Angels of Freedom… By TRUE

Hamza Al-Khtib, the 13 year old boy who was murdered in the custody of Syrian security

My head is spinning like a washing machine, too many thoughts and more of the YouTube videos are playing, continuously, before my eyes. What’s that? What’s going on? I feel like I’m trapped in this room, a windowless stinky room, I can’t even find my way out!! Anyone can hear me? Hold on a second, there’s some crying voices, hey you there, can you hear me? No response, just more crying. I’m here somewhere, don’t know where but it’s familiar and reminds me of something, not sure what’s that something. Not sure what brought me in here, not sure. Do you know?

Oh there’s a kid, he’s smiling at me a beautiful angelic smile. I feel like I know him, I’m pretty sure I do. Yes, he’s the hero Hamza Al-Katib, the 13 year old kid who was tortured to death by his own Syrian people. Not any torture and not any death. His murderers callously practiced all the tricks of the extinct Eastern Europe torturing school, a school which we thought was gone for good but clearly it’s still in use; its’ methods have been kept and fed in the basements of ugly sick people who were waiting for a moment to unleash their mental and psychosomatic weapons on this undercover vandal who was hiding inside the body of 13 year old angel. They absurdly believe that they managed to make the world safer by starting with two bullets through his arms, cutting organs while he was alive, and smashing his baby face bones before giving him salvation with a third bullet through his chest. He’s still smiling and waving, oh no wait, he’s vanishing, don’t go I’d like to talk to you, I’d like to learn how to become a man from you just don’t go .. he’s gone.

Gunpowder! it does smell like gun powder and blood, now I can see some destroyed buildings, nah these are not buildings actually just some poor sheds. There’s many dead people and a sign, yeah I can read the sign, it says the Palestinian refugee camp in Dara’a, it’s the camp of heroes, where the people were accused of treason; accused of breaking the siege and smuggling supplies into the city of Dara’a; dangerous mortal supplies like food cans, chocolate bars and baby milk powder. The scenes of horror and dismay showed heads chopped off and eyes gouged out, while the butchers enjoyed a smoke on the top of a mosque with a victory laugh: mission accomplished. What a victory!! Oh Gosh please take me out of here, please I can no more look at.. it’s gone.

It’s getting darker and darker here, there’s a light bulb swinging above and ….. no please wake up please. I don’t want to be here, I don’t want to witness this, I’m here looking at Giath Mattar’s last moments as he was dragged around by his torturers with his face covered with blood before they mercilessly jumped on him tearing him into pieces till he died and yet he was smiling. he said nothing just smiling at them and now he’s smiling at me … he wants me to get closer. Giath, talk to me I’m here next to you holding your hand, he says nothing just smiling and …he’s gone.

Oh Lord just take me away from here.

I’m not in the mood to discuss the algorithm behind what’s going on in Syria. And surely I have no interest in the impact of the mass graves on the carbon dioxide emission scheme, nah not today. It doesn’t interest me at all to analyse the negatively skewed correlation of the philosophical dimension of the world’s shameless silence towards these constant human massacres in Syria. Surprisingly perhaps, these massacres actually do meet all the human rights requirements!!! Simply, the criminals have showed no evidence of any sort of favouritism towards gender, age or religion. All are equal, all are dead, and all will come and haunt us all of us in every mouthful of food or breath of air for keeping our mouths shut and eyes blinded about what’s happening in Syria every day.

If nothing else, what I really want you to contemplate on is those moments of torture which Hamza, Giath and many others have undergone, please close your eyes and try to answer these questions:

Their thoughts during their days of grief?

Did they go painless after all the agony they received or were they fully conscious with responsive bodies to their butchers’ demands?

Were they staring at the door waiting for one of us to charge in and rescue them or perhaps to end their pain with a bullet between their eyes?

Were they able to see the angels gazing at them?

Were they praying to God?

Did they affirm their belief or simply resolve that not even God could take them out of the slaughter room? a room painted with blood and smelling of incessant death.

Indisputably, I have no answers to any of these questions and surely no one else does. However, I’m confident these heroes were thinking of us and hoping that with their bodies and pain we can reconcile and find our path again, the path of dignity and freedom, the path of love and no hate. They are the angels of freedom all around us; you might not see or hear them but they are there.

Just try to listen …..

Posted on October 12, 2011, in Posts by Friends, Regime, Syria and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 144 Comments.

  1. @ Husam

    Your clearly lost me🙂

    (i.e. Fidel Castro & Che Guevara)
    Che did not agree with Fidel’s methods of managing the revolution, actually he told him “you forgot us”, so Che left Cuba to Bolivia joining the Bolivian rebels. The story goes on an Félix Rodriguez (CIA operative) manages to kill Che in 1967.

    (i.e. Hafiz al-ASSAD, khomeini)
    Hafiz managed directly and indirectly to kill all his Baathist comrades.
    Khomeini did the same with many of Shia clerics who were accompanying him in his exile in France

  2. Lets give it a try, remember me: the Jew-Loving-Partner-For-Life, whom you never bought.

    No.

    Don’t you ever get enough; who & what are you tring to convince?

    Husam,

    I was answering Sheila’s questions, not yours.

    The U.S. is as corrupt as Syria.

    Husam,

    “Corrupt”? Corrupt has many dimensions. For someone who may feel better to put the US and Syria on equal footing, I can understand why you would say that.

