Speech made in February 2011
Dear Comrades, Brothers and Sisters
We are gathered here today firstly to salute the Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions and other uprisings in the region from Jordan to Yemen, with a special thought today as well for the day of changing the system in Algeria.
People of the Arab world have risen to denounce their corrupted and authoritarian regimes, as well as we should not forget to condemn the destructive neo liberal policies, advised by IMF and World Bank institutions that enriched a small minority in power and impoverished the society as a whole. People want to live their life in dignity and not survive!
Today, I want to show my support to the popular movements of the region here from Trafalgar Square as a Syrian, because my fellow citizens in Syria were forbidden to show their support to their Egyptian and Tunisian brothers several times. Demonstrations and sit in organized in Syria to support the Egyptian and Tunisian revolution were actually repressed by security forces.
If Egypt has been living under state emergency since 1981, we in Syria have been living under it since 1963. Therefore demonstrations are unlawful, as well as freedom of association, expression and many other basic human rights.
President Bashar Al Assad said last week in an interview that “We have more difficult circumstances than most of the Arab countries but in spite of that Syria is stable. Why? Because you have to be very closely linked to the beliefs of the people. This is the core issue.
I ask President Bashar Al Assad the following questions:
Do you think the 2 millions persons in Syria who can not afford to meet their food and non food basic needs, share the same beliefs than you, when you and your direct relatives are billionaires?
Do you think the Syrian left out by your so called “economic reforms”, implemented directly from neo liberal schools, which did not benefit the population, rising unemployment to 25%, increasing social inequalities, and cost of living considerably these last few years, therefore impoverishing society as a whole share the same beliefs than you?
Do you think the 300 000 Kurds in Syria denied nationality by your government and therefore stateless share the same beliefs than you?
Do you think the young protesters, repressed by your security forces, only because they wanted to show their support to the struggle for freedom and dignity of their brothers in Egypt and elsewhere, share the same beliefs than you?
Do you think the estimated 4,500 “prisoners of opinion” in Syrian jails share the same beliefs than you?
I am sorry President I am not sure the people share the same beliefs as you when your regime represses their democratic and social rights.
On the so called threat of Islamic revolution as portrayed by the Western States and Medias and undermining the popular feature and inclusive nature of these popular movements I answer that:
The real and true threat in the eyes of the Western powers is the threat that the people of the region will decide their own future – a future without foreign intervention. This is the real threat for the imperialists, to not be able to steal the resources of the country and exploit its people, or use these countries to implement their imperial policies in complete opposition with the feelings and the needs of the people. The popular movements in regions have decided to end this status quo.
The ‘political reforms’ from authoritarian regimes are not enough, neither are the symbolic measures to raise salaries or try to adjust other socio economic issues. Popular movements are clear on their objective: the people want to overthrow the regime! The popular movements throughout the region want to continue the Revolution and make it permanent.
For all who supports a dictatorship, being in Syria or elsewhere because they think they protect you, I tell them one thing: you are wrong! We do not need anyone to protect us as Human! We as Human do not need a corrupt, authoritarian and oppressive regime to protect anyone, and especially not the people of Syria! The only protection we need is a Democratic and a Social State, which respects our basic rights to live in dignity. The only solution revolution to get rid of corrupt and authoritarian regimes!
And we do not need foreign imperialist powers helping us to achieve our freedom! People of the region have shown they don’t need wars promoted by Bush and Blair to implement democracy in their countries. Popular movements have shown that we are not object of history but subject!
The fall of each authoritarian regime in the region is also a step closer for the Liberation of Palestine and of the Palestinian People. We should not forget. Revolutions can happen in the 21th century – Egyptians and Tunisians are showing us the way to it – a lesson for all movements struggling against dictatorship, neo-liberalism and imperialism across the world.
Thank you all