The Unreasonable Heretic!

A friend told me not too long ago that some people tend to find my position on the Assads to be somewhat unreasonable. After all, some of their stands and policies, especially with regard to the peace process and the Arab-Israeli Conflict seem to reflect how the majority of people in Syria and elsewhere in the region and the world feel and think. So why we not support them on these matters? Wouldn’t this be the patriotic thing to do, regardless of how we feel about their internal policies?
Not from my perspective. If democracy and development are the things that we care most about, then we simply cannot let the fact that the Assads are robbing the country blind, squandering its scarce resources, mismanaging its affairs and depriving its youths of any real chance at making a decent living and of hope in a better future slip out of our mind, no matter how momentarily. Otherwise, we will continue to fall into that all too familiar trap wherein the national cause is given primacy over all other consideration.

For long we have been told that the national cause comes first, I say democracy and development come first. No, I believe that democracy and development are the real national cause.

So, it does not matter in the least to me if the Assads tend to say or adopt the right rhetoric sometimes, so long as they hold on to power through sham elections, laws and constitutions and the sheer might of their military, there is nothing right or legitimate about them or about anything they do or represent. For all practical purposes we have to consider them as evil, even at the risk of sounding too corny or unreasonable sometimes.

That’s the way it should be. People who hold on to power in an absolutist manner do not merit our understanding, our nuanced perspectives and our reasonableness, only our contempt and enmity.

The national interest does not benefit in the least from postponing the struggle for our freedom from oppression, for any reason whatsoever. Freedom comes first. This emphatic stand of mine, however, should not be misconstrued as signifying some kind of appeal to violence or a willingness to resort to it. No. The Assads are not going to drag me to their depraved level. My personal approach will remain nonviolent in nature, albeit somewhat revolutionary.

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Speaking of revolutions, the latest edition of BitterLemons-International has a special on the Arab Blogosphere that features an article by yours heretically, two wonderful fellow bloggers from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and a regional correspondent that I absolutely respect and admire.

15 thoughts on “The Unreasonable Heretic!

  1. Ammar,we all wanna get rid of the Assads, but, that doesnt mean that meanwhile, THEY ARE IN POWER… and that affects the future Syria, a great deal..the way they handle foreign policy, the peace process, lebanon, Iraq… When someone bombs Lebanon and I say that this should stop, it does not mean that I’m sleeping with Nassrallah…the matter of fact, what syria needs badly, is also what lebanon needs badly, people who can deal with the facts of today, people who will try to make the best out of today, people who will work in complete regardless of individuals, who are not forced to chose between two extremes…That’s what normal syrians need, on the short term… Just as bad as they need people like yourself, [whom probably 80% of syrians havent heard of] to fight for their rights on a longer term…so, yes, we do need people to push the regime that is in power into a “best of the worst” roads… although we know it wont give us democracy, or freedom.. it’s just another “level” of activism…I’m afraid ur trying to dismiss or discredit these people in this post. or at least, what i understood out of it.

  2. “That’s the way it should be. People who hold on to power in an absolutist manner do not merit our understanding, our nuanced perspectives and our reasonableness, only our contempt and enmity. “LOL Ammar you hard ass! of course its the way it should be, we should stand counter to them in the most absolute manner and adopt the principles they adopt in absolutism to hold onto power, the way we should be absolute to reject them and their ilk, and expose them for the degenerates and thieves and thugs that they are.There can be no compromise on this issue , we cannot pander to them, for we are not brainwashed, and our eyes are open and can see them for what they are.No compromise and no surrender to them, and no negotiating with them, the tide will turn against them… eventually. Now its only a question of ensuring that the message gets out and the people come out of their hibernation and slumber.Hope you are well AmmarAnonymous Australia

  3. Yazan, I am not trying to discredit anyone, I am just trying to point out to the fallacy of a certain approach and the logic behind it, even they happen to be the weapons of choice for both the acolytes of the Syrian regime and the majority of the Syrian people. After all, when we consider democracy, we are trying to talk about cultural change, and that requires a lot convincing. Change is always risky, and odds are we are going to pay dearly for our freedom. It is indeed strange how relatively easy it is to convince people to take risks when it comes down to opposing foreign rulers, and how extremely difficult it is to do the same when it comes down to domestic tyrants. Considering that, historically, homespun tyrants are the one variety that we had to contend with more often, you’d think we would have developed a system for that by now, an intellectual justification not just for revolt, but for democracy itself. But we haven’t yet. Rather what we have accomplished is the authoring of a long list of culturally assimilated and continuously regurgitated justifications for sticking to the status quo as the preferred alternative and modus vivendi. This is exactly why our societies tend to dissolve into anarchy every so often, we let the rot eat way at our basic institutions and values, until they all come tumbling down and we are left with no alternatives or substitutes because we had not bothered to make them. Anonymous, I am indeed well, thanks for you comment and your concern.