    If “the US is as corrupt as Syria”, why aren’t US demonstrators getting shot at? Why have so many past US government officials left office in disgrace? Why have so many been voted out of office? Why have so many well-off and rich criminals been thrown in jail?

    They feed with one hand and destroy in another.

    The US has aided some (like the Bosnia), and others they have not (like the Rwanda). The US gets to pick and choose. I wish the US could help everyone, but she can’t or won’t. This doesn’t make the US “corrupt”. I wish the US didn’t turn away Jewish refugees in WW2, but she did.

    No they don’t support democracy, they support dictatorships. So, please stop with the nonense.

    I never said the US doesn’t support dictatorships.

    BTW, I forgot his name (not Amir) but the other Israeli dude that I loved to talk to… do you know where he vanished to?

    He’s busy locking his front door and cleaning his M-16.;) Just my guess.

  3. Haytham Khoury

    Dear True:

    They tried to play offensive by suspending the regime in the Arab league, but did not work. For this reason, they resorted to plan B.
    Also, before they can play it really offensive they need recognition. It is coming

  4. @ Haytham Khoury

    Good luck man!

  5. Haytham Khoury

    Dear Sheila:

    The gulf states do not care about democracy. However, there are many other reasons for becoming confrontational with Bashar:

    1. The Hariri killing. I do not think that Saudia Arabi has forgiven Bashar for that.
    2. Bashar arrogant behavior.
    3. The killing of Sunni Syrian is provoking the Gulf citizen, thus the Gulf states can’t remain silent.
    4. The regime continued to kill people during the month of Ramadan. You know the significance of this month in Ramadan.
    5. The pressure of Europeans and US.
    6. ‘Azmi Bshara and his relationship with Katar’s king.

  6. Lots of really interesting material put out there in the comment by Syrian Hamster. But riffing off Sheila’s comment regarding the dominant emotions in her family and in Syria in general right now- I definitely think FEAR, yes, is the relevant factor… the singularly most important obstacle and influencing factor in the attitude and stagnation found in so many who otherwise having no good feeling towards the government or even the president and who may normally be even decidedly critical. I sense this also in my family and what seems to be emanating from the urban population in large part.
    We should focus on knowing what this fear is on all levels. We should look into the myriad issues because it is a mistake to think that it is simply physical fear of the authorities and the security repercussions. It is much more multifaceted than that.
    I would definitely like to say something about the interesting point Syrian Hamster mentioned about “Fear of Equality”….. nobody talks much about this, but it is so important and key, and I think it was followed by a query by another.
    The notion of Fear of equality stands out for me immediately. We imagine that everyone wants equality and respects it, or that people certainly don’t fear it, but reality reveals that this is far from true in so many contexts. What comes to mind for me – is the current situation in the United States. Here we are talking about a nation that has built into its founding ideology a value of equality – stated to be inherent in nature and society… ie that all ‘men’ are created equal. Our nation has struggled to uphold this value to live it – under the laws. We aspire to it- as a collective, and yet we are constantly struggling with our selfishness and our other instincts towards greed and self preservation. Why do we not have equal healthcare for all? Equal education for all? Equal pay for equal work for all? Why when we uphold that all are equal under the law, we still fall short even in this area that the law is not equally available or punishment administered equally? When the questions of equality are put before the public…. Sometimes – the citizenry fall short… (see some crazy Alabaman right now who want shut off the water supply to illegal immigrants!)….
    I put forward that despite our aspirations to strive for equality in our society people are fearful when they are challenged to support the equal distribution of wealth and resources. People are afraid that giving equal access to resources for others will mean taking away some of their own resources and material wealth or privileges. The amount of adherence to this value of EQUALITY – I think is highly correlated with peoples perception of SCARCITY. When we feel there is abundance, then we are a generous people…. We believe in the equality of liberty and pursuit of happiness and material wealth. When we feel there is not enough to go around…and we are losing resources… we become fearful for our own well being and our future and the ability of our country to meet each of our individual needs. Therefore it is this fear that drives the impulse to deprive other of equal access. Access is a function of political power. And even in this country where we have an established right to one man one vote – lots of people are working all the time to create unequal access to political power and even to influence who and who does not vote.
    Turning to Syria. Here we have a place that does not even have a historical ideology based on these principles of equality in society. Instead you have the historical legacy of a hierarchy of loyalties – values that privilege family first and then extended family and then tribe and then sect and then your geographic town and so on an so forth outward. Obviously, this is too simplified, but I mean to say- there are all kinds of legacies of identifications and loyalties between certain groups and historical animosities as well. And the notion that everyone is somehow all in this struggle called life together and equally entitled to benefit from the resources available is completely foreign I think.
    Ironically, its seems that the Baath Party ideology was trying to make claims to a nationhood, Syrian, that based on Soviet style models of nationalism- was supposed to influence Syrians to put this national identity above all the other affiliations. But it was never going to be very deep actually. And the sad thing is that – Equality – has to be lived and seen with your eyes to be understood and to be truly valued. You have to be its beneficiary before you can appreciate why you should also want to grant it to someone who has less than you. But if all you see is corruption and greed and unfair harsh realities of inequality being meted out by the ones running the society that how can anyone believe that this is a value to care about and to uphold and aspire to?
    Syrians are living in a time of perceived total scarcity on so many levels. The middle classes and upper middle class are looking at the uprising of a large underclass (the larger part of the population)…and are they thinking about how they can’t wait to share the small foothold on upward mobility they have with this desperate population??? Are they feeling generous and sympathetic and looking to a possible future with more equality for everyone???
    No, indeed, they are fearful on all levels- for their own well being. The powers above them – the insider elite- the true power holders are stoking fears left and right – telling them this is about religion, terrorism, conspiracies from outside, US attacks, Saudi influence, evil Lebanese influence, Jews still taking over the world, anything and everything… to distract from the real issues of INEQUALITY and corruption, and the disastrous mismanagement of the regime in dealing with the economic and environmental problems and challenges abounding in the country.
    People fear equality because they think that there are no solutions to deprivation and declining resources. They want to cling to what they have – because there is no leadership that is providing any alternatives and speaking about what the real problems are and showing that they might have actual expertise and wisdom and knowledge resources that can lead the way out of this mess. (Again, this is a global problem as well, and could describe the current crisis in the US on many levels.)
    Instead – the population is retreating into base FEAR responses… terrified that there are no answers and it is better to stick with these hellish leaders and a regime in total denial – that will keep providing lots explanations that attempt to keep most everyone who can swallow it in a state of denial and forgetting. Paralyzed into silence and fear, confusion of reality, and a state of NOT-KNOWING. What is heartbreaking is that unlike many other countries where there are pockets of air in which many people can breath and speak out and challenge the subterfuge and power structure, or at least attempt to do so, the systemic apparatus in Syria- is so stifling that truth and analysis are being buried very very deep. The average person can’t even see out of the pit. Even the ‘revolutionaries’ are screaming for something – but they haven’t even been able to find the key – the light – leading to the harnessing of the intellectual and visceral discourse that will ignite the population as a whole. They haven’t found it and grasped it- nor have they found the kind of leaders of confidence who can harness that narrative- of what freedom actually is- in material terms, economic terms – opportunity terms- dignity terms- and what the value of equality is. If nobody can powerfully articulate this to a great swath of the population- who are standing in a state of fear and doubt, then this will be a long and painful death ahead.

