My heart is torn between East and West. I live somewhere between the present and the past. I don't know who I am.
It’s difficult, yes, but not impossible to forgive someone for siding openly with an oppressor but what I can never forgive is the silence of those who see innocent human beings being slaughtered in cold blood everyday, who see innocent human beings being imprisoned for absolutely no crime, who see innocent human beings being tortured and humiliated and who either don’t speak out against these actions or even worse, those who try to justify them.
Your silence is just as deadly as a bullet. Your tacit approval makes you just as complicit in these crimes as those who commit them. Your hands are stained with the blood of innocent human beings just like the hands of those who order and carry out the killing.
Your silence makes you a killer because your silence kills us too.
Don’t forget. Please don’t forget them.
I want you to just take a look at this picture and reflect on it.
This is Ali Watfa. He’s 33 years old and he has been a prisoner in Assad’s merciless prison cells for the past year.
Ali is disabled, he has a medical condition, yet despite this Assad’s forces showed no sympathy and accused him of being a ‘terrorist’ working against the regime, without any evidence to back their accusations.
Over the past 2 years many of us - living far away from Syria - have somehow reduced the importance of the popular Syrian Revolution, by branding it as a ‘civil war’ where both sides are apparently equal, or a ‘proxy war’ - or even just a ‘humanitarian crisis’ - or whatever other names people have come up with.
I just wanted to remind you all, that what’s happening in Syria is a revolution and remains a revolution. Our people rose up for freedom and dignity against an oppressive regime which denied them both rights.
The first words they chanted were for freedom and dignity. And the first chant to be said was for dignity - الشعب السوري ما بينذل (‘the Syrian people will not be demeaned/humiliated’.)
They did not rise for bread. They rose for dignity. And often, without realising, we dismiss this. We get too caught up with the developments of the revolution, that we forget the essence of it all. A call for dignity.
This man here, Ali Watfa, he deserves his dignity. He deserves to live as every single human should live, with dignity and universal human rights. Him, his family and friends. His entire nation.
So I ask of you, please. To forget all the other countries and players involved in the outer core of this struggle, and just focus on the main stakeholders, their demands and their needs for once. To remember how the revolution started and why. And to respect the Syrian people’s calls for dignity, without attaching any extra strings to them.
Wa alaykum al salaam!
I just want to apologise for taking so long to answer your question. I’ve really been thinking about what you said and I’ve come to the following conclusion: I have absolutely no idea what the solution for Syria is. Honestly, I am not an expert and if I knew, indeed if anyone knew then things would not be where they are now. I don’t believe that the situation would be over because there are certain sides who are benefiting from what’s going on in Syria right now, these are the people which, as you say, are content for the conflict to carry on.
As for people believing that the situation is now a “lost cause”: how can we be surprised at such sentiments when all we see of the conflict is destruction and death? The situation is morbid, yes, but I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: How can we allow ourselves to give up on the Syrian cause when the Syrian people themselves refuse to give in?
At the end of the day, what’s happening in Syria is a revolution, a call for dignity and it’s our duty as human beings first and foremost and then as Muslims to support and stand by those who are being oppressed and those who have been wronged. What really gets me, what hurts me the most is those who have been caught up between the two sides, the innocent men, women and children who have been killed, tortured, humiliated and forced to flee their homes. Their suffering has been reduced to numbers and figures, their struggles have been forgotten. Those are the true victims and the real heroes of the revolution. Those are the people most in need of our support and aid.
You ask about what should be done. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Whoever among you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand [by taking action]; if he cannot, then with his tongue [by speaking out]; and if he cannot, then with his heart [by hating it and feeling that it is wrong] – and that is the weakest of faith” (Narrated by Muslim, 49.) So, the simplest thing you can do is to believe that what is happening to these innocent people is wrong - you won’t believe how many people are still in support of Assad and his barbaric actions. Speak out against what is happening in Syria - you won’t believe how many people still don’t know what’s going on in Syria today. Donate your time and money to charities working with refugees and on the ground in Syria - you won’t believe how desperate some of these charities are for donations and volunteers.
I hope this answers your question. Thank you for being so patient. Hope you and your loved ones are doing well :)
Even after the revolution, Syria will not be a Western-style feminist stronghold. Based on the ground reality, I would advise you to stop expecting that Syrian women, or Arab women in fact, to follow the same path as Western feminists do. Because they won’t. Don’t mirror your own set of rules and morals and think that Syrian women will abide by these same rules.
Different societies are simply different, and not everything is a mirror of the West. If you think the revolution will create groups in Syria like FEMEN whose members protest nude, you will be disappointed. Women’s rights in a future Syria will be dealt with in the context of being a male-dominated society, and a society with very strong religious and traditional feelings.