Syrian Vice President Farouk Shara has finally turned up, ending weeks of uncertainty. The opposition had claimed that he defected, and the regime denied the charge. His silent, pale appearance on Sunday was proof that he was still vice president, but only God knows where he was being led, we hope not to prison in Mazeh, a Damascus suburb. No one steps down in Bashar Assad's special form of democracy: They are fired, or they defect, or they appear, pale and silent, on state television.
In a more romantic context the Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani wrote, "There is no middle ground between heaven and hell." The same goes for Assad. You are either a slave or a traitor. At present every Syrian is a traitor, collaborating with imperialism, Zionism and Arab reactionism, and traitors must be bombed with Russian MiG fighters. That way a new race of slaves will grow up in a few years, devoid of any desire for freedom.
At the moment, with the flood of defections from the ranks of the regime, it is easier to ask who has stayed rather than who has left. Maybe Assad will be next to defect, and it will be left to Vladimir Putin to turn off the lights on his way out, the Russian president who sent three young women to prison for mocking him in a childish act. Indeed, how dare they insult the emperor!
But before Assad exits the stage of history we must acknowledge his exceptional accomplishment for us, the Arabs. Finally there's an Arab state that scoffs at the whole world. Assad scoffed at the United Nations resolution, which passed by 133 votes to 12, with 31 abstentions, demanding that he stop the slaughter. And there's a malicious rumor going around that Assad's brother, Maher, Bashar, said in a closed meeting: "What matters is not what the goyim say, but what the Shabiha do," in a reference to the loyal irregular militia.
Assad knows that without the support of a super-thug he will lose the war. This principle worked in Chechnya, Tibet, Iraq, Afghanistan and ... Palestine. It turns out that the world is picky when it comes to the practice of justice. If you're the victim of a weakling (like when Iraq invaded Kuwait ), especially if you have lots of oil, then everyone will come to your aid. But if you are the victim of a bully, then you can rot alone. But don't worry, you will still be wrapped in a sea of tears and sympathy. Perhaps the time has come for a new world order, for and end to the axis of scoffers!
The secular Arabs, leftists and nationalists alike, have gone out of their way to warn us about the rise of the Islamic fanatics in a post-Assad Syria. As if Assad's alliance with Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas drip secularism and liberalism. But the oddest of all in this regard are the secular in Israel's Arabs community. The nationalists among them told their colleagues not to discuss the issue because it is controversial, as if discussion is only good when everyone agrees.
The revolutionary left, for its part, is already censoring articles condemning the Syrian regime from its organ. Stalinism at its best! Then they roll their eyes and ask why there have been, here and there, a few anti-democratic, even fascist, signs in the Syrian revolt. After all, if the secular decided from the get-go, to stay with the regime then why is it surprising that all the hypocrites among the Arab leaders are cozying up to the revolution? It's a good thing that there is something beyond the leaders of the Arabs in Israel and that there are independent Arab newspapers. It is good that there is a new generation, most of which opposes Assad's bloody regime.
When Tariq ibn Ziyad landed on the shores of Al Andalus, in 711 C.E., he told his soldiers: "Oh my warriors, whither would you flee? Behind you is the sea, before you, the enemy." Today the Syrian people, even if it is exhausted, cannot hide at home. The Shabiha will search for them to the last attic. Thus they have no choice but to prevail. Meanwhile, in the shadow of the world's despicable silence the Syrian people puts forth an alternative to the defeatist Arabic proverb that should henceforth be expressed as follows: "The hand will one day defeat the spike."
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