  7. Zenobia:

    Your analysis was so interesting, original and easy to read. I will be forwarding it to friends if you don’t mind. Do you have any idea who this can be articulated to the people at large if they have never experienced it as you say? I mean how/what needs to be done to dismantle fear and what are the steps…

    Will not take a generation to change the perception of fear?

    Thanks

  8. typo: “who this can be” should read “how this can be…”

  9. good work Zenobia!!

  10. ABOUD gave an interview to the BBC’s The Hub two days ago, it
    was very informative but next time he has to speak more slowly :)!! SGID caught
    the interview and yeah bad luck for those who missed the chance to witness ABOUD’s interview :)”

    he gave it under :Aboud in homs”

  11. NEWS:

    “In Syria, protests mutate to armed resistance amid economic meltdown” (Arwa Damon, CNN)
    http://edition.cnn.com/2011/10/19/world/meast/syria-armed-resistance/

    “Syria holds former VP incommunicado, daughter says” (BASSEM MROUE, Associated Press)
    http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/10/19/2461882/syria-holds-former-vp-incommunicado.html

    “Syria state media lashes out at Arab League” (France24)
    http://www.france24.com/en/20111019-syria-state-media-lashes-out-arab-league

    “Syria Unrest: Local, Arab & International Calls” (DP-News)
    http://www.dp-news.com/en/detail.aspx?articleid=100286

    “Syrian Refugees In Lebanon Still Face Peril “ (NYtimes)
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/20/world/middleeast/syrian-refugees-in-lebanon-still-face-peril.html?_r=1&ref=syria

  12. True:

    How did the BBC contact him in Homs ? SGID, did not record it?

    Here is the transcript:

    Syria witness: ‘Unprovoked shooting’ at protest in Homs

    Hundreds gathered at Clock Square in the centre of Homs on Monday Syrian security forces have opened fire on protesters in the country’s third-largest city, Homs, after hundreds of people occupied a central square on Monday, vowing to stay until the president was ousted.

    It is not yet clear how many people were killed in the violence, but one Homs resident, Aboud, describes the mood in the city.

    “My brother was at the protest [on Monday]. He was at his university and as soon as he heard about the sit-in, he went there to join his friends.“

    There was a festive atmosphere; there were thousands of people gathered: children, elderly, women. It was like a big picnic and there were plans for people to spend the night there in tents and to pray at dawn.

    The sit-in was modelled after the Egyptian sit-ins in Tahrir Square. People coming in were searched by the participants. Not even as much as a knife was allowed in.

    At around 11 in the morning, the police on Damascus Road announced that they were there to protect the officers’ club.

    My brother left the square 15 minutes before the shooting. His mobile phone’s battery had gone down and he went home to recharge.

    All of a sudden there was shooting. Completely unprovoked.

    We don’t know how many people died.

    The injured were taken to the hospital where they were arrested straight away. Because of that, some hospitals closed their emergency wards, as a message to the people not to go there.

    On Sunday, the protesters did very well to surround one of the hospitals and prevent anyone from entering it and arresting people.

    ‘Turning point’

    Now there’s absolute calm. The only unusual thing is that civilians are checking ID cards. I don’t know who they are, but I suspect they are ordinary people protecting their neighbourhoods.

    Everything is closed – banks, schools, only a few shops are open.

    Everything has been cleaned up, but there are so many videos on Facebook and YouTube. People know what happened.

