Wednesday, March 30, 2011
In taking on the Assad family mafia and paying with blood to do so, Syrians have rediscovered their struggle for freedom
The Guardian, Wednesday 30 March 2011
"I was five when emergency law was imposed in my native Syria. I am now 53. During this intolerably long period, my country was turned step by chilling step by the ideologues and security service enforcers of the Ba'th party into the totalitarian state it is today. When Bashar al-Assad's father, Hafez, came to power through yet another violent army squabble leading to his coup of 1970, an alarming cult of the leader was systematically formed around him, modelled on Ceausescu. The Romanian dictator was Assad's political ally, strategic adviser in matters of popular repression, and close personal and family friend....
The Syrian people had been rendered poor and isolated. They had been fed the increasingly threadbare propaganda of the Assads' "steadfast" Arab nationalist stance. This fits oddly with a regime that sided with Iran against Iraq; and cold-bloodedly divided Palestinian ranks; agitated murderously within Lebanon's borders, while rigorously enforcing a cold "peace" with Israel (except, of course, in standard fiery speeches that make most Syrians yawn). Even Assad's anti-US position is compromised by his compliance with the Bush administration's programme of extraordinary rendition, as Maher Arar and others know too well. Despite all this, Syrians have come out en masse to demand rights they have been denied for so long....."