Sectarianism takes over Damascus streets

Sectarianism takes over Damascus streets
Investigations | 14 Jan 2014

Ahmad al-Arabi - Damascus A strange phenomenon has started to take over Damascus streets in parallel with the intensification of sectarian violence in Syria; songs with sectarian, violent and vengeful lyrics can be heard now in Damascus blasting everywhere from young people cars, and their mobiles. The lyrics, which are full of hatred and calls for revenge and killing, are directed against the Sunnis who constitute the vast majority of the Syrian capital population. Damascenes, the majority of whom still believe that sectarian violence is an alien phenomenon to their ancient multi-religious and multi-cultural city, are shocked and appalled by the content and spread of those songs. Khaled, from Damascus, finds the songs outrageous and reprehensible. He believes that such things contribute to the intensifying sectarian strife in the country by evoking the “Alawites' anger" and encouraging them to spread violence and hatred "to avenge the killing of Hussein (the grandson of prophet Mohammad.)" The songs carry many threats to the city's Sunni majority. "We are now listening to threats directed against us publicly!! We feel utterly unsafe here!” Some people enjoy the melodies without even understanding the meaning of the lyrics, and there are those who know exactly what they mean and support their, and they are more than willing to even carry out the threats expressed by the songs. The majority of the Damascenes agree that this kind of sectarian cultural and artistic expression is destroying the young generation, and that it would leave permanent imprints in the minds and hearts of Syrians. In the opinion of a Damascene teacher, the songs' distinct sectarian impact can not be erased, and their violent and threatening message should not be underestimated because it encourages distrust, hatred and aggression in every single community in Syria. Yet, some Damascenes still believe that what is happening today is just a temporary phase. As a businessman from Damascus put it: "We have not seen such a thing in the past. It is shameful to even think and talk like this because Syria belongs to all Syrians and we will always remain one people."


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