It is a crime of the Syrian tragedy that parties decided since the start to determine the path and fate from abroad, at the expense of the popular civil and peaceful movement. Everyone remembers how members of the Muslim Brotherhood launched the page “Syrian Revolution against Bashar al-Assad” in January 2011 and demanded that the uprising should start on 4 and 5 February, i.e. the anniversary of the massacre of Hama. We remember on the morning of 16 March 2011 how the newspapers wrote about demonstrations and victims on the date set by the above-mentioned Facebook page.
There were no wounded or dead at the time, but the narrative had been prepared by some and there was also disinformation by the media. Everyone remembers the beginning of the movement in the city of Daraa which focused on security officer Atef Najib who was a symbol of suppression and corruption in the province, and spoke about corruption, reform, lifting the State of Emergency and carrying slogans about dignity and freedom, and defined the boundary between the outside and inside when a banner was raised that said: “No Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists, we want a Civil State”.
The voice of the Syrian human, the son of suffering and chronic pain from the system of corruption and tyranny, with local slogans outside the virtual world: “Peace even though a hundred are killed every day”; “Even though you opened your hand to kill me I won’t open my hand to kill you. I fear Allah, the Lord of the Worlds”; “We demanded reform, they confronted us with weapons”; “In Daraa, no gangs and plots and weapons …”. The popular movement in Tunisia and Egypt has created a general environment for peaceful change and awakened the civil resistance in the collective conscience from ‘the water to the water; (the Atlantic to the Gulf). Our problem in Syria from the beginning was the attempt by the outsider and the media to exert control over the grassroots movement for agendas that are not commensurate with the pace of the popular movement, and the pace of internal requirements. The intervention became clear in the naming of the Fridays, and some wealthy people from the Gulf States began asking for specific slogans, and we started to hear from clerics in the Arabian Peninsula phrases such as: “1,000 NATO, not Magi and Safavist “.
The voice from abroad covered the internal voice in satellite and virtual worlds, and it is not a coincidence that the six advocates of a Syrian transitional Council from Istanbul were from abroad and holding European and American nationality, and did not include one citizen from the inside. It is not a coincidence also that this project is marketed by the West and Gulf at the expense of the internal struggle emanating from the clay earth and society’s womb. We have tried since the first meeting in Doha in June 2011 to prioritise goodwill and give voice to those on the inside, and I asked a nominee in the Council to return to Syria so as not to become opposition in exile that the neighbouring countries and wasteland countries would toss about. All our shouting has gone down the drain, and the media and political and financial support rained down on the opposition abroad, enabling them to become the spokesman for the people and the revolution. I still remember the sentence of Azmi Bishara: “If you agreed on a joint body the aircraft is ready to travel to several countries for recognition”. The Libyan model replica??? The day after aborting the first agreement between the National Coordination Body – NCB and the Syria National Council hours after the announcement of an external command, Michel Kilo told me at the home of Samir Aita: “This is the work of security services”. Why some frowns about the senior U.S. official who said recently that his country was behind the creation of the Council and the Coalition?
They said two weeks and it will end; we told them the story is long. They accused us of all the betrayals and they betrayed each secret. The day we launched the slogan of toppling the dictatorship and the three NOs – no sectarianism, no to violence, no to foreign military intervention – the spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood movement said there is no sacred NOs. On 10 August, two days after Maan Awdat was martyred, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Salafist sites published articles says yes to arms under the banner of jihad, and yes to respond to the sectarian regime by mobilising Sunnis, and yes for foreign military intervention because we began the phase of truce between the Western powers and Islam. I spoke with a friend of the Muslim Brotherhood who came to pay respects about his brother, who said to me this article does not represent the point of view of the Brotherhood then the talk of jihad and its necessity to overthrow the regime was escalated, and the story began by an exaggerated request for blood bags from medical charities. We said to those who we are in contact with that you will lose the majority who continue to embrace the peaceful civil movement, and will lose the militarisation bet.
Again, accusations were made on the World Wide Web and satellite TV, which were utilised to tarnish the image of peaceful activists. I still remember the sentence that I said to one of them after Eid al-Fitr in 2011: “If it is armed it will be Islamised, and sectarian-ised, and exteme-ised, and its wind will depart”. One of the council-ised people who belongs to the Syrian issue stood up from far away and said to me: “We employ a hundred people to respond to you if you do not stop making these statements”. I replied coldly: “the Proverb says cut the necks but don’t destroy the livelihoods, at least you will spend part of what you grasp on people”. Even the dearest people warned me of the difficulty of confronting the sweeping wave that is led by the major and the small countries, and the media assassin. I will not dwell on the memory; the purpose of this is to say that this attitude reflects the tens or even hundreds of thousands who wanted a peaceful political transition. The sentence of the friend and detainee Abdul Aziz al-Khayer was repeated: “We must bite on our finger and aches, and remain peaceful so as not to fall into the trap opened for us to go from revolution to war”. Those who gave the most beautiful picture of the world of popular civic movement were pushed into retreating to carry out the duties of humanity, by indiscriminate violence carried out amongst a section of the opposition who supported the armament. If they were from religious minorities and sects that were classified as loyalists of the regime, or they were the enlightened ones from the numerically majority Islamic group, they were classified as cowards; if they criticized what was happening, they became “shabeeha”. It was the marginalization of all attempts at peaceful civil action. Against this marginalization has been floating the idea of armed action. The opposition abroad did not condemn what happened to ordinary soldiers killed at Jusr al-Shaghur earlier.
