A year on (by SYRIAN HAMSTER)

What has been accomplished in a year?

I would say a miracle on the civilian front, mild successes on the political and diplomatic front, and a setback on the military front if viewed. In all cases, successes and failures were the results of choices and decisions made by members of a fragmented society that has internalized a set of intersecting complex layers of myths and faulty images of itself and its surrounding after fifty years of intense propaganda and suppression by a most murderous regime equipped with the most evil instruments of murder, oppression, and propaganda.  It is now difficult to call the people who participate in regime activities human, for they have displayed levels of physical and mental brutalities unknown in recent human history.

We are all traumatized by the continuing murders of Syrians, as well as by the endless vulgarity of the regime’s propaganda and propagandists. We are also traumatized by the apparent ability of the regime to prevent the recurrence of the legendary scenes of Hama and Homs and by the obvious apathy of countries and world leaders to the rivers of Syrian bloods and caravans of martyr’s coffins as those carrying their friends and relatives’ coffins join them in death before the funerals reach their destinations.  Few amongst us who do not now have a relative who has spent time being tortured by this regime, or is currently  held for the offence of seeking dignity and exercising a minimum level of free choice. We are continuously assaulted mentally and verbally by a mindless machinery that keeps repeating the most vulgar words uttered “You want freedom?”.  We keep our heads high as we get bombarded with a barrage of endless and vile diatribes by the same bitterly sectarian people, who continue to support a terrorist regime, and dare to call us terrorists as they constantly try to wash this regime’s crimes with defunct claims of resistance and a completely obliterated claim to secularism, rationalism, and even humanity.

We are also very concerned, and perhaps are afraid that these sectarian thugs may succeed in implanting the evil seeds of sectarianism in our midst. It is their only defense against the wave of dignity that will wash them like the dirt they are.

Those who put their entire hope in the armed component of the revolution are traumatized after the massacres in Homs and Idleb and what seems to be a repeat of massacres in  Dier-Ezzor and Raqqa. Those who put their faith fully in the civilian arm of this revolution are also disappointed and traumatized by the lack of imagery of massive demonstrations. And those who have put faith in what seems then a viable political structure are as disappointed if not more by the failure of SNC and the lack of viable, principled leadership in tone with the streets.

So where do we stand.  We stand at the most important and natural juncture of a revolution unlike others confronting evil unlike others. All what has happened so far will soon result in breaking with “traditional” modes of thinking, and that is a good thing. Here is how I see it from my tree top.

On the civilian side, the regime’s brutality attempted to make civil protest almost impossible from day one. The regime dished all it can: cutting cities into pieces, assassination of civil protest leaders by snipers, torture of tens of thousands of detainees, machine guns blasting protesters en-mass, and intentionally vile and barbaric raids on neighborhoods and towns. And yet the Assad mafia failed in stamping out protest, which is increasing every day in geographic extent. Naturally, you would have those who shamelessly proclaim that the regime has used only 15% of its reliable army as they try to convince us that the fact that the regime is capable and willing to burn Syria for one person is a sufficient justification for us to return and join them as obedient animals in the stables they continue to enjoy living in cowardly accepting their drug of myths and conspiracy theories. The failure of the regime to stamp out civil protests so far shows that the regime’s strongest weapon in the end is useless, and the emphasis on this laughable claim is nothing more than a failed attempt at intimidating what seems to be an indomitable spirit of integrity many Syrians have found in themselves that defies the imagination of the pathetic, fear motivated, self enslaved weak and confuses the arrogance of those who cling to this historical abomination mafia-regime on any other ground.

On the military or armed front, the FSA has received a much needed lesson, and it remains to be seen if its leadership has understood the lesson. It now realizes, after painful experience that it is not out there to hold territory and that their primary responsibility is the protection of soldiers and officers who split from the regime’s army and in protecting, if possible, peaceful demonstrators and as a result, encouraging more people to defect. Granted, recent events may indicate that such lesson is yet to be fully grappled with, but even with the regime’s massacres, FSA continues to enjoy a level of trust and support, which now has become conditional as it should be. FSA now faces a critical shortage of weapons and ammunitions and the strategy of suffocating its resources may be partially successful, but that will force it to adapt to the reality of confronting a much better equipped sadist criminal opponent, who is more than willing to burn Syria for the demented harry-potter fan adolescent sitting in the president’s chair. For now evil outguns the good and the good has to have a change of paradigm and to rely on its far superior ethics to confront the evil of the regime as well as the potential evil of blind collective revenge the regime  has been desperately trying to incite with very anemic success.

To further expand on the last point, the regime continues to play its dirty card more aggressively than ever and more obviously than before, same as its representatives in cyber-space who now appear to be nothing more than followers of an intern as called by OTW. I am in agreement with Joshua Landis that the inner circle of the regime has been exposed as extremely sectarian. But I fully disagree with him that the revolution has to turn sectarian in order to confront this regime. Success of civil leaders (despite of the regime) in containing, but not eliminating the sectarian response to the massacres of Homs, and the ability of wise elders in the south to contain the regime’s dirty incitement between Dara’a and Souwaida continue to frustrate the criminal Assads and their cohorts. As a result, the number of disgruntled real intellectuals who hail from minority groups is increasing, and they are becoming more vocal first in condemning the regime and second in refusing sectarian labeling and guilt by association libels thrown at entire communities. I do not expect the pathetic advocates of the regime to be aware of or to be welcomed into such dialog since their primary sources of information are discredited hate spewing outfits like arabi-press and syriatruth and the pages of the demented Syrian electronic Army and a host of Iranian and russian semi-official sites along with a bought and sold Lebanese yellow journals, journalists, and political tails. The dialog I am talking about is occurring on face book pages, in gatherings and over dinner tables that bring the best of what Syria has to offer together to discuss issues that were taboos for long and to replace accusations by heated, yet honest and sincere dialog or more frankly, exactly the antithesis of what the regime propagandists have been doing in cyberspace, printed, and audiovisual media. The level of openness in addressing these issues is increasing, and painful as it is, dialog suppressed by the Assads, who have destroyed the foundation of the social fabric of all Syrian communities, is surfacing again. Hostility and recriminations are out in the open, counter points are debated, and intellectual alliances are forming across the globe between Syrians from all sects and ethnicities for the end, the results are positive in manners the narrow sectarians on either side will never be capable of understanding. Those whose sectarianism was hiding under a thin veneer of secular code-words have been exposed and are forced into the open. The honest ones, far more of them are on the revolution side than on the regime’s side are revisiting their paradigm, and the dishonest, scared ones, who are predominantly on the regime’s side, pathetic as they are, will only entrench in their mindset, as exemplified by some personalities we all have become familiar with.

These efforts will not necessarily result in avoiding low intensity sectarian flare ups here and there, or even massacres, but a consensus is building to counterweight the effects of such conflicts. The wide outlines of this consensus are necessarily anti-reactionary in the sense that these intellectuals are in agreement that the hyper-reactive meaningless arguments displayed by so many in the “we are not pro regime but against YOUR revolution” pretentious camp is to be avoided by all means since It has been exposed as a mask to hide sectarian attitude that permeates its holders to their core and put them squarely in the regime’s camp no matter how far they try t deny.

The ethical and human dimensions of this revolution, its foundation as a quest for dignity and freedom will always be threatened by the presence of a military wing. This is a clear and present danger that has been discussed very eloquently on 7ee6an especially by Zenobia. The trials and tribulations of Homs and other besieged and bombarded cities must be turned around into a reaffirmation of these ethical and human values. The real struggle inside Syria is between a regime striving with all its instruments of murder to maintain a malformed nation where ethics have been obliterated, where a fraudulent concept of citizenship and patriotism aims to maintain a single corrupt family and its servants for ever on the one side, and humanity, progress, and the opportunity to regain of Syria for Syrians, and of normalcy.

A wonderful Syrian I have the honor interacting with since the earliest days of our revolution wrote on his face book page:

The expansion of popular peaceful action into a new areas  of the homeland which are entering the revolution rather strongly, the return of peaceful protests into areas that have stopped for while under the relentless weight of the regime’s continuing oppression and murder during the first year of our revolution clearly demonstrate that that peaceful and civil action is the foundation of the revolution of dignity and freedom and that armed action, through the successive defection from the regime’s army and the joining of the Free Syrian Army is only complimentary to the popular revolution and not its leader. Whether the world interfered, or remained a spectator, or supported the murderous gang, that gang will undoubtedly fall.

I believe what he wrote is true.


  1. Good job Hamster!

    This is your revolution but it’s NOT mine
    This line summaries one of the main issues we’ve been facing right at the beginning. However, I must admit that we’ve done nothing for those people who felt alike, we decided to ignore them hoping that the job will be achieved in no time and they’ll be forced to play with our rules as late arrivals.

    Giving the limited resources we could not topple the regime. However, after a year of marching ahead with no consideration to the surroundings we’re still failing to address their concerns till their attitude was developed to be “This is NOT a revolution and I’m against it“.

    I’m calling for holding our horses, assess our actions, define our vision and plan future steps. rather than keep marching ahead with nothing but randomness.


  2. This is a briliant summary and description of what is happening in Syria, why it is happening, and how.

    It’s the best anniversary tribute I’ve read (and I’ve been reading plenty!).

    You reassure us there is rational dialogue, clean air and clear thinking out there. Thank you.

    The world is distracted by a fog of disinformation, selfish posturing, mischief and armchair pontificating on Syria.

