Friday, April 01, 2011

Syrian Dictatorship, Beginning of the End

Last week, I micro-expressed my disappointment (on that micro-blogging twitter thingie) in Al Akhbar for carrying  news of Syria's protests off their "Arab Dictatorships, Beginning of the End" pages. Al Akhbar did eventually move Syria's news to join the news out of Libya, Bahrain, and Yemen for a few days before the editorial team decided to give Syria it's own title-less coverage section. Now my disappointment in that particular newspaper is because I have high hopes for that young publication which despite its flaws and growing pains has risen to become one of the best Arabic newspapers in a very short period of time. Needless to say I've given up on the other 15 or so Beirut dailies not to mention the lack of any serious competition outside of Cairo and London. Of course by London, I don't mean Abdul Bari Atwan's paper version of a bad spam infested facebook wall.

But back to the main issue, Al Akhbar will be fine. However, when it comes to Syria's dictatorship; it is the beginning, albeit a slow beginning, of the end. I still think the protest movement in Syria is not up to the revolutionary levels of Tunisia and Egypt, which isn't something to be ashamed of but it has to be taken into consideration by the pro-democracy camp. The regime's crimes against protesters in Deraa and other towns should never be forgotten, but emotions alone aren't enough to topple the regime and move Syria forward. I believe the opposition still needs better organization and clearer plan based on a mature political thought process to deal with the post-dictatorship transition. This could be months away or it could be years away depending on many factors. Wednesday's charade at the parliament was discouraging, to say the least, to anyone who believed that transition to democracy can be a voluntary and smooth process by Assad and his Baath party. Which is a shame really, because it did seem that Bashar Assad was given some leeway by the Syrian people to do the right thing and lead a peaceful drive towards democracy. He could've had an honorable exit and retired after his current term, or maybe even a third term, while statues of his father and brother still stood. Although that's still a possibility, I must say it's looking less and less likely. People might choose to forgive the various forms of oppression practiced by the authorities, but shooting protesting citizens is not a forgivable offense. I guess we still have to wait a bit longer to see if any of the remaining Arab dictators can be the one exception that doesn't try to punish his people for having ideas.

In the meantime, I really hope Syrians don't put all their hopes on Today's or any other One day "revolution". Change is a never-ending process. Just look at Tahrir Square in Cairo today for proof. That process started in Syria and it's up to them to dictate its course. 

1 comment:

Mary said...

Interesting! :) I agree with your analysis that Assad's actions against peaceful protesters are unforgivable. I'm amazed though that my otherwise wise and human-rights oriented family members in Kessab and Aleppo are still completely supportive of Assad and support the "crackdown" on "extremists". Sigh...all that "unity" propaganda works, I guess?