Thursday 27 December 2012
The small town of Halfaya and the massacre at its bakery are the one-thousandth reason to say that a regime like this does not bargain, and cannot be bargained with. The symbolism inherent in that aerial bombardment against people seeking the now precious bread is much more than words can ever describe.
This regime is today holding Damascus hostage, which is now its last remaining military stronghold. By just continuing to hold its ground and show desperate stubbornness, it is expressing its full readiness to turn the Syrian capital into a big Halfaya, with its buildings, features, monuments, markets and government headquarters. Then when we recall what happened in Aleppo and Homs, the fear of what may be lying in store for Damascus is legitimate and justified.
The Syrian revolution, over the past 21 months, has developed from a peaceful phase, to a combat phase, and from the latter, into achieving significant advances on the field but at a cost that has been, and continues to be, very high.
But the biggest cost yet may be the destruction of the supposed central nervous system of the state and society, namely the capital that otherwise preserves the Syrian community, common grounds, and shared memories. Yet this bleak prospect is met halfway by the fact that the Syrian revolution is essentially one of the heart: Indeed, the intellectual accumulation made possible by the tyrannical regime is very modest, while the self-dissociation of a broad sector of Syrian intellectuals from the revolution has weakened the latter’s intellectualism in favor of a distinctive and overwhelming emotional and intimate form of expression as seen through a torrent of artistic and creative works. This all follows from the fact that the countryside and small towns and villages have moved into the space that was evicted by the elites of Damascus and Aleppo, in order to counteract their withdrawal.
Furthermore, a central position in all this has been occupied by a religious worldview that has never been reformed, and that has been restricted, as a result, to poor verbal slogans that contain little awareness of meanings, of others who may have different religions, sects or ethnicities, or indeed of the wider world.
With the bloating of the heart and the contraction of the mind, it is feared that some factions of the revolution may complement the acts of the regime, even if from the position of the foe and with a lot of good intentions, in a way where being right is not accompanied with any consciousness regarding this righteousness.
In Syrian modern history itself we have a dangerous precedent of this, when the Alawi right to eliminate longstanding oppression paved the way for a military coup that engendered a grim tyrannical regime, which is now fighting its last and most devastating battle. Furthermore, the Lebanese know well how the Shiite right to defend the villages of the south became a leverage for Hezbollah, which has now become one of the biggest obstacles to the establishment of the Lebanese state.
We also know how the Palestinian right, which is indisputable, lost much of its legitimacy when it split from its consciousness of what is right. This is how civil wars and terrorist acts took place one after the other, while, in expression of the Palestinian right, leaders for life emerged and became above accountability or change.
And who said that those who rebelled in Russia in 1917, or those who voted against the old regime in Germany in 1933, were not themselves oppressed victims? Yet, their demands of their rights and their legitimate aspirations produced regimes that were unrivalled in their tyranny and warmongering.
There is no doubt that the blame in all of this is essentially on the regime in the end, which does not bargain and cannot be bargained with. However, assigning blame does not mean that the catastrophe that seems now imminent in Syria and throughout the Levant will be averted. This catastrophe is only made worse by the obvious disparity between the heart of the revolution and its mind.