Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Another small step!

The Temporary Committee for the Damascus Declaration has announced plans to form a Permanent Committee that will include opposition figures from inside and outside the country. The new Committee will be made up of 23 members, eight of them will be chosen from the Syrian opposition abroad.

Although the Temporary Committee did not specify exactly what the new Permanent Committee is supposed to do, it will be interesting to see, nonetheless, what external opposition figures will be chosen in this regard.

Indeed, members of the TC have already distanced themselves from both Khaddam and Bayanouni (Khaddam for his past, and Bayanouni for his willingness to overlook that past), while condemning both Rifa’at Assad and Farid Ghadri (Rifa’at, the uncle of the current president and a long time contender to the presidential throne, for his past as well, and Ghadri for his declared willingness to support an American military intervention in the country).

In this, the opposition seems to be trying to steer a fine line between seeking foreign help, via Syrian opposition members abroad whose image has not been severely tarnished in popular imagination (after all, all opposition members abroad have a tarnished image thanks to the Baath propaganda machine and the gullibility of our people), while asserting their rejection of foreign intervention in the country (hence the loud rejection of any financial help from the US government).

And so, political maneuvers continue, while the street marches to a different drum. When that seemingly magical moment comes, the Street will produce its own opposition figures and movements, and will stomp on us all. And yet, I am still willing to wager on the Street for all the mayhem that popular dynamics can bring - for sometimes you just have to go through raging fire to get to the other side.