    It needs constant reminders of “the ethical and human dimensions of this revolution, its foundation as a quest for dignity and freedom ”

    Keep thinking and speaking out, Mr Hamster.

    (tiny typing error – “We are also traumatized by the apparent ability (should read INABILITY) of the regime to prevent the recurrence of the legendary scenes of Hama and Homs..”)


  3. Dear Hamster,
    As always, great post.
    You write in your post that this is a revolution for freedom and dignity. I would like to add economic opportunity to that list. I believe, like Ihsani, that the main instigator for the revolution is economic and the main threat for Syria in the future is going to be the economy. We have a country with one of the highest birth rates in the world and a regime that is sucking all its resources and never seems to have enough. The youth in Syria work hard to graduate from university with a degree that they can hang on the wall while they are forced to drive a cab or pick olives to make a living. They have no hope in any future and no opportunity for upward mobility unless they sell their souls to the devil and join the thugs. There is no detaching economic opportunity from freedom and dignity as without one you can not have any of the other two.


  4. I have been reading all the pessimistic posts on the revolution and its failures and pondering the year that went by, the blood that was spilled, the country that was destroyed and the people that were displaced. By any measures, this is neither a reason to rejoice, nor a picture to be hopeful about. Syria today is not the Syria that we have left years ago. The people have changed, the buildings have been destroyed and the fields have been burned, however, I would like to argue for hope. When we thought that demonstrating in Syria was impossible, we were proven wrong; when we proclaimed that no one would dare utter a word against the regime, we were proven wrong and when we thought that no one would dare defect, we were proven dead wrong. The problem does not lie in the revolution, the people, the FSA or the SNC; it lies in our expectations and impatience. This is a country that lacks any semblance of an organized society on the grass root level. All these organizations were fake and forced on us. All the elections were forged and pre-decided. Yet, of this society, the Local Coordination Committees emerged to shock us all. We are witnessing the transformation of this society. Grant it, in a haphazard way, yet a drastic and significant transformation. We want to see things happen and fast. We want the blood shed to end, but what we are seeing is change that is organic.
    With all the arguments with and against arming the revolution, we tend to forget that this was not a choice that someone made, rather a natural progression of events due to the defection of soldiers. These defectors were left out in the cold unable to return to their families for fear of death. The FSA happened as a result. Arming these defectors is not a choice any more. It is a decision that we have to face of either arming them to defend themselves or leaving them to their undeniable fate to be killed by the regime. Denying these soldiers a way to defend themselves is a death sentence that we are exacting on them and have to live with. This is no longer about whether we want the struggle to be peaceful or armed.
    Those of us who expected the FSA to prevail in Homs or in Idleb were naïve at best. I admit, I was one of them. How did we see a few scantly armed defected soldiers capable of defeating tanks and planes in beyond me, but we had faith. I, for one, will not loose the faith, because while we analyze the SNC and the FSA to death, we forget that the regime is going through hell. There is another side to this coin that is getting weakened by the day. When we reach the critical mass, things will collapse and will collapse fast and then we will all sit and watch the domino effect in awe.


  5. Nicely put Sheila!

    As you mentioned above the other side of the coin is badly hurt and it’s just a matter of time (sooner or later) before the whole al-ASSAD’s temple will collapse, which is great. Now do you honestly believe that the New Syria will emerge just like that after exiling or executing el Batta? I reckon we have not even started the real dark chapters of crossing to dignity & freedom era, just wait for the mayhem of post-revolution.


  6. I give up with True, lol!

    In summary. I am miserable, we are a failure. Let’s go hope and think about things

    Ya3nii shuu lol

    Anyway, True your assessment is media savy but not true.

    As for the 15% claim. What utter bull! Of course they have used virtually all of what they have. Otherwise why in the hell has this going on for one year ? Why can’t they even hold territory long ? Why are they going in sequential order ? Why does the FSA come back everytime they liberate an area ?

    Hama has blown again and do have the districts of Damascus ! The regime is finding it impossible


  7. Dear Syrian Hamster,

    Yes, the Syrian Revolution is a miracle on almost all fronts, and a set back on the military front, you said. Today the Human Rights Watch report was a slap in the face. I was both, shocked and furious. How dare they equate the victim with the victimizer? My initial reaction.

    Unable to justify, nor comprehend. I spoke with family members and after a short discussion and some time, I questioned my anger. Are we after regime change only, absolutely not. These noble Syrians are not risking their lives on a secondly basis to go back to the rule of jungle, where might is right, torture and killing is the norm. They are risking their lives, to live in dignity and freedom, where law and order is the rule.

    Our honourable, defected members of the Syrian army are learning,”the FSA has received a much needed lesson” as we all are, the very hard way. Today, Human Rights Watch, and in a public letter to the SNC, and other opposition groups made the allegations of kidnapping, torture, detention by some in the armed opposition group. The regime brutality cannot justify the alleged abuses some armed opposition groups are taking part in, a member said. Rightly so.

    The FSA were probably driven by the brutality of what they’ve seen in Baba Amr. What these people had to endure was beyond imagination. Yet, we want to move forward.

    Syrian Hamster, one of my friends wrote on face book:

    we do not want international intervention, we only want Halab and Damascus to intervene.

    Thanks for a thoughtful summary and smooth recommendations. The fall is inevitable. How to minimize the blood spilling remains the issue.


  8. “Thanks for a thoughtful summary and smooth recommendations. The fall is inevitable. How to minimize the blood spilling remains the issue.”



  9. Jarthouma heheheh, U made my day habibi, wo yala yl3an ro7ak ya Hafez lol

    Lak man we got to see the big picture rather getting lost in details ya3ni what’s the point of restating the obvious like Betho is a criminal, the regime is rotten and going down the toilet, we should arm the FSA …etc. At this stage we should planning not one step ahead but at least hundred steps.

    Yala ro7 carry on your military strategizing with Antoine and let’s see how that would help 🙂


  10. Dear Grateful
    Welcome to 7ee6an. Sorry for the delay in approving your first comment. From this point on, your comments will appear in real time. I would like to invite you to keep coming back and participate in this small, but thoughtful community.


  11. Dear TRUE
    Couldn’t agree more. We need planning. It was hoped that the various coalitions would be in a position to do the planning ahead and to conduct anticipatory studies. But this was not the case for various reasons including the lack of political culture among others.

    By definition, the real revolution has not started yet. What we have is the first stage pre-revolution, which consists of bringing down the existing system. Revolution starts the moment the regime is brought down, and during that stage, we are bound to encounter counter-revolutionary forces, that will try to retain the system or elements of it due to entrenched interests and loyalties. We are also bound to encounter fierce political struggle and a great deal of recrimination and opportunism. I have always avoided painting a rosy post-uprising picture, and if anyone here thinks that regime loyalists will shut up after the demise of the Assads, they are mistaken. They will in fact jump at the opportunity to make life hell for every one. Anticipate them to be increasingly vocal, and to demand unrealistic demands and to become the constant complainers of the dark ages befalling Syria (in their view). They would ask us to have the most professional police force in one day, and if a judge or an official accepts a bribe, they will become tearful and reminiscent of the good old days of the dictatorship. The most common phrase they will utter “your peoples who need a dictator, انتو شعب بدو ديكتاتور”. Any heated argument in the parliament or in the constitutional assembly will become a sign of “uncivilized” Syria. They will not be the opposition, but the counter revolution. Just watch around you and you can see the picture I am talking about.

    Are we ready and willing to expect demands for federalism in Syria, are we ready to part with romantic notions of what Syria is and to accept some sort of an initial phase where a non-proportional sectarian quota may be deemed by the first assembly as the only way to maintain the country’s integrity. How are we going to provide alternative employment to the workers in state factories who have been drafted in to the ranks of Shabee7a, willingly or unwillingly, how are we going to confront the emergence and the likely popularity of fascist parties (religious or secular) who will gain popularity through the demagoguery of law and order and may take us back into a semi-totalitarian “leader” based society. These are all questions I see no one addressing. A few of us have tried to convince not only the SNC but others that we do need planning, we can even form some sort of consensus regarding the shape of the first phase of the transition through drafting a detailed transitional program that includes political, judicial, economic, and humanitarian components.

    Forty years of Assad mafia have removed words like planning and vision from our vocabulary. People have resigned themselves to a non-participatory system. It will take tremendous efforts by the dedicated and willing among us to change that.


  12. A must Read
    مشاهدة حية من إحدى أكثر المناطق تكراراً للمظاهرات في سورية
    21/03/2012 BY كبريت 0 COMMENTS

    لطالما شاهدتهم أنا وأصدقائي يشترون القهوة أو الشاي، يخرج أحدهم الليرات من جيبته، يواجه صعوبة في مد يده بين الدرع البلاستيكي والبذلة. بعضهم يرتدي الخوذ، والبعض الآخر يضع لفافة حول رأسه. أتفرس في وجوههم، لم أقدر عمر أكبرهم بأكثر من ثمانية عشر عاماً أو أكثر بقليل. تأملت أحدهم مرة وقلت في نفسي: لا بد أنه بعمر أخي الأصغر، أو ربما أصغر منه. كم هم مساكين. هم ذاتهم من ركضوا علينا يفرقوننا بعد انتهاء المظاهرة، وتلقيت من أحدهم ضربة على ظهري.
    يرمون عليهم الحجارة، ينعتونهم بالخونة، أشاهدهم من خلف الباب الحديدي، أضحك في سري عندما يفرون هاربين، ما بالكم! أنتم المدججون بالأسلحة والعصي، تهربون من أمام الحجارة! كيف لكم أن تحرروا الجولان! حمقى!

