Monthly Archives: September 2012
The latest selections of posts by Professor Landis betray what seems to be an affinity to the privileged. We first have a post presenting one of the most privileged people within the regime and who is a zero entity among the fractious opposition circles as the uniquely qualified person to hold Syria together.
Then comes a classical “Assad-the-enigmatic” style apologist post. Combining the professor’s reading of a Syria-experts, and that of Nir Rosen who, like many well-connected Syria specialists and insiders, continue to play the old bad melody of Assad the a reluctant murderer doing what he does because his sect wants him to stay in power in fear of losing privilege. The post, of course, attempts to inform us, in no uncertain term that all will be hell if this murderer and his gang lose power, and that Assad is viewed as the “superior” alternative to chaos.
Notwithstanding the very bad taste and choice the word “superior”, both posts prominently feature a declaration by general Tlass Jr., which received near zero second of attention by any of the many circles forming the real opposition to the mafia militia and is being hyped as a declaration of road-map and assurances through the traditional “I know-Syria” analysts in the US academia and press.
Both posts attempt to engineer opinion and both posts do display a lack of understanding, intentional or otherwise, about the seemingly stagnant, yet evolving situation in Syria. They also expose a lack of understanding of human nature. This is not because of missing facts, but for the machination of the facts in the interest of preserving the privileged status of those who ruled Syria by blood and gore for nearly fifty years.
Most tellingly, what the latter post ignores, which seems also to be a common deficiency among most US based analyses, usually written in favor of presenting those supporting Assad as future victims, is that there are no more privileges to have. The foundation of regime supporters enjoying special status, independent of their sect, was not power itself, military or otherwise, but the fear induced by the threat of exercising such power. In that sense, a thug can enjoy his privilege only in docile times when the hostility of the bereaved and oppressed is suppressed by this fear. This was only possible given that measures of violence remain personal and where examples are made through a limited, albeit, relatively huge number of people being brutalized by worst of the violence. The rest of the population has to be given a sense of deformed normalcy where accepting corruption, suppression, and despotism seem to be the safer option. It helps to throw in a bone of a central, larger than individuals cause to present the petty thief and murderer as a strong charismatic leader. These conditions would provide a wide margin for the privileged to use fear in relative safety and protection with minimal cost to themselves.
Fear is no longer. It has been replaced with open and courageous hostility, deep contempt, outright rejection, and tit-for-tat, albeit asymmetric violence directed against the regime’s privileged and their symbols. The current asymmetric military power and the wanton destruction and murder by the “Assad or we burn the country” has not helped in returning the clocks backward. On the contrary, the inhuman scale of the catastrophe wreaked solely by the ugly sectarian Assad-gang and their defenders has done exactly the opposite. It has exposed the limitation of the mindless violence in intimidating the will of the people once they have risen against the cheap and foolish ignoramus and his militia.
“Khelset” (crisis is over), Assad worshippers shouted more than a year ago. Today, they murdered 343 Syrians, many of whom were murdered in cold blood massacres. Everyone who still support this regime is accountable for their death.
