By: Ali Dayyoub
Since its inception to date, the Revolution has witnessed three major milestones—and other minor ones.
The first milestone, was represented by the moment of the first explosion of popular protest in the streets of Damascus, where those yearning for freedom witnessed a miracle-like scene—the actual analogy some of them gave it—an expression of almost suffocating delight, exhilaration, and joy.
This period ended with the desertion of soldiers and officers from the regime's army. The basic position of regime supporters, through repeated warnings to rebels, was of the emergence of these dissident soldiers among the civilian demonstrators; lest the regime use them as an excuse for the oppression of unarmed demonstrators.
The second milestone, was represented by the arming of the Revolution, which formed a sharp point of contention, for the first time, between supporters. Some of them came against this Revolutionary alternative. They accepted the inevitable accusations of treason, by those who supported the arming of the Revolution out of their conviction that the regime cannot be dislodged without resort to force.
The third milestone of the Revolution, coincided with the emergence of black banners of jihadists who "came out," through their adoption of bombings of regime security headquarters in the capital and—thereby—arousing serious suspicions about them. Some of them even displayed signs of coordination with/agency to the regime's intelligence services. This was preceded, and accompanied, by audible murmurs about the system's release of even more suspect Islamist detainees.
During that period, one activist expressed his opinion that "Anyone fighting the regime beneath the banner of the Revolution and faithful to freedom, represents me. Anyone fighting under any other banner, and serving foreign agendas; is merely pretending, and acts in lieu of the regime in killing me and mutilating my corpse."
It is noteworthy that this moment was a milestone in the life of the Revolution. Nothing past this moment changed, except for the worse. This is used by critical intellectuals as proof of the jihadist faction leaders agency to the regime, either directly, or obliquely through the funding of regimes that are partners in the suppression of freedoms; and whose ultimate objective is to ensure the Arab Spring ends much as it began—at the hand's of the now-famous Bouazizi [Tunisian street peddler, whose frustrated act of self-immolation angered the masses and prompted their rise]—in flames.
Although opposition and revolution leaders have jointly forfeited the Revolution's greatest capital that also represented its hope of salvation—international support—; the now-divided supporters of the Revolution chose not to admit their failure at this junction, or to review their mistakes, with the aim of constructing a new basis for their activity, or on the same basis that the Revolution had commenced—peaceful demonstrations. They failed to remedy the deficiency that caused the Revolution to stumble in spontaneous—if not planned—violence; a deficiency brought about by the absence of a clear program that formulates a model for a future Syria, with its human rights and strategic aspect; that dovetails national with regional and global interests in one creative combination, that can secure the approval of all spectra of Syrians; and that represents a minimum acceptable level for the international system to adopt the Syrian issue, which has been internationalized—perhaps inevitably. Naive slogans such as "No to international intervention," an Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] penned slogan, simulated path of passive resistance inseperably identifying the regime's mottos. The most distressing aspect regarding the Syrian elite on all levels—first and foremost among which writers and populist intellectuals—was the scandalous and flagrant intellectual dessication and rigidity amongst supporters of the Revolution—the presumed leaders of change!—more than was the case, between the supporters of the regime, whose own interests are in the maintenance of the regime and its status quo!
Here it became clear that the Revolution had reached its end station. Or, rather, hit rock bottom. And there, at the obscure depths, all the divergent parties met—nay, became tangled, making it quite difficult to distinguish one's rhetoric from the other. It has become impossible to count on them to raise Syria from the pits, and they need someone to drive them out. They persist in falling ever deeper. Not because of their inability to create an attractive model for the promised Syria, or for the hoped-for system of government; but due to their own stubborn refusal to critically review their own discursive errors, and the crimes perpetrated by those fighting—on the ground—which they persisted in labelling "acts of liberation." This numbed them to violence, and they became addicted to bloodletting—rhetorically, if not factually. The most blatant expression of such position, can be found in one statement: "We will face the regime to the last Syrian!"
It has become abundantly clear to anyone with a modicum of intellect, that the gravest of dangers Syrians continue to commit is to continue to pin their hopes to an absurd fight, to nihilist self-styled faith fighters who follow the agendas of other regimes linked to the [Syrian] regime and its associates by a common enmity to freedoms.
In an era of a dominant international system, it is impossible to do anything outside—or against—the will of the international community. Since Syrians seek their freedom from a despotic regime that is powered by a block within the international community, and because one of the countries of this bloc possesses veto power; they have no choice but to declare that the state they desire will be an integral part of free countries of the world [i.e. the West].
The very opposite of which they actually did. Starting from the chants of the Revolution, echoed by hundreds of thousands, even millions of throats—inside and outside Syria, declaring hostility to the regime based on it being "a client of the Americans!" Notwithstanding the persistent charge agisnt the regime as being the "guardian of Israel's borders," which translates—more or less—that we are facing an armed Revolution, leading the masses under the stated goal of overthrowing the regime, as a first stage; followed by the Liberation of Palestine; then move towards regaining control over property stolen from Muslims in Andalusia. Would there be anything more amenable to the triumph of such a Revolution!?
Rather than providing rational insight into this madness, the elites continued to regurgitate the same stale slogans, and manipulate human emotions and blackmail people, through the display of images of vast devastation and charred human etc... While they should have been addressing the world in the only language it understands and can be convinced by—the language of interests, intellect, and peace, be it in dialogue or in conflict.
If the Revolution for freedom truly stood for equality; would the new regime substituting the old one be able to obtain trust, if it did not ensure full-fledged freedoms, for all spectra of the Syrians?
Since this is an impossibilty, in a systems of government with a religious point of reference; it was inevitable for the "Revolution for freedom" to commence its journey by announcing the nature of the desired future Syria as a modern, secular model, based on the separation of religion from politics and the state, governance and legislation; basing itself on the latest and highest international laws in force in the most advanced countries—particularly in the neighboring European countries: Democratic states; gender, race, and ethnic equality; peaceful power sharing arrangements; the separation of powers; religious neutrality; etc...
Society is the constitutional reference for government. But in Syria—there are sad precedents in other Arab countries as well—democracy can come into effect only once to help installs the incumbent. Supra-constitutional rules need to be established, preventing their modification by any government, regardless of how much of a popular vote it garners. The arbiter, for a period of time, would be the international community, until the country can sufficiently recover.
All of the above is subject to an international conviction of the alternative model, and a conviction that the root of the Revolution is, indeed, peaceful. Only then will the change by Syrians be considered a practical, even mutually-beneficial, change. We have, in the Orange Revolutions in Eastern Europe, a good comparative point of reference.
* Opinion articles published express their author's opinion, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of Rozana.