  4. ammar…either it’s going to be messy with wars in every arab country or it’s got to be a coop…believe it or not, i do not seek genocide in the arab world, i seek a live and let live, however that being said, if more attacks occur against israel I cannot even GUESS how many in the arab world will die..Or spend 2 dollars and SOLVE the ASSAD issue quietly with 2 bullets.

  5. What is Occupation?Listen and listen carefully. Your Jewish presence in Palestine will be the first to vaporize when it comes to that. Don’t think the Arabs have no access to nuclear weapons. One, two at most three bombs and you are history before you realize it.On the other hand, I do find your two dollar solution to be attractive, provided you do not present it in such context.

  6. I just hope that we don’t have to witness another genocide anywhere ever. One thing that could potentially help us achieve this is to stop speaking callously about it. I don’t want any Assad to die, I just want them to leave.

  7. تبرىء الكلمات في القلوبثم همس الرب في قلوبنا…الكلمات تصل حيث لا يقدر السلاحسألنا حكيم قريتنا، كيف ينزل الدفءعلى النفوس والشيطانقد ألقى بسمومه المفضلةخوفاً ويأساً وكراهيةعلى القلوب البريئةكما الرماد من محرقة السعادةكيف تنام عيون الايمانوسرير الأملتفترشه ملاءة القنوط الشاحبوعيون الحنث الفاسدةتنتهك حرمة الكلمات المقدسةوتسعد باغتيال هدايا السماءوسألنا :كيف يبتسم الخيرويصفع الكره الفضيلة من وجه الخجلو أتباعه يشوهون ويحرفون فى نفوس ضحاياهمحتى يصل الاعتقادبأن الإثم فضيلة والقتل عدالة والكره هو الحبتحدث الحكيمبصوته الخفيض وقالأن للشيطان أتباعيغتسلون في أنهار النبيذ في حادي*وبعشق السخرية الفارغيحصدون نفوساً مغشوشة جنيت بمنجل الانتحارمستحيل أن يكون الطريق إلى الفردوس مرصوفاًبجثث الأبرياء – عبر نهرٍ من الدماعتنقوا مد الحق وجزره الرائع في قلوبكم تقبّلوا الشك والعار أينما كانوالكي تدركوا أن النفس تسعد بالعطف وليس بالانتقامسطع صوته كالضوء وقال:ابحثوا بشجاعة في أعماق قلوبكمبلا نفاق ولا خداع ولا إجحافوحين تلمسوا الايمان هناكستنزل الكلمات الالهيه دواءً للقلوبمثل مطر أبدي يجذبه البحر دائماًحتى يرتفع ليملأ حرم النفوسبودٍ عميق هادىء ويغدو سلاماًعلى شواطىء العزم الالهي.[أرض الموتى في الأساطير الاغريقية*أبريل 2006

  8. “It is indeed strange how relatively easy it is to convince people to take risks when it comes down to opposing foreign rulers, and how extremely difficult it is to do the same when it comes down to domestic tyrants.”Strange perhaps, but hardly surprising. Based on risks and opportunity costs alone, it’s much easier to get folks to passively cheer on some far-off, Good-v-Evil scuffle than to actively participate in exposing themselves to uncertainty by quashing the status quo. I would expect nothing less from humans.

  9. “seem to reflect how the majority of people in Syria and elsewhere in the region and the world feel and think.”But that’s just it. How do we know this for sure? In my opinion, we have no clue how most Syrians (or Arabs) feel. We will never know what the “majority” thinks cause they have no voice.Having a voice SHOULD BE the cause. They dictated how we think and feel, and what our cause is.There is nothing unreasonable about wanting to have a REAL part in your countrys political system.Just because the Asads can represent a point of view that I happen to agree with, doesn’t mean that they can’t represent the opposite too. And since i’m not able to vote, then they can, and no one will know that i disagree.It’s simple: I can’t support anyone talking on my behalf without the PERMISSION to do so.

  10. I guess if we are all vapor…we can get along betterI wonder if Arab and Jewish vapor mix?Hmmm?Naw..don’t want to find out. Let’s try something else.

  11. You have an interesting bio. I’m having some trouble following the details of your current post – I’m not informed about the Assads.However, I’m very interested in religion/spirituality and hope the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition manages to outgrow its ego-bound right wing fundamentalism. If I were God, I’d be getting really tired of having my name invoked as often as it is these days and to what purposes…

  12. Anonymous said…What is Occupation?Listen and listen carefully. Your Jewish presence in Palestine will be the first to vaporize when it comes to that. Don’t think the Arabs have no access to nuclear weapons. One, two at most three bombs and you are history before you realize it.On the other hand, I do find your two dollar solution to be attractive, provided you do not present it in such context.Dear Mr Anonymous,That is the problem. You suggest that israel will be vaporized. That is my point, another major attack ON ISRAEL will cause alot of arabs to die.so in order to save millions of arabs…the 2 dollar solution.I understand ammar’s reluctance to say “let’s kill” assad. I can respect that, but a coop none the less is needed.How about a certain syrian general just beat the crap out of the chinless dogass and dump his naked broken (but alive) body in downtown beirut?

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