I received the following letter sent from a dear expat friend of mine to her niece in Syria with a request to share it. In fact, this letter could have been sent from me to some of my own relatives by simply replacing “your aunt” with “your uncle, or you cousin“
To my niece with love
You are my niece and I love you and will always do. I am going to explain to you my view point. Syria has been ruled by the Assads for over 40 years. I lived under their rule as a little girl all the way up to starting a business and working at the university and for Syrian TV, thus, I really do not need anyone to explain to me what the Syrian regime is all about. I left the country 20 years ago and went back almost every year to visit. I watched Syria falling slowly into the abyss. I could see it very clearly coming from outside the country, while people inside the country were completely oblivious. They genuinely believed that Syria was getting better and moving forward, while in reality it was inching backwards. They thought that having the Internet and being allowed on limited web sites was the ultimate achievement. They figured that having some private schools meant progress in education, but they truly had no clue what progress meant or required. As time went by, the few institutions that we had in Syria were slowly disappearing under the pressure of corruption and nepotism. Syria was no longer ruled by a government, it was ruled by a mafia. You could get anything and everything done if you knew the right person, businesses could only operate if they partnered up with the right people and law and order was completely based on fear and torture. This type of government was not sustainable. The people in Syria were either becoming filthy rich or dirt poor, the middle class slowly, but surly disappeared and young people could neither find jobs nor hope for a better future. In summary, the Assads could write the book on how to destroy a nation. Today, the people said enough is enough. They watched other Arab countries get rid of their dictators and decided that it is now or never. I was not born yesterday; I know that the FSA is committing some atrocities. I know that the CIA and the MI 5 and others are roaming free in Syria. I realize that some Jihadi elements are there too, but this, to me, is the natural result of what the Assad regime did and continues to do. Forty years of persecution of free thought and speech. Forty years of the outlawing of free assembly. With that in mind, I do not understand how anyone can expect a unified opposition of any sort. We have literally not talked to each other in forty some years. How are we going to immediately make the connection and understand each other?. This is beyond normal human abilities. The demonstrations started as purely peaceful demonstrations. The regime opened fire on them killing droves of people. Yet they continued and persevered. Giath Matar, from Daraya, organized residents to meet the army with roses and bottles of water. He was arrested and tortured to death. The regime said that they are open to talk to the opposition. Every single person who showed up to those meetings was either arrested, killed or fled the country after continuous molestation. I can go on and on, but you get the picture. I spent 5 days with your father when he came to visit me. I know exactly how he feels about this whole thing. He was one of the lucky ones who had a good life that is now destroyed. He is worried about the future and rightly so. We are all worried and are under no illusions that this will take many years to stabilize. From his perspective: he was doing well and living well and he did not need this disruption at this stage in his life. I do not blame him. I would have probably felt the same way, had I been through the same experience, but the life of a nation and 23 million people cannot be decided by individual interests. It has to be decided by the will of the majority. I am an ardent supporter of this revolution and of the Free Syrian Army. I cannot wait for the bastard-in-chief to go. I want Syria to have a chance in becoming a nation of institutions. A nation where people can thrive because of their abilities, not their connections. Please remember that this regime that you are supporting is bombing Halab with planes that we, the people, paid for. They do not really care about anyone except themselves. He wants to keep his power period. They hit hospitals by tanks with straight aims. Wake up and open your eyes. This is no longer a plain and simple “difference of opinion”. At this point, you are either with the murderer or with the victim you cannot even choose to be in-between.
Your loving aunt….
My city, the ancient place which has grown beyond reasonable limits in the years I have been away from its distinctively colored buildings is now thirsty, hungry, and bloodied. My mother, who in her eighty years never witnessed such atrocities, refuses to leave. So does my sister, who has been, along with her children hostages in the basement of their building for a month now not knowing when to expect the next of Assad murderous bombs.
Yesterday, the banality of evil was on full display with the regime intentionally targeted with its bombs the main water supply line to the city. Streets were, and to this hour continue to be flooded, and more than a million and a half people in the city, including regime supporters, are now threatened with dying of thirst. The price of bread is now 20 folds what it was two months ago after the regime has intentionally and systematically targeted bakeries during heavy demand hours, and after regime snipers, who continue to be present in several pockets around the city have made movement, especially if one is carrying a bag of bread, a capital offence. Medical relief continues to be a hazardous undertaking. And living is now the most hazardous thing to do for the act of living and remaining in Aleppo is in itself the strongest defiance of the Assads and their supporters.
Some may be familiar with the Millennium Development Goals, which are internationally agreed on targets of development adopted by governments worldwide and by the UN system. One of these targets called for significantly increasing the number of people with access to safe drinking water and sanitation by the year 2015. I have seen governments of many developing countries strive, rather diligently to achieve this target despite of incredible odds including water scarcity, and not concluding with little or no financial means. I am yet to see anyone, other than the assads, and in one single act, increase the burden on the world by adding more than a million people to those with no access to safe drinking water. Every single act of this regime is a war crime. There is no doubt, no relativity, and no bullshit that will let me think otherwise.
