Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Open Letter of poet Adonis

Poet Adonis urges Assad to cede power to people Syrian poet and intellectual Adonis (real name Ali Ahmed Said) urged President Bashar al-Assad to end his crackdown on popular protests and cede power to his people, in an open letter published on Tuesday.  This is an abridged translation from Arabic of the open letter published in the Lebanese daily Al-Safir.

“Neither reality nor mind believes that democracy is about to be instituted in Syria, right after the fall of the Assad regime.  However, it is not admissible to accepting this violent security regime in Syria.

Without democracy, Syria is going to surely heading to hell.  We have to steadily inch toward democratic institutions.  Democracy was unknown to modern Arab States, as it was historically unknown in Arabic culture.

The pre-requisites for stable democratic systems are:

First, taking society out of the political cultural realm of “heavenly dictates” to the “earthly individual human rights”.  Basically, we have to separate State responsibilities from religious dogma.  The various religious political forms of government have killed citizens, physically and mentally, according to “religious laws”.

Second, democracy needs a climate of freedom of speech, opinions, and expressions:  Small minds can reduce rich texts into nothingness.

Third, leniency in difference of opinion is good, but what is required is equality under the laws of the land in matter of human rights.  The regime Baath Party failed to tailor-make a new modern suit and was comfortable resuming the old-fashioned, archaic traditional religious custom mentalities. The regime Baath Party failed in its mission of integrating society on the basis of a secular State.  The experiences in the various political ideologies failed in the Arab World to forming a modern citizen; to not identifying the citizen as related to his religious affiliation or tribal membership.

Fourth, the Syrian officials have to admit that their practices and application of the better principles of the Baath ideology came very short to target in forming a secular citizen.

“The Socialist Baath Party has not remained in power this long because of the strength of its ideology, but because of the power of its iron fist. Experience shows that this fist… can impose hegemony for a limited time only. It seems your destiny Mr. President (Bashar el Assad) is to sacrifice yourself for your mistakes and to give back voice to the people and let them decide.

What a stable government needs are:

First, identifying a citizen out of his affiliation to his religious sect, tribe,…

Second, imposing equal rights under the laws of a secular land, regardless of genders or religious affiliation…

Third, reverting the sole power of extending legitimacy to the people…” (End of quotes)

Rights groups estimate that more than 1,200 people have been killed and 10,000 detained since mid-March as Assad’s forces crack down on an unprecedented revolt against his autocratic regime.  The regime’s brutal repression has driven thousands of Syrians to seek refuge in neighboring Turkey and Lebanon.

Apparently, the Syrian regime is being harassed by citizens in both the urban centers and from the remote countryside.  The father Hafez el Assad came from the countryside and did his best to disseminate progress and economic plans toward the countryside. 

The son Bashar has forgotten the countryside and that his family is from the countryside, while the middle class and old feudal families in the urban centers don’t like this newcomer among them. 

The Assad clan and extended family have enjoyed the poisonous fruits of international financial capitalist system and relegated the common people to fend for themselves.  The Assad clan might,most likely, go the distance to preserving their hold on power, even if Syria goes to hell.

What will change the regime in Syria is its current financial difficulties:  The Syrian currency is no longer stable (the oligarchy transferred its hard currency outside the State), and the wealth of the nation cannot be transacted with foreign financial institutions.

The latest speech of Bashar didn’t bring anything new to resolving the volatile situation:  He is reading from the same speech that Tunisia’s Ben Ali and Egypt’s Moubarak read before him.

Note 1: The poet Adonis, whose real name is Ali Ahmed Said, has for decades advocated secularism and free speech in the Arab world, often employing intense imagery.  Born in the Syrian mountain town of Qassabin, Adonis — like the Assad family– is a Alawite Muslim, an offshoot of Shiite Islam that controls the Baath Party which has ruled Syria for nearly five decades.


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September 2020
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