    We heard a rumour that a sheikh was injured. If he dies, there’ll be no stopping them. Not just the religious people, but everyone else too, because sheikhs are sacred to us: they are our only trusted leaders.

    The attack was like a declaration of war. People are furious. There’s murder in their eyes. They want revenge.

    My home village is not religious – there’s alcohol smuggling and consumption. Yet last night, for the first time in my life, I heard people calling for jihad.

    The local municipality was shot at and shots were fired in the air.

    Yesterday was a turning point. I think there’ll be lots of trouble and bloodletting, particularly in the rural areas where people are well-armed and the police presence is weak.

    I am worried about the future and I grieve for the people who died.”

  13. @ HUSAM

    You better ask ABOUD directly bro and I’m sure they’re both are reachable.

    The transcript you’ve provided is for his first interview right at the beginning of the revolution on 19 April 2011-10-20

    Get in touch with “Nik Gowing” if you keen to see it.

  14. Haytham : you wrote the last piece on SC ? Homs: The Capital of Syrian Uprising
    Why not sign it ? It was good

  15. Dear Zenobia,
    Nice post. As I was reading it, I had all these ideas swirling in my head. The most important of which was: is equality part and parcel of human nature?. Can it be at all achieved?. I went back to the origin of man kind. We are born unequal. Some are born men, some women, some are born blind, some with super eyesight, some are born gorgeous, some unbelievably ugly and some are born with an IQ in the genius category and some are as dumb as a post. If God the almighty is not concerned about equality, why should we really even care?. I would like to argue that what humans seek is dignity and equal opportunity not equality per se. Human beings will never be equal and that is the nature of the beast, however this does not mean that anybody should be enslaved, humiliated or looked down upon just for the way they look, the God they worship or anything else for that matter, notwithstanding their behavior and ethics.
    Democracy does not necessarily mean capitalism. It can be socialism in its wide spectrum that can reach all the way to communism. This is the system that attempted to legislate equality and failed miserably. All it did was shift the privileges from the rich to the communist party members.
    In the US, we do not seek equality, rather equal opportunity. This is a grand idea with a lot of power. We have seen the upward mobility of people supported by the power of equal opportunity. This is what we lack in Syria. There is no such thing as human dignity or equal opportunity. I would like to argue that the middle and upper classes in Syria are not fearful of equality, a concept that is quite subjective and a goal beyond human reach. They are fearful of change. The change in the way they know how to do business. While those who are members of the regime are fearful for their lives first and for their livelihoods second and foremost. They have always survived as thugs. What else can they do to earn a living?
    What do you think?

  16. MORE NEWS:

    “Australia’s Reserve Bank Eases Libya Sanctions, Adds Syria Sanctions” (Samuel Rubenfeld, The Wall Street Journal)
    http://blogs.wsj.com/corruption-currents/2011/10/19/australias-reserve-bank-eases-libya-sanctions-adds-syria-sanctions/?mod=google_news_blog

    “Both sides in Syria fall victim to violence” (RT)
    http://rt.com/news/sides-syria-violence-army-169/

    “South Africa and Syria at the UN” (Simon Adams, News24)
    http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/YourStory/South-Africa-and-Syria-at-the-UN-20111017

  17. “In Syria, protests mutate to armed resistance amid economic meltdown” (Arwa Damon, CNN)
    http://edition.cnn.com/2011/10/19/world/meast/syria-armed-resistance/

    “Syria holds former VP incommunicado, daughter says” (BASSEM MROUE, Associated Press)
    http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/10/19/2461882/syria-holds-former-vp-incommunicado.html

    “Syria state media lashes out at Arab League” (France24)
    http://www.france24.com/en/20111019-syria-state-media-lashes-out-arab-league

    “Syria Unrest: Local, Arab & International Calls” (DP-News)
    http://www.dp-news.com/en/detail.aspx?articleid=100286

    “Syrian Refugees In Lebanon Still Face Peril “ (NYtimes)
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/20/world/middleeast/syrian-refugees-in-lebanon-still-face-peril.html?_r=1&ref=syria

  18. Hi Sheila,
    Right, on most all counts I think.
    Yes, definitely, human nature does not give a hoot for equality. In fact, Evolution and evolutionary development is based on inequality and the survival of the fittest. Naturally. And this is the law of nature. however, if one derives from this a philosophy and theory of society of Social Darwinism, as those in the late 19th century England and the United States did…. then the next thing you get if you follow that slippery slope is eugenics and social engineering such as the Nazi aspired to.
    We are born ‘unequal’ in many regards whether in terms of our place and time of birth and the resources available to us, and in terms of our innately given abilities and a fair portion of our intellect and capacities.
    However, we are also born – in nature with the capacity to kill each other – and it is the job of civilization and culture and society to condition us not to kill each other and to access within other parts of our nature our capacities for empathy and love.
    (See Freud – Civilization and Its Discontents and other psychoanalysis for investigations into the battle of Eros and Thanatos).
    Thus, a struggle for equality is one of society – and a decision to share our world – a philosophy of Humanism in contrast – where we decide to put some egalitarian equation together to guide our decisions about how to live together in this world. It seems to me – when we lived in a more independent world – ones might only have had to worry about your own family or your tribe or group. One could be disaffected by the conditions outside one’s own geographic region or social group. However, that is not the world we live in today.
    Whether you sit in Syria or any other land – the economic condition and the environmental condition of your neighbors and now people on the other side of the globe directly effect each one of us. Therefore, it seems to me that we are now all on the same ship. You cannot just pull up the plank and close the gates so to speak.

