Inhabitants of the Daraa province, especially those who escaped death by fleeing towards the Syrian-Israeli border, vividly summarize the tragedy of the Syrian people.
Before escaping death, they had freed their spirits from a murderous regime. They were the first to revolt against the latter following the infamous tragedy that befell their children. If they were to cross the border into Israel, which is not possible, they would have been deemed agents of the Zionist enemy. Returning to their homes and villages means submitting to the murderous regime they rebelled against in the first place – the regime which has become even more vengeful after receiving international support with Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu accepting it as “the best” for them and for Syria.
This plight resembles Dante’s Inferno, but it’s a hell that is neither followed by anything purifying nor a paradise.
This situation summarizes the available options for the Syrians who want nothing other than to live as free, safe and respected citizens. Now, however, they can either surrender to governance that humiliates them, persecutes them and impoverishes them or they can flee to countries where they will be chased away by racists or deemed as foreign agents and traitors. There is also the option of these people resorting to lying and manipulation in order to survive thus gaining the satisfaction of the regime along with benefits and privileges and perhaps even a government position.
This plight resembles Dante’s Inferno, but it is a hell followed neither by anything purifying nor by a paradise.Hazem Saghieh
In other words, the choice is between surrendering or giving up on principles. It’s to either to submit to the regime or turning against oneself!
After all this, they talk about ISIS and extremism. Extremism is of course a product of many complicated factors. Living in the Syrian slaughterhouse remains the most important reason for extremism, especially when desperation fills the hearts of those who wish to escape after having attempted to destroy it. In addition to international support, there are those who fight tooth and nail to restore the slaughterhouse, changing the frozen blood on the walls into concrete. This is what has come to be known as the “Syrian reconstruction project,” which appears a mouthwatering proposition for many.
In its penultimate issue, the British magazine Economist called Syrians “the new Palestinians.” According to the magazine, they will be the demons of the region - desmons whom injustice and discrimination will push them to violence, weapons and chaos, like what happened to the Palestinians before them. What is certain today is that Daraa which was the cradle of the revolution will not be the final chapter of griefs. In its saga of vendetta, the Assad regime is going to bring down Idlib, which awaits its turn. The victims of Daraa, Idlib and other Syrian areas also have their own records in which they write down the names of their killers. Those who have died many times are destined to kill many.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Hazem Saghieh is a Lebanese political analyst and the political editor of the London-based Arab newspaper al-Hayat.