Monday, May 30, 2005

Another Demonstration of Weakness and Confusion!

A few hours ago, the Atassy 8 were released. International and internal pressures seem to have paid off. As such, and rather than coming as a demonstration of strength, as it was intended to be, the entire move came as a further demonstration of the Regime’s weakness, confusion and lack of resolve.

Mr. Ali Abdallah, however, the leftist activist that had read the Muslim Brotherhood statement in the Forum is still under arrest and will reportedly be tried under Law 49 outlawing the Brotherhood and prescribing the death penalty against those who collaborate with it. The same fate seems to await the lawyer and human rights activist, Muhammad Raadoun.

Meanwhile, yesterday, the government arrested another well-known lawyer and activist, one Habib Salih. No reason was given for the arrest. Also, the official spokesman for the Atassy Forum, Mr. Habib Issa, jailed two years ago, is still in jail and is not expected to be released anytime soon. So are the MPs Riyad Seif and Mamoun Homsi. The same applies to scores of Kurdish, Islamist and secularist activists that have been arrested over the last few months and years. The promise that the President made less than a year ago to end the file of political detainees still goes unfulfilled, and still witnesses unexplained reversals.

Our joy is never complete in this country. Still, we should not underestimate the significance of the release of the Atassy 8, because it proves that pressures work even in these internal issues. The regime can be made to back down on specific issues. The regime can be successfully opposed.

Now, will the dissident community in Syria understand this implication? Will it coordinate its efforts more in the future so as to launch more successful challenges to the regime? I hope so, for this definitely the way for working out the miracle I describe below.

To Émigré,

“Do I think street boiling and twisting blades is the answer this century? Nope. Nope it's not. If the whole world (and the whole world it has to be) wants real change I'm afraid it's just going to have to turf the whole war/revolution (faux and real), blood and guts and anger thing altogether.”

My dear Émigré, you have to tell the difference between describing a phenomenon and endorsing it. I don’t want old-style revolution anymore than you do. What I want and what I advocate is a change in mentality, and this is something that could only be produced through education and its results can only be seen in decades.

Unfortunately though, I feel that an old-style mayhem is imposing itself upon us on account of deficient leadership skills and vision and endemic corruption on part of both regimes and opposition groups in the country, if not the region.

I think the mechanisms for that have already been set in motion, and I don’t know if we can stop them anymore. It might just be that the best we can do at this stage is to manage the crisis as best as we can, and pick up the pieces. It’s not the most enviable position in the world, of course, but…

Despite my pessimism though, I am not giving up all together on the possibility of working out a miracle. I just don’t believe that this miracle can be worked out by this particular regime with its cadres of corrupt and inefficient leaders. I also know that miracle-working is a very dangerous and complicated industry, and that its chances of going bust are always higher than its chances of success.

Miracle-working is like gambling and I hate it for that. I hate it when things deteriorate to this level. I hate the people who got us to this position. But I won’t let that hate consume me, and I just hope that we, whoever we are, can still work out this miracle. If not, I hope we can still be able to pick up the pieces, as I just said, because, in the final analysis, someone has to do it.