Friday, January 06, 2006

The Real Heresy that is Freedom!

If Khaddam can bring enough pressure on the Assad regime to break it, this will not constitute a move towards democracy in itself. But such a development will have broken the status quo, the stalemate that has been plaguing us for years. A popular uprising against Khaddam and his new government might easier to organize in such conditions, considering that his claim to legitimacy will be even less than that of Bashar.

For, in the final analysis, ours remains a struggle for freedom, not for the change in the name of the tyrant or in the nature of the tyranny. As such, this is going to be a long struggle, because we will be fighting to learn for ourselves what the meaning of freedom really is, and all along the way, we will have to pay the prices of this learning. We might be born with the inherent and inalienable right to be free, but freedom is seldom granted and it does not come cheap.

So, to summarize, if a move by Khaddam will serve to weaken this regime, or break it, this will be a good thing, but this will only represent a small opening of a window of opportunity through which we need to slip, if not barge in.

Meanwhile, the internal opposition in Syria needs to prepare itself for all eventualities. It should not be overly concerned with might or might not happen with Khaddam. The street needs to be politicized in all cases. It needs to begin to agitate for freedom, regardless of what particular tyrant is in charge.

The call for a national work stoppage on February 1st as a sign of protest against the endemic government corruption is meant as a tactic that can get people and opposition groups on the same side fighting for a cause that concerns one and all. Since, this stand does not constitute a direct and overt challenge to regime’s legitimacy and does not require any direct act of confrontation with it, it has the potential of well-publicized to appeal to a certain critical segment of the population. People need to develop a habit for civic action, and there is no better time for it than now.

Still, by issuing such a call, I am more likely going to demonstrate to one and all my complete irrelevance within the Syrian civil society scene, as my call is not likely to be heeded. Or is it the irrelevance of the various civil society organizations and opposition movements themselves that will be shown here?

Be that as it may, I stand by my call, of course, and I will continue to lobby for it while keeping my fingers crossed. Not for me, mind you, I can easily survive with a bruised ego, I have been doing that all my life, but for the Syrian people, yes the Syrian people, no matter how "tacky" this might sound these days. They simply need to wake up, before it’s too late.