Stories from Hama: Memories of Painter Khaled Al-Khani. Part 1

A painting by Syrian painter Khaled Al-Khani

Introduction by Off the Wall

A painting by Syrian painter Khaled Al-Khani
A painting by Syrian painter Khaled Al-Khani

In few more days, the thirtieth anniversary of the massacre of Hama (February, 1982) will befall us. This time, the anniversary has a special meaning as Syrians, who have broken the fear barrier, are now openly talking about the events that transpired thirty years ago in their homeland. We are helped nowadays in that even the dumbest observer can recognize the lies of the Assad regime, and that has made many of us search for the real narrative of Hama, a narrative that the regime has for decades tried to suppress through its demonization of the Muslim Brotherhood, and to hide, by extension, the stories of the innocent victims of Hafez Assad and his henchmen which according to people from Hama, may have reached 40,000 murdered souls, not to mention the rapes, the pillaging and hateful acts of barbarism the aging thugs are now trying to blame each others for.

As the sons of the perpetrators of the Hama Massacre,  helped undoubtedly by some of those who participated in it, now attempt to suppress the current Syrian uprising through similar machination of brutality, lies, and deceptions, it becomes more necessary than ever for us to recover the real narrative of Hama. It is the narrative of the children who witnessed their fathers and older brothers being murdered, of women who were raped and killed in cold blood, and of entire city districts raised to ground out of vengeful hate that shames us all for its existence among our sentient specie.

My friend Khaled Al-Khani, then a seven years old child, is now a renowned Syrian painter. He tells the story of the massacre as he witnessed it and lived it through the murder of his father, his own epic journey with the few women and children who survived Assad’s murderous machine. In this and the next two posts, I will attempt to bring Khaled’s memories to English readers. It is only my way of telling the Assad gang, we will hold those who did it accountable, and we will not allow you to do the same, Never again.

This story can also be read in French, thanks to my friend annie

Part 1 (French) Histoire de Hama : souvenirs du peintre Khaled Al-Khani


Stories from Hama (Memories of Painter Khaled Al-Khani) Part I

I do not know what happened to me today…? I don’t want to remain in hiding and I will go to my workshop and to every demonstration. I can no longer hide my real identity. I, the artist, have turned into a rebel ever since the Libyan embassy incident. My transformation has nothing to do with my distant memories, in Hama, of my father’s murder and the death of the city of my childhood, the rape our women, our imprisonment, our bombardment, and the subsequent conquering and forcible displacement of those who were left alive among us to the countryside as means to cover the crimes.

I swear to God I’m not hateful and I am not seeking revenge, but just retribution. My current sorrow is related to what I witness transpiring around me daily. We demonstrate, they shoot us with bullets, we then join funeral processions, and they rain a hail of lead on us. And as we walk once more in the next funeral procession, they reply with the same, and so on. We stay in our homes, they break our doors arresting us and intimidating our mothers, if I am not killed, someone else will be.

I swear to God I love life, but I love justice more. Please, tell me what to do. I do not know what befell me today? Today I remembered, more than any other day, I remembered my father. My father was an ophthalmologist in Hama. He was not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but he sided with the people of his ravished city. Believe me, and half the people of Hama testify to that. They gouged one of his eyes while he was a live, then they killed him and horribly mutilated his body. I was little when we buried him and I remember that he had no eyes.

In February 1982, I was a 6 year old first grader. We had just finished the first school semester and had gone on spring break, and what a holiday..  At night, and as we slept, we could hear loud sounds breaking the place’s silence and turning its serenity into a murderous horror.  Obvious was the panic on my aunt who raised me and next to whom I would sleep to compensate her unfulfilled motherhood because she never married, and thus lived with us in our beautiful two-story traditional Arabic home. The rest of my family and my father and my mother slept on the second floor.  Soon, I would hear the voices of my siblings and my father and mother becoming louder coming down the stairs and entering my aunt’s room as the shooting increased. My mother said to my father “Didn’t I tell you to stay on the farm?” For many year, this sentence did not go away from my memories, and the idea that my father left the farm hurt me a great deal and remained with me until I had grown up, forgiven him and  reckoned, It was destiny.


The sound of firing fills life. It was the first time I heard its wheeze. It rose further and then began the thunder of explosions. As the hours passed, we got used to these sounds. Time passed and some of the neighbors started flocking to our home. Chaos is everywhere, children crying, women reading the Qur’an, and great concern. This continued for three days, and then we heard a big explosion. Father said that a shell hit the top floor. The house shook as dust filled my lungs like it filled the place and women recited Surat Yassin (the verse of Yassin). Meanwhile, a wave of sharp cries rose and father said we must leave the house as fast as possible, so we went out and people started to gather while shouting. Panic dominated everything, and we went to the house of a neighbor, then to a dark cellar thought by the men a more secure place. There were more of us than the place could accommodate. We stayed there for three days while the firing continued with no stopping. Then an artillery shell, Surat Yassin kept rising all the way to the sky, a second shell and a third, causing the cellar to vibrate madly. While no one of those who took refuge in the basement was hurt, many residents of our neighborhood perished and many were wounded. The doctor who lived in the neighborhood was able to save some. We stayed in the basement until the bombardment and firing calmed down and they got us out saying that we must leave towards safer neighborhoods. Little they knew, for they were wrong as it did not occur to them that a campaign of genocide was taking place. We went out hurriedly through the Hadher market to reach the Ameeriyyah district. We encountered streets through which we had to crawl because snipers were everywhere.

After incredible difficulties, we reached the Ameeriyyah neighborhood having just crawled the last street with my father helping my aging aunt to whose side I was totally stuck. My mother and sisters crossed with the rest of the people, and the three of us stayed. But then my father asked me to leave with everyone and I refused because I wanted to stay with my aunt who raised me. He forced me to catch up with my mother and the others and he stayed with my aunt, and this was the last time I saw my father alive.

In the Ameeriyyah district, we continued to search for a shelter and we found a cellar packed with people, but they could not let us in because our numbers were very large (most of the population of Baroudeye neighborhood). Later, they let my father and my aunt in because they were only two. The refuge in the Ameeriyyah is where my father was arrested and  where my aunt survived to witness and tell of what happened.


Our group followed the road towards Northern Ameeriyyah where we found a shelter large enough for all of us. We stayed in that shelter until the arrival of the “Syrian Arab Army” whence the shelter was turned into a prison. They took all the men including young men out of the shelter and promptly executed some of them right at the door and arrested the elderly men. Only women and children remained in the place. Some were crying, while the majority were forced to shout, at gun threat (“with our blood we sacrifice ourselves for you Hafez“, بالروح بالدم نفديك يا حافظ  and  “O God, it is high time for  Hafez to take your place” يا الله حلك حلك يقعد حافظ محلك) in order to worsen our humiliation. Our imprisonment lasted three days while they murdered whomever they wanted. I swear to God we stayed without food, and I still remember the smell of the place. It was unbearable. We constantly heard screaming voices outside the basement, voices of women being raped, and of and torture that would still visibly affect me whenever I recall or try to describe. Some women had few candies ad Chocolate with them, and before they took the men, one of them brought a few loaves of bread and olives that we shared, and which was barely enough for one man.  Women kept reading Qur’an continuously, albeit in hushed voice.  Then the door opened and they ordered us to get out because they said they will now execute us. We got out as we were shouting “we sacrifice our blood for you …..”, but then they told us that we must head in the direction of the Aleppo Road outside the city.

We walked, raising our arms and repeating what we were told to repeat. The landscape was surreal, the place was full of corpses, swollen, of black blood, and as we moved from one street to another, bodies and destruction were everywhere. We proceeded until we reached the Omar Ibn Khattab Mosque (of which you have been hearing lately as the place where demonstrations to demand freedom started). The Mosque was  destroyed completely, with the washing room being the only section left.  In there, there were some army soldiers who terrified us by pointing their rifles and machine guns at us forcing us to lie face down on the ground. Then they  brought us into the washing room and shut the door tightly. Some women begged the army men to kill us and let everyone else out of the city, but they refused. When we entered the washing room we found fungus covered stale bread that we ate. There were also two ornamental statues of white doves. I do not know why they were there, but to me they signaled the beginning of salvation from the bloodbath. The door remained locked for a day and a half, after which one of officers shouted a speech at us in which he said:

“she who awaits her husband or brother or son or father, don’t be waiting for him because he will not come out alive and will never return.”

They released us in the direction of Aleppo, we walked more than ten kilometers racing against time as we cried and barefoot women kept reading the Qur’an, and whenever we heard the shooting, we instantly lied down, until we reached the point where they had allowed the villagers access to help the survivors. What can I say … I swear by God, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

……….. To be continued

I encourage you to visit the online gallery of Khaled Al-Khani and see how Hama echos resonate in  his work 

Note from OTW: I have opted not to use images of the Massacre and instead to use painting from Khaled Al-Khani’s great work to highlight the tenacity of life despite of the tyrants. Life is what we seek, and the memories of death and destruction brought on Syria by the Assad family will be with us for long time, but hopefully only in the sense that will motivate us to prevent such atrocities from hapening again, not only in Syria, but everywhere.


  1. a family friend visited zabadani today, the check points are actually manned by the Free Syrian Army!. as a Damascene this is the first time we encounter these soldiers. the town is totally shuttered.


  2. Thank you for this beautiful but painful entry. This February is the month to finally face up to the crimes that happened to Hama, while we were sleeping, while we were young, while we were silent. It is time to read the words of the survivors and listen after we ignored them for decades. It’s time to weep for Hama, to weep for our past and present. It is time as a nation, to collectively mourn Hama openly, without fear, for the first time since 1982. Maybe by the end of the month, we will be able to let go of some of the guilt and move forward, knowing while Assad repeats the sins of his father, we are not repeating the sins of our silent fathers.


  3. A very harrowing account. It can’t have been easy to recall such painful memories.

    Such evil can never be permitted to exist. How can anyone in their right mind even contemplate compromising or having a dialog with the entity that created such barbarity.


  4. Two elderly members of my family in their sixties were gunned down in their home in Hama in 1982. Their children recognized the father from his wedding ring, this how bad his body was.
    The level of hatred is manifest in the extreme brutality that followed that is also accounted by the book from Tadmur to Harvard. In this book the account is very similar to one of my relations who was imprisoned for more than a decade and once released had to walk in his slippers the 20 km to Damascus and when he showed up his family did not recognize him for so emaciated he was and they thought that this was a vagrant coming in for begging.
    Once a person was taken into custody the sentence was death and the trial was to either confirm or commute the sentence.


  5. Dear Amal
    Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Your words do reflect what I was thinking as I was trying to finalize the translation of this installment. I had originally intended to have all of Khaled’s memories translated into a single post, but as I proceeded the feeling of guilt you so eloquently identified became overwhelming, and the only way to cope with it for me was to finish this segment and get it out, for I wanted the world to read Khaled’s words as soon as possible.

    Yes, it is time to weep for Hama, as well as for the more than 6000 murdered by orders of the person who insisted on inheriting his father’s legacy as a butcher of Syria. And as we weep, and work, each within our best towards freeing ourselves and Syria, we forge a new country. A country that has finally learned to grief and to move positively.

    The most distinguishing difference between those who support this revolution and those who have for months now only found reasons to stand against it is rather simple. We trust Syria and Syrians, they don’t. Poet Hala Mohammad now ends every post she writes by saying: Syria, I trust you. I think she is not being poetic only, but prophetic.


  6. Words cannot describe the emotions I felt and feel from reading this post. I hope we Syrians can really learn our history no matter how dark it is, and insure that it never repeats its ugly face, and only enforce the great values that we all know and love.

    And by the way OTW, the sentence “Syria, I trust you” is one of the most beautiful sentence I have ever read, and I believe in it with more conviction than anything else.

    Thank you for this blog, I am learning so much about my Country, things that either I wanted to forget about, or was not aware of.


  7. I still maintain that RIFAAT AL ASSAD was the main person responsible for Hama. Hafez may have ordered it, but Rifaat planned it and executed it. He was there in Hama throughout the Operation. He cannot be allowed to go scot-free, he is a killer, a killer in the same way the Mukahabarat Chief of Homs was a killer during the Clock Square Massacre. Anybody agrees with me ? It is criminal, no worse than criminal to trivialize the crimes of Rifaat just because he has distanced himself from the regime.

    And what about Tadmur massacre ? that was done purely on the initiative of Rifaat, Hafez was recuperating in hospital at that time ( if u did’nt know the MB had tried to assassinate him at the Airport, the Tadmur Massacre was in retaliation for that).

    I know u guys will label me a mukhabarati intent on obfuscating Bashar’s crimes. But I prefer calling a spade a spade, and Hama 82 was much worse than what has happened in the last 10 months ; and I prefer Rifaat to be in the dock along with his nephew(s).


  8. Zabadani is of immense strategic importance to both sides. As of now, it has become Baba Amr 2, thanks to the stupidity of the regime. Moreover, it has better-off than Baba Amr because they are not trapped, the passage to Lebanon is free. It is easy access for the FSA to get weapons, and get them cheap.

    Zabadani is extremely significant strategicaly, and he who wins here wins Damascus. Zabadani in the hands of FSA and a Baba Amr like situation is a dagger levelled at the throat of the regime. Damascus is only 50 kms away, the FSA could never be closer. Sooner rather than later, the regime will try to “pacify” Zabadani, may launch an all-out assault, its imperative for them if they wish to survive. However, failure to finish FSA striking capability in Reef Damascus will be a huge failure and start of the endgame. it will signal to the A.L that the FSA is here to stay and knockong on the doors of Damascus. It will be as important as the regime’s botched operation in Homs in November, which forced the A.L. to act.


  9. Dear Nussayyif

    I know u guys will label me a mukhabarati intent on obfuscating Bashar’s crimes.

    Why for heaven’s sake would we want to do so? Call the spade a spade… But from where I stand, both the person who ordered it, and the person who executed it are subject to trial. The former is dead, and the latter, as I described in my introduction is trying to weasel his way out of it by blaming it on others and pretending that he had a a comically far more benign power than anyone who is older than 40 years would believe. Please note also that those who participated, and those who have willingly covered it for 30 years, are liable as well.

    Sure, Bashar and his cohort of brother and cousins have not yet reached the level their fathers and uncles had, but recall that he has brought back those who aided the two, and has been contemplating and trying massive military actions ever since the uprising started. Fortunately, he faces challenges that his predecessors did not, and these include among other things, international mood, information age, but most importantly, a far wider spread uprising that makes such scale of crime his prompt demise.

    Time for Tadmur will come, this post is about Hama (there will be a couple of short segments on Tadmur’s survivors), but the important part is that the giant is awake, and accounting will happen. There will be those from Masharqa in Aleppo who will also demand justice. And then, there will be all of us who will demand accounting for the strings of unconstitutional decrees that gave the apparatus of oppression a free reign over the blood of Syrians. But all of us share with you the note that Rifaat should stand next to his nephews in the cage, and we pray he will.


  10. Dear Observer
    I hear your grief for your relatives. I have few of my close relatives who spent a lifetime in Tadmur, and when I finally had the chance to talk to one of them, he told me, there were times when we envied those who perished.


  11. I believe there is not a single person in Syria in the 80s who did not have a distant relative or kinsman killed or imprisoned ( inclduing many regime bigwigs).


  12. OTW,many thanks for this testimony.
    In order to illustrate it ,here are photos from the past of the rased neighborhoods by assad’s militia which are on the left bank on the pictures .Can be seen the Sufi lodge of the Kilani and the Kilani neighborhood and al Hader further.