    انتهت اليوم المظاهرة، تفرقنا، سلكنا طريقاً صادف أنّ حوالي العشرين منهم قادمون نحونا، مشينا أنا وصديقي مشية طبيعية كي لا نثير شكوكهم، علماً أن مجرد التواجد في تلك المنطقة، في تلك اللحظة، كان كافياً لاعتقال أحدنا. مررنا بينهم وكنا نلهث. مررنا بخير، فقلت لصديقي، كم هم أغبياء! لهاثنا واضح بعد أن ركضنا، قفزت قفزة لم أكن لأقفزها لو فكرت بذلك، ومع ذلك لم يلحظونا! ضحكنا عليهم.

    جلسنا أنا وأصدقائي على الحجر، نشرب القهوة وندخن، دخل عدد منهم ليغتسل في مكان قريب، وانتظرهم صديقاهم خارجاً بالقرب منا. أحد أصدقائي “الحشورين” تحارشهم. “الله يعطيكم العافية، تعبتوا اليوم”، ترددوا في الاستجابة. “مانكن مشوبين؟”، همهمات. لا أذكر العبارات التي ذكرت بعدها. قدمت لأحدهم سيكارة. “اي والله، صرلنا مقطوعين من الدخان 5 أيام”. وبدأنا نحن. “من وين الشباب؟”، “شو انتوا، أمن ولا جيش؟”، “…؟”، “…؟!”، “…!!!”، وهكذا.

    كان له شارب، وجهه أسمر، تراه من بعيد فتكيل له ولمن يشبهه الشتائم، يقترب منك فتخاف منه، تسترق نظرة إليه وتغير وجهة نظرك، وتغير بعدها وجهة سيرك، وتشتم، وتسب، وتلعن. ابتسمَ! رمينا له نكتة فضحك! “كم يبلغ وزن هذه الخوذة؟” بعضنا قال 2 كيلو، الآخر 5 كيلو. نزعها عن رأسه وأعطانا إياها نتحسس وزنها! ابتسامته لا تغيب عن مخيلتي، وتستحضر دمعتي. براءته، وأشدد وأؤكد على كلمة براءة بكل ما تحمل من معنى، براءته لم تخطئ طريقها إلى قلبي. نعم، نعم، ليس شيطاناً، ولا قاتلاً، ولا …، ولا …

    صديقه كان أكثر جرأة قليلاً، طلبنا منه عصاه المطاطية. اكتشفنا أنها تلتوي، وؤلمة!
    شوقه لزوجته، لعائلته، لمدينته، لعمله، باح بكل أشواقه.

    سيكارة ثانية، وثالثة، ورابعة، ونستمر بالحديث. نلتفت يمنة ويسرة، تلاحقنا نظرات الاشمئزاز من الواقفين والمارين. قد نكون بنظرهم من المؤيدين، المتعاطفين، الشامتين، الواشين بالمتظاهرين، كل التهم ممكنة لمجرد جلوسنا معهم. كنا ننتظر العودة والتحقق من صفحات كشف الشبيحة والفسافيس لئلا تكون صورنا قد انتشرت هنا وهناك وأصبحنا من المستهدفين من حيث لا ندري.

    هم أيضاً حذرون من رفاقهم، لئلا يخبروا المسؤول عنهم.

    نحن: “لمَ القسوة؟”، “اضربوا، ولكن لا تستهدفوا الرأس”.

    هم: “والله العظيم نحن لا نريد ضرب أحد، نحن مأمورون، قلنا لكم أكثر من مرة، تفرقوا، فلم تفعلوا.”

    “نرجوكم في المرات القادمة إن قلنا لكم ذلك، أن تتفرقوا”

    “زميلي كان يضرب أحد المتظاهرين بشدة، أخذته منه كيف لا يضربه أحد، وأوصلته إلى الباص، ذلك أقصى ما استطيع فعله”

    نحن: “قائدكم يقول لكم تقدموا، وهو في الخلف! ألا يتقدم معكم؟”

    هم مدافعين عن قائده: “هو ليس مدرعاً!” … إذاً يحق له أن يرسلكم إلى حيث لا يجرؤ هو!
    أخبرونا عن طعامهم، وشحه، ونوعيته. عن نومهم، ولا نومهم.

    نحن، ومرة أخرى: “لمَ القسوة؟”

    هم: “مشتاقون لأهلنا، نتمنى لو يعطوننا إجازة ولو ليوم واحد، لنودعهم قبل أن نسشتهد! معظم أصدقائنا في كتيبة أخرى قد استشهدوا. أين سنذهب بكل هذه الضغوط؟ نفرغ شحناتنا هنا”

    “الجيش الحر؟”

    “يلعن … أنا ناقم عليهم … منهم من كانوا مثلنا، ومنهم أناس عاديون. يستهدفوننا ولا ذنب لنا. أنا لم أقتنع بهم، ما ذنبنا نحن؟”

    “ألم تحفظ وجوهنا لتخبر عنا؟”

    “أنا مشتاق لزوجتي! أنا وين وانتوا وين! أريد إنهاء هذه السنة والنصف، وأعود لعملي، وأحضر الخبز والطعام إلى بيتي، وفخار يكسر بعضو”

    “في مهجعنا سخانة كهرباء، ولكني في شهوة لشرب كاسة شاي منذ أيام، يلعن أخت هالحالة”

    عملت له كوب شاي، وقامت صديقتي بإعطاءه بسكويتة. اغتسل وارتاح وشرب الشاي.
    من يعرفوننا جيداً، يقتربون لإلقاء السلام علينا، البعض تفاجئ، فحاول تغيير طريقه بعد فات الأوان، فاضطر في النهاية إلى السلام علينا مجبراً، البعض سلم ممتعضاً، والبعض شكك في تغير مواقفنا، أو أننا كنا نخدعه طوال هذه الفترة. البعض ممن كان واقفاً معنا انسحب بهدوء، خوفاً من أن يحفظ الناظرون وجوهنا فنصبح هدفاً.

    بالنسبة لي، لم أكن مخطئاً. إن تواصلي الإنساني مع هؤلاء الأشخاص نفض غباراً كثيراً عن قلبي. لم أعرف ماذا حركت أنا في نفس أولئك الأشخاص، ولكن بالدرجة الأولى عرفنا بعضنا البعض، على أننا وببساطة شديدة: بشر! نعم نعم! هذه البديهية الأولية البسيطة، غابت عن إدراك الكثيرين من الطرفين. وهنا يحضرني قول ذلك الرجل الشهير: “أنا إنسان ماني حيوان!”. اليوم رأيتها في عيونهم، يقولون لنا أننا مثلكم، في كل شيء، كل كل شيء! نعم، حتى تلك الفكرة التي لمعت في خاطركم الآن، هم “مثلنا” فيها!

    “عنا علم أبو 3 نجمات!!! شي على كيفكن!”

    “ما بتخافوا من الفسافيس؟!”

    ولكن لا حول لهم ولا قوة. تلك النظرات، لا تزال تحرك الحزن في نفسي حتى الآن، حزين لأن أبناء الوطن يقتتلون فيما بينهم، وهم أقرب ما يكون إلى الأخوة، بفعل ممنهج من قبل الكبار. دفع أبناء البلد الواحد إلى الاقتتال. ولكن، وبرغم كل الحزن، فإن هنالك فرحاً عميقاً غمرني، فرحي بأني لمست ذلك الإنسان في من صُّوروا لنا، أو رأيناهم، على أنهم وحوش ضارية. لا بد أنهم أيضاً أحسوا بمحبتنا لهم. تلك الساعتان ليست سوى بذرة زرعناها اليوم، لا بد أنها ستنمو، عندي شعور أكيد بذلك. لا بد لا بد أنها ستثمر. أرجوكم ازرعوا مثل هذه البذور! أرجوكم!

    توقيع متظاهر من قلب الحدث


  13. Very much appreciate yet another great post from Hamster. I think it is a very good summary of the state of the non-union at the year marker, very diplomatic, honest, but with a lot of elements of hopefulness.
    I have some additions I would love to add to it – … regarding positive social developments… and maybe I can get to that later today.

    also, interesting comments by OTW at 8:40 re: important issues that people need to prepare for in the challenging future. Obviously there is so much more…. it is daunting…


  14. Have you heard of Omar Offendum?

    “Omar is a Syrian-American MC/Producer – born in Saudi Arabia, raised in Washington DC, and currently living in Los Angeles. He started his musical career as half of The N.O.M.A.D.S. duo, one of the first pairings of Arab- and African-American MCs. Later, Omar co-produced the critically-acclaimed “FREE-THE-P” mixtape, a fundraising effort in support of Palestine, and participated in “The Arab Summit” project, with Iraqi-Canadian MC The Narcicyst and others. As an educator and speaker, Omar co-authored the “Brooklyn Beats 2 Beirut Streets” performance-lecture, and has been featured on several major news outlets, including BBC, ABC News, and Aljazeera). As an artist-activist, Omar has helped raise thousands of dollars for humanitarian relief organizations and toured the world to promote his music.”