    If it were just up to nature- Syria might just die actually. You are out of water. The population is bursting. There is total mismanagement, and immigration become harder and harder.
    In third world countries – such over taxed environment leads to civil wars and killing and disease and death.
    Nature, or God – if you think god is responsible is heartless.
    So, I think it is our most elevated rational capacities as human beings – that have a small possibility of saving ourselves. Equality is high up on the hierarchy of needs, and that is why I say – when people are faced with scarcity or the perception of scarcity- all generosity or aspirations for this sense of civic responsibility for preserving the well being of others in addition to ourselves – goes out the window.

    On the subject of the United States – I think we actually do have an ideological goal of equality about certain things. This is the history of the due process clause of the constitution and the history of constitutional law among other developments in our short history. But you are correct that usually – the parameters are drawn around equal opportunity. In the legal history of education – “parity” of resources was deemed to be beyond the scope of a constitutional right. However, separate but equal was struck down – as inherently ‘unequal’ in terms of civil rights. We have yet to challenge what this means for healthcare. And in terms of civil rights and marriage – the debate is on. So – these question remain open here – as our society continues to develop.

    It is a huge understatement to say that Democracy does not “necessarily” mean Capitalism!… In fact Capitalism has been a huge destructive force at this point- against our Democratic system and its most noble aspirations. It has been the fusing and deliberate conflation of Democracy with Capitalism that has been eroding our political system as we speak.
    Obviously Soviet Communism was a complete failure – but many would argue that this version of socialism had nothing to do with real marxism or any real socialist ideology. It was perversion of it.
    Although- i would argue that Europe is more civilized than the United States due to its attempt to bring more social equality through social democratic policies, clearly we can see that these system have not been immune to the damage and carnage wrought by the global capitalist system…. because again…..we are all interdependent at this point – and our ships going down pull all the other ships down.
    Perhaps we are due in this world for a new “ism”… to talk about our global economic reality. Just as one cannot ignore the other citizens within your own country. We cannot ignore the other countries of the world even if they are on another continent.

    Syrian do fear change. It is in their blood – I think. However, it is a do or die situation.

  19. “Turkey vows revenge for Kurdish attack” (Daniel Dombey, FT)

    “As Ankara’s relations with both countries come under strain, Iran has denied a report that it recently released a top PKK commander, while some Turkish officials worry that Syria could once again harbour PKK militants, as it did in the 1990s.”

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/10cd2e50-fa30-11e0-8e7e-00144feab49a.html#axzz1bGaSYzWE

  20. a few added thoughts:

    i would agree with you that many upper and middle class Syrians do not sit around thinking about Equality,nor think about how they fear it. Yes, they would have to have a clear concept in their mind of what that means in order to imagine or articulate a fear of it.
    But I was speaking less concretely – about issues that I believe underlie a notion of equality, for example sharing of resources, and respecting other groups right to political participation. Of course, the total lack of meaningful political participation for most of the citizenry means that they can’t imagine why anyone else – never mind the poor or uneducated of the country!- might be demanding it or entitled to it. But nonetheless, if the country were able to correctly diagnose the underlying issues of inequality of resource allocation and opportunity and wealth – and if this were understood to be a demand of those who are asking to change the political and economic system…then I can bet you that very quickly- we would find out how much those who are fairly well off – fear or don’t fear- a more egalitarian society.
    Don’t you think all humans know what “dignity” means at some level. There must be a word for it in Arabic. People know what it is when they are being deprived of it, and I have hard time thinking that a majority of Syrians are not experiencing in one way or another a kind of humiliation by their government – even just the paternalistic approach – the patronizing of the population and political subjugation… – must be felt at some level… as a kind of loss of dignity.
    But I could be wrong. maybe the average person likes to be treated like a bunch of children who can’t be trusted to participate in a political life and challenge any system whatsoever. How is that possible though. To me there must be some other explanation…involving a deadening… of the mind, depression, being asleep, traumatization. etc.
    Question is – how do you recover from that, recover your dignity and humanity as a society.

  21. Hugh Macleod from the Global-Post described what’s happening in Syria in one comprehensive line.

    “A tale of two Syrias”

    I think that’s exactly what every Syrian family is experiencing, very sad indeed!!

  22. @ Zenobia

    “maybe the average person likes to be treated like a bunch of children who can’t be trusted to participate in a political life and challenge any system whatsoever. How is that possible though. To me there must be some other explanation…involving a deadening… of the mind, depression, being asleep, traumatization. etc.”

    These average people you’re refereeing to are the ones who marching the streets and receiving bullets to earn their dignity and humanity, while the “rich, middle, educated and civilised” people are hiding like rats in their multi millions houses behind their FEAR of change.

  23. Walid Jumblatt (Lebanon) might jump the ship (again) and denounce Betho’s regime by the end of the month when Walid addresses his Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) in its annual general assembly conference. Such an action might cut Muawiya’s hair between Betho and Druz which might result in Al-Sweida joining the revolution. This would open another possibility of another Southern no-fly zone from the Jordanian borders side including both Dar’aa and Al-Sweida.