  13. As I read this horrific description of what happened in Hama, all these images came back to me. It was the fall of 1980. My eldest brother had finished his high school and left to Europe with my mother to enroll in university there. We were left with my father. We went to private school in Aleppo. It was a Friday. My older brother was in eleventh grade and his school was only half day on Fridays. I was in tenth grade and my little brother was in third grade. We also had a shorter school day on Fridays. When the school day was over and all the girls were boarding the buses to go home, the principal showed up with a very tense look on her face and ordered all the girls on our bus down. We could not understand why we were asked to stay in school and why only us. We heard that a parent had called the school, talked to the principal and down right ordered her to keep our bus from leaving. I later found out that the parent was actually no other than my own father.
    Our old apartment was in a nice neighborhood in Aleppo. Unfortunately, the back of our building shared a wall with the intelligence service branch of “Amn al Dawleh”, the state security. All you had to do was walk a few meters to the end of our street, turn right and walk a few more meters to find yourself in front of their entrance. We did not even dare walk down that street. We were told by our parents to avoid it at all cost. It was completely blocked off for cars, but theoretically, a pedestrian could use that street. In reality, only those who were unfortunate enough to live on that street walked it and they were constantly harassed.
    My brother had returned from school right before the call for Friday prayers. Considering he was sixteen at the time and with two distant cousins already in prison, my parents had forbidden him from even thinking about attending the Friday prayer. It simply was not allowed and God knows he tried. Right after Friday prayer, there was the sermon and then the congregation decided to walk from the mosque to the intelligence service branch behind our apartment. Apparently, there were detainees in that branch and the people were demanding their release. The men walked the 15 minute distance to the branch in a peaceful demonstration. From what my father was told later by members of the intelligence service, the men approached the branch entrance demanding the release of the prisoners. The branch chief came out and asked them to leave, but they were not backing down. He warned them that if they kept getting closer to the gate, they will be shot. They did not heed his threats. As the men started marching closer and closer to the gate, all hell broke loose. The unarmed men were faced with what amounted to a firing squad aiming directly at them. My father and brother were inside our apartment, but too close for comfort. They ended up on the floor in the middle of an interior corridor feeling like there was war outside our doors. All my father could think about was my bus and my little brother’s bus coming back to drop us off and getting hit by stray bullets. He crawled to the phone, called the principal and told her to halt the buses. She argued, he yelled: “Can’t you hear the war through the phone. This is not a joke. You will get the kids killed. Stop the buses.” She wondered what to do with the kids. He assured her that the parents would much rather pick their kids up when it was safe. Please just keep them at school until we could come. She did. My father called again and asked to talk to me. He told me to walk to my little brother’s school and keep him with me until he could pick us up. My brother’s school was in the same campus as my school. I walked there with my best friend, who also had a sister there. We picked both up and walked them back to our school. We were all so very scared and had no idea what was going on. My father finally came. He was in the car with two young men wearing camouflage vests. When I got into the car, I stepped on something. I looked down to see two machine guns on the floor of the car. They acted as a foot rest for all four kids until we approached our area. We had to go through three check points. Without the two men in the car, we could have never been allowed to go through. The area was simply off limits to anyone. We dropped my friend and her sister off at their house and proceeded to ours, where my brother was left home alone and near hysterical. It was a mixture of fright and excitement. He recounted the events for me without stopping to take a breath. A few minutes later, we went to our balcony and collected a big bucked full of shells. There were a few bullet holes on the walls of our apartment, luckily, no glass shattered.
    The next morning, our cook arrived to our house shaking. I opened the door for her. She rushed in and told my father that across from the branch in one of the gardens there was a big pile covered with tarp. As she got closer, she could see human legs covered with blood peeking through the sides of the tarp. She told my father that there were too many and started sobbing.


  14. Dear Sheila
    Thanks for sharing .This is the first time I hear this incident with such details. There will be a trials, and people know the names of the chiefs of these dungeons of horror. Even if they are retired, and living with their sons and daughters in some nice western country, cases will be filed. We have to do it.

    Dear Shami
    Old timer and the always reliable walking heritage encyclopedia, that high-res image made my day. Never knew how superb was the architectural heritage of Hama. The destruction of such wonderful neighborhood should also be counted as a crime against humanity. DO you have more photos, please either post the link or email it to me at


  15. Zabadani may be the new Hama, as there is a so called cease fire. I believe that the regime cannot afford to look weak or indecisive or unable to crush anybody. There will be a massacre after the observers leave.
    I hope I am wrong


  16. OTW:

    “….and when I finally had the chance to talk to one of them, he told me, there were times when we envied those who perished.”

    Your lucky to have been able to converse with your relatives. My cousin was not able to talk for years. Even when he spoke his brain was fried. He still thinks the mukhabarat are watching him from across the street through the 4th floor window of his room.

    His crime: His name and phone # was found in one of the his friends / student pocket phone book (who later turned out to be a brother of MB). Pathetic! No trial, just a conviction of 16 year old teenager and 20 year prison sentence.


  17. Dear 7ee6anis
    As Husam, observer, Sheila, and I did, please do tell your stories, even if it is a single paragraph. Part of our cross-generational grief is telling stories, sharing photos (as Shami just did).

    The next segment will be longer, and i am afraid, even more horrific.

    Dear Observer
    I share your fear. and BTW, excellent posts on SC.


  18. N.Z. & Nusayif:

    …from the last post, I meant something like transitional like Yemen (I know it hasn’t worked, yet, etc…). But the bigger question that I am asking myself is would I let go 10,000 thugs to save a million Syrians. I try to envision my family getting killed in civil war, etc…

    Here we are looking back at Hama, our children will look back at Homs and all of Syria and wondering if it could have been politically averted and whether the AL failed to save lives.

    I am usually a person of principle, sharaf, etc… but I am sitting in Canada and certainly not to decide anything.

    Lavrov re-affirmed today that the whole region will be in flames beyond Syria.


  19. OTW,

    I am not sure I will be able to read your next post, too troubling and depressing to read. I mean, I find the more I read and follow the news the more I can’t function. What am I to do, drop my life and children and join the revolution on the ground in Syria? Anything short of that is cowardice. I feel helpless.


  20. the hama massacre happened before i was born, though my mother does tell me stories about how hamwis fleeing hama ,reached homs bare foot. i cringe at the thought of how they were isolated back then, no youtube,aljazeera,bbc, twitter, facebook to document their crimes. how did they live?!?!? : they didnt. They were brutally murdered and forgotten until now…………..


  21. Dear SGID
    Thanks for sharing, part of what I am trying to do is to help the world understand what really happened. I now realize many people, thanks to Husam that many people will not be able to read everything, but it is my generation’s duty to make sure that your generation is informed of our mistakes. When you depose the fool dictator, if possible, make sure that you never ever trust a “leader”, never ever place a fuzzy concept, no matter how sublime it sounds, above the value of individual life.


  22. Dear OTW,they are from the library of congress digital collection, you will find many photos ,many available in high res ,not only of Hama ,but also from the other syrian cities ,taken during the Ottoman late era and the french mandate time.


  23. OTW, I will continue reading, for now I must stop.

    I heard the horrors of Hama a year later, from a lady, who lived through it. I could not sleep for days.. cannot recount what I heard, could not read Khaled’s account of that horrific February, 1982…..We met outside Syria.

    But I will always remember her voice, her affirmation. The children will grow, you will see, she said with a nod. We never talked about Hama after. No one did.

    I will never forget the savagery. I lived it, through her words.

    For two decades Syria looked like a dungeon from the middle ages. The walls had ears, your closest relatives and friends might be informants, they were not. It was the “shock and owe” of Hama. The nation was subdued. The youth imprisoned or exiled, tortured or dead. Discussions were muted.

    … his son Bassel died in a car accident. We all felt like perpetrators, what is awaiting Syrians now? The verdict was issued. It was God’s will. Later, the father died, till this day I did not wish mercy upon his soul. Never will.

    At the same time, I will never forget my ignorance, my naivety and immaturity for quickly forgiving and forgetting that the butcher’s son, is from the same poisonous milieu. He is surrounded by the same old guard that committed Hama, that humiliated Syrians, physically and emotionally.

    This murderous family and their guards has written their last chapter, solely.


  24. OTW:

    Thank you for doing your part. Our generation knows fully well what took place. That is why I am for equal representation and I don’t trust any “leader” but God. Syrians of all people know that in order to get anywhere in politics (in almost every country) you have to be scum.

    The SYP hit 74 today. As soon as the 100 threshold is broken, it will go all the way 1500.

    There is a lot of noise that what I was discussing with Nusayif and N.Z. “the clean exit” may just well be a small enclave (country) in the Alawite mountains and on the shores of the Northwest. It will take a decade or more… look at the Kurds in Iraq.

    This is another thing why the fence-sitters are not jumping, they are afraid of Syria being divided.


  25. SGID:

    The Hamwis and the Homasneh were never forgotten. I don’t have any in my family, but they are always in our conversation as brave people. Facebook, twitter, etc…was not around, but God was. Hafez continues to be tormented in his grave to this day.

    His brother Rifaat, pencilneck, and the clan…their day is coming.


  26. “Moreover, it has better-off than Baba Amr because they are not trapped, the passage to Lebanon is free”

    Baba Amr hasn’t been “trapped” in quite a while. As much as the regime would love to bottle it up, it hasn’t been able to.

    My step mother had two brothers who were arrested in 1981. Their crime was that they prayed at the same mosque as an imam whom the regime didn’t like. She never heard from them again. It was heart breaking to see how hopeful she and her family would be everytime the regime announced an “amnesty”, hoping for any scrap of news about her brothers.

    I was very, very young in 1982, and living in Homs. My memories of those times are hazy, but what I remember the most was the memory of so many women wearing black. No body needed to tell me that something terrible had happened, something no one dared speak about.

    Ya Hafiz fiq wa shoof,serna ensibak 3al makshof


  27. بثمن باهظ نتعلم اليوم كم هو هام ان نعترف باخطائنا ونقدم المخطئين والمقصرين والفاسدين للمحاسبة في اي موقع كانو ، قد تتسبب لنا هذه المواجهة ببعض الازعاج او الاذى .. ربما ، ولكني تعلمت بان التعاطي مع بعض الازعاج وتحمل قسطا من الاذى قربان يجب ان نقدمه اذا كنا نريد ان نصون الوطن ، لقد سقطت مقولة “ابعد عن الشر وغنيلو” ، في الاحداث التي نمر بها ، بالضربة القاضية وثبت بان الشر لا يمكن التعاطي معه الا بالمواجهة.
    من ناحيتي لن يكون هناك اشخاص مقدسين في مستقبل سوريا ، كائنا من يكن في الحكم والمسؤولية يجب ان يعلم باننا لن نصمت وسنكون له بالمرصاد في حال انه اخطأ .. سنتكلم اولا ونصرخ ثانيا وتاليا .. في وجه كل من يحاول ان يسرق منا بعد اليوم الوطن ..
    By Nedal Malouf
    This is the man who established He was so harassed by the regime that he had to flee the country. He is a Syrian Christian.


  28. OTW, Son of Damascus:

    Re: Exchange on SC with Jad….

    Cool heads, eh! Anyone who calls for door to door search & destroy, zanga zanga as Norman did or Jad’s refusal to admit the brutal massacres taking place daily to me is a total waste of time. Reaching out and using civility with people who have hatred streaming in their veins will accomplish nothing. Nothing. This is not about differences of opinion, SNC, FSA, conspiracy, etc… this is about sectarian hatred you and I, Son of Damascus, never thought existed in Syria.

    I despise the policies of Israel but I don’t call for harm to the average Jew. I despise what the US and others did in Iraq but I have no hatred for the average American or Polishman. These guys hate you and hate the opposition, and had they been on the ground, they would shoot to kill too. On the other hand, the FSA was born out of men who couldn’t stomach seeing hundreds of innocents fall without being able to do anything about it.

    SOD, you treated Jad with reasoning, common sense, and respect so he responded in the same tone but he remains with his hatred and his convictions.

    My childhood friends true colors came out when they told me that they were happy to see Assad crushing the people simply because to them “arabs deserve the iron fist”. And I am sure they too were happy with what happened to Hama in ’82, Rifaat stopped the MB. Job well done. I can no longer befriend them because I can’t deal with hateful people.


  29. Hama … I remember, was a forbidden word when I lived in Damascus. I always wondered about the criminals who did this. Have any of them repented and come out and confessed their crimes ? Of course, they could not.

    In Hama, at an artist’s workshop I bought a painting evoking the massacre. The artist acknowledged what it was. A courageous piece of art. Elsewhere I saw big portraits of Hafiz.

    Thank you OTW for this heart breaking testimony on this too long occulted chapter of Syria’s history.


  30. The story above and many others we all have heard either directly or second-hand (plus that horrifying account in “The Shell”) are proof of the futility of conducting any dialog with the Assadist Mafia and Associates. To anyone suggesting that a bunch of criminals who have had free reign for 40+ years to run the country as their personal prison-farm are now about to listen to reason and agree to meaningfully share power so that a transition to full representative democracy can then proceed…well, I can only say dream on, brother. So a ‘very well said!’ to Observer and S.O.D on SC.

    But here is a little story that I want to share with you and which I hope will bring a smile to your faces as it it did to mine, despite the daily tragedies that our folks have to live through back home.

    A short while back I mentioned my nephew the doctor who was arrested recently in Damascus by the ASMAA. Well, he had been conducting his opposition activities without telling his father (my brother, an old-fashioned, strict disciplinarian and politically a committed pro-resistance “mumane3”), thinking that telling him would cause friction within the family as he was not absolutely certain of his his stance towards the revolution. But finally realizing that something might happen to him and keeping his activities secret from his dad might cause worry and confusion, he traveled from Damascus to his home city (one of the more active hot spots) to finally tell his father though he knew he risked a considerable tongue lashing. When he got home, his mother greeted him and with trepidation he asked “where is dad?”

    “He’s out demonstrating” was the answer.


  31. I posted this article on my blog. Would you mind if I posted most of your comments as a separate post ? Your stories are so precious. They are the true history in the making


  32. Nice one MGB 🙂

    Bandannie, I don’t mind at all.

    Ehsani, if you are around, something big has happened. Every single government financial institute except the Commericial Bank in Homs, Telkelakh and Dar’a have been shut down. They aren’t accepting new deposits, the staff in Telkelakh are being relocated to other places, and some of the staff in Homs have been sent on indefinite leave.

    This is going to cause a big headache for some government departments, who used to collect their fees though these financial institutions. If it was just a case of the government saving money, I’d have thought the first step would have been to print some.

    Not even the staff know what to make of it. This is 100% confirmed, I know people who work at these institutions in Homs.


  33. An all-out assault on Zabadani us unlikely, it is too close to Damascus, wiping out Zabadani will offend the Damascene upper class and the rich Khaleejis who summer up there, basically its win-win for the FSA in Zabadani, mainly becoz they are too close to Damascus for the regime to try even a small-scale massacre, its just 3 hour drive from Damascus, the area can be flooded with media and diplomats if such a thing were to happen.

    Its win-win for FSA in Zabadani, how many FSA has the regime been able to kill there in the last week ? Not even 5. Even the civilan death toll in Zabadani is very low, the regime is TRAPPED, Zabadani sits on high ground and the regime has to attack from the plains, the FSA enjoys the advantages of controlling higher altitudes and will be able to strike first, and the Christian populaion of the surrounding regions and Bloudan hasn’t yet shown any signs of overt hostilty, as long as they are neutral, the regime will not be able to cut off the FSA from the other side. Remember as long as the FSA controls Zabadan, there can’t be any way for the regime to invade it, only option for them will be to use the Air Force or Missiles, and it can’t and it won’t….yet.


  34. Sheila,

    Can you provide us with an acount of the Artillery School massacre in Aleppo ? That event has always mystified me, as to how 3 to 4 untrained people armed with AKs could masdsacre 70 military cadets after storming the compound.


  35. I have read this account in Arabic before and this is an excellent translation. It did not lose any of its strength. Well done. I was too young during the events of 80’s but I remember the fear and the tank parked in front of our home and the marks it left on the asphalt for months later. I remember hearing the gun shots. I remember growing up knowing about missing relatives and the hardships their families encountered. I remember relatives dismissed from government jobs merely for having the wrong family name. The fear was suffocating.

    The regime will not be able to neutralize Zabadani. I suspect if they try other areas will follow its lead. Edleb has been in the hands of the revolutionaries for sometime. The security services is holed up in their headquarters and control a couple of streets that are off-limits to demos. The revolution flag is waving on the highest post on the entrance of Edleb. The revolutionaries even run their own “police force” to prevent petty criminals benefiting from the absence of the state apparatus – many of them admitted to being hired by the security services to spread chaos. The regime is not even trying to restore Edleb. Multiple attempts at re-taking surrounding smaller towns failed. The last town in Edleb to show some support to the regime (Salqin) have seen demos lately. A week ago hired regime thugs went on rampage in the town and smashed activits shops and cars. Like what happened elsewere, there will soon be a retribution.


  36. Dear Nusayyif,
    I was a teenager at the time and my information is based on what I have heard from my parents and their friends. Remember that there was never an independent investigation of what exactly happened there. All we got was the official story. My recollection of the incident is that a Sunni officer from the Artillery School in Aleppo gathered the young cadets in the school gym and with the help of a few other officers, locked the doors, trapped them in and opened fire. They specifically targeted Alawii cadets. The death toll was at 32 or 34 cadets. Ibrahim Yousef was the main perpetrator. He managed to escape, but was later captured by the end of the MB uprising and hanged.
    The perpetrators did not storm the compound. It was an inside job.
    The reaction to the massacre was mixed. On one hand people were happy that somebody was finally standing up to this tyrannical government, on the other hand, people were horrified at the killing of these young men just because they belonged to the president’s sect.
    By the way, I do not think that Zabadani is 3 hours from Damascus as you claim. If you drive fast, you can reach Aleppo in 3 hours.


  37. Ibrahim Al-youssef was the duty officer for that night. Duty officers have absolute control of the cadets and no one would have had any reason to suspect his orders to gather the cadets. He managed to also sneak in external collaborators. As you said, what he did was a crime that was used by the regime later on to aggravate sectarian hatred.


  38. Members of the FSA in Hama…..riding on top of the Observer’s jeep. I’m torn between laughing my head off and tearing my hair out.


  39. OTW, it’s no secret that there is an armed element to the revolution, but if it were up to me I wouldn’t have been so…um, blatant I guess. Not even in Baba Amr did the FSA show itself so freely. And riding on top of the Observer’s car like that was…dare I say it…hilarious.

    It reminds me of the demos I went to, when we used to chant “Alo 3ana mundaseen wa nehna ersasa ma 3andna” while a dozen guys with M-16s and RPGs protected us just down the road.

    Everyone knows that the FSA exists, but maybe while the Observers were in town they might have stayed in the background and not jumped on top of the jeeps.


  40. Regarding Zabadani, this is the point we were waiting for; when the army has become too exhausted to be of much use. By now we’ve all seen the video of the T-72 that was damaged by an IDE. A relatively minor hit, and the army could have salvaged the tank….if the soldiers had any fighting spirit left in them.

