The Activists as Pariahs!

Yes, we, human rights and democracy activists, are nothing but pariahs. If there is anybody that is going to deliver mayhem it is indeed us. Not the Assads. Not the Baathists. Not the Islamists. But us, US, for all our pacifist liberal tendencies.

For we are the ones who are upsetting the natural order of things in our world, where rulers rule unencumbered by any strict laws regulating their behavior, regardless of what the law books might say of course, and where the ruled accept to live according to the whimsy of their rulers, for the consequences of rebelliousness, of rocking the boat no matter how gently, or so they are always told, can often be far worse than putting up with the dictates of the rulers, no matter how unfair, unjust and downright wrong. The generosity of the rulers will always have to suffice. For who is man to tempt fate?

But that has always been my job, I thought. I still think – tempting fate, even at the risk of tragedy for all around me.

After all, have I not caused my family much angst and distress all through my life, from back when I was still an extremist Muslim until the day when I turned liberal? Haven’t my utterances and stances just led to the forced dislocation of my family with all the difficulties involved with that? Have I not left a worried and lonely mother back home, with a lot of team members who put their confidence me, who still put their confidence in me?

Indeed I have. And I can no longer feel guilty about it. I cannot live by somebody else’s inherited values and principles. So, I will rock the boat. I will be the outcast, the heretic and the pariah, if need be. If that’s who I am then, that’s who I am. I am going to turn 40 next week, and if I can’t accept who I am at this age, then I am in serious trouble.

And so, I am not going to deliver democracy and reform to “my” people. That is not really my job. I am just going to give them a chance to take a real hard look at themselves then suffer the consequences of that. And if they don’t like it, that is, if they ended up not liking what they see, or the entire process of forced introspection, then they are quite free and more than welcome to hate me for it. But I am going to do it even if it felt like rape, for both of us.

Yes, I am indeed willing to do my part, no matter how small, in setting a certain people free, even if their first free act is to lynch me and the likes of me while shouting God Protect Syria and Allahu Akbar.

But I am not a martyr by nature by any means, so, I don’t necessarily intend to make the particular job easy for those concerned. I just concede the possibility of having to deal with a situation like that one of those days, not to far in the future perhaps.

7 thoughts on “The Activists as Pariahs!

  1. Ammar, this turning fourty is really nothing … it is just a round number… in Marketing research, you fall in this age group: “35-50” … so you have already been into that age group for some time now. Being 40.00 is just like being 37.36 or 41.53 … just ignore it.But just in case, for next week, remember to have easy access to:Campbell Tomato Soup and Austin powers

  2. Happy birthday. But being a muslim believer is a matter of heart (emotions) and not of intellect. It is impossible to drop the Islamic meme and become a rights-respecting open society liberal. At least there is no one that I know in my circle of friends who has accomplished this successfully. They all harbour some vestige of a religious and irrational method of thought, as Islamic indoctrination usually starts at the age of 5 or 6.BTW, you were going to publish your extraordinary constitutional roadmap. I wonder if that is something that these regime people who also appear as “critical” can also buy into? Would it be something that enlightened junior officers in the army can buy into? Don’t you think that the Syrian army people are envious of the Turkish military, with all their might and high status, appointing themselves as monitors to the secular state and ready to intervene when the Islamists (or formerly the socialists) get too out of hand? And with the booming economy in Turkey, you would think there must be a lot of envy and imagination on the parts of some quarters in the Syrian army?One thing I have to say is that before the Islamists develop traction in Syria, it behooves all parties from the most conservative security oriented types related to the regime to the most radical change oriented types to come together before it is damn too late. Time and population explosion is on nobody’s side, except the Islamist.cheersBehnam

  3. Alex, you got a point there. And Behnam, I couldn’t agree with you more. I will indeed publish a post on possible constitutional arrangements for Syria soon. As for my checkered past, since I come from a liberal background, my foray into Islamism coincided more with my teenage rebellion of all things and I ended up becoming a Muslim preacher for a while in Los Angeles of all places. But continued exposure to books on Islamic history, and the Salman Rushdie affair made me snap out of it in mid 89. I became more and more moderate thereafter and advocated dialogue between all faiths, until I finally ended up turning my back to religiosity all together in late 92. It took me a few years after that to vent out all my anger over having wasted so many years into this religious expedition. Eventually though, I cooled down, and all these things are now but distant memories that might as well belong to someone else. My relationship with the past, even my own, especially my own, has always been rather dismissive. I don’t why. I cannot explain it.

  4. Ammar, it’s very interesting to see that you had realized the vanity of religion the same year you graduated. Is that just some coincidence? -Hassan-

  5. Ammar,You are doing great work and it is all worth it. I understand you completely and what your frustrations, hesitations and dilemnas specially mixed for fear about the people you love.It is hard to become an activist against the Syrian regime, so many enemies to fight and so hard to expose the truth while loving your country and not make it an easy target for its enemies. There are so many contradictions and many scenarios and little hope in the horizon.I wish you happy 40, I know some peole who become liberals after being very religous. It is part of your journey and it makes you stronger, wiser and believing more in what you are doing. Your mom is a great woman/actress and She was one of my favorite actresses while watching Syrian TV. She always played strong characters…Anyway Syria can’t stay in the Status Quo, it is like slow death and the rules have no vision except to make our live miserable and get away with it.For a Free and Better Syriafares

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