An interview with Bassam Alkadi, President of the Syrian Women Observatory

An interview with Bassam Alkadi, President of the Syrian Women Observatory
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Posted by Camille Otrakji for Syria Comment.


Bassam Alkadi is President of Syria’s main women rights organization. A relentless fighter for human rights in Syria. Although he has been fired from his job, arrested, jailed and forbidden from traveling, he continues to be driven by logic and not revenge. He rejects dialogue for the sake of dialogue. Instead calling for dialogue that follows some prerequisite, even if partial, implementations of some of the announced reforms announced by the Syrian government.

In this interview he shares his with us his concerns and fears of the conflict in Syria as well as his hopes for a new democratic, secular Syria.

Q1. In your view, if free parliamentary elections were to be held later this year, which of the parties would win popular support? Would it be the Baath, the Syrian National Socialist Party, the Communist Party, new parties …?

Bassam: This proposition is flawed from the get go. We can’t talk about “free parliamentary elections” as of today. For elections to be “free,” all necessary tools and mechanisms must have been made available for all parties for an adequate period of time prior to holding any such election. How can the vast propaganda and media machines of both the Ruling Party and of the Islamists be effectively countered? Any such elections will not be “free” in a meaningful way until the anticipated new democratic laws (Party Law, Media Law, and Free Assembly Law) have been in effect for at least a full year.
Anything less and elections would be limited to only the blindly pro-regime and the blindly anti-regime camps.

Q2. What would be a reasonable time frame for the anticipated reforms presented by President Assad in his third speech? And do you support the President’s preference of involving representatives of the people in formulating these reforms, as part of a National Dialog initiative? Or do you have a different model that you would prefer?

Bassam: Absolutely, I support the regime’s declared intention of involving true representatives of the Syrian People. Elitists, and Opposition figures have proven themselves to be failures and irrelevant for quite some time now, but especially so during the current crisis. Proving this particular point may require a dedicated article, even though it is easily provable.
The real leaders of the Street (Loyalists and Opposition) are the ones that count, when it comes to National Dialog.

Further, the reforms that have been launched since the lifting of the State of Emergency, really need years to be fully realized and implemented, and any talk otherwise by Western leaders can only be interpreted as pushing [the country] toward more and more tension. Let those who are pushing present a workable plan for realizing even a quarter of the promised Reforms in a full year, if they think they can.

Having said that, significant implications of those reforms can be made visible before too long, even if incomplete. This would be very important as a confidence building measure.

Q3. As president of the “Syrian Women Observatory” which monitors and promotes Women’s rights in Syria, and which is dedicated to non-violence, and one who used to meet with Western NGOs and diplomats, you recently wrote a letter expressing your anger and distrust of the real motives behind the close follow up by the US and the EU, of events in Syria. You are also a critic of Turkish intervention in Syria’s affairs. Do you believe that Syria today is still capable of maintaining its independent foreign policies, and how?

Bassam: I object to describing what the West is doing (especially the US, French, British, and German governments) as “close follow up”. On the contrary, their intervention is a deliberate provocation of the crisis with one goal, and that is to coerce the Syrian People to adopt the Libyan Scenario, or to force the regime to surrender to the West’s political agenda. They [the West] have not only ignored facts on the ground, but have recently started exerting open pressure on the Syrian People, by punishing state-owned institutions and companies that tens of thousands of Syrian families depend on for their livelihood.

Yes, Syria is capable of maintaining its independence. The regime today has to conduct critical surgery at its most fundamental levels. This, in a way, is the beginning of its demise as the regime that once was; the end of it as a system, but not necessarily the end of any individuals. One problem which the regime seems to have recently recognized is its need to employ public and open diplomacy, instead of its previously preferred secrecy and non-transparency. Public Opinion is now more important than ever before, and can only be addressed through open and public diplomacy.

Q4. Can Syria remain (or become) a secular country if the Middle East (including Israel) witnesses a continued strengthening of extremist religious influence in political decision making as well as in society?

Bassam: Syria has never been a secular country. And it has never been a religious state in traditional perceptions either.

The Syrian street today, away from the manifestation of the anger that drives some to shout extreme sectarian slogans, is more aware than ever of the danger of the religious extremists.

More importantly, any country cannot ignore the forces of civil society, and if the Syrian civil society previously used the state of emergency and other issues as an excuse to avoid involvement, after this crisis it doesn’t have any excuse not to get involved. Let civil society (the truly civil one) face the religious extremists, then any system will be forced to take that into account.

The type of relationship [between leadership and people] in any country does not turn into a regime and its herd unless the civil society and its organizations relinquish their responsibilities, whatever the reasons and justifications.

