The people of Syria, nearly two years after the beginning of the revolution, continue to struggle against the criminal and authoritarian regimes for the same objectives: freedom and dignity. This might seem repetitive for some who read often this blog, but it is always important to repeat this permanent truth as the Syrian Revolution has been described increasingly for the past year as a conflict, a civil war or even by the most compliant to the Assad regime or Stalinist ideology as a conspiracy. It is also not a sectarian war as reminded by this child holding this placard:
On this path for freedom and dignity, not only the Syrian people have to face the murderous repression of the regime, which has brought death and destruction to the country, but the political games of the international community trying to impose again and again a deal with the regime on one side and the other side the threats of opportunists and new forms of authoritarianism exemplified by Jahbat al Nusra and co. All these threats have the same objective: prevent radical change from below from the Syrian revolutionary people.
Khatib’s proposal and dialogue with the dictatorial regime
Our position regarding dialogue with the dictatorial regime has been expressed by the declaration of Syrian Revolutionary Left Current (in Arabic https://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/موقف-حول-الحوار-مع-النظام-الدكتاتوري/). We reproduce it here in English:
We witnessed at the beginning of this year, two important events regarding the activities of the Syrian opposition, the first a meeting of the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change (NCCDC) in Geneva and returned at its conclusion to reach an understanding to condition a dialogue with the ruling junta regime. The second event was the initiative of Sheikh Maaz Khatib, head of the National Coalition, who also suggested a conditional dialogue with the regime.
No sane person can refuse lightly everything that can stop or ease the suffering of our people and their great sacrifices, but this does not mean that we have to accept and support any initiative claiming it is seeking to do so. The judgment on such initiatives is subject, from our point of view, to the criteria’s meeting the following conditions: to provide for the masses the ability to re-establish their fight and struggle to topple the dictatorial regime, and that does not provide for the latter to prolong its time or survival, and in particular that allow the space for radical change from the bottom in favor of the popular classes and to serve their direct and general interests.
(NCCDC) and Sheikh Moaz initiatives both converge in calling for “change from above”, with the difference that the initiative of Sheikh al-Khatib, whatever is its ultimate fate, reflects clearly the will of the traditional bourgeoisie and especially of Damascus, to find a solution that maintains its class interests, which were served by the current regime for decades, but that became threaten completely with this popular revolution. This bourgeois class became encourage for the need for partial change partial and from above of the dictatorial regime, restricted to political feature, and not social ones. This is originally what is calling for the allies of the regime and also the countries that claim to be the friend of the Syrian people, and both parties do not want or wish for the victory of the popular revolution.
In this context, we express our rejection of such initiatives that do not meet the root political and social requirements from the bottom of the popular revolution, and does not contribute to the strengthening of the popular movement, on the path to victory.
All the power and wealth to the people
Revolutionary Left Current in Syria
The main argument is indeed that it threatens change from below, in other words real and radical change. During the protests last Friday February 8th the revolutionaries throughout the country brandished placards saying « we will only negotiate on the departure of the regime », demonstrating once again the will of the Syrian people to continue the struggle with the objective of overthrowing the regime and they will not accept anything less.
The necessity to trial and judge Bashar al Assad and all who have blood on their hands is important also for many Syrians. This placard held by a child says: “the initiative that does not include the trial of Al Assad is refused and considered pariah…”
In the mean time, the regime has refused Sheikh Khatib’s proposal and continue its criminal repression.
Syria’s economic and social difficulties
Syria has suffered an economic loss of $48.4 billion in the past 22 months, accounting for 81.7 percent of its GDP in 2012, according to data from the Syria Policy Studies Center.
Syria’s GDP declined by 29.1 percent year on year in 2012 caused by destruction of production facilities, deterioration of the security situation as well as economic sanctions, according to a recent United Nations report.
Syria posted a 35-percent unemployment rate in 2012, and the figure could exceed 60 percent by the end of 2015 if the turbulence continues, the report said.
The ongoing crisis is likely to cost Syria 60 percent of its GDP by 2015, said Abdullah Dardari, former Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs of Syria, who is also an economist with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia.
Official data showed that the Syrian turmoil has damaged public and private facilities worth nearly 25.3 billion US dollars across the country, with 624,000 families and 3.3 million people suffering from the destruction.
A total of 2,326 schools have been damaged ever since the conflicts broke out in Syria, official data show. Although 300 of the damaged facilities have been repaired, schools in some provinces have not been able to resume teaching due to security concerns. The northern Aleppo Province only has 11 percent of its schools resuming classes, a rate well below the national average of 75 percent, reports said.
The conflicts also destroyed 25 public hospitals and 111 medical centers and forced 25 out of its 72 pharmaceutical factories to suspend production, Syria had 170 of its 700 telephone switchboards and 1,700 of its 6,000 cellphone signal towers destroyed in the unrest.
