Saturday, June 18, 2011

Got Your Proletariat RIGHT HERE

Deir az-Zour, Syria, yesterday.

183 days ago, a Tunisian man lit himself on fire to protest his degrading treatment at the hands of the Tunisian government.

94 days ago, I was riding in a car with a Christian friend, who told me that some troublemakers stirred up by President Assad's exiled uncle, Rifaat, had held a protest in Damascus' famous Hamidiyye market that day.

Since that unthinkable weekend, Syria has experienced thirteen straight weeks of protests against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. If figures from the UN are to be trusted, Bashar has killed 100 protestors every week of the uprising.

And still they come.

Yesterday, according to witnesses inside Syria, security forces fired on protestors in six different cities, killing around eighteen people. All eighteen of those people must have known the risk they were taking as they exited the mosque with their angry, shouting brethren. They went anyway.

One of the dead was reported to have been killed in a protest in Aleppo. If this is true, he would be the first protestor killed in Aleppo, Syria's second-largest city, which until now has been quiet as a peep. The uprising is not dying down. It's spreading.

When the Syrian military laid siege to the southern town of Deraa in April, a Syrian pro-regime friend of mine told me, "The army cannot fail. Because after he sends the army, what else can the president do?"

Indeed - what can he do? Kill a 1,000 people a week? 10,000? Start razing cities? What can he do that won't enrage the Syrian people even more? The man has no answer for these people who would rather die than let the truth about their country go unspoken. There were more protests in Deraa yesterday.

Is it too soon to hope that this might, indeed, be the end of the Assad regime?

In Eastern Europe in 1989, most of the uprisings against the communist regimes ended in negotiations between the regime and the opposition. The regimes resorted to these negotiations when they realized that it was the only way to break the stalemate, that they could no longer govern their countries without the opposition's compliance. The main exception was Romania. Romania's dictator, Nicolae Ceaucescu, turned his tanks on the protestors. He and his wife were both shot after a one-hour trial on Christmas Day.

In a very real sense, both the president and the protestors are fighting for their lives on the streets of Syria. I'm afraid that after all the bloodshed in Syria, the chances of peaceful resolution have dropped to nil. If the protestors give up, the Syrian intelligence services will pick up every one of them. If they take power, Bashar will hang in Merjeh Square.

I'm just saying, Bashar. If you need a place to stay, give me a call.

I know it's really selfish of me, but I have three very dear friends in Syria who will be going to school in North America this fall. I just want them get out of that country and be here with me in the first world, at least for the time being. Please join me in praying for their safe arrival, and for the people of Syria.

Here's an excellent article about the residual support for Bashar among Damascus residents, especially Christians, written by an undercover BBC reporter in Damascus:

And here's a video of the mass pro-regime demonstration the government staged in Damascus on Wednesday. You can barely hear the chants over the sound of the military helicopters flying overhead. I saw the same helicopters during the pro-regime demonstrations I got caught in on March 29. Guess Bashar really trusts his "supporters"!

No comments:

Post a Comment