Syrian Opposition Must Sharpen
By: Salama Kayla is a Syrian contributor to Al-Hayat Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab).
Every revolution has a specific political discourse. The Syrian revolution has tried to establish one of its own, despite its spontaneous nature. The Syrian revolution also is reliant on young people who have lived in an intellectual vacuum after long years of oppression, during which the president’s speeches become the prevalent philosophy, history, policies and scientific leanings of the country.
About This Article
Salama Kayla criticizes the political organization of the Syrian opposition, including its focus on political oppression and failure to highlight the marginalization of the masses as the ruling family plundered the country's treasures. She says the opposition doesn't understand its own success and hasn't promoted any positive strategies.Publisher: Al-Hayat (Pan Arab)
About the political discourse of the Syrian opposition
Author: Salama Kayla is a Syrian contributor to Al-Hayat
First Published: July 17, 2012
Posted on: July 17 2012
Translated by: Kamal Fayad
Categories : Syria
Whoever follows the revolution’s discourse in the media notices that it is predicated on three constants: insulting, bashing and exposing the regime’s crimes, lamenting the death of martyrs and begging the world to intervene to stop the massacres.
The Syrian revolution has been transformed into a massacre, and it has become necessary to condemn the regime responsible for it. Therefore, the world’s “glorious conscience” must be rallied to put an end the massacre. How can a revolution be transformed into a massacre, making lamentations the only way to express its ideals? How can explaining the causes behind the massacres be solely focused on exposing the regimes “atrocities” without touching on the realities that led to them in the first place? The revolution admits that it is unable to address the atrocities and finds it necessary to invite the world to intervene.
All of these signs point to an absence of political discourse and demonstrate the opposition’s lack of adequate analysis regarding the realities in Syria and the nature of its revolution. These shortcomings also drove the opposition to instigate the problems that it has faced and is still facing in its quest for victory. Additionally, the opposition’s extraordinary superficiality in comprehending the situation pushed it to exclusively focus on the regime’s oppression, without any consideration to the facts that followed the regime’s inception and caused large swaths of the population to live below the poverty line. The opposition points out the regime’s repression of the political arena, but it failed to highlight the plundering of treasures and subsequent enrichment of the ruling family minority, and therefore the impoverishment and marginalization of the remaining masses. The opposition has therefore failed to understand why it rose in the first place, and then underestimated the revolution’s potential. The opposition have encumbered it with all types of bad decisions, allowing the Baath Party to falsify its ideals and subjugate it. The opposition has driven the revolution toward ignorance, among other things.
This is why the opposition still only sees the regime and its practices and keeps repeating the words that have been uttered for decades about oppression and the need to instill democracy. The opposition does this without any attempt to consider why certain classes are rebelling or to understand their capabilities. Thus, it does not work — as any real political party would in the event of a revolution — to organize its activities, expand its programs or identify the policies and tactics necessary for the expansion and evolution of the revolution. It could be finding ways to make the revolution succeed by working with the rebelling population instead of working exclusively through the media.
The revolution needs a discourse that is built on strength and dynamism, not lamentations. It needs a discourse that shows a level of understanding and willingness to explain the policies that are needed to grow the revolution. At the same time, the discourse also needs to correctly interpret the daily details that pertain to the activities on the ground, as opposed to just begging and imploring for help. The revolution needs a discourse that clarifies the demands and slogans that may contribute toward expanding the revolution through winning over those that remain undecided and paralyze those that support the regime. The regime’s main focus lately has been on keeping the undecided unsure about joining the ranks of the revolution. The regime’s discourse in the media has focused on this task, and unfortunately, it has been successful. The opposition’s discourse (and here I mainly mean the opposition abroad, or the key components thereof), on the other hand, has led to two outcomes: important segments of society being pushed closer to the regime, and the undecided being pushed toward the sidelines. This has occurred as a result of the opposition’s insistence on calling for foreign intervention. Important segments of society are wary about such an intervention. “Muslim fundamentalist influences” also permeate the opposition, which religious minorities and secularists have always feared. These groups, if they had joined the revolution, would have greatly accelerated its success. Considering the pivotal positions that some (Alawite) individuals have, their participation in the revolution would hasten the disintegration of the regime.
It would appear that the opposition remains an “external” one, not in a geographical sense, but in the sense of understanding the revolution, grasping its structure and properly presenting a discourse that expresses its real aspirations. Lamentation is of no use, and the regime is completely vulnerable now if the people decided to overthrow it. Furthermore, there is no need to continue “exposing” its history and practices, especially now that they are clear for all to see. Lamenting the martyrs is also no longer useful, for they have become heroes, and it has become imperative for their courage and strength be celebrated instead. The revolution should not be used to achieve some “silly” goal, such as having a foreign military intervention in order for certain opposition groups to come to power regardless of what the consequences are for the revolution or for Syria as a whole.
The revolution has grown without anything political achievement, and all of Syria finds itself embroiled in it without any impact from the opposition, except a negative one that delayed the revolution’s expansion because of the fears of some social groups which deterred them from joining its ranks long ago. The opposition is causing the regime to crumble through military might and not through political action, with young people gaining the capacity to lead without the need for political parties that live in “another world.”
In discussing this opposition, I might as well have used Sanskrit, for an alchemist is needed to understand its makeup. In short, he who has never pondered revolutions, how they occur and the role of political action in them, will never understand my words.
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