Friday, April 8, 2011
Latest of series of Arab countries seeking democracy has seen relentless nationwide protests despite reform promises.
".....If anything, Syria has many of the conditions that caused the revolutions in Tunisia and in Egypt – two other Arab countries that saw long-serving leaders unseated by popular revolt. In both countries, foreign policies played almost no role in fuelling the uprisings. Mass protests were moved by anger at corruption, poor economic and social conditions and the regime's brutality. "Our people can no longer bear living under dictatorship, corruption, repression, injustice, discrimination and poverty. The era of submission is over and it is your turn to go now, Doctor," said Free Syrian, a Syrian blogger writing for the website of Al Jazeera news channel referring to president Al-Assad, who is an ophthalmologist by profession. The ruling Baath party has often used lethal force to clamp down on opposition, mostly in the name of unifying the country against Israel and the United States. Bashar Al-Assad's father, Hafez, used heavy military equipment to stamp out an uprising in the city of Hama in 1982. Thousands were killed. This week, some of the protesters have chanted against the head of the much feared Republican Guard Maher Al-Assad, the president's brother, for his harsh tactics and widespread human rights violations. "In Syria today, the spirit of freedom is flying over the country," Al-Turk said in his column on FreeSyria.org. "The wind of changes that blew across the Arab World over the past three months had to eventually come to knock at the doors of the big prison called Syria.""