    But they were up against the most formidable of opponents; the man who is fighting for his home and family, and who won’t leave them come what may.

    For those who ask how long the FSA can keep this up, I reply unequivocally; forever. Their logistical needs are modest if they confine themselves to their strongholds, and their motivation the strongest that could possibly exist. Stronger armaments are needed to actually take ground, but that’s not what the FSA is for, nor will it need to.

    As the effectiveness of the security forces lessens, military defections will increase, which for the first time will allow sizable civilian defections. When that starts to happen, it is the beginning of the end for junior, and only a matter of time before his own Alawite supporters pack him off on a plane to Tehran, and then strike a deal with the opposition.


  41. Aboud,
    Did you hear the background sounds? Khaled Al-Khani (Abu Hikmat) has a very funny story to tell about demonstrations in Hama. He asked me to share it with all 7ee6anis. Here it is as posted on his FB page. And translated by me below.

    طلب ثوري بالغ الاهمية
    by Khaled Al Khani on Saturday, December 10, 2011 at 7:33pm

    احد الشباب الناشطين يتكلم معي عن اخر وعن مجموعة شباب من حماه يتظاهرون كل يوم ليلا نهارا والحي الذي ينتمو اليه ليس من الاحياء الغنية لا بل من اشد احياء حماه فقرا
    يبدأ الناشط حديثه معي:يااخي مابيصير هيك هذا ليس عدلا ولماذا التميز بيننا وبين الاخرين وهل من المعقول ان يوجد بكل الاحياء ولا يوجد عندنا والشباب جدا متدايقين واخبروني ان اخبرك بهذا الموضوع وانت ياابوحكمت لا ترضى الا بالعدل ….الخ وبصراحة انا تدايقت كثيرا بسبب تقصيرنا اتجاههم وانا اقول له طول بالك خلص نحل الموضوع اهدأ قليلا,انا اعرف ان سيارة البطاطا دخلت الحي هذا ولم ياخذو سوى ثلاث اكياس واثرو على انفسهم وهم كعادتهم منهجهم الايثار اهدىء قليلا واخبرني ما المشكلة وانا عقلي يفكر بكل الاتجاهات من طبية …الخ وفجأة بعد ان وصلت الى زروة الانتباه قال بالحرف الواحد يااخي كيف كل الاحياء فيها طبل ونحن نتظاهر ليلا نهارا وماعنا طبل وهنا ابتسمت وبكيت يالهم من رائعين يريدون ان يصل صوتهم الى كل مكان ولا يريدون اي احتياجات اخرى والمضحك والذي يطمئن اكثر اننا لن نستسلم ابدا لان هؤلاء الشباب كل يوم يثقبون الطبل تحت ضرباتهم القوية كايمانهم بالنصر


    An Extremely Important Revolutionary Request
    by Khaled Al Khani on Saturday, December 10, 2011 at 7:33pm

    I was talking to a young activist representing another and a group of activists from Hama who are demonstrating day and night everyday. Their neighborhood is not a rich one, rather it is one of the poorest in Hama

    The activist starts his conversation with me saying: Brother, this is not correct or fair, why is there discrimination between us and the others, and is it reasonable that all other neighborhoods have it and we don’t. The guys are very upset and they have asked me to tell you about it, and we know that you “Abu Hikmat” don’t accept but fairness….etc.

    To tell you the truth, I was very upset because of our dereliction towards them, and I started telling him, be patient, let us solve this issue right now, just calm down. I knew that the potato shipment got to that neighborhood, and they had selflessly refused but three bags as selflessness is one of their characters. And as my attention reached its peak, and my mind wondered in many directions thinking of medical needs etc…., I told him, calm down and tell me what is the problem. He literally replied “my brother, how come all other neighborhoods have a drum and we, the ones who demonstrate day and night do not have a drum. Then, i smiled and cried, what a wonderful bunch, they want their voice to reach everywhere and nothing else. The funny and comforting thing is that we will never surrender because these young people puncture a drum everyday with their hits, strong as their faith is.

    So watch Aboud’s clip again, and listen to the Hamwis drumming.


  42. The best part is that Zabadani has become Baba Amr 2, that too only 50 kms away from Damascus.


  43. Sheila, what could have been the motivation for the shooting ? I mean, why did it turn sectarian, I find it strange that the MB being an idelogical party singld out a particular sect in their campaign, did most people in those days associate the regime with that particular sect ?


  44. Brigadier Adel Mustafa, a most notorious mukhabarat leader, was gunned down by defectors today in Hama. More of these incidents will put the fear of God into the thugs hearts.


  45. i want to share a peice about Islamists traditional resistance against the Baath regime, and why the Islamist temdency has been so irreconciled to the Baathists.

    Below is the story of a famous Hamwi Islamist leader, he may be called an extremist, and the tone of the article is unbalanced and somewhat sectarian, but worth a read, it may help us to understamd the events of those dark days :

    The Soul Shall Rise Tomorrow: The Story of Marwan Hadid

    by ‘Abdullah ‘Azzam

    It was the year 1963 when it was announced in Damascus:

    “I believe in the Baath as a Lord, without any partners

    And with Arabism as a religion, with no religion other than it”

    And the Baa’this and Nusayris began to attack Islam. In Hamah, it happened that a Professor spoke against Islam, so, one of the youth got up and hit him. The rest of the youth then got up and beat him to death inside the classroom. So, the police officer came and killed the youth. When Shaykh Marwan Hadid requested the officer so that he would implement the punishment of relatilation on him, they said to him: “One for one (meaning, the boy was killed for killing the teacher).” Marwan replied: “No, the boy was a Muslim, and the teacher was a disbeliever! His blood is permissible! As for the Muslim, then his blood must be avenged!”

    The State refused, so, Marwan said: “OK,” and went and gathered the youth who were around him. There was a mosque right at the foot of his apartment building where the youth would usually sleep, as he would bring them up and teach them there. He went to Masjid as-Sultan and gathered them, each one of them carrying a grenade and a gun. Some of the youth were still in high school! They began saying ‘Allahu Akbar!’ and announcing their fight against the State. So, the Tanks came to Masjid as-Sultan and fired on it, with the youth standing on the minaret. The minaret fell with the youth in it, and the mosque was demolished with them inside.

    By Allah, some of the trustworthy residents of Hamah narrated to me – and Allah Knows best – that, after a few days, when they were removing the rubble from on top of these youth who had been killed, they could hear tasbih and takbir from underneath the rubble.

    Anyway, it was Written for Shaykh Marwan that he remain alive, so, they took him to court. This was done in the open, so that the Ba’this could claim that they implement justice. They allowed some foreign journalists to attend the hearing. The judges in this case were Mustafa Tallas and Salah Jadid. Mustafa Tallas was the Defense Minister in Syria, and Salah Jadid was the most powerful Nusayri to have any position in the country.

    They said to him: “Why did you carry weapons and go against the State?”

    Shaykh Marwan answered: “Because there is a Nusayri dog named Salah Jadid – he is saying this to Salah Jadid! – and there is a dog who ascribes himself to Ahl as-Sunnah named Mustafa Tallas, and they desire to kill off Islam in this land, and we reject and will fight against Islam being wiped out in this land as long as we’re alive.”

    He then dared the Republican Guards to kill him inside the courthouse, but the police guarded Shaykh Marwan in front of the foreign journalists, so that it would not be said to the world that he was killed in the courthouse.

    They said to him: “You are working for someone else.”

    He replied: “I am working for Allah, the Mighty and Exalted. As for the one who is serving others, then he is the leader of your Party.”

    They said: “You say that Muhammad al-Hamid is with you, but he hates you.”

    Marwan replied: “{“But if they turn away, then say: ‘Allah is sufficient for me. There is none worthy of worship except He. Upon Him I depend, and He is the Lord of the mighty Throne.'”} [at-Tawbah; 129]”

    It was a powerful court case. He was sentenced to death along with a group of the youth. Some of the youth were acquitted, however. Those who were acquitted began to weep, and those who were sentenced to death began to smile. The foreign journalists were in a state of shock: those who are acquitted are weeping, and those who are sentenced to death are smiling? So, the youth sentenced to death said to them: “We are being granted Paradise, and they are being prevented from Paradise,” and they were taken to prison to await their executions.

    Shaykh Marwan later said to me: “I never lived a time in my life that was sweeter to my heart and soul than those days in which the youth and I were awaiting our executions.” And it might have been during those days that Shaykh Marwan wrote:

    The soul shall rise tomorrow * And it shall meet Allah at its appointed time

    These are the words of Marwan Hadid. Anyway, one of the scholars of Hamah, Shaykh Muhammad al-Hamid, went to Amin al-Hafiz – who was the Syrian President at the time, from Hamah, as well – and said to him: “What do you want to do with Marwan Hadid?”

    He replied: “We sentenced him to death.”

    Muhammad al-Hamid said: “Are you saying this with a sane mind? Do you think that Hamah will remain silent against you if you execute Marwan Hadid? You will face unending problems!”

    Amin replied: “What do you think, Shaykh?”

    He said: “I think you should release him and acquit him.”

    Amin said: “Go and release him yourself.”

    Shaykh Marwan Hadid later said to me: “So, Shaykh Muhammad al-Hamid came and said: “My children – and he was their teacher, whom they all loved – come!” They said: “To where?” He said: “The state has acquitted you.” So, we said to him: “May Allah Forgive you, as you have prevented us from Paradise.””

    Shaykh Marwan returned, and he knew no rest. He was basically a bomb about to explode…he was quite strange. In the year 1973, they announced a new Constitution in which they officially abrogated that Syria is an Islamic State. So, Marwan Hadid got up and said: “Who will give me the bay’ah for death in the mosque?” When Shaykh Marwan began to preach, the people began to exit the mosque, one by one, as his words were quite dangerous, and to hear his words were also dangerous. The mashayikh left, one after the other. Some of his followers, from the zeal that they had, pulled out guns and began firing off shots inside the mosque.

    I heard the tape myself, yes. I can recognize those who fire guns who are from Hamah. The people of Hamah are just like the Afghans. They are bedouins who do not play around, just like the Afghans.

    Anyway, after a while, he disappeared, only to reappear in Damascus. He lived in an apartment, and began to gather and collect weapons. Allahu Akbar – he did not know of something called free time or boredom, and he did not know of fear. He gathered machineguns and grenades. Whenever he would hear of a place in Damascus where there was a grenade available, he would send one of the youth to go purchase it.

    At this time, the intelligence was searching for him – ya Salam! – and at this time, I was at the University of Damascus. I was seeking to complete my degree at the university; I got my Bachelor’s in Shari’ah from Damascus, and my Master’s and Doctorate from al-Azhar. While I was standing in the university, a youth – one of Shaykh Marwan’s students – came up to me and said: “Do you wish to see Shaykh Marwan?” I said: “What? Right away!” So, I went to him and entered his residence, and I looked at a face that did not belong to the people of this dunya. It was so pure and strange; the light emanating from his face. The first words he said to me – and he knew me from our days in Palestine – were: “O Abu Muhammad! Do you not long for Paradise?” And this was the last time I ever saw him.

    Anyway, the police were searching for him, and what was he doing? Gathering weapons. He was searching for weapons that he could use to get rid of the Nusayris. One day, the intelligence discovered his apartment and surrounded it. Shaykh Marwan had two of his students with him, as well as his wife, with whom he had not yet consummated the marriage. He had said to her: “I do not wish to consummate with you, as I feel that this would prevent me from other things,” so, he remained a virgin. Yes, he married, but did not consummate.

    One of his students went down to buy some breakfast for them. He saw the cars waiting outside, so, he retreated. He saw six cars used by the intelligence, waiting. He tried to go back into the apartment building, but they caught him. This youth was carrying a pocketknife – the residents of Hamah usually carry knives in their back pockets – and the car was filled with six intelligence officers. So, his youth stood next to them, pulled out his knife, slaughtered each one of them, then he excaped. The sirens then began going off all over Damascus. The police began chasing him until they finally caught up with him in a building, where he jumped from the third or fourth floor to escape. He managed to get away from them, finally making it to Jordan.

    Back to Shaykh Marwan: the police cars began surrounding his apartment building after the Fajr, and they began calling out through the microphone: “O residents of this building! Get out, as there is an Iraqi spy who we wish to arrest!” – at this time, there were disputes between Syria and Iraq. So, Shaykh Marwan grabbed his own microphone (he had his own microphone that he would use to call to prayer), saying: “O intelligece officers! O police! O you who are surrounding the building! We will give you fifteen minutes, and you must leave within these fifteen minutes. After this, we will begin fighting you if you do not leave.” And he actually waited fifteen minutes, and after fifteen minutes, he began with the grenades and machinegun fire. Calls were being made to local police stations, and, eventually, over 1,000 police and intelligence officers were surrounding the house, against Marwan and one other brother with him, along with his wife. They tried entering the building, so, the other brother went down and met them at the entrance with some TNT. They then tried entering from above, landing on the building’s roof with a helicopter – but who would be the brave one to enter first? One thousand against two.

    By the time it was afternoon, they were still unable to enter the apartment building. They would fire from below, and he would fire back from above. After the afternoon, they finally entered the apartment. This was the excuse of Shaykh Marwan: he became injured in his hand, rendering it useless. He came out with his head up high. They took along with them his wife, who he had not consummated his marriage with.

    The news was relayed to Hafidh al-Asad, who went crazy, as many officers were killed in the process. Hafidh al-Asad said: “I wish to solve this with him personally.” So, he went to him personally, saying to him: “O Marwan! Let us open a new page with each other! Let Allah Forgive what has happened, and we will not take you to account for anything you did, with one condition: that you abandon your weapons.” Marwan replied: “I agree, with one condition: that you assist me in establishing an Islamic state in Syria.” Hafidh al-Asad gathered himself and left the room.

    The Military Council gathered, including Naji Jamil – the commander of the Air Force – and Mustafa Tallas was also present, as well as a large group of the Nusayri officers and generals. They came to Shaykh Marwan. He sat down, looked to Naji Jamil and Mustafa Tallas, and said: “Woe to you, you dog, Naji Jamil! Do you think that we will let you live? I made the youth promise that they would start with you, you and Mustafa Tallas. Because of you, you dogs, we have been humiliated by these Nusayris; they violated our honor. As for you, you Nusayri generals, I made the youth promise that they would kill at least 5,000 of you.” Naji Jamil said: “Take this insane man; take him away from me.”

    Afterwards, they would bring his wife into the cell next to him, trying to violate her while he was in captivity, and his soul began to tighten. Someone like this, with a free and honorable soul, sees her honor being violated, and he can do nothing about it. He is in captivity.

    He lost so much weight that he reached 45 kg (99 lbs), and his weight used to be around 100 kg (around 220 lbs).

    He finally died in prison, without anyone knowing whether he was killed or had died a natural death. Towards the end, his veins would not even accept glucose. When he died, they sent to his father to take his body. He asked them: “Did you kill him?” They replied: “No,” and they buried his body in a graveyard in Damascus, with a hundred soldiers guarding his funeral, out of fear that the youth would take his body and demonstrate in Damascus.”


  46. there are reports that the 4th division is going to attack zabadani.


  47. Latest reports is the pound is being floated which will mean terrible inflation. Ehsani can you explain


  48. Dear Nusayyif,
    Any answer I give you as to the motivation behind the shooting at the Artillery School in Aleppo thirty some years ago, would be nothing but pure speculation. Obviously, these people were trying to overthrow the Assad regime, but why these cadets were the victims is anyone’s guess.
    Answering your second question: did most people in those days associate the regime with that particular sect ? In my opinion the answer is yes. More so back then than today. After Bashar took over the presidency, he turned the country into an enterprise, requiring more connections with the business class. That class came from all sects and ethnicities, thus giving his regime a different flavor than that of his father.


  49. The pound is @ 75-76 today. Confirmed that many merchants are withholding their inventory because many people are not buying. From a microeconomic standpoint, a TV that sold for 20,000 SYP prior to the revolution will cost 35,000 SYP to restock and sold for 40,000 SYP. No one has 40k for a TV. Businessmen are choosing to keep their stock and shutting their business. The import duties which probably only resulted in 10% ever being collected is now @ 0%….now one is importing anything but food and essentials (and arms).


  50. Dear Nusayyif,
    This article that you posted is beyond horrific. Whoever wrote this article is a backwards pig. To glorify what this man Hadid did is like glorifying a serial killer or a psycho. What morals and ethics do these people have and what twisted understanding of Islam.
    First it starts with a barbaric attack on a professor who spoke against Islam. The man was beaten to death. Instead of the adult berating the youth for this despicable act, he actually encourages it and insults the memory of the victim. If the man insulted Islam, God should be the one to punish him, not man. His murder was a heinous crime.
    Then the man threatens government officials, starts to amass weapons and corrupts some vulnerable youth. This is a cult leader not a Muslim leader. To be portrayed as a hero and a martyr is a travesty.
    The worst part yet is how the author keeps repeating that the man married but did not consummate his marriage. First, who cares and second, how unIslamic.
    Reading this article puts into perspective why Christians prefer the murderous Bashar over an Islamic country.


  51. Nusayyef
    Here at 7ee6an we try to keep the walls clean of racism and sectarianism. Articles like the you posted have no place here. And I do not appreciate soiling the post in which I try to bring the painful memories of my personal friend to light.


