A Jolly Freak Show!

In 2001, and shortly after the outbreak of the Palestinian Aqsa Intifadah, the streets of Damascus got filled with real spontaneous demonstrations organized by student groups, artists and lawyers and professionals from all stripes announcing their support to the Palestinian people and their just demands.

Although, I wrote against the violent character of the Intifadah at the time, I couldn’t but sympathize with the demonstrations taking place in Syria, because they were in a way an expression of a genuine internal frustration with regard to the regime and its security and authoritarian predilections. Many young people in Syria were really itching to be relevant, to count for something, to be active, to take some initiative, to feel that they are participating in the making of their destiny somehow. At least, some seem to have thought, by supporting the Palestinians, they will be supporting a line already endorsed by Bashar and the ruling regime and they will be moving within the established framework of action and, as such, they will not give any reason for anyone to be worried and, therefore, oppressive.

But, what these young people, artists and professionals failed to understand is that, under authoritarian rule, any form of independent initiative is something to be feared and combated, even when it falls well within the established redlines. Why do you think the Baath Party insists on being represented in each and every union and society out there? Total control is only way to ensure obedience and compliance with the will of rulers bent on and addicted to oppression, while independent imitative can easily become uncontrollable and can turn against the authorities.

For this reason, let’s, please, fight any temptation to think that the recent demonstration that took place in Aleppo was anything but another regime-organized freak-show mean to shore up the regime’s sagging internal popularity. The regime is driving the country into a new period of international isolations and sanctions and, as usual in these instances, the regime needs to have popular endorsement of itself and its policies in this regard. But the more demonstrations the regime feels that it needs to field in the streets the higher the levels of its internal angst and uncertainty, and the more embattled it really is.

The Assads want to appear tough, and, in this, they will succeed. They will appear tough and untouchable right to the very end. Let’s just hope that this will be only their end, and not the country’s.

Meanwhile, another jailed author, namely Ghaleb Amir, is reportedly suffering from serious health problems.

Fares and Tony has already noted in their blogs, I have written an article a few days ago for the Daily Star dealing with the Assads’ inborn penchant for crisis and mayhem. I have also given a rather long interview to al-Hurra that will air on Wednesday. It seems fitting here as well to thank my friend, Egyptian Sandmonkey, for his kind words and his photo of me that he has recently posted on his blog.

7 thoughts on “A Jolly Freak Show!

  1. Ammar,Great post once again…it would be great to see huge demonstrations in Syria against the regime oppression instead of being manipulated to support causes outside their control.BTW, You look cool in Sandmonkey web site…much more alive than Bashar’s frozen face.CheersFaresNote on the side, I think your bottom paragraph is missing some parts, may be you are in the process of finalizing it.

  2. Thanks for noting the problem with the last paragraph. Sometimes blogger acts up and erases lines. Technology is good, but like human creations, it is not perfect. Anyway, I have just fixed the paragraph.

  3. Thanks Ammar, posting and editing on blogs (mine is wordpress) is the worst, it always modify the formatting on its own…so sometimes I just leave the mistakes in order to not destroy everything.BTW you still have the link wrong under my name it should beSyrians are victims of the regimeFreedom for our prisoners and may God keep them safe and without serious health problems.I am following a bad story about Maria Maaloof writing carbage about Michel Kilo and our heroes in Al thawra newspaper (too bad it is not around me because I need some of it to wipe my toilet haha) so far the coverage is in arabic.http://www.elaph.com/ElaphWeb/Politics/2006/7/162035.htmAl Seyyassah have reported that she has close personal relations with Maher Al Assad and she is close with Syrian Regime.Our friends don’t spare any effort in trying to spread lies and calominities to justify their obvious thugery… Till when Syrians stay victims of this comical regime…

  4. Yes why not…need to have mistresses to relax from too much work…that might explain why I can’t really find any info about her…Anyway this article is even better:http://www.metransparent.com/texts/maria_maalouf_article_vs_michel_kilo.htmit shows how low the article goes in defending every move by holy Bashar and his regime and attacking his supossed enemies with all kind of stupidities and no sense. Also went to al thawa web site for the first time and made me miserable. I am glad I avoid these sites.

  5. Ammar, I am waiting to read your thoughts on the Israeli assault on Lebanon–and the Syrian role that may have been played in encouraging Hizballah to kidnap the Israeli soldiers unprovoked. Do you see the recent events as part of a Syrian plan to destabilize the region and consequently retain power?

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