No-one enquires why the first refugee camp was built in Iskenderun by the Turkish authorities before the arrival of the refugees, and how many times did I call on the people of the South to stay in their homes and reject the idea of resorting to neighbouring countries, and some who encouraged people to move from asylum in quiet areas saying there was no danger to their people denounced our position. And how will we forget the farcical acrobats who said that the presence of ten thousand Syrian refugees in a NATO member country will make that country intervene in accordance with Article VIII of its Statute … of course al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya did not enquire about the existence of that Statute, and one of the senior officials of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization laughed when I told him the story. Today the refugees are left to a dark fate, and even the aid that comes in their name from all guardian countries, organisations and people, is looted. Is everyone who is warning about these tragedies loyal to the regime?
A struggler who spent 14 years in prison one day brought me a tape of Abu Omar al-Husseini al-Qurashi al-Baghdadi, saying: “This is who commissioned Abu Mohammed al-Joulani to lead Jabhat al-Nusra”. I listened to all nineteen paragraphs that he spoke about, including: “and there should be demolition and removal of all manifestations of polytheism and prohibition of its means. al-Rafeda is a sect of polytheism and a renegade. Secularism and all its variations and diversity of doctrines, as nationalism and patriotism, communism and the Baathist are Kafr (infidels). Sects of people of the Book and others who are al-Sabian and the like are today the disowned people of war. We should be fighting the police and army juggernaut”… This struggler from a Christian family rejected being silent on the day that the Coalitionists were wooing Jabhat al-Nusra and Daash. Was he loyal to the regime, and were they with their position as defenders of Jabhat al-Nusra the owner of the truly and honest democratic project? When the infrastructure facilities were hit, how was the position of the Syrian opposition in Istanbul? When a lawyer from Harasta was slaughtered because of his Shi’ite family, did any of the coalition object to this behaviour, although he had lost his leg in resistance with the Palestinian resistance against Israel? When kidnapping was happening on the basis of sectarian identity, what was the position of “moderates”? When the statues and shrines of the prophets were blasted and fell, and churches were demolished, did we hear a tough stance being taken before the beginning of this month? When civilians and military personnel were killed due to their sectarian identity, was any statement of acquittal issued? Did not Sheikh of Lawyers say that kidnapping is a “proven and effective means”, and did not he legalise the blood of every Russian citizen in the name of the “revolution”? In all of these situations there was the conscience of citizens shouting NO … at every request for NATO intervention there are those who say NO … those were never with dictatorship and stood firmly against State security, and paid expensively with their freedom and their livelihood.
Under what right can they classify these people as loyalist or opposition with a limited ceiling? Is the policeman who regulates traffic the servant of the dictatorship? Is it legitimate to kill the soldier at the checkpoint? Is it legal to randomly target and demolish neighbourhoods and villages by this group or that? Can the bearer of burdens bear the burden of another? Where is it the moral and revolutionary observing eye of the entrepreneur in the opposition abroad? Quraish fighters mutilated and abused the bodies of the noblest people, which is prohibited by the Holy Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him). Where is their Islam from Islam? And why is everyone who denounces the crimes of strangers accused of being agents for the regime or for the alliance? Has the time not come to put an end to this farce? Did not the silent or participant politicians and militarists think about these practices, that Syria will remain for its people and by its people, and that it is doomed to live with its neighbours and not with the Taliban and Chechen and odd aliens who carry the death message from any country they came from, and any camp they join?
Despite the depth of the tragedy, there is still in Syria a majority carrying forward its civil democratic change project, and in spite of all the frustrations they see still their belief is stronger than that of the opposition who are in the hotels. These forced absentees who lost their lives and those who are still alive have a voice, a position and rights. They are the builders of Syria’s future, the most eager for dignity and the state law and sovereignty. And each one who directs the arrows of Takfir or criticism of them should know that the memory of the people is stronger than the memory of historians, and that accountability will not only be for the criminals of the dictatorship regime, but also for those who stole and traded and sold and bought and colluded with the regional obscurantism and foreign domination at the expense of the country’s unity and dignity of its people.