Monday, July 30, 2012


"What began as a largely peaceful, secular protest movement in March 2011".  This sentence is of course false on more than one count.  The Syrian people did protest spontaneously against the repressive regime and NOT at the behest of BHI as stupid Syrian regime media keep saying these days.  But there were various trends at play. There were peaceful trend and there were armed trends and from the very beginning.  The notion that only after months of repression, suddenly arms appeared is just not sensical.  Furthermore, the Syrian regime seems to have repressed far more ruthlessly those secular and leftist elements in the uprising early on: they put away any member of the Communist Action Party that they could find just as they shot Husayn `Uwaydat (a promising leftist organizer/cadre).  Also, even in the beginning: it is not that it was a secular movement and then suddenly it became religious and Salafi out of the blue. The trends (religious and secular) co-existed before the religious-Salafi trend totally overwhelmed other trends on the ground.  Syria is not a monolith.  I once gave a paper on Leftist Trends in the Syrian Opposition in a graduate course on Syrian Politics and Society at Georgetown University taught by the great late Hanna Batatu.  After I finished, Batatu looked at me and said: but you talked as if the Syrian people act as one people.  He then asked me: when did the Syrians act in one voice in all cities and towns in the contemporary history of Syria?  I fumbled.