Monday, July 31, 2006

The Pawns of War!

If even the generations that have witnessed firsthand and lived through the dark days of the 70s and 80s in Syria, and that have vivid memories of how oppressive things were at the time and how hypocritical and tiring all that patriotic song-and-dance about Israel and America and our intervention in Lebanon was, if even these generations who should be eyeing the current developments in the region through the disquieting prism of déjà vu, déjà entendu, déjà everything, can still disagree on everything that has taken place in their lifetime, can still offer a variety of interpretations and explanations thereof, and can still carry on with their ideological and personal differences to this very moment in time, how would the 75% of Syria’s inhabitants, who are below the age of 25, who have no memories to guide them in this regard and who have been brainwashed at home, at school and in the streets, and rendered absolutely apathetic, fearful and compliant with regard to the existing authority, be it political, social, economic and/or religious, how would they feel and think about the current going-ons in Lebanon, in Syria, in Palestine? Who should they blame? Who would they support? How would they show it? And what would they make of the heretical dissenting writings of someone like me?

The answers are all too obvious, of course, and all too unfortunate. Unless we can make some real breakthroughs that can help us deliver a different message to this particular segment of the populace, demography in our part of the world will continue to be on the side of tyranny, and our children will continue to be the fodder thereof and the pawns of its wars. We have to carve a space for dissent and heresy, no matter how unpopular they may seem at first, no matter how sanguine. We have to plant seeds of doubt now, so they may flourish later. For, the real battle ahead of us has always been generational, and our point of view is not likely to become popular anytime soon. But persistence does occasionally pay off, even in the Middle East.