Three and a half years ago, I was six months pregnant, sandwiched in the back seat of a car on a long journey to the Syrian coast. My sister in law is blasting some dire Arab pop and I’m listening to the same 11 songs on a loop on my mobile phone.
Desperate to distract my bladder from what is likely to be an unpleasant encounter with a motorway toilet, I decide to play a game. I will see how long I can go without seeing a picture of Bashar Assad and/or his assorted family members.
We are on a motorway in the middle of the countryside. My game lasts 30 seconds.
Before I had even visited Syria, I knew that the government, or rather ruling regime, were bastards (that’s a one word description for an unelected, repressive, corrupt, murderous and largely inept regime). The facts if anything, were even worse than what I had been told.After I had visited Syria, I knew of the special kind of psychic terror inflicted by the regime, that you would never be able to forget who was in charge, ever, because you would never be too far from an opportunity to gaze upon the countenance of the original Thief in Chief and his offspring.
One night, after pausing to close the windows, we talked of the future. I said I hoped that one day, I would visit and see that people had started to write on the posters, to kick upwards and against.
In January last year, I was again sat in my in laws front room watching Al Jazeera. Could such an uprising occur in Syria? I hoped that it could, my family were very doubtful. Not here. The people are too scared.
Later that month, I would meet some Syrians at work. 2000 miles from Syria and we are hesitant to discuss Syrian politics until we trust each other a little better. They too doubt that anything will happen.
Then it did. As soon as I saw the first film of someone stomping on a poster of Bashar’s fizzog I knew it wouldn’t stop. To have longed to do that for so long. It must have felt like ecstasy.
It is hard to find the words for what has followed. That the regime would enact a “Samson Option” on the country is not surprising. The Syrian people have always been fodder to them.
But the loss, such loss. All those people who were walking around, living, people on the earth who have been murdered and lost to us. May Allah swt keep them now. May Allah keep them and remember them, their lives and their truths and what was stolen from them in the name of naked greed, for something the murderers never had the right to have, let alone kill others to keep.
Then there are the others. Food prices and scarce oil mean that there are certainly people starving and freezing to death. Streets that used to be full of women are now full of shabiha. Those who the regime is not killing, they are brutalising in other ways.
But this is not surprising. It is horrific but not shocking.
The reaction of the outside world is another matter. Not only are Syrians being left to die, they are being told that they shouldn’t have a revolution at all.
The fact that Syria is a diverse country, because people have managed to coexist, is ignored in favour of smearing the revolution as sectarian.
That numbers of the dead are impossible to verify, means there aren’t “enough” dead to deserve outside help, what ever “enough” dead is.
Then the Syrians are denied the very thoughts and brains in their heads as some incredibly clever sorts state that it is all an imperialist plot by the Americans and the Syrians have been “manipulated” into rising up.
All this while saying that the regime’s actions are bad, but denigrating any actions the Syrian people may take or request to liberate themselves.
The regime is perpetrating the killings but their cheerleading squad is loud and diverse.
I have no words (that are not swear words) for these people.
No one likes a mouthy Married To- and initially, I kept quiet about what was happening in Syria. As events have continued this has become more difficult to do. I will claim no great, detailed knowledge of Syria, but I know enough that I cannot let such slanders go unchallenged, even if it is only in this tiny sliver internet.
The gap between what the Syrian people deserve and what they are receiving is ever-increasing. These words are just a thread across the chasm.
Filed under: Uncategorized