    Mother’s Day


  15. if anyone here thinks that regime loyalists will shut up after the demise of the Assads, they are mistaken. They will in fact jump at the opportunity to make life hell for every one. Anticipate them to be increasingly vocal, and to demand unrealistic demands

    OTW, I think most people inside Syria would rather have those “loyalists” and other “felool” not have any voice at all, that would be the best scenario. Germany shut up the Nazis after 1945 and the Communist dictator after 1989, Iraq hanged Saddam and his entire inner circle and marginalized his supporters both politically and socially ; that should be what shoyld happen in Syria, the beasts have committed a mountain of crimes that they do not deserve any “voice” in post-revolution Syria, conceding any ground to them out of magnanimity or in the name of human rights would lead to chaos and anarchy. The Assad’s band of supporters are small enough to be totally sidelined, the fat-bellied ones who are collaborating with him in the Military and the business class, including a majority of the minorities, will change sides after he aflls and pledge loyalty to the new order. Hardcore Assad loyalists will have no place to go.


  16. OTW, as always very thoughtful indeed.

    “They will in fact jump at the opportunity to make life hell for every one. Anticipate them to be increasingly vocal, and to demand unrealistic … They will not be the opposition, but the counter revolution”

    I reckon it’ll be very healthy to have regime-loyalists around in the era of post-toppling for many reasons. First of all, it will be a new practice for Syrians in terms of a group rules while others oppose, this will reinstate the denied practice of democracy. Second of all, it’s important to give them a space to shout out and deliver their voice within lawful framework, and keep in mind at that stage Syria will be in need for every Syrian in order to reconcile and get on with our future.

    Their “negative” anticipated practice will not reach what you refereed as “counter-revolution” because I’m sure a lot of them will feel so much liberated and relieved as we would after the Batta goes away. Actually, they might surprise all of us of showing constructive attitude in the new Syria as a gesture of collaboration. However, there will be, no doubt, some distortion from here and there mainly led and fed by Iran and HA in order to make the new Syria looks like a failure state. However, those Syrians who marched the streets will be the guardians of the coming change.

    Yes in some scenarios we do need a dictator, even an imaginary one, in order to fight corruption and rectify the mentality of conducting business and social welfare in the new Syria. Please keep in mind elBatta did not force everybody, including Sunna people, to accept bribery but they people were happily to accept the blind eye cover offered by him. I’d say a dictator is needed and the new dictator should be the law.

    “popularity of fascist parties (religious or secular)”
    Totally agree and our next challenge will be these kinds of parties and on top of the list is the unreliable and untrustworthy MB.

    “A few of us have tried to convince not only the SNC but others that we do need planning …. a detailed transitional program that includes political, judicial, economic, and humanitarian components”

    I’d like to share this story with you guys. A friend of mine was in touch with high-ranking SNC “leaders” just before the “Friends of Syria” conference in Tunisia. he had long hours of meetings and discussions about future, plans, policies …etc and they (SNC) were like yep agree, yep that’s how we gonna do it, yep you and your friends should provide a paper or run a workshop etc. Anyway, the times goes on and no one sends an invitation or at least tries to get in touch till he gets hold of one of them who justifies as follows “for the necessities of the current time we should be focusing on something else, these “things” you’re talking about will be addressed thoroughly after toppling the regime and “seizing” the power”!!!

    Of course he was shocked to hear such an answer so he countered back saying “it reminds me with Bashar saying we could not reform because of the necessities of fighting Israel” he even told him “After toppling the regime, the people will march the streets again but this time will be against you and your retarded school of thoughts and I’ll be the first to do, so will you open fire on me because the necessities of that time?”

    OTW, Yes the post-toppling era or the actual revolution as you put it is the critical phase. I’d love to share the optimism and being hopeful as everyone feels and hopes but in reality it does NOT look good.


  17. True, I don;t agree with conceding any soace to the Assad loyalists post-Syria. We should treat them like the Nazi supporters in Germany are treated. Basically, supporting Assad should be illegal and the Baath Party should be banned. Germany banned the Nazi Party and I believe it is the right decision. Even Iraq banned the Baath party and supporting Saddam or putting up his posters is banned in Iraq. Heck, even Egypt banned the NDP ( Mubarak’s Party).


  18. Disagree!!

    If we need to be proud of our new Syria then we should start by taking these avenges thoughts out of our minds because simply you can’t fix wrong by doing wrong, and killing by killing otherwise we will end up in the Iraqi swamp for longer years. Justice is the title and it will be ruled over everybody with no one above the law. Those Assad loyalists are Syrians as we are, however they chose to be on the other side of the bank as we chose to be pro-revolution.


  19. Ye we should ban Baath party but we should not label people and put them into boxes. At the end of the day we need to reconcile in order to build a country.


  20. True….sounding so incredibly wise these days…. : )….my goodness…

    In post WWII Germany – the path to recovery was more about re-education and instilling new values, not about punishing people and dividing up society. Building a just system is the best ‘revenge’ against the past and its harms…

    I think OTW is bring up the challenge not to suggest a fight of division and hostility, but because it will be a long road of reconciliation and dedication to certain values and


  21. that this push and path will require ongoing commitments and steadfastness… flexibility, diplomacy, empathy, and respect for even those who are still stuck in old loyalties and delusions, in order that they can be brought forward into a collective project and future that is inclusive and no longer sectarian and unjust.


  22. “ongoing commitments and steadfastness… flexibility, diplomacy, empathy, and respect for even those who are still stuck in old loyalties and delusions,”

    Nicely said and let’s hope for the best

    “True….sounding so incredibly wise these days…. : )….my goodness…”

    Heheh always been but was under cover lol

    You know Zenobia it’s like you suddenly wake up to see your country slipping out of your hands while everybody is not only watching but more oiling the process to the no-return cliff.


  23. Dear All
    I received this email from Aboud earlier today, I tried to post it through my I-Phone but could not and I am now posting it a minute after I got a hold of a computer.

    I think I speak for every one when I say, good to hear from you Aboud. And we are all happy that you and your family are safe.

    From Aboud

    Hello my friend, I hope you are well. I’ve moved to [Omitted by OTW] for now, Internet in all of Homs province has been cut off entirely. I read your articles on 7eetan. I thought I should clarify what happened in Baba Amr.

    The FSA was holding its own up until the very last moment. There was no chance whatsoever that the army could have taken Baba Amr even within three months. But you cannot imagine the amount of shelling that the area took. On the first day alone I tried to count the number of shells and gave up after 200. In the end, it was obvious that the world wasn’t going to intervene, and the regime kept shelling civilians. The regime basically took it out on the people least able to defend themselves. As long as the FSA remained in Baba Amr, the regime would kill several hundred people a day there.

    There was no street to street fighting inside the area. The regime didn’t manage to capture a single fighter or any of the well known media personalities. The foreign reporters were smuggled out. The army didn’t conquer Baba Amr, they just rolled into it after it had been evacuated. The evacuation wasn’t the panicked fleeing of an army in defeat, it was a well thought and well organized withdrawal. Baba Amr had 28,000 people in it, all but 4000 got out. I know of 12 fighters, and not one of them had a scratch on them.

    The FSA can’t do anything when the regime starts to use heavy artillery against civilians. But this isn’t the biggest concern. I’m afraid an even more devastating development has been the sheer number of Syrians who have packed up and left. The number of refugees has been greatly, greatly understated. And that’s not even counting the flood of people who have gone to the Gulf. In the month that Baba amr was getting shelled, every single relative and friend I know had either left or was in the processing of doing so. My home village is a ghost town, there is barely 2000 people in it left.

    This country feels isolated. It’s like the world has closed their embassies and is quarantining us off.


  24. I posted this on SC and I am copying it
    My last paragraph summarizes my view of the Syrian revolution.
    If Russia is distancing itself from Fredo then we are in good shape
    First the UNSC statement. It is a slap to the regime but with enough mild language to allow for a face saving out mainly for Russia and second for the regime leader.

    The language has just enough of a hint of further action if the plan is not implemented. The regime if it abides by the points of removing the army and the security services while the resistance stop attacks and recruitment and organizational efforts will be followed by allowing demonstrations without hindrance.
    This will mean millions of people that will pour into the streets not on Fridays as organized by the regime but rather spontaneously. The reason I believe it will be in huge numbers is two fold the first is the fact that when allowed to do so in Hama huge numbers came out likewise in Homs. I also think that more people that used to be sitting on the fence and were watching how the wind blows are now truly disgusted by the terrible performance of the regime: the veneer of modernity has fallen, the crass self preservation has shown its ugly face, the utter disregard for the basic demands of human and humane treatment have gone out the window, the similarity with Ghadaffi shocking. Moreover, the fall of the purchasing power of the people by more than half is devastating while the latest e mail leaks paint a picture of Marie Antoinette to the general public.

    If the regime refuses then I do think that it will be left with Iran only as the supporter because as I predicted the status of Russia as a remaining superpower despite its significant decline will not be sacrificed by Putin for the blue eyes of Fredo the Duck. Also, Russia would like to be able to host the dialogue so as to preserve its interests in Syria, preserve the role of Iran as a semi ally and a thorn in the side of the West, and most importantly to preserve its monopoly on the gas and oil routes through Russia and not Iran or Turkey for European energy needs.

