Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘game of poker

Deadly game of poker? What is ‘this nonsense in the Syrians plight?

We knew the more peaceful we were, the more violent the government would be

In pre-2011 Syria, the word “revolution” never had a positive connotation in my head.

The military coup in which the Ba’ath party took power in 1963 is called a “revolution” in Syrian school curriculums. One of the three state newspapers was called Revolution.

The word was associated with the dysfunctional, bureaucratic and backward state Syria was – and still is.

Then a man burned himself alive in Tunisia. A revolution broke. The government was ousted.

Egypt had its revolution. Then Libya and Yemen.

All of a sudden, the word revolution obtained this new, beautiful meaning for me. It made so much sense; a Syrian revolution was surely inevitable.

Amid the anticipation for change, Syrians were sure of one thing – if this does not go well, it will go really, really badly.

Everyone knew what the Syrian government was capable of and willing to do to maintain power. Haunting stories of Hama massacres in the 1980s circulated secretly. Government brutality was common knowledge.

We thought: “We’ve got this barbaric regime that we’re trying to get rid of, we need to protest. The government is probably going to portray protesters as traitors out to provoke a civil war.”

The Syrian regime has always kept things just under boiling point, so when something like a revolution breaks out, it can easily turn it into an armed conflict. Something to be fought and won.

We knew the government would want to make things look extremely complex, so no international force would be keen on intervening, and may even prop up the status quo. We knew the more peaceful we were, the more violent the government would be.

It was a horrifically simple equation: enough of us would have to die before the rest of the world did something to help. I guess we had watched too many American films.

It was a gamble, and we didn’t have a good hand.

But taking in to consideration what happened in Libya, we felt lucky. The Assad regime being, unlike us, well versed in the reality of international politics, called our bluff. You know the rest.

Today, after five years of whatever the past five years have been, I find it very difficult to keep myself concerned with what’s going on in Syria.

I find it absurd that some people still identify as Syrians.

Statistics and numbers don’t help either. The Syrian Centre for Policy Research published a report on conflict in Syria – war has killed 470,000 people. The rest of the world and us seem not to agree on the definition of the word “enough”.

Meanwhile, the Assad regime is still allowed to continue war tactics from the Middle Ages. Besieging hundreds of thousands of civilians in their own neighbourhoods and villages. Starving them into defeat, dropping barrel bombs on them on a daily basis, and occasionally gassing them to death. While the rest of the world is busy discussing whether Islam is an evil religion in its nature or not.

The certainties, values and beliefs that I was made of have completely shattered. I think that would apply to many other Syrians today. Wouldn’t that explain the torrent of refugees who are trying to get as far as they can from that poker game they have so magnificently lost?

Note: The Syrian regime called the bluff in 2012 when it decided to let the regular army confront the opposition forces at the expense of diminishing Assad power and his clan.




February 2023

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