I am going through a period of (relatively) silent reflection on Syria. Of course, in Syria history continues to move at a rapid pace. At least 44 people were murdered by the regime yesterday. Today there is news of 17 soldiers killed by army deserters in Homs, a city which now appears to be in the early stages of a civil war. Syria’s criminal regime has brought this catastrophe on the country.
I’m remaining quiet for a while, but here are some highly recommended sites and articles. First, Walls is rapidly becoming the successor blog to Syria Comment, a space for intelligent discussion of the situation. Syria Comment was perceived by many (including me) to have lost its bearings. It always had a pro-regime and somewhat anti-Sunni slant; as the regime proved its stupidity and it became clear that the country would come closer to disintegration so long as the regime retained power, SC only reinforced its loyalty. Its reporting of events in Syria was highly selective, it gave a false view of the protestors, their motivations and leaders, it sometimes repeated absurd regime propaganda verbatim, and it even stooped to repeating false regime slanders of opposition figures. Now that Joshua Landis has taken a back seat the site is in less academic, even more blatantly partial hands. So it’s really good to see the Walls blog attracting SC’s best commentors and building such a big audience.
Next, two excellent pieces from the indispensable Jadaliyya. Fear of Arrest is a remarkable piece of writing translated from Arabic. It was written by an anonymous revolutionary as a guide and reassurance to his comrades facing the prospect of imprisonment and torture. It details the experience suffered by many thousands of Syrians this year and is a testament to the enormous courage of the Syrian people. Second, The Dynamics of the Uprising in Syria is a clear-sighted analysis of the parties to the conflict and its economic and cultural aspects.
From al-Akhbar’s English language site comes this historical piece, on the French role in damaging Syrian civil society and the rule of law. And in case you missed it, Nadim Shehadi’s excellent piece in the Guardian on why it’s absurd to blame the Syrian opposition for not being well-organised or unified. I agree with his argument that the ‘opposition’ shouldn’t be called ‘the opposition’ at all. What it is is the Syrian people in all their diversity, who have been silenced for so long.