Q5. You called on others to renounce violence as a means to create a healthy society and you are one of the first Syrians who condemned the violence since the beginning of the recent events in Syria. Through your experience in dealing with issues of violence, how it is possible in these circumstances that all the parties involved can adopt the statement of renouncing violence and using the language of dialogue as the only means to reach solutions, keeping in mind that you personally refuse to sit at the negotiating table today. What is the solution?

Bassam: After walking in the streets of many Syrian cities, and through my vast relations with the real people, I know very well that the overwhelming proportion of them renounce violence in all its forms. Without accepting this fact of our society, we would not be here today; Syrian society would have exploded into a devastating civil war over a month ago.
Armed militias (religious radicals and others) are a small, but highly dangerous, minority. Hence I publicly supported ‘precise surgical operation’ by the regime against those militias.

Dialogue does not mean people sitting at one table in a hotel! It is rather the outcome of a number of measures and mechanisms that allow people to define their forces, crystallize their thoughts and perceptions, and then elect their representatives. This is how dialogue can be a dialogue and not just talk.
When this takes place, neither I, nor the majority of the Syrian street today, would refuse to sit at the table for dialogue.

What is happening today, what was announced, has nothing to do with a table for real dialogue. It is rather an attempt by some to reserve seats on the next train instead of the real people of Syria being empowered to build the train of their future.

Give me the laws for associations, political parties and truly democratic media, and immediately amend the law of demonstrations today, and you’ll see an entirely different picture of Syria within a short time. A picture that does not only frighten the regime, but it frightens the “opposition” to the same extent.

Q6. what is your personal vision for the future of Syria? What are the solutions that can be put forward to the current complex state of affairs?

Bassam: Ending the crisis today is not directly related to shaping the future of Syria.

In my opinion the future of Syria is simple: A democratic civil state that is both secure and stable. This is what many people, even within the regime, are well aware of as our only hope.

Exiting the crisis today will not be possible without a basket of actions and mechanisms that allow people to move from the current fragmentation and marginalization, to the state of civic participation. This is not an illusion. Forces of the Syrian street did not learn to speak like as intellectuals, and did not learn to organize the way the elite do. Therefore it is urgently in need of help to grow.

Here I particularly want to point out the real danger threatening the protest movement today, which is the danger of disintegration. They went through three and a half months of non-focused movement, under the real slogan expressing their anger and feeling oppressed, and not by the  slogan heard more directly (down of the regime), even if some of the Syrians living in exile claimed otherwise. Moreover, the regime did not recognize them and did not provide them with a mechanism for the advancement of their movement in a civil manner. Finally, there are multiple forces, internal and external, seeking to exploit this situation. All this reduces the movement’s ability to get organized, get rid of the impurities and to advance toward a well-organized and sustainable civil movement. Thus it (the disintegration) might allow each of the other forces (including: criminals, insurgents, thugs, bullies, or shabbiha ..) to take the leadership platform of this movement, and In that event, it will be really too late to the extent that we may have to pay a heavy price.

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Many thanks to Jad and Averroes for their help in conducting and translating this interview. The original Arabic text follows.
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بسام القاضي، رئيس مرصد نساء سورية. يعمل ويكتب من أجل حقوق الإنسان في سورية. سرح من وظيفته ،اعتقل، سجن وممنوع من السفر،لا يزال مدفوعا بالمنطق في كتابته وآرائه وليس بالانتقام.

هو يرفض الحوار من أجل اللاشيء وبدلاً عن ذلك يدعو إلى الحوار بعد تطبيق إصلاحات أساسية ولو جزئياً من قبل الحكومة السورية

في هذه المقابلة شاركنا مخاوفه من الصراع في سورية فضلا عن آماله من أجل سوريا ديمقراطية، مدنية وربما علمانية جديدة.

بأعتقادك فيما لو جرت انتخابات برلمانية حرة في وقت لاحق من هذا العام، أي من الأحزاب الموجودة حالياً أو الجديدة سوف تتمتع بأغلب التأييد الشعبي، حزب البعث ، الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي، الحزب الشيوعي، احزاب جديدة؟
بسام: يبدو لي هذا السؤال خاطئا من الأساس. فلا يمكن الحديث عن انتخابات برلمانية “حرة” اليوم. لأن شرط أن تكون حرة هو أن تتوفر كل الأدوات والآليات المناسبة قبل حدوثها. فكيف يمكن اليوم مواجهة الآلة الدعائية والإعلامية لكل من النظام والإسلاميين الذين سيطروا على كل وسائل الإعلام وآلياته عبر عقود؟
أي انتخابات لا يمكن أن تكون “حرة” بالمعنى الدقيق قبل مرور سنة على الأقل على إقرار قوانين ديمقراطية الأحزاب والجمعيات والإعلام.
وما تبقى سيكون فقط انتخابات الأمر الواقع الذي يشمل جانبين، الموالاة العمياء، أو المعارضة العمياء. وكلاهما في المآل نفسه.

ما هو الاطار الزمني المنطقي للإصلاحات المتوقعة كما طرحها السيد الرئيس في خطابه الثالث، وهل تؤيد تفضيل الرئيس لإشراك ممثلي الشعب في تشكيل هذه الإصلاحات جزء من حوار وطني) أو لديك تصور آخر لوضع وتنفيذ الاصلاحات)؟
بسام: بكل تأكيد أؤيد توجه النظام إلى ممثلي الشعب الحقيقيين. فالنخب وشخصيات المعارضة أثبتت فشلها وخوائها منذ زمن، خاصة في هذه الأزمة. ويحتاج إثبات هذا إلى مقال خاص. رغم توفر كل البراهين.
لكن هذا الإشراك لا يمكن أن يكون صحيحا ومفيدا وحقيقيا إلا إذا سارع النظام إلى إقرار كل الآليات التي تسمح للشارع بتنظيم نفسه وانتخاب ممثليه. وأول شروط هذه الإمكانية هو تقديم ضمانات فعلية على أمن كل شخص منهم أنه لن يحاسب ولا يلاحق.
قادة الشارع (معارضة ومولاة) هم المعنيون الحقيقيون بالحوار، وليس غيرهم.
والإصلاحات التي أطلقت منذ رفع حالة الطوارئ حتى اليوم، لا يمكن إنجازها إلا بسنوات. وكلام القادرة الغربيين عن غير ذلك لا يعدو أن يكون دفعا للأزمة إلى المزيد من التوتر. وإلا فليقدم أي منهم خطة لإنجاز ربع هذه الإصلاحات في سنة كاملة لنرى إن كان هذا ممكنا فعلا.
مع ذلك، بعض آثار ونتائج هذه الإصلاحات، يمكن أن يحقق بسرعة، وإن بشكل ناقص. وهذا مهم جدا اليوم في بناء وترميم الثقة المفقودة.


كرئيس لمنظمة نساء سورية التي تعنى بحقوق المرأة في سورية و المناهضة للعنف، كنت تجتمع مع دبلوماسيين غربيين ومنظمات غير حكومية، كتبت مؤخراً رسالة مفتوحة اعربت فيها عن غضبك وعدم ثقتك في النوايا الحقيقية وراء المتابعة الوثيقة لما يجري في سورية اليوم من قبل كل من للولايات المتحدة الأمريكية وأوروبا، وأنت أيضاً ناقداً للتدخل التركي في الشؤون السورية، هل تعتقد أن سورية اليوم قادرة على المحافظة على سياستها الخارجية المستقلة وكيف؟

بسام: أعترض أصلا على تسمية ما يقوم به الغرب، خاصة الحكومات الأمريكية والفرنسية والبريطانية والألمانية، بأنه “متابعة وثيقة”! بل هو تصعيد مقصود للأزمة بهدف واحد هو إجبار الشعب السوري على الانتقال إلى سيناريو ليبيا، أو إجبار النظام على الاستسلام لمطالبهم السياسية. فهم لم يكتفوا بتجاهل الحقائق على الأرض، بل بدؤوا مؤخرا بالضغط المكشوف على الشعب السوري عن طريق معاقبة شركات تابعة للدولة وليس لأشخاص، وتعيش بسببها عشرات آلاف الأسر السورية.

نعم، سورية قادرة على ذلك. النظام السوري مضطر اليوم إلى إجراء عمليات جراحية دقيقة في طبيعته كنظام. وهو ما يشكل فعلا بداية النهاية له كنظام (أي كرؤية في الدولة وآلية لإدارتها وإدارة المجتمع، وليس كأشخاص محددين).
المشكلة التي يبدو أن النظام قد بدأ ينتبه إليها أنه استخدم الدبلوماسية العادية، شبه السرية، خلال الوقت الماضي، فيما كان بحاجة ماسة إلى ممارسة الدبلوماسية العلنية. فالرأي العام الآن فائق الأهمية، ولا يمكن مخاطبته بغير الدبلوماسية العلنية.