  52. that piece of writing above @ 9:12 is not an “article”…it is a sectarian fable/fairytale absurd piece of religious propaganda.
    No, it is not ‘worth a read’ despite that we read it….. It would only serve to have the effect Sheila mentioned, being as warped in its values as the writer reveals himself to be. What is such a thing supposed to effect? I can’t imagine to any intelligent person.. except revulsion and embarrassment. I think it irresponsible too for people to write such things or traffic in them as some actually reflection of “Hamwi” history or a real representation of the people.
    It is a simple minded fantasy story… designed to influence and capture small minds into a frame of distorted pseudo heroic religious perceptions that breed sectarianism.


  53. ps…the only thing it might help us “understand” is that such material is around and should be stamped out of the collective memory and narrative… permanently as soon as possible…


  54. Dear Husam,

    Sooner than later (Inshallah) Syrians will have to sit with each other, reconcile our differences. I have friends and family that are either sharing Jad’s same fears, or vehemently pro regime, I care for them and love them for they have been my family and friends my entire life, we don’t see eye to eye at the moment (and probably share some disdain towards each other), but when the dicktraitor falls we will need to rebuild those bridges.

    Many people that are sitting on the fence that I know keep asking me “Who will replace Bashar?”, “Who will lead Syria and make it safe again?”, when I hear those questions I just can’t help but to feel sorry them; it is like they are waiting for a za3eem to come and lead them, to tell them everything will be all right (the infallible father figure). What they fail to grasp that it is them, us, every Syrian that is the za3eem now, it is our time the Syrians to become the zou3ama and take charge of our own future.

    As for the bigotry you mentioned that some people choose to partake in, it is unfortunately on both sides. It is not an exclusive of the Pro regime, nor the pro thawra, and I don’t think it is sectarian hatred that keeps the pro regime backing Bashar (although some elements are absolutely racist), the bigoted comments we read sometimes at SC is just a troll trying to get a rise, sometimes we fall in that troll trap and engage the troll, only to see they have nothing to back up any of their false claims.


  55. Observer,

    Here is a link to the Financial Times about the SyP devaluation, by the central bank.

    (a small snippet in case you don’t have an account)

    Banks are thought to have dollars but are assumed to be reluctant to sell them at the official rate, analysts say. The central bank’s plan seems to be that allowing private banks to sell foreign currencies at a rate of their choice will increase the flow of money in the system, though it will allow a de facto devaluation of the currency. “We know banks have sufficient foreign exchange and want to sell it,” Mr Mayaleh said.High quality global journalism requires investment.
    “By putting private bank money in the market they would hope it would impact the black market rate and exert some control over inevitable devaluation,” said David Butter of the Economist Intelligence Unit.
    The decree, issued by the prime minister’s office, is a bold move for a regime which has historically exercised a large degree of control over the economy. As such, it reflects the serious nature of their predicament.


  56. SGID

    “there are reports that the 4th division is going to attack zabadani.”

    Only the 4th div and the republican guards have T-72s. In Homs, they call the 4th division “firqat el tantat”

    I doubt junior will use the 4th, he has to save it for the NATO attack he keeps expecting and the Russians keep warning him about (while conveniently selling him arms to fend off the attack they have “absolutely reliable intelligence will happen aaaaaaaaany day now”)


  57. The fact that 4th Division is being used testifies that they do not have trust in the reliability/ faithfulness/ effectiveness of other units.


  58. Even though many of you expressed distaste at the article, the fact is it is a part of our history, and we should know our history, we should not shy away from it and accept that people like them exist in our society, and what motivates them.

    What I found most catchy was this part :

    It was the year 1963 when it was announced in Damascus:

    “I believe in the Baath as a Lord, without any partners

    And with Arabism as a religion, with no religion other than it


  59. A website documenting all the casualties, imprisoned and missing during the Syrian revolution. Searchable database, the “display all” buttons are at the bottom of the forms.

    OTW, is there a way to display it prominently on the website?


  60. Nusayyif
    What caught my attention, and I think the attention of most others was this shameful phrase

    ” Marwan replied: “No, the boy was a Muslim, and the teacher was a disbeliever! His blood is permissible! As for the Muslim, then his blood must be avenged!”


  61. Memories that Khaled shared with us are painful for those who lived through them, painful for those who also know first hand and have interacted with survivors of this abuse. Those of you who believe that this regime is redeemable – there will be a lot of soul searching, my only wish is that post this regime- there will be no scores to settle with collaborationists- much in the same way that happened in France and Europe after WW2 .

    The way forward will be hard, my heart goes out to Khaled what a inspiring Human being you are, I look forward to reading your next post- however I hope to keep my emotions in check.


  62. Wazup 7ee6anis!!

    It’s always good to be back on our 7ee6an. I made it out of Syria safe and sound.


  63. Hamdillah 3ala el salami True. Glad to know you are OK.

    “How Assad is Losing”

    Echoes many of the observations we have been making here on 7ee6an.

    And I still want someone to explain the significant of all those government financial institutions closing their doors. There hasn’t been any official statement (typical), but I know people who work(ed) in those institutions.


  64. From Istanbul : on Istiqlal in front of the Russian embassy, Syrian flags and people protesting against the Russian position.

    Further up, at a Western Union window in a Bank I am told : money cannot be sent to Syria 😦


  65. Dear TRUE,
    Welcome back. Good to see you made it safely. Please check your email.

    Dear 7ee6anis
    600 confirmed demonstration points of various sizes today on detainees Friday, and the hard core men7ebbakajis are still in denial.


  66. “and the hard core men7ebbakajis are still in denial.”

    If there videos of protests stretching from one end of the globe to the other, the menhebbakjis would insist the Earth was flat.


  67. Annie

    “Further up, at a Western Union window in a Bank I am told : money cannot be sent to Syria :-(”

    That’s because between now and when the Syrian banks open next week and start to sell dollars, no one knows what the real price of the Syrian lira is.


  68. @ Nusayyif 8:50,

    NO, actually it is not a piece of history. Is this historical research here? NO, it isn’t. It is a piece of garbage written by someone who is not a historian.
    You thought that particular phrasing “catchy” meaning what? who? “announced” and where? there is no citation. It is only the writer who said this was announced….so it means nothing. Forget it.

    You have to see the difference. And WE decide what is our history. History is an interpretation of what events and account define us…. and what ‘facts’ or ‘stories’ are worthy of attention and repeating. We decide what to retell and to give credit to.
    We give historians with credibility and our trust – to define our history and the history of others. We sometimes give lay persons and authors and artists our attention and put our weight on their work – because we think it also describes our history – our real lived experience.
    OTW presented a post of an artist’s account – his story – because we are making it Syrian history.
    But we don’t need to take every piece of writing we ever saw and read it or give it value. We can determine easily that something is NOT of value because it propagates bad values and honors things we shouldn’t and also – to repeat is or publish it – will in fact create something negative that we want to get rid of. There are plenty of sectarian and bigoted texts and speech out there. Do you think we are not aware of this? Do we need to hear it? no, we don’t.

    To know that people murder – we don’t need to show pictures of murder. Sometimes we show war pictures or tell war stories. But we must entrust certain people to do that who know how to not editorialize with vulgar propaganda or who are inciting more violence with their narrative.
    Accounts and images are not all equivalent in their value or their story. So, to repeat or print or editorialize is a cautious project in which the full meaning has to be understood first and we do need to censor! in our choice to create new narratives and history. If you don’t have the accurate judgment about what are texts that are better left in the dustbin, then you should refrain from putting them out there and thus keeping them alive.

    We are now in the process of writing history and making history. This means we are drowning out the crap that it only regressive and obscene, and brings people down into the mud and the blood.
    therefore, you must choose NOT to reprint, quote, embed imagery, or tell stories….that reignite the old damaging narratives and beliefs.

    That is our job. That is our responsibility.


  69. news of the day: nahr 3esheh (located on the fringes of the municipality of Damascus city) astonished the shabeeha by having Elements of the “Free Syrian army” protecting demonstrators. this is a new appearance for these defectors.
    ps: i use quote signs because i dont really believe these defectors are organized in any way , they’re merely defectors rebelling against the regime in response to its crimes against humanity. god bless them


  70. All these stories are incredible and need to be heard more broadly. I know many Hamouis who were young at the time and either don’t recall anything or cannot speak about it except in veiled terms (for ex. they speak of the numerous “earthquakes” that have leveled Hama in its long history). Even though it’s painful, I look forward to reading more of Khaled al-Khani’s story… and the others that your readers share. They form an important archive of memory, an act of resistance in an official culture of amnesia.


  71. Thanks Aboud and OTW

    Too many things to be told from my experience in Damascus and Reef-Dimashq, I have witnessed lots of things which I’m keen to share with you guys. There are many neighborhoods and suburbs which are out of control and the regime is getting more scared of the inevitable coming (i.e. Concrete blockade are surrounding every security branch and in some cases like Palestine branch they have occupied more than 1/3 of the main highway).People woke up, on the second morning after Asef Shawakat went on his knees begging for a truce to evict his 200 wounded/killed shabiha out of the great Zabadani, saying Sbah Elta7rrer :).

    Definitely the regime is going down the toilet but the bad news is that it’s still KICKING and might take LONG time before complete flush occurs.


  72. Syrian Telecommunication Establishment is still putting and installing more filters and proxy tracers in Almidan main switch (it’s called Mashroo3 Tarabott and all internet traffic starts/ends at that point). My friends who work in there advised that every internet activity is closely monitored and any upload activity triggers an alarm. The only safe way is either using VPN or simply install TOR

    In Daria people wrote (Down Bashar, the seller of Golan) so the security changed the word down to Viva but left the rest to be (viva Bashar, the seller of Golan) hehehe 🙂

    An eye witness confirmed that he saw the burned bus of Shabiha (the one showed in Almidan explosion) parked in one of the hidden streets next to Abo-Habel 2 hours before the explosion burned and crushed.

    There are many looting, stealing and blackmailing jobs are done using the name of FSA. One guy got his car confiscated by some armed men who claimed to be FSA and when he asked when will he get it back, the answer was (after toppling the regime).

    People of Damascus are leaving their mobile numbers with a note of (in case of emergency please reach me on ….) displayed in their cars after a wave of stealing cars hit Damascus in the last two months. After stealing the cars the culprits would call the owner asking for a ransom to (free) get his car back, and indeed they keep their promises after getting paid.

    Fancy cars (mercedes, BMW, Awdi ..etc) are getting offered with huge discount up to 50%. A retired military officer offered his BMW for 3 mil only, he stated saying (I don’t want to get shot)

    The shipment of the new Syrian note of 2000 lira is on its way from Moscow. The government has no enough money to pay salaries so this illegal printed money will be first distributed to government employees. The moment this new 2000 lira note hits the Syrian market,the Syrian pound will lose more against the USD and the FOREX might cross the 100 lira of not more.


  73. Leaked video shows regime thugs detaining peaceful protesters and randomly shooting at homes. The video was shot by the thugs themselves. It’s amazing how stupid some people are.


  74. OTW, Zenobia, Sheila:

    I understand your disgust with what Nusayif posted regarding the sheikh. I find it wrong of you to criticize him when he was transparent from the beginning when he stated his position and the relevancy to what is going on today. I understood his message that since 63, the Baath was at odds with the Islamist and he showed how a simple incident could lead to a massacre of hundreds by the thugs very similar to what is happening today…basically instead of launching an investigation they killed dozens of innocent people.

    Murder, battles and wars have started since Adam over someone insulting a member of a family, a tribe or a clan. It is not unique to Islam. Some people may not be able to control themselves if their mother was called a sh*rm**t* for example and may do countless things to protect their A’rd. Muslims take God, the prophets, etc… higher than one’s own mother. People have died in Soccer stadiums over differences of which team one should idolize. What I am saying is that you can’t light a match and be a bigot without risking a classroom to ignite with outrage and loose control. To some, insulting God with one word etc… is worst than a death of their own child. I know you don’t feel this way, but others do. How will you be able to live side by side and accommodate other’s beliefs and feelings?

    You shot the messenger, and you silenced him and perhaps others because to you this story did not bode well. Perhaps this story was infused by salt & pepper by its author and who cares whether he consumed his marriage or not, you are right. But the bigger picture was that he told Jadid, Assad and Tlass in open court to go F*CK themselves. If you muster all the ballz on 7ee6an & SC altogether, you will not add up to an equitable body to stand up to what “he” thought was right.


  75. …continued

    OTW, Zenobia, Shiela:

    I originally wrote a lengthy piece to show you a different angle, but decided to delete it and not post because I knew that I will get a bucket full of piss offs. You want to keep 7ee6an clean, and future Syria clean, but the reality is no one is perfect and you are unwilling to accept certain facts about Syrian society and deal with reality on this blog as Nusayif said, let alone the new Syria Project.

    What made me restart this discussion was what I read at the first post I landed on reading SC:

    Juergen said of his friend who served in Bosnia…..

    “There was smoke coming out the chimney. When they opened the oven they have found 4 children who were put alive in the oven. He told me that after that the next time they captured an Serbian, he got beaten to death in a slow way so he would suffer more. I believe it takes just a few episodes or experiences like that to create killer machines, we all are bound to morality,but if we experience such we will all most likely become less of a human. This is true for opposition forces as for government forces.”

    So while we intellectuals (stupid me included) sitting in a safety net debating morality (Zenobia at length), God knows what you will do or what you will become should you be through great difficulties for real yourselves. One movie that comes to my mind is Law Abiding Citizen.

    I am not advocating voilence with voilence, but people break. This is not unique to shiekhs and Muslims.

    Of all people who have lived with Muslims or have some faith, who know the wide spectrum of Islamic beliefs, you (Sheila, Zenobia, OTW) never seem to loose an opportunity to cherry pick with what seems to you to be ludicrous (shameful as OTW put it). The irony of it all, is that not a single complaint or rhetoric about the current FSA militias brandishing the Quran in their videos, shanting Allah Ul Akhbar firing in the air, we fight victoriously with God, etc… We are you calling them neutral terms like fighters, militias, etc… not Jihadist?

    Look at who is fighting the real bloody war, who is risking their lives, and taking a beating for all of us… Are these brave men and women (yes women play a huge role supporting them) whom you love so much today, who are taking the biggest real risk now, and whom you label as “heros”, and continue posting their videos on 7ee6an and elsewehere be the very same people you will call “jihadist, MB, Islamist, etc…” later? Perhaps many of them are Shiekh Marwans of today, I don’t hear you complaining.

    OTW, I know this is a touchy subject for you, but these people are dying and getting tortured in the Assad dungeons right now for all of us. Yet, some of those people will be part and parcel of future Syria and you may not like what they believe in or their way of life. See, they don’t fit your secular idealogy, so how will you personally reconcile that in the future? You shove it under the carpet now, because we are focused on removing the regime, fine. But not a single attempt on how we are going to live together in the future. Statements along the lines: “I will not set foot in Syria” or “I will fight the MB to death if it is going to be like this or that, etc…” makes the fence sitters sit.

    OTW, you said you will fight tooth and nail with these same people (MB, etc..) who are liberating Syria as we speak? You had no problem with them getting funds from S.A, or elsewhere. A medal of honour today but my enemy tomorrow! Power sharing, hell no! Where is justice, where is democracy and where is an inclusive Syria?

    I don’t see it on 7ee6an. I see like-minded people shooting analysis with well behaved pet audience (me include) and we are reminded that we are biased pro-revolution and if you don’t like it leave (hint: SC’s fraternity). Oh yeah, and don’t post anything that doesn’t rhyme with Ring My Bell 🙂

    Personal Disclosure: Before I get attacked, I am not a MB, nor am I an MB sympathizer. I have no MB in my family either that I know of. I am for equal representation and equal opportunity. I am not for denying peoples right to assembly, peoples right to justice and practicing their beliefs. This is what we enjoy in the west. However , Syria is not Canada or the US and if Syria is made up of conservative Muslims who can guarantee the rights of minorities, then I am fine with that. Pushing the secularist examples borrowed from the west will not work in Syria.


  76. HUSAM
    A person who justifies killing someone because of their religion is never a hero of mine even if his balls are bigger then an elephant’s head. A man once described Zeljko Raznatovic (AKA Arkan) saying “One Arkan is worth more than the whole UDBA”, but that does not make Arkan, who believed in Serbian blood purity and was beloved and respected by his gang, anything but the war criminal he was. So, attempts to make me feel guilty for objecting to such rhetoric just because the article mentioned that the others were “Kuffar” are futile.


  77. Karm al Shami in Homs has been under siege for 10 days now. Unlike Baba Amr, they don’t have the advantages of open farms and a heavy FSA presence. With an entire Syrian Army battalion deployed around this one neighborhood, they have every excuse to keep quite.

    And yet


  78. @Husam,
    what do you mean, “not one single complaint”…i have made it clear that I happen to dislike intensely the kind of videos of the FSA that KT kept posting… and I haven’t changed on that. And I am not a supporter of the FSA – in terms of this kind of message or imagery or rhetoric. I think it harmful. That said- I understand the purpose of the FSA and its necessity under the circumstances, but I would never condone this showmanship that is vulgar and infused with religiousity.