Meanwhile, the country is facing flour and bread shortages.
Since some flour mills have been forced to suspend production, the flour output across the whole country has dropped to 5,500 tons per day, falling far short of the nationwide demand of 7,000 tons.
As a response, the Syrian government has resorted to its flour reserve while planning to import 100,000 tons of flour to ease the shortages.
Threats from within
The revolutionaries of Syria have not only had to face initiatives threatening as we said the revolutionary process from above but also threats from the bottom by groups such as Jabhat al Nusra holding a reactionary ideology and a sectarian discourse (see articlehttps://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/position-regarding-jabhat-al-nusra-similar-groups-and-suicides-bombings/).
In this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_1xdQX33pM) filmed in the city of Saraqeb, we can see Jahbat al Nusra members trying to pull down the Syrian revolutionary flag! The people in the demonstration fought back by driving back Jabhat al Nusra’s members, while chanting the Syrian people are one!
Incidents have multiplied with the population in zones dominated by Jabhat al Nusra, which tries to impose its ideology and way of life on the population.
The Sharia Body in Aleppo has been the target of protesters of Bustan Qasr after arresting Wael Ibrahim known as Abu Maryam, an activist and member of the Field Office of the very active neighborhood of Bustan Qasr on the accusation of rejecting of the Islamic Caliphate and meddling with the regime, this latter’s accusation was completely wrong, while the first one was not as Abu Maryam has been since the beginning arguing for a Civil and pluralist State. Abu Maryam was released a day after following popular protests against the Sharia Body.
Placard from a protests to free Abu Maryam: “Open Sit-In to free the activist Abu Maryam”
You check Abu Maryam’s interview after his release here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Xvi2dKCxS-Q
In both cases, these attempts threatens the self organization of the revolutionary people who have been able to establish popular committees at the level of villages, neighborhoods, cities and regions since the beginning of the revolution. These popular committees are the real backbone of the movement, mobilizing the people for demonstrations. They have also developed forms of self-management based on the organization of the masses in the areas liberated from the yoke of the regime. These popular committees in coordination with the popular armed resistance have been the basis for resistance against the regime; anything that threatens these two aspects threatens the existence of the popular movement and therefore the resistance to regime.
We condemn all acts that go against the spirit of this revolution and the victory of the Syrian masses.
The Syrian people will not allow any other form of authoritarianism submit them, every groups in the path of the revolutionary process will be crushed by the revolutionary masses.
As written in this placard in Aleppo a couple of month ago: “Syria is: Free Syria, and not Assad’s Syria and of any other animal”
The Syrian people know that the regime and some sections of the opposition want to divide the Syrian people through ethnic, sectarian and tribal differences, but the Syrian people will not fall in this trap as they have not for the past two years. This placard reminds this will:
“If we stay affiliated to our sect, we will stay slave for eternity and forever minority, yes to the civil until we become really the majority”
“the sectarian songs (slogans) do not represent the fine people of Bunsh”
The popular movement continues to believe in the victory of the revolution in combining peaceful and armed resistance on a daily basis. These two following placards exemplify this belief:
“the crag, the pen, the camera, the bullet, the variety of our weapons and one victory.”
“Hand in Hand, pacifists and armed militants, together to overthrow the regime”
The past few weeks have also seen pacific actions such as « exams of blood » undertaken mainly by members of the Union of the Free Students throughout Syria to pay tribute to the martyrs of the University of Aleppo assassinated by the regime in a plane bombing. In the same time, despite the lack of resources and assistance, groups of the Free Syrian army continues to welcome new defectors and gain new victories. The general of the Free Syrian army Abd El-Jaber appeared in the neighborhood reminding the unicity of the peaceful and armed resistance of the Syrian people (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=lkIVAVzONsQ). He recalled that it was the regime that pushed the revolution to arm itself, saying that the peaceful demonstrations are the spirit and the origin of the revolution.
Together armed and civilian resistance will lead to the victory and the fall of the regime and build a Syria for all.
“Our objective is not only to overthrow the regime…. it is to build a country that respects everyone regardless of the political, religious and ethnic appurtenances” Zabadani
One solution: permanent revolution
The Syrian people have spoken and their decision is clear: they wish to continue the revolution to overthrow the regime and build a Free Syria open to everyone without any discriminations. The Syrian revolutionaries will not accept anything less, represented by this placard that was seen throughout Syria last week: “No one can or will be able to impose on us solutions that do not achieve (realize) the objectives of our revolution”
The future is in the hand of the Free Syrian people that has already paid such a heavy price for their struggle for freedom and dignity, but will continue until victory.
Victory to the Syrian Revolution and Peace to our martyrs