    Now let me say this again and again: there is a very weak sense of a true national identity as being Syrian. I would argue that there is a stronger sense of being an Arab than being a Syrian especially since Vito Corleone used to be alive. He made sure that the rule is concentrated in the hands of key figures from the Alawite community. The alliance with Iran in the Iran Iraq war had one element based on denying the aggressor the right to invade, another element was based on pure power calculations as the Iraqi Baath party was a rival to the Syrian and the claim to Arab leadership by Saddam would have eclipsed the claim of Assad. However, after the invasion of Iraq and the marginalization of the Sunnis it appears in our days to have been all along a sectarian move. Whether it is true or not is beside the point. In the effort of Syria to find patrons to protect it against a US led effort to subjugate the region, the reliance on Iran has further exacerbated this view. What did not help the regime was the overt support it got from both Iran and HA who at the same time as they were defending the brutality of the regime have voiced support for the Shia led revolt in Bahrain and in KSA. The regime being an expert pyromaniacal arsonist threatened the region with a sectarian spill over to cow its opponents into leaving it in power. This however backfired with the determination of KSA and others not to let that happen and to fight back. Hence, Russia coming to the rescue as they and the regime are deathly afraid of an armed rebellion. The Russian change of heart came about when the fiasco of BA happened with the regime not able to enter until it destroyed the quarter and was held at bay by a mere 180 fighters for about four weeks.

    I posted this before and will do again and again; once the regime starts a single genuine meaningful dismantling of one element of the security house of cards it will collapse either slowly or suddenly. Already there is internal dissent as to the running of the single non flexible strategy adopted by the regime. So much so that some are touting the UNSC as a victory for the regime as it insists on dialogue and does not mention the removal of the leader. This I read as a sing of some to want to get out of this mess with some face saving.
    Be that as it may, it is a rope with which the regime can do two things, either hang itself with it if it continues to use violence, or a rescue to get out of the hole it keeps digging itself into.

    If the regime thinks that it is of such vital importance to the West or to Russia it is sorely mistaken. Russia used the card and is now finding it difficult to keep playing with it as the West and the Arabs did not think it had any bargaining power.

    Finally, let me say again and again, the following: I do believe that the majority of the people in the ME, the Arab world, and the wider Muslim world have much more in common and that their current corrupt inept brutal regimes have left them without any institutions or recourse to advance their lot along national identity lines and has caused the natural instinct to go back to the clan, sect, ethnicity to take precedence. Therefore, until and unless we can come together along the great common denominators of what constitutes our culture, history, tradition, philosophical outlook, our sense of right and wrong, of justice and equity, in short our Muslim Arab heritage we should accept to live apart on the political level.
    Let me remind the audience that the Turks and the Kurds had no written language when living a nomadic life and that their conversion to Islam created the great Ayoubid dynasty that liberated Jerusalem and the Ottoman empire. The same Ottoman empire that was described by the Austrians as ” their way is that of success, of confidence, of a belief of the righteous glory that their way of life is the right one, of their confidence in effective rule etc…..” One has to read and listen to Persian and Kurdish and Turkish to find not only the dominance of Arab language but of Arab notions and concepts.

    So when I advocate separation of the people of Syria I do this with full realism. At this time of our history we are finding common ground in differing amongst ourselves. So let us be divided into stupid and non viable entities and let us come to realize that we have gone into a dead end. For all those who on this blog are calling for Syrians to live together they are talking into the wind as there is clearly not a single idea of what is Syria and how it should come about. Look no further than at the new joke of a constitution. Fredo thought like his dad that he can throw the Sunnis a bone in the form of the religion of the President being a muslim and by the same token slapped the Christians in the face for supporting him.

    Therefore we should separate as entities that are finding ever more difficult to live together. If we are forced to live together by a brutal Vito it will explode down the line with ever more violence. Trust is broken, the Sunnis will arm and bid their time, the Alawis will entrench further into their sect, the Christians to our great loss will leave, and the Kurds will learn never to trust an Arab again. If we continue along the path of civil war, it will result in huge killings and one of two outcomes will occur, one side will win and massacre the other, or both will be utterly exhausted and the country will be in ruin.

    When people ask me where are you from I reply from Damascus for I do not recognize the artificial borders of Syria Iraq Lebanon Jordan etc… all the way to Marakesh and to Kabul and New Delhi.

    Glory to the days when a muslim used a “SakK aka Check an English word derived from the Arabic” to travel from Sind to Morocco and do business without carrying any money and without having to have any passports or border controls or tarifs and where he could stay in hostels and mosques and know that what he is eating and where he is praying and how he is dealing and wheeling is part and parcel of a single unifying liberating civilization of faith brotherhood equity and justice and prosperity with social responsibility.
    This is the same civilization that called on Umar to give a Christian beggar food and clothing and a home for he felt it unjust to tax the community and leave one member of it to beg, the same civilization that called on Khalid Ibn Walid to return the Jezziah to the people of Homs when the Romans took back for he failed to protect them from an invasion.
    Our civilization and our sense of justice and of equity and of social duty is rooted in our very essence. Granted we are not perfect and like all other civilizations have committed crimes and used fallacious and superiority arguments to justify our actions but again even amongst the most determined supporters of the regime there is ever more a call for equity and justice despite our difference in how we see it and interpret it.

    I am certain that this regime is finished it is on the wrong side of history on the wrong side of our basic belieft and our basic outlook on the very idea of equity and justice and prosperity.

    I used to be a pessimist but today I am an optimist as the youth of Syria have broken my very own fear that Vito has instilled in me during my years of growing up under this brutal degrading corrupting regime. The determination of the people to force their will on the regime is absolutely breath taking.


  25. OTW

    Do you agree with baning the Baath Party, and forming a De-Baathification committee that will disqualify people from public service and owning businesses based on the level of collaboration they had with the regime ? Also do you agree to banning Zaki Arsuzi’s works ?


  26. God bless you Aboud, may all the refugees return soon, armed and ready to fight.

    I wonder why Turkey is saying there are only 16,400 refugees in that country, when all evidence points to a figure over 50,000.

    Jordan has been more truthful. According to the Jordanian Gov’t there are 80,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan. We know that the regions bordering Jordan are sparsely populated and the fighting and shelling in Daraa wasn;t as fierce as the one in Edleb. So considering this figure, the number of refugees in Turkey may well be over 100,000.

    ( An average Syrian village has a population of about 10,000 and a Syrian city has about 60,000)


  27. The FSA was holding its own up until the very last moment. There was no chance whatsoever that the army could have taken Baba Amr even within three months

    Indeed, we saw a video of the burning carcass of a T-72 tank in Baba Amr and Abdelrazaq Talss and the other fighters celebrating.


  28. Also, shelling from a distance is a strategy to reduce the number of defections, as few soldiers would want to defect to an area that is being shelled.


  29. THe Mukhabarat are still holding the 2 Turkish journalists captive and are playng hardball, demanding that Turkey hand over all the defectors, and close its borders to refugees and expel all the refugees in return for the journalists.

    The FSA can’t do anything when the regime starts to use heavy artillery against civilians.

    In Edleb and Deir al Zour, the regime did not use heavy Artillery, only Tanks, why then did the FSA withdraw ?


  30. Antoine
    Again, I urge you to collate your short comments together, 4 comments at 6:58, 7:02, 7:04, 7:05 does not look like someone is putting efforts into their commenting. Please do not treat 7ee6an as a messenger board. It is annoying.


  31. Aboud,

    Thanks for the post. Good to know you are alive and well.

    Stay safe.


  32. So good to hear you are alive.
    All of you, I need some help
    At the beginning of one season of مرايا
    there was an episode where all the people were forced to walk backwards until a young man decided to walk normally and left the village and little by little the villagers joined him and eventually the whole village comes back walking forwards.
    May have been in season 2005 or 2004.


  33. Saving Syria: Assessing Options
    for Regime Change:
    Daniel Byman, Michael Doran, Kenneth Pollack, and Salman Shaikh

    SABAN Center, Brookings Institute Mid East Memo. A worthy reading for those interested in analysis. Please note that this is from a US policy making point of view, as it should be for a US policy center.

    From the Introduction
    The brutal regime of Bashar al-Asad is employing its loyal military forces and sectarian thugs to crush the opposition and reassert its tyranny. Even if Bashar fails, Syria may not be out of the woods: an increasingly likely alternative to the current regime is a bloody civil war similar to what we saw in Lebanon, Bosnia, Congo, and most recently in Iraq. The horrors of such a war might even exceed the brutal reassertion of Asad’s control, and would cause spillover into Syria’s neighbors—Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel—that could be disastrous for them and for American interests in the Middle East.

    This memo lays out six options for the United States to consider to achieve Asad’s overthrow, should it choose to do so:

    1. Removing the regime via diplomacy;
    2. Coercing the regime via sanctions and diplomatic isolation;
    3. Arming the Syrian opposition to overthrow the regime;
    4. Engaging in a Libya-like air campaign to help an opposition army gain victory;
    5. Invading Syria with U.S.-led forces and toppling the regime directly; and
    6. Participating in a multilateral, NATO-led effort to oust Asad and rebuild Syria.

    Each section is detailed enough, albeit with a few misconceptions that do not necessarily affect the study.


  34. It is great to hear that Aboud is safe.

    As for US options ,I believe it is a job for Syrian to do,there are enough opposition in Syria that if we arm them they should be able to accomplish the job, however regional help is welcomed.

    We who believe in freedom we do not believe in banning,Baath ideology should not be banned,but those who has blood on their hands must be held accountable.
    As for Ziki Arsuzi, I call to change the name of the square named after him.


  35. Dear N.Z.
    Thanks for introducing Omar Offendum. You have been most gracious and supportive and I must add, selective (in the good sense) in linking 7ee6an with outstanding creative Syrians.

    Dear MAJED
    The headlines of the paper may be deceptive. I really urge everyone to read this lengthy paper. It does present some of what we have talked about in the past in terms of SWOT analysis.