    We did not shoot the messenger. I wasn’t attacking Nusayiff as a person. I was criticizing his lack of judgment in knowing how to make his point without republishing such vulgar pieces of writing.
    It is completely unnecessary.
    One can discuss the same issues or find other pieces of supporting text – that are not in the form of that text. This is neither a historical document, nor a neutral piece of writing, nor written by someone critiquing sectarianism.
    I think the content of the issue is not off limits in any way. But the form is unacceptable.
    How would I personally deal with it later? I think it should be stamped out through discussion and argument to the contrary – that explains forcefully why these kinds of narrative are destructive.

    It reminds me of the absurdity of the bible too. In three paragraphs, so and so killed so and so, in revenge – so and so smite so and so… so and so prayed to god to strike down so and so, the town destroyed the other people, so and so was slaughtered, then for the next generation – they told the story of so and so and how to avenge the crime of so and so….and so forth…. and god was with so and so…. and then they told the story of the martyr so and so hence for… praise be to god to save us.

    Stupidest kind of narrative fable telling….to bother quoting at this point and context in time. Nobody needs this crap.


  79. @Husam,
    you are blowing out of proportion our objections….and sliding down a slippery slope with our conclusions..
    An objection to the rhetorical form of this text because it allow for an uncritiqued vocalizing of sectarianism and justifications for killing certain people, does not equate to being ‘anti-islamic’ or to saying anything about an unwillingness to accept a future cultural/ political environment where conservative muslims participate in government or in governing.
    There is no contradiction here.

    There is a danger of situations like former Yugoslavia, and part of the complex dynamics that led to massacres and enthno-religious killing – was the inter-generation passing on of stories of wrongdoing by the other group and the implicit and explicit call for revenging these perceived wrongdoings that were suffered at the hands of the other and increasing levels of dehumanization of the “other” group…. to the point where there was a very entrenched historical narrative in place that supported ultimately inter-warfare and genocidal type conditions and results.

    These kind of conditions much be avoided at all cost in Syria, now and later. Nobody is sweeping things under a carpet as you put it. However, form means everything. How does one talk about religion and conflict and resentments and historical harms that are recorded….? these are big open questions. What does reconciliation mean and how does one create it. There is a need to tell stories and to acknowledge violence that was suffered and for responsibility to be assigned rightly in many cases.
    However, the kind of text that was posted earlier that upset myself and some others is not in the category of story telling that serves reconciliation or repair of inter-group relationships. On the contrary, the problem it – is that it only furthers resentments and calls for revenge and perpetuation of violence. This should be obvious….from my little parody. The whole story is one of revenge and perpetuation of anger and aggression. Tales of martyrdom almost always serve this purpose.


  80. Speaking of the FSA, I think its wrong to use Islamist imagery like what Husam described,it only confirms Western suspicions about this Uprising, lets face it, the World does not like Islamists, and there is zero advantage in showing urself to be one.


  81. Dear 7ee6anis
    Well respected Journalist and TV anchor Taufik Alhallak, who split nearly two months ago and has been a vociferous advocate of the Syrian Revolution has announced his support to a new campaign under the name Hama, the Phoenix of Syria . The blogging campaign calls on all Syrian bloggers to focus on Hama 1982 massacre during the period 2-29 February, 2012. I am hoping that by then, we should have all three installment of of the memories translated and made available to English readers. I must say that it has not been easy at all. I find myself having to stop far more frequently to collect my self.


  82. OTW, it isn’t easy to read, it must be much, much harder to translate. Thank you for doing this.

    Can anyone shed any light on what happened in Idlib today? There are reports of over 70 bodies discovered in a hospital morgue there.


  83. “Can anyone shed any light on what happened in Idlib today? There are reports of over 70 bodies discovered in a hospital morgue there”

    I suspect it is a similar case to when a similar number of bodies turned up in Homs a month ago.


  84. Nusayif:

    “Speaking of the FSA, I think its wrong to use Islamist imagery like what Husam described,it only confirms Western suspicions about this Uprising, lets face it, the World does not like Islamists, and there is zero advantage in showing urself to be one.”

    Nusayif, that is who they are. Zenobia would rather change the world to her moral center. The world doesn’t like Islamists but use them to their liking. They supported the Afgans when it severd their purpose then they fought a war against them. Now they are negotiating again with them. We are doing the same thing in Syria when it suits us and as you can see here, no one here can admit and give you a straight answer. We perfer to change the subject.


  85. Zenobia:

    “There is no contradiction here.”

    Yes, there is. MB, conservative Muslims (Shia, Sunni, etc..) don’t want your secularist idealogy from the west. Deal with it. And how?

    Ever ask yourself why there isn’t a sane conservative Muslim here, but just like you, s/he thinks you are out to lunch. We must be able to put ourselves in the other’s shoes and look at life from their perspective.

    So you didn’t like form… then why isn’t anybody criticizing the form of the videos so much now? Oh yeah, the Quran was at the forefront in the video, so they must be Jihadist in the making. Shhhh!


  86. Dear Nusayyef,
    Glad you did not feel silenced… Could not agree more with your 6:48 comment. I would also add that it also flies against the essence of this revolution. An online argument is taking place now regarding the names of Fridays and the methods used by the Syrian Revolution Against Bashar Al-Assad 2011-2012 facebook page to propose and finalize those names, which has been controversial to say the least. Many activists are now very concerned about the attempt to dub the next Friday as “Declaration of Jihad Friday”. Some arguments say that such would be insulting to 10 months of work because according to the spiritual concept of Jihad, the Syrian revolution has been nothing but a true Jihad from day one (Jihad by people of all sects and belief systems). Others are now arguing that declaring Jihad in the way Jihad is nowadays understood will become an open invitation all fanatics to join in (Ala Afghanistan) and butcher Syrians under the name of Jihad and for reasons that have nothing to do with the revolution and with the desires of those on the streets. Many are also arguing that it characterizes the Syrian revolution in the same manner you have objected to with respect to the FSA.

    Anti-revolution bloggers are already having yet one more orgasmic euphoria bout this argument. These half wits think now that such argument will alienate the “secularists” from the revolution. But as usual, they have tendency to celebrate non-existent victories as they have been domesticated to be for 40 years. These arguments are in fact widening the swath of secular leaning people who are getting involved in the revolution, especially after having succeeded in the campaign to force a true democratic vote regarding the name of last Friday.

    To many, these may be irrelevant niceties and meaningless issues, but under that there is a real push back by the secular, moderates, and those who do not want like the forcing of the political agenda of one group on the entire revolution. Many have have been participating whole heatedly in this revolution and are now pushing back to redefine it for what it is, a revolution for civil rights and equality and for a modern state civil befitting the Syrian people, who are largely religious but not fanatical. With this push back, these wonderful Syrians now have equal ownership of this revolution and such improves the likelihoods of many fence sitters to join so that they can influence the revolution. I am noticing that among people with access to internet, and other than the fake profiles of the Syrian Electronic Army and its supporting foreign friends, and the direct beneficiaries of this regime, only pathetic souls who are slowly but visibly turning into bitter people continue to support the regime, under the disguise of being pro-peace, and in manners lacking courage that forces them to remain locked into a self deceiving mental maze with no way out.


  87. OTW,

    I was not trying to make you feel guilty, you think so negatively of me!

    I merely tried to show you the irony. Why don’t you cleanse this blog of any video that brandishes the Quran in the fight? You get to choose what is sectarian, when, by whom and how. Alas, it is your blog, I know.

    I am trying to show you part of the reality that perhaps you missed. Are we using the FSA to fight our fight? And the answer and the fact is YES! You can’t deny that.

    My rant asked many difficult questions, we conveniently chose not to answer them.

    You said: “A person who justifies killing someone because of their religion is never a hero of mine even if his balls are bigger then an elephant’s head.”

    If we take the word “religion”out and insert the word “conviction”, would that still upset you? I am sure your answer would be still yes. So the FSA conviction of rooting out the Regime and protecting civilians by killing the sniper in the name of God or with the help of God, or for Jihad, does that upset you? I think the answer would be no, because you, nor anyone else said anything significant about this yet. We use them to do our dirty work and then later marginalize them. All it takes as Nusayif said is stick one label – Islamist and you are done. Do you get my drift?

    If you ask Jad, SNK, SNP or any regime suppoter, they will tell you they are all MB Islamist fanatics that have to be rooted and killed as Norman said Zanga Zanga.


  88. HUSAM

    Ever ask yourself why there isn’t a sane conservative Muslim here,

    You are here, aren’t you?, you are conservative, aren’t you? You are sane, aren’t you?


  89. “We use them to do our dirty work and then later marginalize them”

    You know what Ira Hayes, one of the guys who raised the flag over iwo Jima, ended up doing after the war? Digging ditches. Even today, no one can say that the USA, which has the world’s best trained military, does a perfect job of looking after its veterans.

    What happens after the revolution is anyone’s guess. Let’s not start the naysaying just yet.


  90. Husam
    I do not think negatively of you, but i think negatively of any attempt to pick up fights and to have those one does not agree with conform to what one think constitutes an acceptable secularist. People define themselves the way they want, bring substance please and do not continue unnecessary attacks on Zenobia, Sheila, or myself.


  91. OTW…

    You answered my question to Nusayif and unfortunately, I did not get to read it before my last post. Nevertheless thank you for answering, you are against Jihad in the way it is understood and protrayed by the media but are with Jihad in the struggle for all Syrians including conservative Muslims who happen to be a big part of Syria. Well put.

    I am just afraid of marginalizing people whether the minority or the majority based on pre concieved or imported notion. I am relieved that you will not advocate something of this nature.


  92. OTW,

    Championing for rights of conservatives, doesn’t make me one. I marshed against the war in Iraq for a year…that doesn’t make me an Iraqi. I am just against people telling others how to live and be. I am sorry to disappoint you but I am far, far from being what you think of me.

    But perhaps from your perspective (athiest, if I am right) I may seem conservative because I have attempted to answer a question or two about prayers, etc… My discussion with you is centered on equal representation. I can’t go into Texas and insult Evangilical Christians and gain many friends despite what I think of them.


  93. Husam
    You did not disappoint me, but again, there is a difference, imho, between campaigning and attacking people who present alternative ideas. I do not recall denying conservatives any rights, we are campaigning for the rights of everyone. And silencing conservatives means that I would accept silencing more than 3/4 of my own family, something I am not willing to do. I will continue to disagree with some of their views, and they with mine, but we both should fight for the rights of all and this is the essence of the civil state.

    I have no problem with Hijab (if not forced by the state), prayers or with the words Allahu-Akbar in demonstrations. I am more than sure that if I had the honor to join any of these demos, I will probably lose my own voice shouting Allahu-Akbar and jumping if my old heart can take it, because the Syrian revolution has brought that phrase the honor it deserves and moved it from the shout a fanatic suicide bomber would utter mindlessly into the shout of the weak, yet strong in their conviction of the end of tyranny. It is a warning to the tyrants and anyone who would not understand it as such would be a fool in my book. I have christian, secular, atheists, and alawite friends who have shouted these words in demonstrations and found it exhilarating to have a voice in unity with their fellow demonstrators, a voice that is defiant of the butchers.


  94. OTW,

    “Bring substance” and “you are sane aren’t you”….

    I think you are playing with words and you frankly don’t want me on your blog or at least you don’t want me to critique or challenge your acceptable secular ideology lest I conform to it. I am like a toothache to you.

    Nothing I said has substance, Really? I think I asked many interesting and controversial questions we ought to be asking ourselves. OTW, typing text and emails normally takes out the personal touch, facial expressions, gestures and can seem as attacking, but you mistook me for that.

    We have always been fair with each other, always answered questions, etc… but only when it came to this issue, you avoid answering it head on (you know what I am talking about, because I have asked you in various ways).

    Some of your comments sounded as if you are kicking me out so politely.


  95. Dear Husam
    Some of your comments sounded as if you are kicking me out so politely.

    Sorry if you felt this way. I was trying to be as clear as I can but had no intention of asking anyone out. I hope you can notice that ever since 7ee6an came online, my style has been a little dryer and less flowery than before.


  96. @ Husam,
    quit ascribing things to me that I didn’t say. Especially when you are addressing a third person (like telling Nusayyif what I meant…etc..)

    and to tell you the truth I have no idea what you are talking about. It seems like I was talking about one subject and you are trying to twist it into a discussion about Secularism again!!!! I never said anything about it at allllll
    How did you fly down some slippery slope into this subject from where we were. I was very decidedly talking about the post and the language of it. Not even content particular, so much as form.
    And now – you dare to tell someone else about what Zenobia “wants” and something about “moral character”…what the heck are you talking about??????? !!!!!!

    quit it. It is really annoying to have you interpreting me or what I think (incorrectly) to someone else.


  97. @ Husam,

    part of the confusion is that you seem to be equating the need to write bad writing inciting killing with “islamic” thought or style
    are you??? because that would be the only way to explain why you think i am contradicting myself.

    here is what I said again:

    “An objection to the rhetorical form of this text because it allow for an uncritiqued vocalizing of sectarianism and justifications for killing certain people, does not equate to being ‘anti-islamic’ or to saying anything about an unwillingness to accept a future cultural/ political environment where conservative muslims participate in government or in governing.
    There is no contradiction here. “

    Let me try once more to explain so you can stop harping. I really don’t care if the writer of such material happen to be Christian or Jewish, or some other pagan religion or African religion…or anything else. Inciting violence is inciting violence.
    I don’t happen to think that tribalistic rhetoric, sectarian rhetoric, violence inciting rhetoric…. has anything intrinsically connected to a particular religion. To think so is to be bigoted. So, I try object anytime I see claims that Islam is somehow a violent religion one that accepts violence. Billions of people on the globe are Muslims who have nothing particular aggressive or violent about their lives or beliefs or political life.
    Taking this as a given, I object to any writing that instill sectarian or in-group verses out-group dehumanizing language or that minimizes the nature of killing people, as it it were some everyday occurrence that hardly warrants a footnote.

    So, what exactly I said should be “later” stamped out…and now too… is the use of language that encourages any of these phenomena. Period.
    This has nothing to do with what I think about governing or secularism or non- secularism. End of story until we want to debate that.
    I am not threatened by the MB; I am not threatened by Islam as a religion. I am not threatened by my cousin who lives in the same house with me right now and who prays five times a day and what not. I could care less. He doesn’t talk about avenging the infidels at dinner and I doubt he ever thought about it – even if he think Assad and company are people who deserve to rot in prison for crimes against their people.
    You can rally for non- secular government later if you want. I am not in favor of stopping anybody for advocating for what they think is right.
    If we advocate for what we believe is the best form of government – that is only natural. I am not sure there is any cause for alarm here. It is the natural course of things.


  98. Thank you Zenobia for adding to the list:

    I am a twister, a conservative muslim, a lackluster, with no substance and perhaps somewhat insane…everything but a Syrian. Look at the labels! Why because I asked questions? So what if I am talking about secularism… Zenobia gets to decide if I should talk about it and when! It has everything do with Syria and whether we secularist would be willing to share power with the MB, XYZ. There are Hajis, Shiekhs and Marwans in Syria, and many of them are fighting along with others. Do you see the irony? Are we using the FSA to ditch them later? Oh wait a minute, I am picking fights again.

    Sometimes OTW says he will fight at all cost for a secular Syria, sometimes he changes his stance with softer tones. He is the last example I have for a prosperous Syria.

    Zenobia, you claim that you have no clue what I am talking about yet you wrote no less than 1000 words @ 6.22 / 6.41. I really do think that you speed read and skim through without trying to understand the message or the purpose. I think before telling me to quit it, and telling people they are sliding Zenobia’s slippery slope, you should realize the same things can be said about many things you say. You do realize that sometimes you write a 10 mile long rant jumping from hair to mushrooms and half the way around the world yet I never told you to quit it. You are entitled to say what is on your mind without my approval.

    All you are doing is marginalizing your brother, your neighbour, your fellow Syrian who you have more in common with than you ever know.


  99. Zenobia:

    “So, what exactly I said should be “later” stamped out…and now too… is the use of language that encourages any of these phenomena. Period.”

    Thank you for your clarifications. Now what are we to do with the Marwans who are part of the FSA? They fought for your cause!


  100. Honestly I don;t care if the FSA are Islamist…

    But they should conceal that…atleast for the time being, when KSA and Qatar have shown no interest in actively arming and supportiing them like they did the Afghans and Bosnians and Kosovans ( even though the last 2 were not even Islamists)

    And while it is clear that the West will have nothing to do with Islamists of any description anywhere in the region, too much risk of stray chemicla weapons falling into hands of anti-Israeli groups.


  101. NO Husam, there is no confusion, because I will fight for everyone right to have a vote, and I will fight for my ideals to win in the ballot box. It is called LIBERAL DEMOCRACY. Fighting to have secular Syria does not mean excluding the MB or others, it means beating them in election. The continuing confusion confusion either represent misunderstanding of pluralism, or insistence that I am not moderate unless I completely yield control to the opponents, which happens to be those you are trying to “protect” from me.

    In democracies, there is government and opposition, roles may be exchanged, peacefully. If the MBs try to restrict my freedom of preaching secularism, and to continuously argue for separation of religion and state, and I happen to be in Syria, I will take to the streets, i will encourage civil disobedience. Their rights to have a political party give them no right to restrict my freedom of speech and belief, even if they think GOD tells them that. This is the civil state. And this is the last time I will explain this position or argue it for we have done this many many times.


