A Syrian Daydream
Even for an optimist who often day dreams about better times, the situation in Syria seems to be moving day after day into the abyss. With every day that Assad stays in power, Syria becomes more and more infused in the regional (and even global) tug of war. Maybe infused is a soft word. Battle ground might be more applicable. To the Assad supporter this is all the fault of a master plan led by an ever changing leader (Prince Bandar was first blamed, and then Hariri and so on..) known financiers, and interests serving the Western block and Israel.
Aljazeera became an enemy of the state, Arabism, and the Palestinian cause. Distinguished scholar and thinker Azmi Bishara became a bribed weapon in the Qatari arsenal. In a remarkably Orwellian tone, every supporter turned critic of the regime has become an enemy. Assad supporters, who apparently possess the memory of a goldfish, are quick to support Russia and China, and oppose figures with remarkable records of dignity and morality. All of this is directed by the laughable state media stations, which attribute any logical argument against the regime to some conspiracy theory. I have even heard the argument that the Arab Spring engulfing countries from west to east is nothing but an Israeli/American plot. Why did Americans not do the same in Iraq and save billions? Why remove a trusted ally like Mubarak? How about the election of Marzouki in Tunisia? A well known opposition figure and huge Palestine supporter. When you present these questions to Assad supporters you will get answers in the form of conspiracy theories.
So in light of all this and with me being a dreamer I thought why not imagine how things would have turned out in the perfect world. The scenario would play something along the lines of:
People protest in the streets, Assad’s first speech recognizes their demands and begins a cleansing campaign. Dissidents are allowed to come back and form political parties. A forgive-and- forget policy is instated to wipe the slate clean and start a new page. Elections are held for Majlis Al-Sha’b, a new constitution in written, and a date is set for presidential elections. Hizbulla and Hamas avoid being put in awkward situation where they have to choose between a murderous regime and the people. Syrians continue to respect opposition movements, and for the first time getting the Golan back becomes a realistic dream. Israel may try to disturb the peace by planting car bombings here and there, but the people are united behind a new leadership. Well educated expats, and successful business men begin to come back bringing much needed ideas, and capital into the country. Most importantly there is no blood shed, no scars, no hatred.
Sure this may be a simplistic sequence of events, but I don’t think it would have deviated much from above had Assad actually listened to people’s demands from day one. People chanted “Freedom, Freedom”, “Peaceful, Peaceful”, well before “The people want to topple the regime.” Despite knowing that most of the dream above can no longer be achieved, I still believe in the Syrian people’s remarkable ability to heal the wounds and begin a new page. Somehow one man and his family got between us, sure he had the guns and weapons, but we have the numbers, determination, and most importantly the just right to live freely.