Thursday, March 24, 2011

Protests in Syria and government propaganda

A reader who wishes to remain anonymous translated the piece by comrade Khalid Saghiyyeh from Al-Akhbar yesterday:
"Searching for a mob
By Khaled Saghiyeh.
Al-Akhbar Newspaper/ 24.march.2011

Foreigners …Islamists …Israel …Mobs ... even Rats… Erratic and fervent adjectives and terms selected by Arab Rulers to describe the beginnings of popular Intifadas [Uprisings] in their countries. The use of such terms soon acquires unintended consequence; filling the squares with distinct citizens whom publicly declare their National, Arab and Civic Identity. However it seems that the Syrian regime insists upon the use of the same terminology to describe what is occurring in Deraa, as if it has not been witness to what has occurred in Egypt or Tunisia, or what is presently occurring in Libya, Yemen, and Bahrain.
It has been said that Syria is not an Egypt or a Tunisia. That is true, for it is likely that no Arab country can become an Egypt or a Tunisia after what has happened in Libya, Yemen or Bahrain. Unlike the fall of the Mubarak and Ben Ali regimes, the uprisings in other countries have reminded us of domestic schisms, tribal and sectarian structures, to not speak of Oil. All this makes a singular and uniform change unlikely in these countries where the contemporary meaning of Arabism is nothing but a dissemination of Freedom.
Yet the manifestation of the singular ‘people’ that appeared in Tahrir [Freedom] Square, one that has manifested ‘peoples’ in other places, does not deny the fact that any Arab Ruler-whether he is to endure or not- cannot continue to act today as if his citizens are unconscious or nonexistent. For the Arab World’s rubric today is one: Bread, Freedom, and Dignity. And for the benefit of not being misunderstood again, Dignity here is not exclusively the confrontation with external adversaries, but is also- fundamentally- the confrontation with the policeman, the intelligence agent, and members from within the clique.
The nature and extent of what is happening in Deraa remains unclear. What we do recognize is that the regime in Syria, in the manner in which it is conducting itself during these events, does not seem to act as one that has given itself a new opportunity for reform. How sound is the presentation the story of an ‘armed mob’, and the pitiable cinematic scene involving banknotes and rifles in single file, as the official account? And is it possible to consent bloodshed after a group of young schoolchildren penned slogans upon walls?
An official source has declared that ‘the security forces continue to pursue the armed mob that has terrorized civilians and is conducting acts of murder, theft and arson of public and private establishments in Deraa’. All that any individual can desire is that this ‘mob’ will be apprehended. While we await, al-Sham is beautiful, and she deserves bread, freedom and dignity."