Letters from Damascus
“Tunisia won, Egypt won, and we are going to win ourselves.” These are the words of Abdulla, a young Syrian protester willing to do anything to bring down the oppressive government in Damascus.
There have been numerous demonstrations in most parts of Syria, which have become known as Damascus Spring. The brutal crackdowns of the regime on the protesters are heinous crimes against humanity and must be put to an end. In fact, there were numerous cracks and rifts in the Syrian society, which have been skillfully hidden under the mask of stability and have gone beyond repair. Everything began on 19 February 2011, and many people in Damascus were caught off guard. On that day, a traffic policeman chastised a child of a trader in Damascus.
With a sheer courage, the youngster rose in defense of his sense of worth and cursed the policeman, while the crowd shouted in his support. The incident became a trigger for the rebellion among people. From the beginning of the rebellion, the world watched in disbelief that Syrian society can make the change given how brutally the protests were suppressed. Thousands of Syrians lost their lives in during protest suppressions. However, international community did not interfere to rescue the innocent civilians who became accustomed to a minute-to-minute life with no assurance of being alive the next minute. While millions of people across the Arab world filled the streets to declare liberation, dozens of people were killed in Syria while attending Friday prayers.
The ost prominent effect on the escalation of movements for greater freedom had the crackdown of the Assad regime. Assad regime was fought down in 1982 after the infamous Hama massacre when the then leader, Hafez al-Assad, the father of the current leader, ordered the killing of thousands of people. Bashar’ advent to power eleven years ago provided some optimism for the people after the repressive years of his father’s reign. People hoped for and expected that Bashar would lead the country to transformations, but he did the opposite At the time when so called Damascus Spring began to take its root in salons and living rooms of activists in 2011, Bashar started a string of high profile detentions that dragged the pressure group away.Bashar al-Assad comes from one of Syria’s minority groups, the Alawites, followers of a secretive dissident offshoot of Shiism.
They historically hail from the Syrian villages in the mountainous west. The Assad regime has always favored the minorities rather than the Sunni majority by maintaining a rigid authoritarian state. In spite of the uprising, the Assad regime continues to govern due to Russia’s support. Russia continues to support the regime both politically and militarily, thus, hampering internal and international efforts to remove it. Furthermore, the traditional political opposition is quite incompetent due to internal dissents and disagreements.
As a result, they cannot make any formidable force. The nature and extent of the crackkdown has gone overboard. In March 2011, a group of youngsters under 15 years old wrote on a wall in a southern town Daraa claiming that people want the fall of the regime. The arrest and tortures of the youngsters followed immediately. Although their families and many other activists demanded their release, the protesters were met with bullets, resulting in dozens of people dead.
However, such a massacre of protesters caused more protests in other cities such as Homs, Banyas, and Hama. Furthermore, the two articles reviewed for this essay speak about the same issue of Syrian rebellion. There are accounts of the oppression by the government that met the protests with extreme brutality. The government’s oppressions and actions against protesters resulted in thousands of deaths making those who stayed alive live in total fear of death. Although the revolution is bound to bring more minority oppression, the Syrian people must continue fighting, since the oppression is just an indication of the kicks of a dying horse.
Nevertheless, it is quite vivid that people want the regime to fall, and they will not give up just like the fifteen-year-old youngsters from Daraa. The revolution in Syria must continue because the Assad regime is neither willing to change, nor is it willing to quit power. Additionally, if allowed to continue, the regime is going to cause more bloodbaths, especially with the military support of Russia. The people of Syria have shown a lot of resilience and, they cannot give up. Given their efforts and persistence, soon, the regime will collapse.