  24. True,

    exactly. I agree it is unlikely. I think everyone DOES know what “dignity” means”… but they don’t have to think about it- when they are not the ones who are being so blatantly deprived of it.
    so, since there seems to be an obvious class disparity between the people out on the street (or the areas of the country that are out on the street, excepting a bit Homs)- and the ones sitting in their houses in denial that they can just pretend this will go away and it is better to hold on to what meager privileges you have- it seems fair to surmise that it is not EVERYONE who is afraid of change – but rather those for whom a change might mean giving up some of their privileges… and having to think about the suffering of others who are barely surviving.

  25. or those who are being killed for that matter….

  26. @ Zenobia

    I hear you clear and loud. Yes I do agree that the concept of “equality” and the clash between different social classes is one of the drives behind what’s currently happening in Syria. However, we must not ignore the rapid social development of nonurban societies in terms of way of thinking, recognising their own rights and the desire to prove their existence, in contrary to the urban people who are refusing to accept that they’re not in the lead anymore and keep referring to protesters as “those”.

    Hypothetically speaking, let’s assume the regime was doing good job and nonurban communities were satisfied in terms of income, services … and not living on the edge of poverty. Do you think the revolution would break out?

  27. My thoughts, and please don’t attack and start calling me Islamist, backward, Salafi🙂

    Could be that people have moved away from understanding their faith and rely on interpretations of others and social taboos. We are all, as you beautifully stated part and parcel of the whole. The American coined “Globalization” is not a new concept. Islam, in my view, has perfect equilibrium of equality and a justice system that works. Islam’s system of economics, charity, etc…are all viable alternative to capitalism. Most people are too afraid to venture into the abundant world of Islam and the solution it provides because of major misconceptions. Nowadays, it is unfashionable to discuss religion or be religious but fashionable to be daring, evil and god-free. So many people are struggling to piece the puzzle with various theories, but end up where they started and more confused.

    The solutions you speak about – the new ‘ism’ may very well be in our old books.

  28. @ HUSAM

    “Islam, in my view, has perfect equilibrium of equality and a justice system that works. Islam’s system of economics, charity, etc…are all viable alternative to capitalism.”

    First of all, you do know how to pick these tricky controversial topics eh🙂

    Second of all and tbh I have no insight of how Islam interacts with economy and stuff like that, but what I’ve heard once from a friend of mine who’s a Prof in economics “if your bedouins apply your system no Lehman brothers would collapse” I took it as a positive feedback but I might be mistaken.

    The question is how to apply Islamic economical system in secular societies? Is Islam prerequisite for your scheme?

  29. @True,

    not sure. I think it probably would eventually – but maybe not at this moment. And I think it might – but it wouldn’t be exactly THIS revolution that is transpiring now. It would be perhaps differently played out. but I think- even with out economic inequality being a driving force – there would still be the problem of political suppression there and this would be festering.
    also, it is hard to say.. because it depend what “doing a good job” is… and if the gov’t would be doing enough of a good job, no maybe there wouldn’t be be a ‘need’ for a revolution. However, this is kind of an impossibility because then it wouldn’t be THIS government, would it… it would be a different gov’t. : )

    @Husam,

    actually, the core of religion is often about trying to “civilize” the world of men…. and the ‘old books’ as you say…i imagine were for this purpose, trying to tell us how to live in this world and treat each other with kindness, charity, and decency. However, people seem to forgot that and are too busy focusing on repressive dogma. Christianity has the same decent core that has been distorted beyond recognition. Poor Jesus would probably faint.
    It makes me sad to see Syria in this condition and people being manipulated by sectarian notions, when this is the heart of the world in which – despite the usual historical episodes of inter-group violence, basically – it is a place of origin and respect for religion in general, and in some deep way tolerance. Ironically.

  30. TRUE

    First of all, you do know how to pick these tricky controversial topics eh

    LOL. Ask me and Husam about it. As tricky and controversial as it gets, but honest and open minded.

    And to all. Thank you. It has been long time since I have read such a wonderful discussion.

  31. @ Zenobia

    Good answer because this revolution is not to feed the hungry stomachs only it’s more to retrieve our dignity and freedom. Otherwise Betho could have pacified it easily right at the beginning when he ordered pay increase and some other motivational incentives. This revolution has the depth to reach all the way to our lost identity.

    Hafiz used to follow the strategy of “empty mouths” and that’s when you strip your people from all humans aspects and convert them into mere animals with on job except to feed and looking for some feed. On that matter, I’m not sure how old are ya and whether you witnessed some of Hafiz’ era or not but back in the days when I was a little kid the Syrian channel used to keep playing Hafiz addressing his Bathissts comrades and he used to, mimicking the Eastern Europe communist leaders, wave his both hands for three times then squeeze them firmly together. I recall asking my dad, what does that mean? And my dad answered “That means, no sugar, no rice, no tea and we will squeeze you to death”🙂

    Yil3an ro7ak ya Hafiz indeed.