    Arming the opposition may seem good on paper (stolen from the study), but the paper, also presents the daunting conditions for such option (as well as others) to be of any chance for success. Please keep in mind again that this is a US policy paper. The paper’s primary premise is that the US interests are best served by the removal of this regime (as would Syrian interest), but it also argues that policy makers may opt for a weakened regime as an alternative, which is not in the interest of Syria or Syrians.

    Here is a quote of the author’s assessment of the difficulties (from US POV) of that solution.

    However, despite the advantages of this policy, there are some large obstacles and risks to success. While history is replete with states arming opposition groups to weaken their rivals, the precedents for the opposition succeeding quickly in regime change are fewer.

    After citing some examples the authors also write

    In most cases, supporting an opposition ties down a country’s forces and fosters instability but does not topple the regime.

    This is followed by an assessment of the strength of the Assad’s army and of the FSA and other armed groups and the need for unifying efforts, the authors conclude on this option

    It is possible that arming the opposition might increase the chances of defection of Sunni units and create areas within Syria where the opposition would enjoy a certain degree of freedom. However, unless regime forces defect en masse (possible but not necessarily likely), this would not lead to Asad’s fall.

    Of course I am not happy about the authors persistent use of sectarian classifications, and would have preferred it if they use “regular units” and “loyal praetorian units” instead, which is far more descriptive and accurate than mere sectarian classification. I know you do not agree, but this is the way I see it, as do most of my friends from all sects and ethnicity.


  36. Hamster,

    Excellent post, I always look forward to your whit and observations.


    Thanks for sharing Aboud’s email. Glad to hear him and his family are in relative safety.
    As for the constitution I asked you about, I came across this website and thought to share it here.



  37. Son Of Damascus
    Good to see you here. Thanks for the link to the charter. I think that the item 2.A

    أ – إلغاء دستورعام 1973 المعمول به في الدولة واعتماد دستور عام 1950 الى حين صدور دستور جديد ينبثق عن لجنة تأسيسية يختارها الشعب السوري يطرح للاستفتاء العام.

    is what I was talking about, but it addresses possible constitutional vacuum by enacting the 1950 constitution until a constitutional assembly writes a new constitution and after the referendum on that constitution. The 1950 constitution in general establishes a democratic state but there is a need for a more modern constitution in line with the 21st century.


  38. Aboud, its soo good to hear from you.


    I think one needs reconcilliation big time in Syria. I personally think that the Baath Party is a victim of the Assads too. I dont see that the party set the country into bloodshed, it was this family of the Assads who did it, and the new Syria should do a good job in letting the country heal from all they did. There is so much hidden, so many people have seen horrible things, not just since last year. I am sure we all will need more than courage to hear all the stories, once this regime is gone. I can only estimate but the numbers of muhabarat and security personal should go into thousands. Syrians will have to decide which patterns to follow. The example of Germany after the collapse of the Third Reich gives two options, in the west they did just an overall denazification, which meant that 10% of the party members and leaders of the party and government faced prison and a few ( around 12) faced death penalty. The rest of the party members, judges, police men, teachers were left in position. This lead to social unrest in the next generation, and even to left wing terrorism. In the east there was a much different approach. Most party members lost their job and position, many faced prison in soviet prisons and many disappeared. Teachers, judges and police men were all fired, and most went to the west to work there. I remember well my first teacher in grade school, this women had never seen an university from inside. She was choosen by a russian soldier and selected to be a teacher. The east had a thorough denazification which led to a chaotic start of the new regime, but the social unrest which was evident in the west was sparred.

    I think its upon the Syrians to decide, and i just pray that this conflict does not get much more bloodier, because the longer the conflict the longer will be the healing process. Sometimes there is also a lot of fear to do the right thing. I remember well the priest in my hometown. In the days of the revolution his church was full with people,some of them had never been in a church before. He came up one evening and told the congregation that he was handed over an list with the names of all local informants of the secret service. He wanted to put up a sign on one of the collums. Some people shouted no, they will be killed if you make their names public. He did it anyway, and no one got killed, a few may had lesser friends but overall the people who worked for the secret service still live in my town. Our newly elected president was also an priest( where are the couragous priests of Syria?) and he headed the ministry which was created to let every citizen read what the secret service had collected about them.


  39. The courageous priests of Syria are the Jesuit Fathers…. albeit they are expats of forty years…
    and there are, I am sure, isolated individual priests of other denominations who have come out bravely, but the majority would be in the silent mode of conformity to their sect’s tacit or explicit support for the regime…
    i think…


  40. Dear OTW,

    I like to be here, personally I am very fond of this “anti regime dungeon”, I find its 7ee6an to be filled with great Syrian voices that carry a message of hope and freedom.


    I fully agree about returning to the 50’s constitution and working from there. The current format and its predecessor are nothing but a sham constitution put in place to serve their momentary masters.

    I am not a Ba’athist, nor do I agree with its ultra socialist policies that punishes success, having said that I don’t believe in full de-Ba’athification of Syria. The Ba’ath party should be able to run in my view, however it must return all its properties to the Syrian government and it should restart on an equal footing with any new emerging party.


  41. THURSDAY, MARCH 22,2012
    Response to Human Rights Watch “Open Letter To The Leaders of The Syrian Opposition”


    We are a group of Syrian bloggers, writers, activists, and independent citizens. We would like to commend your efforts to bring to light violations of human rights whatever their nature or source may be. We have read your letter to the leaders of the Syrian opposition highlighting “increasing evidence…of kidnappings, the use of torture, and executions by armed Syrian opposition members”, and we would like to respond with the following:

    All efforts to expose criminal actions and violations of human rights are commendable. The Syrian uprising began with human rights at the forefront of its values. “Freedom” was one of the first words uttered in the chants of this uprising. It was also accompanied, at least in the beginning, with the chants of “Selmiya, Selmiya” (peaceful, peaceful). In one of the most memorable scenes of this revolution captured on video, Mohamed Abd Al Wahab from the town of Baidah (near to Banias) exclaims: “I’m a human being, not an animal!”, referring to the dehumanizing treatment of citizens by the security forces. The essence of the Syrian uprising is the people’s struggle for their human rights: the right of every Syrian citizen to freedom and dignity. The Assad regime has denied and suppressed these basic human rights for decades, employing every fear tactic imaginable: systematic murder (including but not limited to the massacre of Hama, 1982); mass imprisonment; and torture. These tactics of brutality have paralyzed the Syrian people in silence and fear, until March 2011.

    Hence, we believe that the violations outlined by this report do not, and cannot, represent the entire opposition movement. We reject any implication that taints the entire opposition with these actions. This report has already been put to political use by mouthpieces and propagandists of the Syrian regime in order to bolster the notion that there are two equal sides to this crisis and that violence is more or less equal. This proposition is a gross exaggeration and utterly untrue. Criminal actions by armed opposition members, while appalling, are minuscule compared to the systematic criminal repression of the regime.

    Many Syrians, understandably, have reacted to your report with anger and frustration. There is simply no mechanism in place to investigate these allegations or bring the perpetrators to justice and put them through fair trials. We can only realistically expect human rights to be ingrained and firmly upheld by state laws when Syria is free and democratic. Our struggle is not only with the Assad regime, but with a legacy of thuggery and Mukhabarat torture that infiltrated every aspect of life in Syria.

    Finally, we must stress a very significant point in the HRW letter: it’s not always easy to identify armed opposition. As mentioned in the letter:

    “Some reports received by Human Rights Watch indicate that in addition to armed groups with political motivations, criminal gangs, sometimes operating in the name of the opposition, may be carrying out some of these crimes.”

    Indeed. This has exactly been the case of many kidnappings according to frequent reports from inside Syria, especially the city of Aleppo. When calling family members to demand ransom, the kidnappers identify themselves as members of the Free Syrian Army. While the reality suggests that there are far more likely suspects of these kidnappings: the criminals released from jail at the beginning of the uprising with a presidential pardon. These individuals have often been involved in the thuggish repression of peaceful protesters, and they would not miss the opportunity to smear the Free Syrian Army as well.

    In conclusion, while we appreciate Human Rights Watch’s efforts to shed light on the current Syrian crisis and we join HRW in condemning all violations of human rights in Syria, we strongly oppose tainting the Syrian opposition as a whole with these isolated cases. We strongly oppose an attempt to equalize the country-wide spread of atrocities by the Assad regime and the isolated cases by a few anti-regime operatives. As HRW knows from its own previous reports on Syria, there no comparison between the two in the number of dead and imprisoned, and the sheer, indiscriminate brutality directed towards innocent civilians.


  42. Dear umm nuwâs
    Yes, hope is possible, and it is also a duty.
    Thanks for the link. I went through some of the articles. It is natural that a one year milestone, marked with blood and tears will solicit a great deal of re-thinking. And yet, I am unhappy about some of the articles talking about the lack of independence of the Syrian revolution. The Syrian revolution is not only independent, but an orphan.


  43. Dear OTW,

    Thanks for the very kind words. Your blog is a safe heaven, a home away from home. Where Syrians and non Syrians can express their thoughts, exchange ideas, vent their frustration without being bullied. I long for the day where this virtual space will become the reality in Syria, where freedom of expression will not cost a life, or the destruction of a soul. When each individual will become a celebrated star in his own rights. The possibilities are endless..


  44. Zenobia

    do you know where the Jesuits are working in Syria? I always liked their direct approach towards people, kind of like father Paolo in Mar Mousa. I imagine for the orthodox that they depend on the regime, but this silence on behalf of the catholic church reminds one of their support for Franco in Spain.


