When the revolution started, we were all enthusiastic of the revolution. It was like a dream comes true. Millions of people that had no voice suddenly spoke out freely, even at the risk of being arrested or shot. It was an explosion of creativity. In Syria, more than in all other centers of the Arab Revolution, the revolution was marked by good humor, popular songs, and people dancing in the streets to keep their spirits in the face of deadly oppression.
It was with great joy that we made our first pro Syrian revolution demonstrations in Haifa, singing the viral revolutionary lyrics of Ibrahim Qashoush from Hama. But after the revolution has already cost the lives of more than twenty thousand Syrians, how can one keep enthuse about it?
You might wonder whether the Syrians themselves would start this revolution, had they known in advance the real price in martyrs, wounded people, suffering and destruction. It was, famously, some kids in Daraa who made the first step by writing slogans on the walls against the fearful Assad tyranny. But from the arrest of the kids of Daraa, back in March 2011, till the bombing of the poor neighborhoods of Damascus and Halab (Aleppo) over the last weeks, it is the indiscriminate unproportional brutal oppression of the regime that galvanized the public and made the next step of the revolution inevitable.
At any stage of the revolution, while oppression becomes ever more brutal, people are faced with the same cruel choice. To stop here will be to let all your sacrifices, the blood of the martyrs and the life long suffering of the wounded, to go in vain. Worse, to stop here will be to submit oneself to long years of humiliation, suffering the vengeance of a brutal wounded regime. And then you know that you or your children will have to start the struggle for freedom all over again.
So there is only one way for the Syrian revolution – and this is the way forward for revolutionary victory, the toppling of the regime and the establishment of democracy.
In this long and bloody road, the Syrian revolution has already gone far beyond what the Arab revolution has done in all the other countries where it erupted. In Tunisia and Egypt the army, guided by its mentors in the US, let go the head of the regime in order to keep as much as possible of the old establishment and the old order in place. You can see the limits of the Egyptian revolutionary victory every day by the intervention of the military clique, which resolved the elected parliament and limits the power of the elected president. It doesn’t mean that it would be better for the Egyptians to fight it in the streets to get rid of all the remnants of the regime. As long as there is a cheaper way forward, there is no justification for a bloody revolutionary confrontation. But the Syrian people had no such choice and they proved that no massacre can stop the revolution.
In Libya, after the first stage of the popular uprising, the imperialist powers decided to drop Qaddafi, which served them very well in his last years of lunatic dictatorship. The NATO intervention neutralized the regime’s airpower and tanks. Still it was the local revolutionaries that fought to liberate town after town on the ground – but they could hardly won against the might of the army without outside help. In Syria there was a long and soul torturing argument in the opposition about calling for foreign intervention – until it became clear on the ground that nobody will intervene of their behalf. So the Syrian revolutionary victory will be wholly owned by the Heroic sacrifices of the Syrian people.
Basically the struggle of the revolution is the struggle for the hearts and minds of the Syrian people. For many people the very lack of freedom, their impoverishment and marginalization in their own homeland, was reason enough to join the fight. Many others preferred the known relative safety of the current regime, or at least wouldn’t put their lives and their families at risk to challenge it. Much of the revolutionary logic is how, after the open struggle started and people are bravely challenging the regime, more people are joining in just because they can’t stand silent while their compatriots are so brutally oppressed.
Till now we see on Al-Jazeera the daily defectors from the army, the diplomatic corpus, the police or even the security services, declaring their choice to follow their consciousness and join the people’s uprising. If they stayed so long they surely had a hard decision to do. You don’t know what pressure they were under and what they stand to loose. As they regime is determined to regain control of his people by simply blowing them up, it is surely loosing the battle for their souls.
As we, in occupied Palestine, follow with admiration the heroic battle of the Syrian people, more and more people remember that Palestine used to be the southern part of Syria. Decades of humiliation and incapacity divided the Arab people, sending each group to look for its own interests. Now the winds of freedom are blowing over the artificial borders and the sense of pride is strengthening the common identity. Syria was always the beating heart of Arab nationality – now it is radiating the message of revolution, freedom and democracy.