  32. Dear Zenobia,
    It is an absolute pleasure “talking” to you. I find your thoughts deep and your analysis profound.
    I would like to go back to the issue of equality. As wonderful as it seems to all of us, decent people, to be able to take care of everybody, the poor, the handicapped, the elderly and the sick, it has proven to be an elusive dream. No country or people throughout history were able to accomplish this while relying on their own resources (I am referring here to countries like France and England living the life by sucking the blood out of their colonies). As wonderful as the European health system may look from the outside, a good look on the inside can be scary. In some countries like England, a line is drawn at who is entitled to, for example, a kidney transplant. An older lady or gentleman can be denied the procedure based on a “cold-hearted” cost benefit analysis. We have to admit that there are at the end of they day, limited resources and we have to figure out how we are going to distribute those as fairly as possible. Any system you choose, will have some inherent problems with its fairness. The communist will probably favor the comrades, the socialist will probably favor the young and the capitalist will definitely favor the money. Any way you look at it, equality is very subjective.
    About Syria, I think that anyone who is going out on the streets and demonstrating knowing very well that he or she may never live to see another day, is a person who is either idealistic or absolutely pushed to the brink by poverty, indignity and no hope for the future. If we leave our comfortable couches in the west and put ourselves in the mind of those in Syria who are still able to make money or have enough set aside to survive the dark days, why do you think they would risk their lives?. They have to consider how by their participation in the uprising, they are going to risk their children’s future, cause their parents sever anxiety and pain and destroy their spouses life. They have to have the incentive and it does not seem that we are there yet.
    A few question for you: I am assuming that you are a lady. Is this correct?. Are you in the US?. Are you from Syria?.
    Thanks for the conversation.

  33. Dear Husam,
    You are definitely not alone. This has been a trend in the Arab world. While watching one failed country after another and one failed system after another, most Arabs are dismayed and uncertain about anything at this point. They feel that after all, the only system that worked for the Arabs was the Islamic system.
    The major problem with this theory and aspiration is that Muslims today are as far from original Islam as they can be. Their understanding of Islam would really take them to the era before Islam rather than the era after Islam came to being. They feel that God is punishing us because we are not pious enough. I would like to point out that some of the best periods of the Islamic Empire, were periods where the last thing you can talk about is piety. They were periods filled with vice and not virtue. I think most Muslims today are completely missing the point. To create a great nation, we do not need to force people to pray and fast and make women cover their heads. This issue is beyond proven by the mere fact that Iran and Saudi Arabia tried and proved to all of us that this is not how you recreate the old glory of Islam. To recreate the old glory of Islam, we have to go to the essence of Islam manifested in: education, morals and work ethics. These after all, as Zenobia said, the basis of all religions.
    The problem with ruling by using religion is that abuse of power becomes very dangerous. Once your opposition to government can be construed as opposition to the will of Gad, democracy is completely dead. The economy is another big issue. One of the basic tenets of finance is: money today is worth more than money tomorrow. This concept encompasses both inflation and interest. The struggle with the concept of interest is a big problem. I believe that Islam prohibited usury not interest. But that is me. The majority of so called scholars who know nothing about the basics of finance decided to outlaw all interest.
    I can really go on and on, but it is time for me to go to sleep and I think you get my point.

  34. @True
    lol. great description. No, i am not that old, and didn’t grow up in syria. but I will have to take your word for it. Plus- it is as my sources tell me.
    of course this is not about the empty stomach, but about the empty stomach and other indignities caused by the disregard of leaders and injustice. People can suffer quietly, when they feel their ‘parents’ are doing their best. But when they are being starved through neglect and the result of others greed… well then… it becomes about a lost identity, yes. A lost social contract, and repeated humiliations. But this has taken on some significant class dimensions, as is normal in all countries of the world…that’s all i am saying.

    @ Sheila,
    Likewise, I appreciated reading your many contributions on SC and now here. You make me think about a lot of things and elevate the conversation in interesting ways.

    In regards to your latest comment, I hear what you are saying. Yes, the world’s and every country’s resources are not limitless. We have to make choices and use discrimination about how as a society we want to use them and to allocate them. This seems to me a question of values, of all different sorts. As you say – ideology will often dictate how this shakes out. I am not sure I would use the word “subjective”…maybe that is where we are not clearly understanding each other. It seems to me that what comes from the subjective, as you put it, is the determination of what values are important to privilege, individualism for example over collectivism, or the market over collective responsibility…etc so on and so forth. If this is what you mean, I see that yes, this is a matter of subjective judgements. However, the consequences are not subjective… we can see the results of such decisions in very objective terms and results…
    If a county decides to put a factory or plant of some sort in one urban area where it pollutes the air regularly, and the citizenry is not given fair representation that would allow them to protest this.. but they are paid off in some fashion.. this may be fair or unfair… however, the increased chance of asthma that is experiences by the children in this geographic area – who are often of a low socio-economic standing… is real and has real health consequences. How we deem the inequality of the situation…is perhaps subjective, i agree with this. It is a judgment.
    but does this ‘SUBJECTIVITY’ somehow mean that we need not attempt to make these ethical judgements???
    Courts in america and I assume other countries try to make these judgements all the time. What is harm…. what is inequality,… what are injustices…. and so forth.
    If judges are asked to think about these questions… I do believe citizenry can be asked to do the same.
    the European health system I imagine is also far from perfect. There are also some scarce resources. However, my knowledge of this – is that we in the USA are faring far worse. We have the greatest technology and incredible medical advance on the planet…but you know…i can’t just go get any sort of preventative care whatsoever for free. NONE. I can’t see a doctor for simple issues or just to keep myself in good health and more likely to not get disease….
    My insurance (if I had any) would be for catastrophic..situations… well before i could get basic services. These are very screwed up priorities.
    So, it is a question of values… who is healthcare for? Is it a money making enterprise?..(apparently the answer is yes, in america) or is it to keep the people of your nation healthy…. (answer is the latter in Europe)… ? People pay a ton of taxes in Europe because they evaluated the collective need and agreed that it is better that everyone get some base line of healthcare (even if not entirely equal or entirely what you want at all times…. but not decided by a business executive’s self interest)…..Whereas… we have not come to that conclusion at all yet as a collective..in the US. People are still worried that if we give insurance to everyone…that their own cost will be higher or their own health care will suffer…. this is the equation.

