Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Unreasonable Heretic!

A friend told me not too long ago that some people tend to find my position on the Assads to be somewhat unreasonable. After all, some of their stands and policies, especially with regard to the peace process and the Arab-Israeli Conflict seem to reflect how the majority of people in Syria and elsewhere in the region and the world feel and think. So why we not support them on these matters? Wouldn't this be the patriotic thing to do, regardless of how we feel about their internal policies?

Not from my perspective. If democracy and development are the things that we care most about, then we simply cannot let the fact that the Assads are robbing the country blind, squandering its scarce resources, mismanaging its affairs and depriving its youths of any real chance at making a decent living and of hope in a better future slip out of our mind, no matter how momentarily. Otherwise, we will continue to fall into that all too familiar trap wherein the national cause is given primacy over all other consideration.

For long we have been told that the national cause comes first, I say democracy and development come first. No, I believe that democracy and development are the real national cause.

So, it does not matter in the least to me if the Assads tend to say or adopt the right rhetoric sometimes, so long as they hold on to power through sham elections, laws and constitutions and the sheer might of their military, there is nothing right or legitimate about them or about anything they do or represent. For all practical purposes we have to consider them as evil, even at the risk of sounding too corny or unreasonable sometimes. That’s the way it should be. People who hold on to power in an absolutist manner do not merit our understanding, our nuanced perspectives and our reasonableness, only our contempt and enmity.

The national interest does not benefit in the least from postponing the struggle for our freedom from oppression, for any reason whatsoever. Freedom comes first.

This emphatic stand of mine, however, should not be misconstrued as signifying some kind of appeal to violence or a willingness to resort to it. No. The Assads are not going to drag me to their depraved level. My personal approach will remain nonviolent in nature, albeit somewhat revolutionary.


Speaking of revolutions, the latest edition of BitterLemons-International has a special on the Arab Blogosphere that features an article by yours heretically, two wonderful fellow bloggers from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and a regional correspondent that I absolutely respect and admire.