  45. Juergen

    I don’t know officially. All I knew of was basically a small group of nuns and fathers- in addition to and (I guess) connected with Paulo and – thus, Mar Musa, a house in Damascus and another shared house base in Homs. Also there is a farm like place (with a big recreational hall for the community and the meetings, little huts surround) called “Al Ard”.
    I went only once briefly to the house in Damascus- to sign up for the Messir (the major summer hiking trip led by Father Franz). Then I visited Al Ard once for an evening to meet Franz and see local youth and hikers – and we also met there for the start of Messir. But my understanding was that these Jesuits live and worked from these three places interchangeably. And I am not sure what the relationship is with Mar Musa – other than of course – Paolo is the link. Or…maybe it is all connected, I don’t know.

    I knew of the Messir – anyhow- similar to the work of Mar Musa was largely interfaith dialogue and communion- attempting to bring youth from all over Syrian to spend time together – hike together- and to dialogue about important issues of belonging and tolerance. It was all in Arabic- so I was playing catch up the whole time to figuring out what was going on- but it all became clear eventually -that this was not just about hiking, to say the least. It was very profound.
    What the larger Jesuit community does overall – I am not aware but I imagine it must be pretty noble and progressive.
    I have an email for father Franz if anybody wants it- but he speaks only little English – mostly he communicates in Arabic and Dutch. Although clearly Paolo is fluent in english, arabic, probably french and definitely Italian.


  46. Ps, if you want to know a lot about the fathers in Syria – Stephanie Saldana is the person to ask….


  47. Zenobia, many thanks. Yes to my knowledge the jesuits never have big groups, they really mingle with the folks and sometimes you feel that those men arent priests at all. I went once n a recreation weekend, and we talked more about philosophie and Nietzsche than about the church. I met father Paolo once, and i always wanted to return to Mar Mousa and spent some more time with them. God give that time will come soon.


  48. ““we are not pro regime but against YOUR revolution”

    Faisal Kassem, the Opposite Direction presenter on Aljazera, puts it like this:

    إذا كان بعض الطواغيت قاردرين على استحمار جزء لا يستهان به من شعوبهم فتلك الشعوب جديرة بطواغيتها والأنظمة التي تحكمها

    لا تتحرر من الظلم والطغيان إلا الشعوب الواعية التي تخلصت من الاستحمار، ولا يقبل بالطواغيت غير المستحمرين

    This is his language not mine, I am pretty sure he couldn’t find other words to fully describe them?

    He adds, describing the regime run like mafia in Syria,

    كل البلدان النامية تطمح للحاق بركب العالم المتقدم، أما حكومتنا في سوريا فمثلها الأعلى كوريا الشمالية.لاحول ولا قوة إلا بالله


  49. Posted on Syria Comment by SYRIALOVER

    248. SYRIALOVER said:

    Read the price others paid to get rid of dictators.
    This is the fate the House of Assad has been hellbent on building for Syria.
    And it’s what the rest of the world is struggling to avoid for Syria.
    Any understanding of this is way, way over the head of Assad’s supporters here.



  50. Ahmad Suleiman Alhajri, the Sheikh of Druze has passed away in a car accident today on the road of Shahba. A suspicious accident or what? His death will evoke memories of the assassination of Jumblatt’s father.

    His passing will not be unnoticed. The regime is beginning to threaten and liquidate. Miquati feels it. This is what they know best. Fadwa Suleiman is in France with her family.

    The Butchery family is quivering, literally. And they are cornering themselves by digging their trenches. Slowly but surely. Like all tyrants, occupiers, colonialists…


  51. A new, Brilliant post from Amal Hanano.

    The Real Me and the Hypothetical Syrian Revolution (2)
    by Amal Hanano

    My own pseudonym was never as suffocating as in those first hours of hearing about Razan’s detainment. I wanted to rip it off in every one of my tweets that ended with #FreeRazan. I felt I was barely holding on to Amal. The guilt of my false name weighed heavily on me. But there are times when reason is forced to take charge of emotion. Amal survived that night. But she also forced me to realize how entrenched our pseudonyms have become.

    For Syrians across the world, our real faces and real names now have consequences.

    Over the last months we’ve watched repeated scenes from reality via YouTube—clips of men being beaten up by security forces. They are on the ground being kicked and slapped, and we hear the security forces’ variation of the common refrain: “You want freedom? Is this the freedom you want?” Assad supporters love that phrase. They point to the piling garbage on the streets, the illegal additions onto buildings, the electricity/gas/mazout/food/water/medicine/fill-in-the-blank shortages, the plummeting economy, the state of lawlessness that has taken over the cities, and shake their heads slowly, repeating the same question in a sarcastic, menacing tone: “Is this the freedom you want?”

    No, that’s not the freedom we want. We want to live in a country where Tal would be safe in her home, writing her poetry, blogging without fear. Where Hamza al-Kahtib and the hundreds of other murdered children would still be alive. Where Razan Ghazzawi wouldn’t have to face an illegitimate trial and report to the Air Force Intelligence branch everyday between nine and two. Where Alexander Page wouldn’t have to live in exile with his family for speaking the truth. Where Ousama Idris’ son wouldn’t have to lead his father’s funeral. Where Rami al-Sayed would be among Homs’ living, making films of his toddler daughter Maryam, instead of being the martyr known as Syrian Pioneer who documented over eight hundred videos of protests and martyrs. Where all of us living online wouldn’t have to make a choice with every tweet, blog post, and Facebook status, between speaking our minds and placing our families in danger.

    From OTW: Amal, bless you for you are writing about what burns me as well. I can not tell you how often I wanted to rip the name OFF THE WALL and use my real name. Yet again, our real names and faces now have consequences


  52. Jarthouma, where are you ?

    Good news :

    The average number of soldiers (including policemen) buried per day during the month of March so far has been 10.1 men per day. Here are the averages for previous months:

    March : 10. 1 men per day
    February: 12.8 men per day
    January: 9.6 men per day
    December: 9.9 men per day
    November: 8.0 men per day


    A close look at the statistic will reveal that the regime has lost more men in Febrary and March, when it supposedly has the FSA “cornered”, than in January or December, when the FSA was rocking.


  53. Dear Off the Walls
    I am sure you agree with me that the Assad regime is resorting to brutal criminal oppression of the opposition, using very strong loyalist in his army, this is a fact.
    and the question is
    Show me an example in the history where such ruler was successfuly removed by peaceful opposition


  54. why don’t you go back and read earlier posts…. we already played this game before….repeatedly..
    don’t you guys get tired of repeating yourselves…..

    in addition….the “good news” of people dying, any people… is just as callous and ‘unfeeling’ as – is usually hurled about as an accusation towards others… in fact ironic and disturbed…


  55. Antoine,

    So you are using regime propaganda to celebrate dead Syrians… I am afraid to ask what you would consider as great news…


  56. Why oh why Antoine are you using the crap from a Syrian regime site ?

    The regime wants to paint a picture that the Syrian army is coherent, high in morale and suffering minor sustainable casualities.

    In other words use numbers that “prove” an armed rebellion but do not use numbers that will demoralise your own troops

    By the way, as you clearly know a lot of the numbers are from those shot by the regime for refusing orders and they number in the thousands ( If we include that have disappeared to). Then you have the significant number of desertions that do not join the FSA.

    Trust me mate, the 30 figure I was quoting, well you can forget it now 😉

    The army has all buy fallen apart and we are now left with demoralised, mainly Sunni troops that will defect with the nearest opportunity and sectarian Alawite militia and troops.

    It is impossible and I mean virtually impossible for him to hold ground and this stupid wall that he is building in Bab Umar is a futile way for him to do something. This is no Iraq or Israel, these suicidal sectarian Alawites are swimming in an ocean of an alien culture

    Trust me, if I am not Jarthouma :). Eventually we will have Alawites that will deliver his head ( if this keeps going for a number of years) because they have to live in this country too and will eventually accept this reality.


  57. Ok, Antoine how many attacks and defections are occurring daily thru out Syria ? 🙂


  58. I am speechless! Calling dead soldiers good news is unbelievable. These are Syrian too. Many are forced to fight the Assads war. Many are just young conscripts who do not know any better. God help us when our own blood becomes a cause for celebration.


  59. A good shabi7 is a dead shabi7 period

    Yes I feel sorry for the lowly conscript that serves as a human shield but I have no qualms being happy when his sectarian shabi7 or his sectarian kata’ib die


  60. These people are as Syrian as the Serbian and right wing Zionist fascists. They are an occupying alien force that have no place in our country.


  61. A Sad Morning, Every Morning, by Kinan Azmeh and Kevork Mourad

    a prayer for Syria


  62. Dear Jarthouma,
    Let us not forget our goal, to get rid of the regime and establish a democratic state in Syria. Killing potential deserters is not doing us any good. There is no way to find out who you are killing. This is strategically wrong and dangerous. It is in effect forcing the Syrian army to band together because they are a target. I know that his complicates the Free Syrian Army’s work, but it is imperative to refrain from targeting the Syrian Army haphazardly and without a plan. I hope they know what they are doing. I have been impressed with the level of maturity and intelligence that Syrians in general have shown when they are liberated from the restraining strings attached to them by the regime.
    I think targeting the heads is the best and only way to go. I disagree with the assessment that it is futile and agree with the opinion that it is nerve wracking for the regime. This will put the pressure on the tails of this regime to start thinking hard about whether they want to continue on this road to certain death. I think that even the families of the big heads should be considered a legitimate target. As bad as this sounds, I think they have shown no mercy toward the people in general and spared no woman or child. They should be given the same treatment. These are the people that are giving the orders and making sure that they are carried out. These are the people that are robbing the country blind. These are the main beneficiaries of this Mafia regime. However, targeting the small guy is achieving nothing but a certain road to a full fledged civil war. We have to understand that after this regime falls, killing all the regime supporters is not an option. After all is said and done, we have to live together and we have to work together to build Syria. Our country is in ruins and it will need a lot of effort to be rebuilt. These people have to pitch in and have to have a stake in the new Syria. The top echelon is the criminals that need to be prosecuted and punished.