    Back to Syria. You said it exactly. What are the people who are relatively ok willing to sacrifice? and WHY would they sacrifice? What would be the motivation..?
    AT this point, we are not there yet, as you say.
    I would like to think that the specter of ANY of their countrymen being shot, killed in cold blood, having tanks rolling through their streets or byways, or the threat of torture and disappearing would be enough!!!
    Does it not occur to them that if one day THEY were on the wrong side of some issue it might be THEM…. who is threatened with this?? is it not enough to consider that it is an unacceptable thing to live in a place with that level of threat by the authorities even a possibility?
    Apparently, this is not even close to enough of a reason or motivation.
    I see this as the problem of distance. They do not consider that this might be them (there but for the grace of god go I…). Instead, they think…these folks out there getting shot are some fringe element of troublemakers or fools, who I do not see as anything to do with myself.
    You are right, the citizenry of Syria are not going to be motivated by notions of elevation of all at this moment. They don’t make that connection.

    but fool that I am, I think that there might be someone person or persons- charismatic enough and wise and articulate enough who could actually – find the way to change this conversation…the picture of what is at stake…enough to reframe the entire narrative- into something that is actually inclusive enough and uniting enough to grab the hearts and minds of those who right now- do not feel moved by the violence they must be aware is there crashing down on others… (there but for the grace of god go I…)….

    I am a female, yes!… (lady, maybe)… Zenobia
    yes, I am in the USA. Although would like to go to ME again someday soon.
    First generation.

    and thank YOU for the conversation….

  35. oh,and definitely have a good sleep!

  36. Dearest Sheila:

    You said: “We have to admit that there are at the end of they day, limited resources and we have to figure out how we are going to distribute those as fairly as possible.”

    I beg to differ…perhaps, it is my business nature kicking-in. Actually there is just enough for everyone to go around. Our home – earth has enough resources to sustain 6 more billions of people. It has the ability to self-heal as well. The problem, in my peanut brain, is the lack of accountability, preservation and good governance. When the polluters are rewarded, you got a serious problem. When you got Monsanto owning your seeds and air rights, you got another problem. And, when you got 1%, as we are witnessing right in front of us today, owning and enslaving the other 99%, you got a bigger problem.

    Distribution, value, fairness etc…all these taken care of by Economics 101 dating back to BC(demand & supply). Instead, today we live in a bear & bust market that relies on a weak (more correctly called ponzi) system. They inflate, deflate and hyper the market; basically fake economics.

    I will post an interesting piece later by Celente discussing the current events.

  37. …@ Sheila:

    You are absolutely right about the prayer stick, it doesn’t work and never did. It actually has the reverse effect, people become rebelious. I do get your point, and quite easily actually because it seems we are on the same page.

    There are many, many knowledable scholars who can influence the revival and glory that Islam once had. The problem is these humble folks are not looking for fame and get lost in between all the cluter and the Grand Muftis🙂

    Perhaps it is “high noon” we stop being afraid of revisiting our faith to challenge both the clergy and those who lable us fanatics – not.

    ,,,@ Zenobia:

    Poor Jesus would probably faint.

    Lol🙂

    I think he would be atop the highest tree with Syrian Hamster.

  38. Hey True:

    Dude, I don’t do it on purpose, wallah. I always do like to ask myself opposing questions from far left all the way to the right. Normally, I will settle in the middle somewhere.

    I really enjoyed OTW’s analysis. A picture speaks volumes. You will not find any hard core Mnhebaks anytime soon here on the walls. Rather, they perfer kissing the floors that Bashar walks on.

  39. lol. yes, he wouuuuuuld.
    … because he would agree with you, that although Sheila is right that there are choices to be made, we are far far from needing to chose between which people will starve or won’t get basic needs met. He would be appalled at our lack of compassion for our humankind…
    the USA above all has plenty plenty of money available for all its citizens to go to the doctor for basic care and not live on the streets, but we don’t pay for that. We are not valuing that kind of basic equity.

    And there are resources in Syria that are not being equitably distributed,and the natural resources are not being minded carefully or used with care but are being sold off to the highest bidder.
    so, it is a far cry in this world right now – from a situation where we cannot take care of the basic needs of most of our population, as big as it is. We are awash in waste and squandering our resources for the benefit of the few.

    We have no compassion….

  40. OTW,

    I said I would post some sticky predictions and analysis by Gerald Celente. I am finding it hard to refute his research. But before I do, I wanted to know if you are aware fo this guy and do you buy into this forecast or do you think he is just another hollywood bozo. In case you haven’t seen his interviews on major news networks: http://www.trendsresearch.com

  41. Gerald Celente is an amazing dude i dinf him quite funny. Although he gets most of his predictions right but i always find it quite odd how he throws his forecast with no solid numbers or factual sheets.

  42. Gerald Celente is an amazing dude i find him quite funny. Although he gets most of his predictions right but i always find it quite odd how he throws his forecast with no solid numbers or factual sheets.

  43. @ True,

    No solid numbers, or factual sheets… are you kidding me? It is all right there in front of us. Most people are really too busy to piece it all together. This guy just happens to see the big picture like Ron Paul and make a business out of it.

  44. Haytham Khoury

    Dear Annie:

    Thank you

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