  102. Those who think that the Syrian Army can easily crush the FSA in Zabadani and Homs and other “liberated cities”. think about Sarajevo, generally peace-lovong Bosnians were subject to 5 years of total siege and attack by the strongest Army in the Balkans, indeed the Bosnian Army and resistance forces could resist the assualt for 5 years without any international help, and moreover they were able to turn the tables only when Milosevic finally decided to wipe Sarajevo off the map, thats when NATO intervened and kicked his racist ass.

    This at a time when Sarajevo was receiving 500 mortar and shell attacks per day, alsmot all high-rise bulidings were destroyed by Artillery fire, people had to drink sewer water, no electricoty for 3 years, no heating, no military supplies.
    Not to mention, almost the whole of Bosnia was racked by civil war and Bosniaks generally had their backs to the wall everywhere, no qestion of demonstaions breaking out anywhere,

    And what about the other brave little Bosniak towns like Gorazde and Bihac, surrounded on all sides by hostile Serbian territory. they too held out for the better part of 5 years.

    From Wikipedia ;

    “The Bihać area was the scene of fierce fighting during the Bosnian War. It involved the Bosnian government army in Bihać on one side and Serbian forces on the other side, who surrounded the area in a double siege – from the Army of the Republic of Serbian Krajina (in Serb-held territories of Croatia) on the north-west to the Army of Republika Srpska (in Serb-held territories of Bosnia) on the south-east – as well as the rebel Bosniak forces who sided with the Serb extremists in the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia on the north from 1993. [3][4] The siege of Bihać lasted for three years, from June 1992 until August 4-5 1995, when Operation Storm ended it after the Croatian and Bosnian Armies overrun the rebel Serbs in Croatia on the north-west.


  103. @ husam
    i meant that i had no clue what you were talking about in terms of me.
    and if i am not making sense to you – then i really can’t explain anymore than i did.
    so, just leave me out of your descriptions please, since i feel misinterpreted. And if I misinterpret you – then I will just try to drop it.
    I have no objection to you talking about secularism in general. it is a good subject. my point was that you were acting like I was talking about that or related issue, and I wasn’t. end story.


  104. OTW,

    Your clarification is clear this time, this is what I believe in too. However, when I said to you similar positions, it went on deaf ears several times. So I understood that you were uncomfortable with a MB winning an election peacfully full stop.

    And if they choose to silence you, that would not be democracy. You have full right to be in the opposition much like in Turkey. And if secularist win the majority, I have no problem with that either.


  105. Dear Husam,
    You are right. The Arab World today is living in what is equivalent to Europe’s Middle Ages. The dark ages of backwardness and lack of civilization. This reflects clearly in Islam and its contemporary interpretation and understanding by Muslims. It also reflects in secularism and its application. The struggle today is not a struggle between religion and secularism, rather between enlightenment and degradation.
    I personally believe that Islamists have the same right to exist as secularists, democrats, socialists and communists.
    My problem with Nusayyif’s post has nothing to do with the fact that it is about Islamists. It has everything to do with the logic or lack thereof. It has to do with glorifying murder and praising psychos. It also has to do with insulting the reader’s intelligence.
    As for the FSA using the Quran and Allah Akbar, I find that very expected and normal. Anyone in their position, (arguably, maybe even a die hard atheist), would probably resort to the divine as he finds himself in this dire situation. These young men deserted the army, are constantly on the run fighting a battle of David and Goliath and are literally left with no one but God to help them. As for Allah Akbar, when did that become exclusively Islamic? It means God is great. Last time I checked, a lot of people still believe in God and all Arabs whether they are Muslims, Christians, Jews or anything else, are entitled to use this Arabic phrase and do actually use it quite often. The West has to be educated that just like Madrasa is not exclusively a radical religious school: all kids in the Arab World go to Madrasas; Allah Akbar is not exclusively a call for Jihad by Islamists: it can also be used by a Christian declaring that he won a card game beating all odds.


  106. I urge you all to listen to The Story that was posted by Son of Damascus. I was in my car listening to NPR when it was on. It is another terrifying account of the Hama massacre. Rasha Basha now lives in the US.


  107. Sheila:

    We are very much influenced by the media and by labels whether we like it or not. We have no control over it even en masse. There are real Marwans, that kind you don’t like fighting the fight. That was my point. And, I think that we should all be nice and easy on all Syrians in the future who helped removed this dispecable killing machine despite our differences. We should be more tolerant rather than fire off salvos at each person that doesn’t fit our form exactly.

    I leave you with an article by Sami Moubayed, that shows you how a grass root party can quickly turn against the people:

    The biggest lesson to be learnt from the pre-Ba’ath era should be for the Ba’athists themselves. They were born out of a democracy in 1947 and allowed to grow and prosper in a healthy political environment during the heyday of Syria’s multi-party parliamentary system.

    Back then, they had a very promising and idealistic party, filled with capable leaders, inspiring doctrine, and A-class intellectuals with an ambition that knew no bounds. Because of that, the Ba’ath managed to attract the brightest and most capable of Syrian youth during the 1940s and 1950s. At that time, Ba’ath Party veterans would tell aspiring young members that they had to be number one in order to be considered for membership.

    From the 1980s onwards, however, it became the opposite: party members were given number-one status in work, pay and professional development not because of their merit or achievement, but simply because they were members in the ruling party….

    (….the article is longer than that for a full read see:


  108. For clarification…i am not sure what makes someone a “Marwan” in your mind.
    But if someone in the FSA calls for murdering others for no other reason than because of a sectarian affiliation – then they should be considered murderers. Where is the great controversy here?

    my objection to armed conflict period, is that once people brandish weapons in the name of self defense, it becomes a very thin line to the point where defense become offense, and as tensions and fears arise, this naturally lead to conditions were mayhem takes over and sectarian instinct prevail – and whence murder become possible in a brute form that has nothing to do with self defense in the strict sense. In the mindset of war- ALL become self preservation and justified violence…. so this is the problem

    Who who started out not being a ‘Marwan’ so to speak can become one.

    I prefer to avoid the complete arming of Syrian population… in this trajectory…. a fate that has little to do with real religion or religious belief…it is just a way of providing identifications for rationalizing violence against an opposing group.
    Later it will be much more difficult to extricate people from these affiliations and alliances.

    The fictional “Marwan” is a person like anybody else who is either guilty of actual violent crimes or not. If he wants to come to the political table – fine- if he is coming to be judged by his ideas and actions the same as anyone else and not expecting that God will vindicate him from any grave harm he incited against others. I certainly don’t care if his motivations are driven by some devotion to god or belief, as long as he is not requiring anyone else to share them or follow them.


  109. There is no controversy Zenobia, there is no controversy….

    “If he wants to come to the political table – fine- if he is coming to be judged by his ideas and actions the same as anyone else and not expecting that God will vindicate him from any grave harm he incited against others.”

    I trust OTW, you and myself to be there to defend those people in the future of being labelled Islamist…just because [fill in the blank]. I hope you and everyone else can see beyond what meets the eye and not forget to live by what you said today: judge by your actions not by your personal beliefs.

    “Later it will be much more difficult to extricate people from these affiliations and alliances.”

    Precisely. Everyone will be a Marwan, when we are done with them. Like every Alawi will become a Shabi7 and suffer the backlash.


  110. New lyrics to the Syrian National Anthem I found on FB

    حـمـاة الـديـار عـلـيـكم ســــــلام … الشعب يريد إســـقاط النظام… دمُ الشـــرفــاء عـلـيـكـم حــــرام … فهبوا لنصرة شــــعب يضام رُبـوع الـشـــآم تـعـانـي الآســى … وتشكوا إلى الله ُظلماً قســــا… رُبـوع الـشـــآم تـعـانـي الآســى … وتشكوا إلى الله ُظلماً قســــا فـجـرحُ الـحـرائـر لا يُــنـتــسى … وطُـهـر الـشــآم لقد دُنســـــا… بـعـزم الـيـقـيـن وصدق الـفــؤاد … وســلـميـةٍ تـتـحدى الـعـتـــاد سـنـقـتـلـعُ الـظـلـم من كــل واد … ونجعل من صبرنا خـيـر زاد… فـشـعـبٌ وفيٌّ لـمـاضٍ مـجـيـــد … وفي الـنـائـبـات قويٌّ عــتـيــد فـشـعـبٌ وفيٌّ لـمـاضٍ مـجـيـــد … وفي الـنـائـبـات قويٌّ عــتـيــد… سيبقى على العهدِ يا ابن الوليـد … وللأمـةِ الـمـجدَ سـوف يـعـيـد


  111. “Everyone will be a Marwan, when we are done with them.”

    Uh hu. As if we didn’t have enough problems, we have to start worrying about hypothetical ones in the future. I’m pretty sure the men and women who managed to overthrow the Iran-Russia-Hizbollah Axis of Evil will be able to look after themselves after the revolution. Frankly, the idea that people who were cut from the same cloth as Khalid Abu Salah and Abdulbasit Saroot will allow themselves to be pushed around by the likes of the SNC makes for good comedy.

    “Like every Alawi will become a Shabi7 and suffer the backlash.”

    Exactly what the disgusting regime would like the Alawites to think. And yet the evidence of the past 10 months makes such statements look ridiculous. Compared to what has been done to the demonstrators and their families, the Alawites have not had to suffer a comparable backlash.

    Don’t you think it is within the means of the FSA in Homs, Idlib, Telkelakh and other areas to exact retribution against Alawite communities? They haven’t done so, and I dare anyone to give me a single example of such acts being committed. Clips from Al-Dunya and Syrian TV don’t count, I must have seen the same 40 year old shabih on three different occasions claim that his father was kidnapped “just last week”


  112. “Some of your comments sounded as if you are kicking me out so politely.”

    Oh dear God. Dude, OTW is the sanest, calmest administrator of political forums you will ever come across. I wish the other websites I’ve been on over the years had admins half as patient as him. We all know what a fiasco Alex’s stewardship of SC has been.


  113. We have to accept the world we live in. Fascist Baathism as a cloak for bigoted minorities really does not and cannot work in a an area that has a rich cultural heritage of Sunni conservatism. If you are a bigot and hate the religion and the people that you are ruling with a fist of iron then you are doomed in the long term.

    Secular bigots should also get it in their head that we are very likely to be dominated by a conservative Islamist culture. Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to find accommodation with a majority to secure their rights rather than confronting them nay forcing them to accept that their religion will have no say in politics

    I know an avid popular secularist in Syria very well. Trust me he is an icon. I am not going to name him but even he knows that the Ikhwan in Syria will get a majority in a free and fair election.

    One thing I DO NOT WANT is an Ikhwan like the Hizb al Dawah nutters in Iraq who have clearly become sectarian


  114. Dear 7ee6anis:

    For the past couple of days, this blog has come to a dud, almost a standstill. I thought I could restart the conversation twice and finally wrote and asked questions of which I thought were interesting to explore. Some of you did not like it, some of you that it had no substance, however we find the time to belittle others and avoid answering relevant questions.

    Aboud, you could not keep your promise to not engage me. You have something to say about everything and everybody, it becomes annoying. You think my examples are hypothetical, I think they are very, very real just they did not manifest yet because everyone is busy with the removal of the regime. When the dust settles we will have to deal with it. Why not be prepared? What systems will be put in place for the Marwans-to-be to reintegrate them into Syrian society? There are none. After every war the US has set aside a complete system to deflate and treat soldiers for the psychological trauma they endured (perhaps it sucks, but it exist). Nope, we can’t discuss that now, we have enough problems to deal with as you put it. This is exactly what I meant when I said we are using them. I think that is the wrong approach and this proves the mentality of some 7ee6anis (and Arabs in general); we are so blinded by the removal of the regime to even discuss these issues. Arabs are actually quiet diplomatic, and most are masters of deceit (use & ditch). You see Zenobia, we are actually shoving it under the rug; Marwans are conservative Muslims who fall through the cracks and become sectarian (whom otherwise wouldn’t be) due to what they witness (you & I can‘t even watch videos, imagine). They become vulnerable, radicalized and dare I say assets to clandestine operations to benefit everyone but Syria (nut-job-me, go right ahead add one more label).

    There will be many similar stories coming out after the Regime falls (they will fall) like Nusayif posted, authored by so called psycho-islamist. We have to deal with it, so let’s at least be mentally prepared and perhaps we can be rationale about what the reality is and will be. (ooh yucky…these bafoons did not consumate the marriage…is not the right approach…. these are your people who did not travel, migrate to uncle Sam’s world, and God knows what was preached to them).

    Finally, Aboud I know what OTW is, and I have said so very clearly. I think he misread me (it is not the first time) and I think he is too polite to ask anyone to leave, but it sounded as if he wanted me to go because of my nagging to answer questions. You simply cut/paste one sentence of mine, took it out of context and added your opinion of him which was the same as mine. WHERE IS THE SUBSTANCE? You want to be the hero, always on the winning team, if it makes you feel superior, then go ahead. It is too bad, because sometimes you bring interesting arguments but get clouded with your condescending ways. I too read your comments from time to time, but we had a pact to disengage because we are not compatible, can’t you live with it? I have not uttered one single word about you or any of your comments out of respect for this wall. Please for the last time, kindly do the same. If you think so highly of the OTW, you will heed his call and avoid me.


  115. …and Aboud, you tried to engage me on many occassions, sometimes even politely, and sometimes indirectly…I didn’t answer because we have been down this road already and I know where we end up. So take a last shot as always, feel good about it, but make it the last.


  116. Jarathouma,
    clearly a lot of things have to be untangled and distinguished. Such as:

    what does it mean for a religion to “have a say” in politics verses a religious person to “have a say in politics”….is this a meaningful differentiation? and one worth separating out… for the greater good?

    what does is mean to be “dominated” by Islamic culture, who? or what? is dominated is dominated…

    usually, in a democratic or proportional representation system, the rights of the majority are already assured by their numerical superiority…whereas, the rights of the minorities are what need to be “secured” in some way because they cannot be guaranteed by the pure representational system. but both majority and minority rights are part of the same goal of the system.

    Let me point out an analogy. Capitalism has no party in the United States, but it is (one could argue) the most dominant ideology influencing political decisions in federal government policy. In fact, problematically so. This is not dependent on having a “Capitalist Party”… and so of course it is would not be a logical conclusion to assume that if a secular system arose – in which there weren’t religious parties per se running for election, but rather PEOPLE who are religious- that- then religion and religious influence would somehow be excluded from legislative policy.
    It is not so in America, and it certainly wouldn’t be so in Syria.
    I think there are also differences to be underscored between legislative law – that comes out of representation and is heavily influenced by the belief and culture of those who are elected…. (as it is supposed to be) verses – constitutional law and law coming out of courts….which is generally where secularism is most enforced, for example, in the United States.
    A good example of this tension is around abortion….wherein- the congress which is made up of many religious right conservatives attempt to pass laws that dictate (mostly because of religious beliefs) restrictions on women’s freedom to choose and the conditions around abortions. They do this all the time…in many states. In contrast, the Supreme Court weighs in – regarding whether these attempts to make law…heavily influenced by the populace and their representative – are in any way infringing on constitutional law and what has previously been deemed the civil rights or liberties of citizens without regard to religion. Here is the place where secularism tends to come in to play.

    In this minor example – one can see how representation is not particularly secular… as people choose their representatives. Even without a party with a religious or sectarian title, everyone knows who is in it and what their beliefs – ideological or religious – are.
    the constitutional law is where secularism becomes important. It is not more powerful, by the way- than a congress in terms of everyday issues, money, and local or regional law (states etc)….
    It takes a lot for something to make its way up the ladder to be challenged or struck down by the constitutional court or to be in violation of a secular constitution.

    This is the beauty of such a system. It attempts to capture and value both the particular needs and ‘culture’ of the population at any given time, while ensuring that evolving trends and values, as well as difference and competing values are not infringing on those of other groups and citizens.
    Neither the importance of representation or the importance of civil protection needs to be cut out or pushed to the side. They work together in tension to balance a fair system.


  117. Zenobia,

    Thanks for being positive. I don’t trust the Shabi7a, and the Marwans. We can trust them when we trust ourselves to choose leaders and participate in turning them around by offering them an alternative rather than alienating them. Those that have real blood on their hands have to face justice. That is what the street wants.


  118. “Aboud, you could not keep your promise to not engage me”

    I don’t ever remember saying I’d never “engage you”. I clearly said that anything you post here is fair game for discussion, whether you like it or not. Frankly, your need to feel persecuted all the time is becoming really tiring. The only way you know how to deal with a difference of opinion is to declare that it’s a sign of an apocalyptic post-Assad Syria.

    “I didn’t answer because we have been down this road already and I know where we end up”

    Unlike you, I never tell anyone to ignore my comments. I’m glad that I have the self confidence of my own opinions, that I’m not afraid to accept debates and arguments on them, no matter where they may come from. Seriously dude, the world isn’t always out to get you, as much as you like to think it is.

    And I’m sorry to crush your dreams of a Islamic-revival Syria, but I’ve seen the FSA up close. I go past their checkpoints every day. They are not die hard religious types. Sorry to burst your fantasy, but there it is. THERE IS YOUR SUBSTANCE. Can we expect more substance from you in the future and less pity sobs?


