After listening to the speech of Bashar Assad appointing himself President of Syria for seven more years, the first scene that came to mind was that of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appointing himself Caliph for all Syrians.
I listened to the speeches of Baghdadi and Assad again and did not find many differences between the two. However, the difference was in the dress and language of the re-elected president and the speech of the man who makes his audience hear, obey and clap.
Unfortunately, more than 23 million Syrians, with four thousand years of civilization behind them, are now exposed to mere oppression and darkness.
A few days ago, Baghdadi came out with a speech declaring himself Emir and Caliph, thanking us for our confidence in him and complaining of the great responsibility we place on him. He promised us more killing, fighting and to facilitate our way to heaven. He warned us of the lack of obedience as long as he obeys God, and against disobedience and infidels, promising a significant victory against them.
It is the hammer of regression and obscurantism that kills Syrians. So far, Syrians saw nothing from Baghdadi but crucifixtions, beheadings, amputations of hands and whipping of backs. The focus of his accomplishments has been on closing schools, preventing girls from education, recruiting children as soldiers and destroying the cultural heritage of Syria in the areas he dominates. Of course, all this happened while the civilized world which supports human rights watches on, unable to do anything but condemn and denounce, while our Arab brothers are waiting their turn to get their share of the blessings of the caliph and his conquests.
Meanwhile, Assad delivered a speech declaring himself the leader of the nation for a new seven-year term, also complaining of the burden of responsibility that we have placed on his shoulders and thanking us for our allegiance to his wise leadership.
In summary, Assad said: Despite the fact that I have destroyed half of the country and killed a quarter of a million Syrians, forced you to flee the country and sent you to the refugee camps…Despite the fact that I have hidden half a million of you in my prisons, despite the killings under torture suffered by tens of thousands of you, despite the brutal rapes suffered by your free women and practiced by my soldiers and security forces, despite giving Syria to Iran and calling the sectarian militias loyal and hostile to Iran to fight a war on your land… Despite all that, when you re-elected me, you proved that you are faithful, honest, truly patriotic and aware of the size of the conspiracy I am facing. In spite of the clear complaints and disappointments expressed towards our poor education, Assad promised that he will continue to send our young people to die in order to come back after seven years to speak to us again. Assad spoke this time from the parliament, not from his palace, because there he would have defeated the conspiracy and the conspirators and been able to leave the palace without being exposed to a bullets that may make Syrians orphans after him.
All this happened also while the friends and brothers of Syrian people and the supporters of the revolution watch on, in spite of the limited days and the red lines, the support of the free world for human rights and the right of peoples to free lives.
It is the anvil of tyranny that holds Syrians and their dreams. Between the anvil of tyranny and the hammer of regression and darkness, victims fall daily and a civilization thousands of years old is destroyed.
Syrians today are facing a historic challenge, either to unite and renounce the tyranny of Assad and the obscurantism of Baghdadi, through adopting a national Syrian civilization project based on freedom and respect for the rights of citizenship, and through unifying their efforts to create their own national political institutions which represents the history of their civilization. Independent and transparent national institutions will allow every Syrian to feel that they represent him and care about his fate. Otherwise, this generation will deserve the curses of future generations who failed to protect a homeland as beautiful as Syria and a civilization as antique as that of Syrias.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer