A Syrian

I met a Syrian whose identity will be revealed at the time of revealing. The Syrian, who is a revolutionary and someone who knows, reassured me of the final outcome. There are two options, the Syrian said. Either the regime goes or the people go. The people say: let’s say there’s been an earthquake. Let’s say a million of us have been killed. Now let’s go out and bring down the regime.

The Syrian said the businessmen of Aleppo in recent weeks have sent their capital into Turkey. Aleppo will rise, the Syrian said.

The Syrian has suffered. The Syrian is not a child. Almost enough clues.

While we were talking the Syrian heard that another friend had been detained. A woman. A professional.

The Syrian is an Alawi. When the Syrian visits working class Sunni areas the Syrian is received with great honour. The Syrian has no problem with the bearded and hijabbed. If they’re too strict it’s because their lives are too difficult, but they aren’t too strict, because they consider all free Syrians their brothers and sisters. There are many Alawis among the revolution. The sectarian revolutionaries live abroad, not at home. Sectarians do not thrive in the new environment. Yes, there are some Salafis running around with guns, but they’re the same Salafis the regime sent to Iraq, the same ones the regime collects in its prisons when it chooses. The Syrian visits areas in the suburbs which the Syrian would never previously have visited. The Syrians are discovering each other, the Syrian said. The sects are cooperating, and the religious and the secular, and the country’s cities and villages chant each others’ names. And One, One, the Syrian People Are One.

Who is with the regime? Sectarians, the corrupt, the guilty. A minority. That’s what the Syrian said.

Regime supporters explain the revolution thus: the people of Dara‘a are tribal and backward; the people of Deir ez-Zor likewise; the Hamwis are Muslim Brotherhood terrorists; the Homsis are Salafists and stupid; in Qamishli they’re all dirty Kurds and separatists; in the Damascus suburbs they’re all flip-flop wearing scum. The Syrians are a filth that must be cleansed. There is no god but Bashaar.

The Syrian described the Syrian people as a phoenix. Every day it dies, shot or bludgeoned or stabbed or strangled, and every day it returns to life, from its own ashes. Funerals are new births.

2 thoughts on “A Syrian”

  1. This is an exceedingly thoughtful and compelling article. Among other things, it reflects the striking difference between the inclusive, progressive, and heroic nature of the ongoing Syrian popular revolution and the exclusive, regressive, and cowardly (indeed, barbaric) nature of Assad’s regime which has lost its legitimacy completely and decisively.

    Through their steadfast faith in their right for freedom and dignity, together with their willingness to pay the ultimate price to regain their usurped freedom and violated dignity, the courageous people of Syria have indeed given a new and luminous meaning to collective human nobility.The sooner the criminal Syrian regime is removed the better, not only for the valiant people of Syria but also for the entire Arab world and, with it, the Middle Eastern region and beyond.

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