Monday, 11 July 2016

The Syrians must take charge or lose their revolution

The Syrians must take charge or lose their revolution

 Burhan Ghalioun:

"The Syrian people are living today in a state of all-consuming frustration. Having overcome their fears, they had, over recent years, experienced the ecstasy of revolution, and the hope of liberating themselves from a brutal inhumane regime. But today, they feel that any possibility of salvation is gone. The goals and wagers for which they made sacrifices are at risk of being lost, amid increasing danger to their country and plans to partition and fracture its ailing shell.

 This frustration is reflected in their attitudes towards friends and allies who are increasingly criticised and questioned over what they have offered or can offer. But it is also being translated into growing attacks on all factions of the Syrian opposition and rebels, almost to the point of self-negation and doubt. It calls into question whether they are indeed one unified people, capable of collective work, state building, and resurrection from the disaster that has struck their country.

 In a show of cynicism, international powers are taking advantage of this sentiment. They are trying to sell Syrians the notion that is it now too late for them to re-unite as a people and co-exist. The international powers hope to convince Syrians that the only way to reach a minimum level of peace and security is to let foreign nations determine their fate. It has even become almost the norm to circulate maps, documents and draft constitutions for Syria that Syrians have had no role in drafting.

 Syrians have inflicted defeat after defeat upon the Russian-backed regime's army of conscripts, Hizballah's mercenaries and other sectarian militias, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the marauders of the Islamic State. Assad's treachery and betrayal, and his insistence on burning the entire country simply to remain in power, is matched in its intensity only by the Syrian people's insistence on their right to freedom and dignity and on fighting until the end for their sake.

 It is the Syrians' legendary struggle that has set an example for peoples seeking self-determination, in looking to undo the propaganda campaign and psychological war they have experienced.

 For over five years, the Syrian regime, and all factions and powers opposed to the emergence of a new, free Syria, have been exploiting the events on the ground to exacerbate the complexity of the landscape and prevent the victory of the people's rebellion. No doubt, the international dimension imposed on the revolution based on preventing decisive military victory - and thus allowing the bloodletting and suffering to continue unchecked, while ignoring the conditions for a sustainable political settlement - has put immense pressure on Syrian public opinion. More and more, the supporters of the Syrian revolution are losing hope. Many are even questioning whether it was worthwhile rebelling against the regime, despite its crimes and betrayals.

 Syrians must place their faith in their free will and reject any decision imposed on them from outside, regardless of where it comes from. They must put an end to their wait for a solution that comes from elsewhere, and deny the foreign powers their right to shape it. But Syrians will not be able to do so unless they cast off the spirit of self-doubt, division, and subservience that has been imposed on them for years, if not decades, by usurpers, oppressors, and now by the policies of rival foreign powers. Syrians must awaken and rally around a patriotic leadership that can stand on an equal par with foreign powers, whose bid to bypass the Syrian people and impose a solution has failed.

 This is the essence of the platform of freedom and dignity that drove millions of Syrians into the street, despite barrel bombs, starvation and siege, and for which Syrians have sacrificed blood and treasure."

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