Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Chicken Revolution!

Did I say a while ago that the best option for Syria will be to work out a Jasmine Revolution? Sorry, I actually meant a Chicken Revolution. To judge by the way things are going at this stage, it is really a mini revolution still, but it might just be the spark that can begin it all.

I am talking about the few hundreds Syrian workers affiliated with the poultry industry in Syria who have staged a protest demonstration against the Syrian government. Yes, you heard it, a protest demonstration, in Damascus, hundreds of people carrying banners in front of PM office, protesting against government neglect of their plight.

For it seems that the authorities large-scale culling policies meant as a preemptive move to contain Bird Flu, coupled with popular boycott of poultry and poultry products, have hit hard against the interests of the over 2 million Syrians who work in the industry. And the government, it seems, was doing nothing to ease their suffering. Surprise, surprise.

Well, what’s so surprising really, at least for some, was that when people actually saw their livelihood threatened, they broke the barrier of fear and took to the street, albeit in a very civil manner, so far.

Let’s see if how our inept authorities will handle this situation. If they screwed things up, as they usually do, a lot more people have a lot more reasons to take to the streets as well, and they might just up the ante, and there a million ways how they could do that, and thanks to satellite TV, they are not exactly totally uninformed about this. And people can actually be quite creative when they finally break through the barrier of fear. And they tend to develop their own organizational structures, ones which can be quite independent of any existing opposition or civil society movements and parties.

No, things may not happen so quickly, but this might just be the beginning.

And to think that only yesterday, literally, I blogged about possibility of bread riots and the danger this can pose to the regime. I do feel vindicated somehow.

But again, I remind, myself and others, that things might still take more time than we like, and they might even take a nasty turn at any given moment, spiraling out of control or leading to major and brutal government crackdown.

Still, those taciturn comatosed Syrian masses might just be waking up, finally. Oh boy.

Coupled with increasing pressures from the US, this could usher in a new set of dynamics onto an esrswhile quite a stale and uninspiring scene.