Zakira Souriya on Thursday, May. 12th
As the Syrian Revolution of March 15th nears its two month anniversary, every day brings the more of the same: more dead, injured and vanished; more broken promises of reform; and more silence from Damascus and Aleppo. Instead of uniting the Syrian people against a ruthless regime, the blood-drenched revolution has split the country into factions. These factions are not along the supposed sectarian, “demographic” lines drawn by the Western media or even the Syrian President himself: Sunni, Alawite, Kurdish, Christian, Armenian, Druze, etc. Rather, the groups are far more divisive and treacherous, split along class and geographic boundaries that were once a celebration of diversity but are now like scars ripping open at the seams:
The Fearful: They are mainly the middle class, urban majority of Syrians who are willing to swallow the bitter pill of dictatorship in favor of stability. These people survived the brutality of the father’s regime and they consider the son’s minor economic (and self-serving) reforms during the past 11 years as good enough, and even generous. The older generation knows there is a bloody price for freedom (that they are not willing to pay) and the younger generation, while not as scared or scarred as their parents, are content with the cell phones (tapped), internet (by proxy), and private schools and universities (overpriced and unaccredited).
The Usurpers: The affluent, privileged society of Aleppo and Damascus, from all sects and political backgrounds, whose economic interests depend on the regime. They are merchants, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs who bring in the businesses that Assad and crew divide up, Soprano-stye, among the “family.” They relentlessly declare their undying loyalty to Assad, but in reality, their only fear is that they will be replaced by another set of hypocrites, when and if, the regime collapses. They are a minority in numbers but unfortunately their influence in society is widespread and respected. They have the power to lead, if only they would break their criminal silence.
The Protesters: The people of the YouTube videos, marching, chanting, and dying. This impoverished, disenfranchised group, living outside the cities, have realized they have no future to lose. They have not gained much from the “prosperity” of the last decade as upward mobility is impossible in Syria. They can’t afford the fancy cell phones, the investments in the new private banks, or the glamorous private education for their children. They dream of jobs, meat, and bread. So, they are willing to die for freedom and change. These brave people are tired of living on the fringe of society, watching the privileged few suck the country dry.
For more on the Syrian standoff, hit up Goatmilk.