  63. Dear Sheila,

    I don’t know the validity of this news yet, however IF this news is true it would seem someone at the FSA was reading your post:

    Muhsin Makhlouf (Rami’s brother) was abducted tonight and a Lieutenant in the Air Force Intelligence was killed in Reef Dimashq by the name of Abdul Kareem Younis.


  64. Dear SOD,
    I knew that there are many smart Syrians out there. Once they are liberated, they start making sense, otherwise, turn on SANA and you will want to pull your hair out.
    Here is an example of spin on the e-mail scandal. I know you can read Arabic and I apologies to those who can not. It is hard to translate this nonsense. It is a pathetic attempt to prove beyond reasonable doubt that these e-mails were fabricated like all the demonstrations in Syria, by no other than Al Jazierah, aka the great Satan. The logic is unbelievable. It is so insulting to basic human intelligence that it makes you wonder how these people think and what kind of common sense they possess. One of the reasons they give to doubt the authenticity of the e-mails is the fact that Bashar Al Assad is a doctor, thus he can not be so naïve. Seriously?????
    Here is the full text. Enjoy:

    حكاية الايميلات كلها حكاية سخيفة ومفبركة لا تنطلي على ثالث ابتدائي راسب … واليكم الاسباب

    اولا : لا يوجد رئيس دولة في العالم يمكن ان يلجأ الى فتح حساب مجاني مع هوتميل ليتبادل فيه مع معاونية اسراره الشخصية والرئاسية … يعني حتى اصحاب الكازيات في امريكا يلجأون الى الحسابات المدفوعة الاجر وليست المجانية حين يتعلق الامر بالموضوعات الشخصية …

    ثانيا : بشار الاسد لا يمكن ان يقع في هذه الغلطة الساذجة فهو طبيب وقبل ان يصبح رئيسا هو الذي قاد عملية تحديث خدمات الانترنيت والتشجيع عليها في سوريا وبالتالي هو اكثر علما من غيره بمخاطر اعتماد مراسلات شخصية وعامة عبر بريد الكتروني مجاني ( امريكي ) مثل هوتميل

    ثالثا : والاهم ان سوريا دولة مواجهة وهي في حالة حرب مع اسرائيل والمخابرات السورية تحصي على السوريين والاجانب انفاسهم فيما يتعلق بالامن السوري وذلك لمنع ومكافحة عمليات التجسس .. فاذا كانت ايميلات رئيس سوريا مشاعة على هذا النحو وسهلة الاختراق من قبل شبيحة غليون ومحطة الجزيرة والعربية فالاولى ان تخترقها اسرائيل بما لدى الموساد من خبرات في هذا الشأن

    رابعا : ورود ايميلات مفبركة وساذجة باسم المذيعة السورية ( لونا الشبل ) يكشف عن الجهة التي تقف وراء الفبركة .. فلونا الشبل كانت من ابرز من انشق عن محطة الجزيرة وقامت مع زوجها مقدم البرامج في المحطة بفضح اسرارا المحطة قبل سنوات من ( الربيع السوري ) وبالتالي فان لمحطة الجزيرة مصلحة في تسفيه لونا الشبل والسخرية منها وتوريطها بما تسميه الجزيرة بجرائم ضد الانسانية

    خامسا : لونا الشبل قارئة نشرة الاخبار في الجزيرة سابقا والتي كانت حتى في لقاءاتها التلفزيونية لا تتحدث الا باللغة العربية الفصحى المقعرة ( لغة سيبويه ) لا يمكن ان تكتب ايميلات لبشار الاسد بلهجة عامية ساذجة لا تسمع مثلها الا في سوق الحميدية وبالتحديد في محل بوظة بكداش

    سادسا : لا يعني هذا ان العناوين ليست صحيحة … نستطيع اليوم وخلال ساعة ان ندخل الى خدمة الهوتميل المجانية وان نسجل عناوين باسماء موزة وزوجها والاميرة الجوهرة وحتى باسم ابو متعب .. ثم نقوم بتبادل رسائل مضحكة بين هذه الاميلات المسجلة مع هوتميل … وبعد شهرين يمكن تسريب هذه الايميلات الى جريدة الغارديان ثم الطنطنة بها .. وتعالوا يا ناس شوفوا شو موزة عم تحكي لبعلها حمد في الايميلات

    سابعا : هذه اللعبة المخابراتية الفبركاتية الساذجة احترفت القيام بها محطة الجزيرة … فبعد سقوط مبارك قامت جريدة انجليزية بنشر تقرير طريف ومفبرك عن ثروة مبارك يزعم كاتبه فيه ان ثروة ال مبارك تزيد عن ثلاثة اضعاف ثروة بل غيت واستلمت الجزيرة طرف الخيط وهات يا طنطنة في الامر .. وتبين لاحقا ان التقرير من اصله مفبرك … وهو ما فعلته الجزيرة ايضا بما اسمته التسريبات من مكتب صائب عريقات … قامت اولا بتسريب التسريبات لجريدة الغارديان ثم بدأت تنشرها وتشل عرض حركة فتح وعريقات مشيرة في كل مناسبة الى ان المصدر هو الجرائد الانجليزية لاعطاء مصداقية لما تنشره من باب ان الاجنبي وخاصة الانجليزي لا ينطق عن الهوى


  65. I just read that Syria is banning anyone who is younger than 42 from leaving the country. Can anyone confirm if this is true?


  66. Dear Sheila,

    “لا يمكن ان تكتب ايميلات لبشار الاسد بلهجة عامية ساذجة لا تسمع مثلها الا في سوق الحميدية وبالتحديد في محل بوظة بكداش”

    why Bikdash ice cream shop exactly? What did they ever do to piss off SANA?
    That made laugh so hard, thanks.

    I don’t know if you saw this the link I posted on SC about the Barcelona “scandal”, Al Dunnia is just running wild with this stuff:

    As for the under 42 being denied exit, I have read the exact opposite that the regime is more than happy to have young men to leave, less likely to protest or even fight them. I will try to dig up the article and link it later…


  67. Islam Has Come To Stay!

    1433 AH years ago the prophet Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina. His emigration marks the first year of the Islamic calendar. A third of the planet inhabitants are Muslims. We are here to stay, get used to it.

    As if we need a Lavrov. We have been living for centuries in peace and harmony, Christians welcomed the Muslims from Arabia not as conqueror but as saviours from the Romans, these Romans regarded their Christian brethren as heretics, still do. Now this is history, we all know. However we are sick and tired of bringing Islam and its two sects, Sunnis and Shiites in every conversation in every question in every statement! PLEASE. Do they not have something else to worry about? Our problems are not because of our religion, our sects or our different ethnicities, our problems are because of your poisonous think tanks. Of your greed, your inhumanity. Get a life and leave us solve our problems.

    Westerners and orientalists and those siding with their “forever” your rhetoric will not come to fruition, God willing. Invoking, Islam, Sunni, Muslims …in every single conversation. Why not take him and his entourage to Siberia or the Kremlin?

    Syria throughout the years…a short lesson.

    The church of Saint John the Baptist , was a sacred place in Damascus. Christian held their congregation and prayed on Sundays, while Muslims prayed on Friday.The two faith shared the same building for their prayers, side by side in peace. As the Muslim community grew they bought the church from the Christian community and build a new mosque. The great mosque of Damascus will become a model for all mosques in the new land.

    Islamic civilization began with one man. Mohammad’s vision has transformed the spiritual and political map of the world. The Islamic civilization has sawed the seeds of the European Renaissance. Cultures around the globe has been reshaped by Islamic civilization.

    Unity and peace, the message of the prophet. He offered a vision of solidarity, forged different communities together he did not challenge the beliefs of other faith. His humbleness as a person, his great generosity and acts of extraordinary kindness and mercy is what we can all learn from. All in the spam of ten years.

    Lavrov, if anything, you and your diselected man in the Kremlin, can learn from Syrians co-existence. The Chehneyans had suffered from your barbarity the same way, we, Syrians are suffering from your pampered blue eyed butcher. Find him a place where he belongs, In Russia wit the oligarchs, he fits with the gangsters and blood suckers.


  68. Jarthouma | March 25, 2012 at 16:46

    Why oh why Antoine are you using the crap from a Syrian regime site ?

    Bcz if even the regime site quotes a double-figure death toll, you can imagine what the real one is.

    Btw everyone knows how they are using human shields in Idleb, they deserve no mercy.

    FSA can use some of the captured/ kidnapped officers and Iranian terrorists as human shields, but we know that they will not care for even their own.

    Hamas kidnapped 1 lowly Israeli conscript and the Israeli were willing to negotiate releasing thousands of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for that 1 conscript.

    FSA has captured thousands of shabbih/ soldiers, including many mid-ranking Alawite officers, and Iranian agents, yet the regime has not shown any interest in obtaining their release. Goes to show how much the regime cares for its own.

    Infact there were hundreds of regime officers in FSA custody in Baba Amr when it was shelled, I’m sure many of them ended up dead.


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