|Graffiti from an Istanbul wall.....|
Reports coming from Syria yesterday estimated over 200 people were killed in fighting. Long gone are the days, the weeks, and the months, when Syrians were peacefully protesting, marching directly into the aim of fire. When the protests started, men, women, and children, together marched and together were killed. In the hearts of free loving Syrians, regardless of Muslim, Christian, Alawi, or Druze, this protest was not about sectarian differences, this was about bringing down a government that had lost any legitimacy; bringing down a President who inherited his seat and was not able to reform the corrupt and oppressive government of his father Hafiz al-Assad. Bashar al-Assad was even given a second chance following the breakout of the revolution, when the protesters demanded reform; but he decided to fight and in so has caused death and destruction beyond belief. Over the last six months, things have got much more complicated with Turkey and the Gulf states supporting the Free Syrian army (backed by the US), while Iran supporting Assad (backed by Russia), leading to all out chaos in many parts of Syria, and a stalemate that has no end in sight.
Do not believe the cynics who claim that bloodshed in the Middle East is inevitable, and that due to age-old conflicts its various religions and ethnicities can never coexist. As proof they will direct you to civil strife between Shia and Sunni in Iraq; if not, they will pull out the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and will try to convince you that the conflict is not a century old, but a clash of civilizations dating back over a thousand years. However, the bloodshed we are encountering in Syria (and other parts of the Middle East) should teach us that wars just don’t happen and there is nothing natural about them. The stalemate today in Syria is a result of regional superpowers, supported by greater powers, which are using Syria as their killing field, much in the way it happened in Lebanon during the 1970s and 1980s.
As someone who supported the revolution since its first days, we cannot forget that in Syria there was no alternative to revolution. However, as an outsider, it is becoming more and more difficult to understand the rampant violence and frustrating to see that the violence is greatly due to the manipulation of divided world. Today, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and Iranian President Ahmedinejad discussed the situation in Syria; tomorrow, Russia and the United States will discuss matters; the following day, the United Nations will once again condemn Russia; next week, the European Union will place another embargo on Syria; all this when more Syrians are killed and are made refugees.
The longer these powers do not do their utmost to bring a halt to the violence and work to find a solution the more violent this conflict will become. The biggest fear is that even if Assad is forced to step down, the violence in Syria will have crossed the threshold of no return, and they will continue to pay the high cost of a war that long forgot the spirit of the revolution’s first days.
Today, over 30,000 have been killed and there are over 300,000 Syrian refugees in camps spread out between Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq; not to mention the tens of thousands in the cities of these countries, who remain unaccounted for. With winter just around the corner the situation looks as bleak as ever.