  119. I trust that eventually, maybe not the first day after the ‘revolution’… , but soon enough, Marwan and the Shebiha will realize that they are much better off than they were before. That they are safe. And they will no longer have to play those roles that they played before.
    Marwan is going to be ok. I am sure of it. He will become a Salem.


  120. “I think that is the wrong approach and this proves the mentality of some 7ee6anis (and Arabs in general)”

    Here we go again, your self hating inferiority complex manifesting itself as sweeping generalizations about Syrians and Arabs yet again. You whine that Syrians are too self opinionated. You whine that we don’t listen to other opinions. All of which only prove you area sheltered little man who has little or no experience outside of your own immediate community. People are the same the world all over, Arabs are not more short sighted than others.

    I thought that the events of the Arab revolutions would have instilled some mediocre amount of pride in even the most low-self esteemed Arab. In your case, that apparently has not happened.


  121. I’d like to know if there are any rules on this forum that forbid me from discussing any topic that Hussam brings up? If his posts are such holy cows that only the anointed may partake in discussing ye weighty topics of how Arabs and Syrians are the worst possible sort of people in the world and how everyone is out to persecute Hussam?


  122. Zenobia, thanks for your interpretation. But my question is (and the question of a lot of Syrians) what is wrong with the current judicial system in Syria? Didn’t it work in principal (hybrid system) save for the corruption? There will be people who will want Sharia on civil matters….how do you see protecting their rights to be governed the way they want in terms of Syria?


  123. …and he had a 3rd cup.

    OTW, we should distinguish with what you called me to “for attacking you and others”, which was not my intention and between clear and direct attacks and insults on people’s persona and intelligence time and time again.

    Allowing this to go on is unacceptable to me for what ever its worth.


  124. “Allowing this to go on is unacceptable to me for what ever its worth.”

    Then learn not to whine when someone disagrees with you. Seriously, not even the prophet Mohamad thought he was infallible. Maybe I’ll steal a line from the Hussam whine-book and say “See you are just like bashar you think you know it all you broke no dissent you are going to be the end of Syria as we know it better a thousand years of bashar than this!”


  125. An article by Fouad Ajami whom I disliked before the Arab Awakening. His stance is more in line with mine, contrary to Assa’d Abu Khalil. Abu Khalil, conditional support towards Syrians’ revolutionists is shameful.

    In his article he gives the reader, the political history of Syria in a snapshot:

    Bashar needn’t worry about training his son for future rulership. The house that Hafez Assad built, some four decades ago, is not destined to last.

    The great North African historian Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406), perhaps the world’s first sociologist, left behind some firm notions about dynasties: they rise, they beget kingdoms, then they decay, like all “created things.” Ibn Khaldun was rather specific: glory and prestige are gained and lost within four successive generations. The “builder of a family’s glory knows what it cost him to do the work, and he keeps the qualities that created his glory and made it last.” The son who inherits his mantle had contact with his father and will have learned some lessons from him. “However, he is inferior to him in this respect, inasmuch as a person who learns things through study is inferior to a person who knows them from practical application.” The third generation imitates the ancestors. The fourth loses it all, as its members begin to think that this glory is their due, given them by virtue of their descent, and not something that “resulted from group effort and individual qualities.”


  126. N.Z. ,

    In that infamous WSJ interview, Assad said his “resistance” politics protected him from revolution. I think he was half-right. It doesn’t protect him from the people, but it sure works with some far Left types like Abu Khalil.

    P.S. I’ve been able to find a video of the 4th division at the shooting range (upto 1:22):


  127. Ouch, the “#t=” argument is stripped here? Nevermind, though one can view from 00:48 to see the intended effect…


  128. Saudi Arabia withdrew its observers from the mission. It’s called on the international community to exert pressure on the regime.

    If this is a prelude to a GCC diplomatic offensive involving Russia and China, then good, that’s the best thing that can happen right now (short of junior falling off his see-saw and Maher ODing on coke).

    But if all that happens is that we are left with observers from Sudan, Iraq and Algeria, then they might as well scrap the entire mission, they won’t be welcomed in the major trouble areas. All they will end up doing is observing foaming-at-the-mouth shabiha demos.

    One great thing to come from the past week was the way that the regime was forced to allow the international press in. They do their best reporting when they slip away from their regime handlers.


  129. Dear Zenobia
    But even then, with all the difficulties and the constitutional guarantees, the supreme court itself is not immune, nor secular. One of the hottest political issues in the U.S is the appointment of supreme court justices for vacant life-term seats in the August court. It has been a long running battle for the conservatives and liberals to appoint justices who are likely push the court towards a majority that will swing the vote their way, particularly on social issues and in the past few decades, there has been no single appointment where the potential impact of the religious views of the nominees on their judicial decisions was not the elephant in the room.

    Many have argued that the life-term of supreme court justices must be abandoned, and for a short period of time, I was one of those who fooled around with the idea, but now I believe that such term is a one of the primary guarantee of the true independence of supreme court justices and of their ability to play the moderating roles in mirroring the lower frequencies of the ever evolving social trends within a society. Higher frequencies are usually reflected in the house of representatives and presidency while the balancing between the two is represented by the senate. (At the federal level).

    Dear Jarthuma
    First, I am glad that your comment, which I assume was a response to the current discussion, was impersonal, although a bit strong. I think it is partly justified based on the recent experience of Arab societies (particularly, Arab Republican Tyrannies) with ruling juntas that claimed secularism and caused social, political, cultural, and economic havoc on these societies. It may also be justified by the hostility that has been expressed over many decades by the “traditional” secular intelligentsia to religion, by their complete dismissal of the powerful social and political role of religion and their denial of the rights of people to inject their religious belief in their political choices.

    But I am afraid that your comment does not recognize the realities of the emergence of two “centrist” currents among both “islamists” and “seculars” who now see civil and democratic state as the only way for either one of them to gain any sustainable way to play politics. Many seculars today question the secular resistance camp’s ability to accept religious-based rule in its totalitarian framework (Iran) , while denying , rejecting, and fermenting fear of “democratically” based manifestation of religious beliefs through the ballot-box. This issue is now becoming a divisive issue within those professing secular outlook, and it is brought to light by the increasing civil-state minded people among religious moderates who now side more with moderate seculars than with religious groups on issues of state and civil society.


  130. Let me tell you who the future leaders of Syria will be. Khalid Abu Salah. Abdulbasit Saroot. Alexander Page. The men who man the FSA checkpoints. The doctors who heal the wounded. The people who provided mobile phones and “burnt” SIM cards. The ones buying and fixing laptops. The ones buying and hiding giant speakers for the demos. The printers who create the banners. The ones running the Facebook pages. A million names who will never be mentioned on the satellite channels.

    It won’t be Aboud, so you can all breath easy. And it’s almost certain not to be anyone from the SNC. And it most certainly won’t be anyone from the other opposition group, what’s their name…..


  131. Certainly Aboud had a point. It is those people on the ground that sweat blood and tears that deserve it most.

    In the end though, I will be shocking. If you had some random poll of Syrians or Egyptians in the land, a significant slight majority( I think) would even want Sharia courts that extend across the spectrum. If people vote for that and want to be ruled by Islamic law then let them have it.

    On the other hand, I personally am of the opinion that their should be separate courts for minorities and that do not want to have this. In fact even in traditional Maliki law, Non Muslims did not have to abide by Islamic dress code.

    Interestingly in Islamic law the threshold of what is considered proof for Haa’d crimes is so high that it would be considered extremely rare. In effect most cases would fall into the Tazir camp.

    Their is a lot of leeway for guaranteed rights for the minorities that is beyond a voting mechanism even in Islamic law. I think one should allow a comfortable accommodation between the conflicting camps to find middle ground.

    Off the wall, it is clear that Islamists are of different persuasions even competing with each other eg Nour and Muslim Brotherhood. All I am saying is if Islamists do want to play the game in a fair way then the secular and minority parties should respect the people’s decision.

    Man, I find some secularists so hostile and bigoted they would even want to ban Islamic inheritance law because it contravenes Egalitarian principles. What next ? Ban Salah because women pray behind men ? This is no joke some ultra right wing parties in Canada tried to ban Friday prayers in schools because of this very reason.


  132. I have met some of these so called “minority” fascist secularists. They hate Sunnis much that their hatred of Islam and icons like the Hijab would make Wilders happy.


  133. Lots of snow in Aleppo and its surrounding villages. I am assuming that Idleb and its surrounding villages should have snow too. Idleb is usually a little colder than Halab. As if having no heating fuel was not hard enough, now they have to deal with sub-zero temperatures.


  134. I don’t think you can have a judicial system based on Sharia because Sharia is Islamic. And not everybody in the country is a Muslim. So the basis for the system has to be neutral to religion. That is why you naturally turn to secularism when you have a country with a population that is not made up of people of one religion. There is freedom of religion so you can do as you like according to your own religion. But if you make a body of law organized around a particular religion, then you would be inherently discriminating against everyone’s legal rights that don’t belong to that religion or to any religion for that matter, or who simply don’t want to follow religious law.
    That is the reason for the decision. Secular does not mean nobody has religion – it is a way of making sure a governing system – etched in law- doesn’t bias towards one religion over another.
    It this not just?
    No one is prevented from following their own internal law or any practices they want to impose on themselves. They just can’t impose them on others.
    I can’t find the fault in this. I really can’t…


  135. OTW,
    of course, it is an imperfect system because Judges are humans with values, and they are appointed by people with values, sometimes derived from faith or ideology. No question about it. However, there are supposed to be checks and balances – again over the process of appointment that should lend some vetting process a modicum of justness. We attempt to appoint judge who have long histories of impartiality and certainly – we challenge to show their impartiality and their ability to separate personal believe and faiths from their ability to interpret the law as it stands.
    This is not always a success. There have been bad judges and amazing judges on the Supreme Court and lower courts certainly.
    But I think the general guideline and ideal is solid. If there are failures there – they have been political failures. These are sometime corrected at a later point by later judges and with the wisdom of hindsight.
    I don’t know a much better kind of system, although I am always opened to being enlightened.


  136. “how do you see protecting their rights to be governed the way they want in terms of Syria?”

    Individuals can impose their own restraints on themselves. They don’t need to be governed – externally on matters that are more restrictive then the minimum prescribed by a general form of law. Again, ( i think I tried to explain this before) the law is designed to prescribe a generalizable level of restriction on rights – that I think you could say would be universal across the population – – hence the need for it to not be tied to a particular religious code of ethics, since it must fit for everyone. But one is free to be more restrictive of oneself. Sometime – to use the USA again as an example, States are allow to afford more freedom than the Federal government, however they are not allow to restrict freedoms more than the FED, ie they can’t take away more rights/freedoms than the Federal law has said is the minimum.
    Obviously, if a person wants not execute their freedoms or rights – who is to stop them.
    But how can anyone demand that their restrictions be imposed on others….ie govern others?
    This is why I made the generalized statement previously (which you shot down as untrue – without providing any contrary examples)… that religion tends to function in a restrictive role, whereas government tends to protect freedoms – that is the prevention of certain restrictions.
    If you can tell me specifically of examples where religion actually affords more latitude of behavior or takes a protective role for giving more freedom of action…. then I would love to hear about that. It would be interesting to know how that manifested.


  137. OTW,

    Certainly there are no rules for comments or disagreements, but there are rules against insulting others. OTW, you vehemently disallowed personal insults on your wall and warned Aboud, myself among others about this. You said next time, anyone doing that will be banned for a long time. I am calling you on it, I am serious. You have stayed mute, which means you allow rules to be broken by some and not others, is this the message you want to give?

    Would you allow me to insult Aboud, you or anyone else with inferiority complex b.s.? What would you do if I said that OTW has psychological problem is this or that? Would you like it and say nothing of it? Simple Q, simple A.

    Why are you not speaking up about it and expecting me to just take it? You couldn’t take my tone when I brought up Nusayif’s article which which was done with clean language and ended up in a healthy discussion about secularist, judicial system, etc… I certainly did not insult you or your intelligence despite you lamenting that I don’t bring any substance. That was cruel, but I did not insult you. I also knew our previous discussions and on the whole we are both civil.

    With Aboud, it is not about whining, it is about bullying and being suckered into insults that Aboud loves doing. I will not partake in this because, if anything he wants to derail the conversation. I remembered when Sheila made her point to me simple and clear.

    Right now, I am not looking for any mentoring. Expecting me to stay here and be insulted is worst than asking me to leave. Make your call.


  138. @ OTW at 5:41 last paragraph:

    is that pickled fear or sauerkraut fear that you are talking about? looooool

    sorry, i am not trying to “foment” disrespect for you on this blog, but I couldn’t leave that alone!!! made me laugh.


  139. Jarthouma,

    “some ultra right wing parties in Canada tried to ban Friday prayers in schools because of this very reason.”

    The key word is tried, and that is the beauty of a democratic system; you can try but as long as there is an opposition to what you want to pass as Law you would have to over come that. Another thing I would like to point out in the case you mentioned, it was not only the Muslim Canadian Congress that stood up against such a stupid law but so did Bnai Brith and other religious institutions in Canada, because they all saw that as an attack on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and their fundamental right to freedom of conscience and religion.


  140. Zenobia
    LOL, Apple peals, which will become fantastic vinegar. Try it with salad after adding a few drops of thick Pomegranate juice concentrate and olive oil. Delicious.


  141. I can’t imagine how you guys can imagine a country with ‘separate courts’ for different people. This is absurd.
    What is to prevent anybody from just choosing whatever court you want?
    What is one person says….oh, so and so committed this offense and I think they should be punished under Sharia law, but the offender says, no I don’t follow Sharia law so – I will go to another court?
    How would anyone be satisfied by that??
    Its a strange notion.
    How can you even have equality under the law as a principle if people are held to different standards based on preference?

    the only place I know of in my experience where I have knowledge of this kind of arrangement is with Native Americans in the US. Who in certain geographic territories have their own courts. And this only existed because they were an indigenous population who didn’t ask to live with the rest of America.

    I don’t think realistically- anyone can vote for Islamic law because that would naturally imply that it would be applied to others who are not Islamic or don’t want to be Islamic…and then suddenly there would be a rupture to the social contract.
    Of course anybody can vote for particular representative who may try to create laws that reflect social norms derived from Islamic principles. But this is actually a very different thing. And then each measure passed by a majority can be tested against large principles of civil rights and protections that are not Islamic. If such measures are within the boundaries of peoples rights than so be it.

    This is possible. But it is not possible to restrict people rights based on a particular religious code of a religion they don’t ascribe to.


  142. LOL. I am ALL FOR…. pomegranate laden Mediterranean fermentation…. as mode of peacemaking!


  143. @ Jarathouma,

    “Man, I find some secularists so hostile and bigoted they would even want to ban Islamic inheritance law because it contravenes Egalitarian principles. What next ? Ban Salah because women pray behind men ?”

    what is “bigoted” about that??? define bigotry for me please before you answer.

    I happen to think it DOES contravene egalitarian principles. It is sexist and outmoded for the current conditions of modern like and potentially leaves women in a disadvantaged financial position.
    This should be challenged because of its wrongness, not its Islamic-ness.


  144. It is simple. People may find the Islamic laws on inheritance outmoded but what if I choose to be governed by it ? Hold on, what if the majority of Syrians want to be governed by it. After the revolution we shall see how many Syrians think that the Islamic law on Inheritance or marriage should be banned because it is “anti egalitarian” ! What a joke !

    So now that follows on how I define a secular bigot. One who wants to force down the throat of a population a largely alien culture.

    In Netherlands we have that idiocy that banned Halal meat ! Are we going to go down that route in Syria ?

    Just to tell you how Ivory tower like these people are. One Imam from Hims heard Bashar saying that the Hijab in eyes represented Bin Laden and the Taliban but he was reassured by Buti. Awwww isn’t that sweet

    As for separate courts it is simple and it is happening in the majority if the countries of the world . You have courts in the west for Jews and Muslims that with their consent rule by the Jewish and Islamic law. At the same time I cannot expect a Christian going to a Sharia court to discuss inheritance.


  145. In Netherlands we have that idiocy that banned Halal meat ! Are we going to go down that route in Syria ?

    You know it is not going to happen, why bring it up? just for the shock value?


  146. Dear 7ee6anis

    I am interested in hearing your point of view regarding the Arab League’s decision and the press conference as well as the developing responses from various opposition sides.


  147. Syrian Hamster, of course Halal meat will not be banned in Syria post revolution. I am critiquing this very detached utopian thinking that ignores the organic history of a people.

    As for the Arab League decision, it seems to be a compromise between the anti and pro Bashar camp. Algeria to a large extent and others to a lesser extent like Sudan want to buy time for our goon. On the other hand the gulf states wanted it pushed to the UN. The compromise is we send observers and get UN approval. Personally, I think we should flood Syria with monitors because it will complicate matters no end for the Syrian regime

    Anyway, even if it does go to the SC, Russia will veto it. Interestingly it may abstain on the Arab monitors thing to buy time. It is flexing it’s muscles on what it knows is a doomed cause but it has been forced into this embarrassing position.

    In the end it will be the Syrian people with the help of Allah that will bring down this wretched stench of a dying corpse. Not even the thuggish behaviour of Maher can destroy every city in Syria.

