Pictures circulating after a meeting of Baath party members in Syria’s Homs have caused controversy after Baathists raised their hands and shouted the Nazi slogans.
Syrian activists circulated photos of the meeting, which showed a group of “party comrades” performing the oath of active membership, a notch higher than the affiliation with the Baath party. Party comrades attain this level after years of being affiliated with the party and after undergoing a special party education course.
Although the link between Baathism and Nazism is not exactly new, the public boasting about it on partisan and official pages in Assad’s Syria indicates that the Syrian regime is trying to bring back its old traditions, which have been absent from the media scene throughout the years of war in the country.
Newsbites and images like this have been discredited since the amendment that abolished Article VIII of the country’s constitution in 2011. The amendment stipulated that the Baath party is the leading party at the level of the state and society, which never brought about much change.
The official propaganda has been working to create the impression that the country was experiencing change and reform. These days, however, the regime has been feeling more confident than usual; now, it not only arrests those who disagree with it–including loyalists–, but it has been bringing back the physical symbols that commend its power. These images and symbols include statues and pictures symbolizing and glorifying the regime, or through certain traditions in schools whereby students are coerced into joining various party institutions at a tender age, including the Baath Vanguards Organization and the Revolutionary Youth organization.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.