Lest we forget how the Syrian revolution started

تم نشره في Tue 18 February / Feb 2014. 08:22 PM - آخر تعديل في Sun 23 February / Feb 2014. 07:12 PM
  • An injured man holds his leg following a reported air strike by Syrian government forces on February 17, 2014 in the Hanano district of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo (AFP)

By Yasser Abu Hilalah

Around three years ago, children in Daraa were being tortured at a military intelligence branch in Sweidaa, because they wrote revolutionary phrases on the walls of a school in the Arbaeen avenue.

We cannot be sure whether the students were the ones who actually did it, drawing with their scribbles a new history for the region, or whether some adults did it and left the children to pay for it.

What is certain is that those phrases had no sectarian influence nor did they call for a civil war — they were only inspired by the Arab Spring and called for freedom. On the backdrop of Hussni Mubarak’s fall, they said: “It is your turn, doctor” - there's a decency to it that does not befit a dictator.

The regime did not talk to the students nor did it hear their voices. As a result, the public exploded on March 18, 2011, after Col. Atif Najib insulted the mediators. The president’s nephew thought the people were not allowed to ask about their children’s fate: “You should forget your children existed”. This colonel turned out to be what later was called "a universal conspiracy against Syria".

The revolution started with the first drop of blood. It remained peaceful for around half a year, until the regime forced it to bear arms.

The bloody regime was not content with drowning Syria in blood, but began to kill people left and right. That is also what happened in Egypt after the coup.

Technically, anti-revolution movement began in Syria. Unfortunately, it was not satisfied with ruining the peaceful transformation only, but it caused a historically unprecedented sectarian division in the region.

For the record, there was not even one sectarian incident in Daraa during the first year. The regime is the one who played the sectarian card since day one, before the first round was shot, before even one Al Qaeda operative was there, and before any soldier defects.

The regime dubbed the revolution "terrorist, Takfiri, Salafist gangs”, presenting itself as the guardian of minorities in the region, and not only within Syria. The regime — as per the case of Michel Samaha which has been uncovered by the Lebanese security agency — provided its allies with explosives to ignite sectarian strife, then presents itself as the guardian of the targeted minorities.

The revolution did not chant against Hezbullah or against the Shiites, the houses of the Sunnis in Daraa, Homs, and Al Qusair were a safe haven for Hezbullah’s refugees during the war in July 2006. Today, Hezbullah media is drumbeating to an upcoming war in Yabroud - It is occupying regions in Syria to protect itself, forgetting that, that ploy was used by the Israeli occupation forces during its Lebanon invasion. In the end Hezbullah might win against an embattled city, and not know where to go after Yabroud.

As a result, the revolution turned into a brutal civil war. Extremism and sectarianism are faced with same. That, however, does not cancel out any historical facts, does not cancel out the regime’s responsibility, and does not pardon the Arab and international communities.

Had the international community intervened in the first year, that would not have happened. However, the interests of the world still lay with an unjust regime, not with a wronged public.

Syria’s condition as a whole today resembles that of Daraa’s children in the prisons of the military intelligence; violations with no mercy. Who did not die with bullets, died in chemical attacks, and those who survived that died with explosive barrels.

The doctor believes that his time will not come. He will continue his tyranny, testing people's patience. But the Syrian women will always give life, and will not forget their children.



This article is an edited translation from the Arabic edition.