As I write, my very active Facebook page blinks with yet another post conveying the all familiar obituary of yet one more brilliant Syrian, whose life, cut short by bashar assad’s war crimes, was worth in every one of its seconds the entire history of the catastrophic assads and the cumulative value of the lives of the herds of hyenas supporting them. This time it is one of my own new friends whom I met in my travels across Europe. A young Syrian film maker, Tamer Al-Awwam, who left his safe residence in Germany to document the revolution in northern Syria including Idlib and Aleppo, has died earlier today as a result of shrapnel wounds he received during Assad’s bombing pogrom of the city while accompanying FSA fighters and documenting their fight for the freedom of Syria from the tyrant and his henchmen. On August 6, Tamer wrote on his face book
بين القذيفة والقذيفة تسألني المصورة النمساوية ما هو سبب القصف من مسافات بعيدة على المدينة ألم تتدربوا في الجيش السوري على آلية حرب الشوارع كونكم بموقع حرب مع الاسرائيليين….؟!
تسقط قذيفة جديدة وتقتل الاجابة
Between one shell and another, the Austrian camerawoman asks me: what is the reason for shelling the city from far distances, haven’t you in the Syrian army been trained on the techniques of street warfare being at war with the Israelis….?!
A new shell falls and kills the answer..
I spent two evenings with Tamer a few months back, we talked about the revolution, we talked about the need to galvanize the efforts and touched on the concerns regarding SNC, FSA, and we both held our after dinner sweet and dark tea cups high in salute of the Syrian awakening spirit. One thing I vividly recall, this younger man, touching my elbow to get my attention as I was expressing concerns about rising sectarianism, and saying: don’t be concerned, sectarianism will not win this round, nor any other round from now on. Tamer, you have left a long-lasting impression, and now you leave a void. Tamer never mentioned in either time his plans to go to Syria….But he went, nonetheless, and below is a recent production from him, from this young man, who graced and honored my life with his short, yet memorable presence, making those moments worth a lifetime of intellectual discourse. Please watch his work, it is titled: memories at the check point.
Tamer joins more than 30,000 documented victims of the foolishness of the vain, narcissist, incoherent, hereditary butcher. He also joins a rapidly growing list of journalists murdered by this regime. And yet, there are those who still covertly and overtly support such an abomination. Curse them… and curse their filthy cowardly minds.
Defeating my own tears, I will try to get back to the issue. I will not analyze the situation in Aleppo, nor will I discuss the violations being committed in the name of the FSA for I have been involved, rather heavily and directly, in relevant activities aiming first to halt these violations and second to pressure the various armed groups in Aleppo to either unify under one national banner or be considered outlaws and servants of the regime’s policy, and finally to stop the nonsensical broadcasting of the movement and locations of FSA fighters during operations by Facebook activists, especially those who are immature teens.
Yes there may be more foreign fighters in Aleppo than in other cities, but that can’t be used as an excuse to belittle the revolution, to stamp it as a jihadist enterprise as covert regime supporters do. It further gives no excuse to the wanton murderous destruction assad gangs are inflicting on Syria as their barbarian regime finishes its transformation from a brutal dictatorial mafia regime into a sectarian mafia militia, equipped with the most lethal instruments of murder and ready to use them against innocent civilians for no strategic goal other than burning the country.
The battle with this regime is not about me, it is not about you, it is about humanity. My dear friends, i can now tell you why it has been very hard to write. Over the past few months, my closeness to some of the young and brilliant people of Syria has enriched my life, but it has also made the tragedy, and the mess closer than ever.
I will not forget, nor will I forgive. I will not seek revenge, but rest assured, I will seek justice. And defending this regime, even covertly, makes one part and parcel in the murder of the friends I have lost. My cursing the regime and its supporters is only an impotent response, but I, with the help of countless Syrians, lack no potency in following them through this planet and in making them pay by all legal means for their collusion with this abomination called assad and for their disgustingly inhumane efforts to cover the stench with slogans of resistance and nationalism. They will pay for the murder of my city, and all other cities in my Syria, for killing my friends and for making my mother, brave as she is, cry.