Friday, 29 April 2011

Why Syria?!

So far, since Mohammed Bouazizi’s self-immolation, two dictators were overthrown, another one was forced into the constraints of his presidential compound, another one is accepting proposals for a trial-less resignation, and a rookie to the protest game is just starting to show promise in his ability to massacre his own people.

The rookie is of course Bashar Al Assad; he and his oligarchic nepotistic elitist tyrannical fraudulent thug infested ruling party.

On Wednesday it was announced that more than 50 people were killed since the army moved into Deraa, in southern Syria. This made a significant addition to the current death toll of 453 since the protests began in mid March.

It’s also being reported that 30 tanks are currently surrounding Deraa, and more tanks are being positioned on the outskirts of Damascus.

These figures are very vague and barely accurate, mainly because the government in Syria has banned all press coverage, except the deliberate falsification of news by the state TV channel. Unfortunately for Mr Assad this happens to be the year of citizen journalism.

Due to the emergence of this new type of journalism, we have the privilege of a sneak preview of what is happening on the ground in Syria. Even though the numbers are hard to verify, videos don’t lie.

So whether it’s 453 people dead or 2 people dead we know the means. And I can tell you now, they’re ugly.

The most uninteresting thing about the Arab revolutions is that they are mundanely similar. After what had happened in Tunisia and Egypt, I could’ve told you EXACTLY how the presidents of the rest of the countries were going to react to the dissent. It’s so similar that conspiracy theorists could currently be having a field day on all sorts of theories surrounding the idea of a Middle East controlled by a single power. It’s mind boggling, but let’s leave that for now.

So Assad’s journey to dictatorial stardom started with small protests. Al Jazeera wrote a piece about how it all started with families demanding the release of their children who were arrested for revolution slogans they purportedly drew on walls in a street in Deraa.

From there you can probably guess how things went; calls for release, rejection, more calls for release, rejection, protests, subjugation. This proved to be the spark that the Syrian people have been waiting for. The protests that followed called for freedom from oppression, obviously.

Assad, being a quintessential dictator like his father, decided to follow in the footsteps of his counterparts (some of them no longer there) in the Arab world and crush the protests.

The protests that followed were bloody. As the soon to be called “protests cycle” dictates, death begets more protests. Subjugation and deliberate killing only adds more fuel to the fire, and it did.

The death toll kept rising and rising until by the middle of this past week it reached the 453 figure.

As we’ve seen in the previous revolts in the region, the most anticipated milestone is the moment the western leaders stand up and “condemn” the violence. For Syria however, this particular moment was nowhere to be seen. Not only that, but no one really anticipated it.

All we got were a couple of unceremonious comments from Obama saying how he would like the violence in Syria to stop. Which is what he always says; in a way that convinces you of his utter confidence in his reprimands.

A couple of days after Obama, William Hague, the British foreign minister came out and said more or less the same thing. Lackadaisical comments that call peace and restraint.

Most embarrassing of all is the lack of reaction from the UN. Not only did they completely ignore the issue, they had the nerve to inform the media that they’re not decided on their statement regarding the situation in Syria.

If they’re stuck on which terminology to use, that’s unacceptable; if they’re stuck on who exactly to make the statement to, that’s unacceptable; basically, there is no reason for the UN to be taking this long to address such an issue.

We all know, including Mr Obama, Mr Cameron and Mr UN, that press coverage of the events in Syria is deliberately banned by the government; and we all know that our only credible source of information is the videos updated by those on the ground, and the phone interviews they rarely give. We all know that. Yet not all of us are acting against these monstrosities.

Does this mean that the west doesn’t believe in the power of citizen journalism? Does it mean that they doubt the authenticity of the videos and statistics being delivered through the civilians’ mobile phones? Or is there just too much politics involved?

In order for the west to recognize Assad’s regime as dangerous, considerations have to be made for Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia. It is a precarious situation, or so it seems.

This is a very credible issue to take into account when considering the west’s reaction to the Syrian revolution. But its credibility only goes to prove the theory (yet to come) of the devaluation of the human life. Political strategy is more important than saving lives. Yes, you can always argue that political instability can eventually cause more lives to be lost, but planning for future stability and sacrificing lives now is irresponsible.

Come to think of it, none of the western leaders gave their support for the protesters; none of them, not even Obama, aka Mr Political Rhetoric. No support shown, no help promised, no proper sanctions put into place, no veritable statement of condemnation. Shameful? I think so!

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