal.

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