    People may think that the Syrian regime is avoiding a Hama situation because of international pressure. I genuinely think it is a silver lining. They actually do not have the man power to do it ! On my rough estimate they probably now have about 140000 troop and Shabiha all over Syria. Like Aboud said at this stage do a Hama and you are going to have big losses. Then you will have true free zones popping up all over Syria, significant defections and an army in disarray.


  148. “You have courts in the west for Jews and Muslims that with their consent rule by the Jewish and Islamic law. ”

    where is this??? i haven’t heard of this??

    but what if just an average person who doesn’t acribe to any religious belief whether their family was muslim or not does not want to be held to “islamic” law???
    what about that?

    @ Jarthouma,
    I feel like you are confusing “banning” with a broader issue.
    Nobody has to “ban” a religious practice. It has happened in Europe, and I think it wrong. I think it wrong to ban people from expressing their religion if they want to.
    And similarly, if an individual in Syria wants to follow Sharia guidelines in the way they make their inheritance , then they shouldn’t be banned from doing so. It is their money after all.

    But this is a lot different from imposing such a set of laws on others.

    The act of “banning” is taking away rights. And as I said repeatedly the government should protect rights – as long as the expression of those rights doesn’t impinge on someone else. (the issue at play and to be discerned is what and when does some particular action IMPOSE on others… this has to be figured case by case).
    But aside from banning – there is no reason that a majority even should be able to take general rights and freedoms away from others on the basis of their liking for a religious law practice.
    It is prejudicial to do so.
    I get the impression that there is a whole world out there which hasn’t grasped the notion of government as a guarantor of MORE latitude of action , rather than less.
    It should only be the enforcer of LESS- when the action – for example stealing or killing… would actually harm others.
    There is no just reason for a government to enforce religious practice or ethics- NONE. To do so – does not afford or provide freedoms….it only takes them away. And in the case of religion – as long as actions in line with it don’t harm or impinge on others rights, there is no reason to ban something either.

    The Islamic inheritance law is a great example actually. If someone does their will according to these standards, that is their prerogative. But how could this universally be imposed on people – as a general standard when in fact – this practice is prejudiced against females. The government cannot be rightly in the business of that kind of discrimination.
    In your own home you can be a sexist as you like. But this should not be codified into law by any group even a majority group. Hence we speak of the protection of a minority group or a group such as women as having equal treatment under the law.


  149. The AL surprised The regime,in demanding that Bashar relinquish the presidency authority to his vice president and that the AL will ask the UN SC to adopt the AL initiatives.I think the regime will decline AL decisions.The bad thing about it it will give the regime more time.
    AL must have sensed that Russia agrees with them, if true then there will be more pressure on Bashar.
    I think it is good decision by AL


  150. Zenobia, we shall leave the people of Syria the decision they crave . As for the philosophical underpinnings of this or that, well…. I will talk about it later on some other forum. Obviously as a Muslim I have plenty more to say.

    Majid, lets hope that Russia sees that it can save face by having some of the old establishment left in this AL offer.

    I feel that Besho the bum will ruin it for Putin.


  151. Zenobia:

    Thanks for taking the time to explain your point of view. I live here, I know how secularism works, I live here because that is the best system I know and I ‘personally’ chose to accept it. It is not about me or you living in the west. I am talking about people who don’t want a foriegn system and examples of Napoleon code of laws or any other man made laws. Please try and put yourself in their shoes; some want to be governed by Sharia. Take for example a women and a man who desire to marry under the Sharia code, it is a personal choice which happens to also be the choice perhaps of a large majority of Syrians as Jarthouma mentioned (again not you nor me living in the west). This doesn’t not infringe on the rights of Christians or other Muslims for example. This is how it is working in Syria and almost everybody wasn’t complaining about it. So why change when things aren’t broken… improve on it perhaps (like opt in or opt out for Muslims who don’t like it, etc…). FYI, every agreement (marriage, contractual law, etc…) can stipulate which code, which court, which country and which language should govern said contract. So to answer your question, it is doable and it has being done.


  152. Aboud,

    Many of us switched to this blog from SC because we couldn’t take the insults and the language. You suckered me into this before. The main reason you are here and not on SC is because you got kicked out for insulting people SNK style. You continued to do the same here with me; it seems you have immunity here due to your hardcore die hard revolutionary stance. Enjoy! The reality is the Arabs and us Muslims are in the stone-age (read what Sheila said); I have done business with Arabs, and in Syria… I have also sat through many matrimonial ceremonies and can tell you volumes on how screwed up our society is. You have to count your 5 fingers when you leave the deal table. This is the reality, by bringing it up doesn’t make me a self-hater as you proposed. Norman Finkelstein, gets called that too for speaking the truth about his people form those who refuse to see the naked truth. Since it is fair game now and having off loaded a barrage of personal insults on me, let me say that I am personally relieved that you won’t seek any political position or role in Syria because your self-centered wannabe nature is a perquisite for a dictator. So yes, to me you are precisely the devil I don’t know and an ounce of power or position in your hands would turn us back to square one.


  153. OTW,

    Ignoring me isn’t cool. You can do whatever you want, but while you champion for equality and a secular society, you must be just as well. Your silence was a clean break but you allowed one contributing member to be insulted which was totally uncalled for. Oh yeah we have better things to discuss. It just pisses me off that you take on the responsibility as a moderator, announce your clean page with zero tolerance and don’t live by it. Fairness should count more than the number of hits or contributions. But then again who cares about a psycho, good riddance. I can’t expect Zenobia, Sheila and others to take the moral ground and call it like it is every time aboud comes out of nowhere and unleashes b.s while you expect me to control myself.

    So long 7eetanis.


  154. HUSAM
    I am really busy now, I will respond later with more details. And yes, we have better things to discuss, people are dying now, so future fears about the evil secularists can wait and these concerns relevant only in their broad sense. You are requesting guarantees non of us can give. I personally I am not even willing to give such guarantees.


  155. You’re welcome to contribute here anytime H. Nobody is ignoring you in a big sense. Just need to calm down a bit. And I personally failed last time – I got involved in this, and it is not worth it. You just have to not take things so personally – even when some people get personal. As you know, i have fallen in the same pit periodically.

    As for Syria- and anywhere for that matter- change is result of having the world open up and being given choices. There is no need for forcing people; there is no need for confrontation. Only persuasion, dialogue, compromises, sometimes temporary solutions are all that are possible. But change comes naturally when people are given options and choices.
    I believe that people make better choices, more humane choices, and treat others more humanely when they have experienced in real – being treated with dignity and respect and tolerance.
    It is a human project, that nobody is perfect in this world at.

    We fail here, and we fail there, but it is the attempt to keep starting over and learning from mistakes that matter in the long run.
    what other option is there? The alternative is destroying others.
    In Syria- and many places in the Middle East – there has been a severe degradation of the social order and the social-political systems. Syrian society has been deprived now for a long while of its innate potential for fostering the human spirit of its people. It has been subjected to severe trauma and stifling of developmental potential.
    She need resuscitation and to be brought to live again from a deep sleep. And I think then- things can begin to be filtered out – the generative traditions from the destructive.
    People are so traumatized and confused, and many in a state of blindness and fear that they cannot even think, nor use the better parts of their human nature.
    We don’t even know what the potential for good and for generosity is yet.
    There is only glimmer of hope from the fact that so many have been willing to risk their lives – screaming for their right to self determination. So- who knows what that form will be in the future yet.
    Nobody does. It is only those who want to stamp it out and crush it- who are truly lost because they are willing to sacrifice this opportunity for the sake of their own prejudices and power, or the sake of their fears of those they think are not worthy or capable of exercising their freedoms and of being full participants in the destiny of the culture and society.

    I prefer that we take this opportunity, or that Syrians do- to shoot for the most elevated position, in my opinion, one in which people see each other not as differentiated groups who cannot live with the same laws and the same rights, and the same dreams and goals, but rather they start from a basis of commonality and a contract that gives privilege to the idea that our basic needs and aspirations are the same. Layered on top of that- is the recognition of the pluralistic nature of society and culture and religion, and this can also be respected and honored. But my bias is that as a humanist- as you said previously- we are more similar than different- and any foundation should be built on that.
    I happen to think that every human being knows that at bottom, regardless of the way our animal/evolutionary tendencies to separate in to groups and differentiate ourselves for purposes of conflict and competition erodes this primordial recognition of our sameness.
    It is up to us, and the society there more rightly- to create the conditions within which such ideals can be realized.
    Obviously, as OTW said, there are not guarantees, only commitments.


  156. Dear Zenobia and OTW,
    That was funny. The new rule now is: no typo shall go unpunished.


  157. OTW,

    You are busy now, how convenient. I am not asking you to make lengthy comments, to mentor nor to give guarantees…What on earth are you talking about? I am asking you to moderate this blog and keep this place clean (see 8:46PM). You chose not to, so please don’t beat around the bush. Does it take the F word to Aboud to get your attention?


    You are right it is a waste of time, but I think had you been in my position, you would have either screamed your mouth off or left. I left. Take care and be well.


  158. I relate, ys.
    but on the other hand…. we have learned that A is like a bull… in the ring. And you are sort of like the guy waving a red flag in front of him. …..or… let me rephrase that…you are like the clown… running back and forth….and the faster you move…the more it catches his attention and then he goes after you.
    You just have to stand still for a bit and hide, or jump out of the ring for a while.
    just a thought.

    ok, Focus.

    there is nothing to say about the Arab League. Is there? Impotent. And really, is there actually a plan there? Nobody has told me anything positive to make me think there is anything of interest going to happen. And what will happen with the Security Council either….. stalemate.


  159. Dear Jarthouma,
    I think our degradation has reflected immensely in our religion. Islam, the religion that was a major breakthrough when it became known to man, is now a religion that is dragging us all down, not because there is anything wrong with the religion per se, but because there is a lot wrong with us Muslims. We have come to the point where we are willing to turn our brains off when it comes to religion and not ask pertinent questions. Islam is a religion of asking questions and using your brain. It is a religion of personal responsibility and direct relationship with God without an intermediary, yet we have lost all that. Moreover, we have lost the essence of our religion: morals, work ethics and education and instead are completely concentrated on irrelevant issues like Hijab. We lost what builds a strong society and thus a strong nation and concentrated on being exhibitionists with our religion, where each one is competing to show others how pious he or she is. We have come to accept what the uneducated among us decided the Quran means and do not dare to challenge that interpretation lest be called heretics. Why are we accepting that? We have a very rich history in Islam, yet when we talk about going back to the essence of the religion that we have lost, we somehow find our way to the times of Aljahiliyya. We really need a major rethink of how we understand our religion and that will only come with education and enlightenment.


  160. Has anyone seen this?

    As usual, not enough time for the participants to present all what they want to say, but it is still worth watching.


  161. On the day of the most momentous announcement of the Arab League’s history, a real game changer, what do I find on 7ee6an? Yep, more whining from Hussam.

    Hussam, you are an outright liar. I was banned for one week from SC for a comment that everyone here and on SC agrees that, while inappropriate, did not warrant a ban. I came back after the ban, and “suckered” the menhebaks with my legendary “I’m Emmanuel Goldstein” remark. The menhebaks lapped it up, they saw a Jewish name and went into conspiracy mode. I then left because, as we can all agree, it has become a cesspool. I can go back at anytime I want. From what people tell me, to the menhebaks its as if I never left.

    Hussam, no one else on 7ee6an or SC acts the way you do. Take a good hard look at yourself. If someone doesn’t answer your obscure points head on with a post longer than War and Peace, you whine, and say the devil has taken hold of Syrians. If someone posts too fast, you whine and say Arabs suck. If someone disagrees with your opinion, you take it personally, call it bullying, and say that its proof all Syrians are actually bloodthirsty savages. I’ve said it before, and now people can see it firsthand, having a discussion with you is impossible. You do not have the maturity to see your opinions challenged.

    And I think this must be the third or fourth time you’ve threatened to leave the forum? You know, when Frank Sinatra retired several times, it was cute. In your case, it has becomd boring.

    Now, can we all leave the whining and persecution complexes behind and discuss the Arab League’s most momentous day? Screw the report, what does it matter what the report says, the AL has for the first time told Besho to take a long walk off a short pier in shark infested waters. Thank you Qatar 🙂


  162. “it seems you have immunity here due to your hardcore die hard revolutionary stance”

    Remember when the menhebaks used to insist loudly that I was actually a moderator because Landis kept letting me get away with too much? What their puny, tiny brains could not comprehend is that at no point did I cross the line. Just because they can’t see where the line is, doesn’t mean there is favoritism going on. It was a sad statement for them to make on SC, and it’s not much better when you hear it on 7ee6ans.


  163. If I was Farooq al Shara’3, I’d be extremely careful right now on who prepares my food. I wouldn’t put it past Besho to appoint Hafiz junior as VP right now LOL!


  164. BTW, If I may say something in relation to some of the entries above (and I certainly do not mean to be condescending or patronizing, nor am I saying this to start any new arguments; let’s say I’m pulling Asian/Syrian age seniority 🙂 ): we all are familiar with the advice to count to ten before speaking our mind. Well, I wonder what the equivalent is when writing one’s opinion.

    Uncle 😉 MGB,
    the Atheist Syrian Salfist against Dictatorships


  165. MGB

    Yes 3amo 🙂

    Apparently I’m a bull in a China shop chasing a clown LOL! That made me laugh 🙂

    What the feeble brained Besho does not understand, is that the Arab League is also striving very hard to provide protection to the Alawites in these terrible times. Junior cannot go on as president, that much was obvious months ago. The AL wants an orderly transition to democratic elections. If junior is so popular, what’s stopping him from calling for elections next week?

    Better the AL plan, than a long drawn out war that will take the lives of so many Syrians, Alawites included. 11% of the population *cannot* win against the other 70%, especially when the 19% that remains stay on the sidelines. It’s either an orderly transition for Syria, or a war in which the Alawites lose much of what they (illegally) gained these past four decades.

    But of course, to junior, even his own sect are expendable, like so many barrels of fuel or bullets.


  166. The BBC is in Homs, but they are being taken by their handlers on the infamous “military-hospital-army-funeral-pro-Besho-demo” tour. Seriously, why doesn’t the regime just contract with Disney and start selling tickets.


  167. the ARAB league initiative is awesome in my opinion. it puts the regime, Russia and china in a very hard place. hopefully this shifts their attitude.
    the joke of the day:
    bashar al asad signed presidential decree 164 which assigns the post of vice president to bashar al asad.


  168. ROFl Nice one SGID 🙂

    Qatar wanted to send Arab peace keepers. That idea was never going to happen, but it did lead to the AL’s new stance. Frankly I don’t think we could have asked for a better outcome, especially at this stage. The AL is telling Besho to go the way Saleh did.

    Don’t be surprised to see Russia give its backing to this plan, if half the recent media leaks are to be believed.


  169. Russia is going to sell the regime half a billion dollars worth of fighter jets.

    Putin, you might want to need a credit check on Besho first. What with his money and accounts getting sanctioned, the child can’t even pay for electricity for the country, much less $500 million worth of shiny new hardware.

    Russia’s stance towards Syria reminds me of an unethical lawyer, who is glad to tell you that your lawsuit has merits and is a sure thing…just as long as you pay him a $50,000 retainer fee.


  170. BBC demands apology from Syrian TV stations

    The BBC’s foreign editor, Jon Williams, has demanded that two Syrian TV stations apologise for their attacks on the corporation’s integrity.

    In a tweet earlier today, he claimed that the stations, Al Dunya and Al Ikhbaria, had falsely accused the BBC of inciting sectarianism and fabricating stories.

    He told me: “It’s taken long enough for Syria to allow foreign correspondents into the country, and we welcome that change of mind.

    “But the Damascus authorities must allow our staff to do their job without them being intimidated.”

    It is known that a BBC producer has been verbally abused several times while working with reporters.

    In a second tweet, Williams wrote about that colleague being attacked by President Assad’s supporters, reiterating that the BBC is “committed to reporting all sides of the story. Intimidation of local staff must stop.”

    See Williams’s twitter feed here


  171. Indeed that video is stunning. But I don’t think the FSA was in Duma. Is that what was implied ? or is responsible for this turn out. I think the people of Duma did that.


  172. Ego – You’re important.

    Is anyone helping the Syrian revolutionists on the ground? The answer is a resounding NO.

    We and the International community are faced with grim scenarios, either the butcher continues killing and torturing civilians indefinitely or a civil war will break, spill, with no end in sight. Both scenarios require serious actions. A united action to stop the bloodbath requires a time line.

    Those who are still playing in the hands of the regime are foolish. Inventing excuses on the expense of their brethren, the dead and alive. They are helping neither side. In short, even Syrians are not helping Syrians. Why are we blaming outsiders? This division is nauseating.

    Zeina Khodr, noted on Aljazeera, “Activists, however, say that armed rebellion is being fuelled by the lack of action from the international community, which has made them realize they have no choice but to take up arms and fight this battle alone.”

    All parties that are claiming interest in stopping the blood bath in Syria are indecisive.

    I say shame on all who put their egos before those on the ground. From insiders to outsiders.
    Manipulating the death of any being for personal gains is reprehensible.


  173. Zenobia, the FSA withdrew from Douma, but more importantly, before they did, they forced the shabihas and Syrian army out. THAT is what a Syrian suburb or town looks like when the army vacates it. That is why the Baathists can never stop the killing, not for a single day, anywhere in the country.


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