هل من الممكن أن تبقى أو أن تكون سورية بلداً علمانياً  إذا كان الشرق الأوسط ككل (بما فيه إسرائيل) يشهد مواصلة تعزيز لنفوذ المتطرفين الدينيين في صنع القرار السياسي وكذلك في صنع القرار الاجتماعي؟
بسام: سورية لم تكن يوما بلدا علمانيا. لكنها لم تكن أيضا دولة دينية بالتصورات التقليدية. والشارع السوري اليوم، بعيدا عن تجليات الغضب من النظام الذي يدفع البعض إلى شعارات متطرفة دينيا، يعي أكثر من أي وقت مضى كم هو خطر المتطرفين الدينيين.
ولكن الأهم أن أي دولة لا تستطيع تجاهل قوى المجتمع المدني. وإذا كان المجتمع المدني السوري يتذرع سابقا بحالة الطوارئ وما إلى ذلك، فبعد الازمة لن تجد ما تتذرع به. فليعمل المجتمع المدني (المدني حقا) في مواجهة المتطرفين الدينيين وغيرهم، وحينها سيكون أي نظام مجبر على أخذ ذلك بالحسبان.
العلاقة في أي بلد ليست نظاما ورعية إلا عندما يتخلى المجتمع المدني ومنظماته عن مسؤولياتهم، أيا كانت الأسباب والمبررات.

بسام القاضي أنت من المنادين بنبذ العنف كوسيلة لإنشاء مجتمع سليم وكنت من أول المنددين بالعنف منذ بداية الأحداث في سورية، من خلال خبرتك في التعامل مع قضايا العنف كيف من الممكن في ظل هذه الظروف أن تستطيع الأطراف كافة اعتماد خطاب نبذ العنف وأستخدم لغة الحوار كوسيلة وحيدة للوصول إلى حلول مع أنك ممن يرفضون الجلوس إلى طاولة الحوار اليوم فما هو الحل؟
بسام: من خلال جولاتي المتعددة في الشارع في أكثر من مدينة سورية، وعلاقاتي الواسعة مع الناس الحقيقيين، أعرف جيدا أن النسبة الغالبة منهم تنبذ العنف بكافة أشكاله. ولولا هذه الحقيقة لما كنا هنا اليوم، بل لكان المجتمع السوري قد انفجر قبل أكثر من شهر في حرب أهلية لا قرار لها.
المسلحون (أصوليين وغيرهم) قلة قليلة ولكنها خطرة. ولذلك أيدت علنا “عملية جراحية دقيقة” من النظام ضد هؤلاء.
والحوار ليس جلوس الناس على طاولة واحدة في فندق! بل هو محصلة لجملة من الإجراءات والآليات التي تسمح أولا للناس بأن تؤطر قواها، ثم تبلور أفكارها وتصوراتها، ثم تنتخب ممثليها. حينئذ سيكون الحوار حوارا وليس مجرد نقاش.
وفي هذه الحالة، لا أنا، ولا الأغلبية من الشارع السوري اليوم، سترفض الجلوس على طاولة الحوار.
أما ما يجري اليوم، وما يتم الدعوة إليه، فلا علاقة له بطاولة حوار حقيقية. بل هو محاولة لحجز مقاعد في القطار القادم قبل أن يتمكن الناس الحقيقيون من بناء قطار المستقبل الحقيقي.
أعطني قوانين جمعيات وأحزاب وإعلام ديمقراطية حقا، وعدل قانون التظاهر اليوم وفورا، وسترى صورة مختلفة كليا في سورية خلال وقت قصير. صورة لا تخيف النظام فحسب، بل تخيف “المعارضة” بالقدر نفسه.

ما هي رؤيتك الشخصية لمستقبل سورية بمعنى أنه ما هي الحلول التي من الممكن طرحها للخروج من الوضع المعقد الذي وصلت إليه الأمور؟
بسام: الخروج من الوضع الآن لا يرتبط مباشرة بمستقبل سورية.
برأيي مستقبل سورية هو واحد: دولة مدنية ديمقراطية وآمنة ومستقرة معا. وهذا ما بات الكثيرون من الناس، وحتى داخل النظام، يعونه جيدا بصفته أملنا الوحيد.
أما الخروج من الأزمة اليوم فلن يكون بدون جملة الإجراءات والآليات التي تسمح للناس بالانتقال من حالة التشتت والتهميش الحالية، إلى حالة المشاركة المدنية. وهذا ليس بوهم. فقوى الشارع السوري لم تتعلم “الكلام” مثل المثقفين، ولا “التنظيم” بطريقة النخبة. ولذلك هي بحاجة ماسة إلى ما يساعدها على النهوض.
وأود الإشارة بشكل خاص هنا إلى خطر حقيقي بدأ يهدد حركة الاحتجاجات اليوم، وهو خطر التفسخ. فثلاثة أشهر ونصف من الحركة غير المحددة، تحت شعار يعبر عن غضب وقهر وليس عن معناها المباشر (إسقاط النظام) حتى لو قال بعض الهاربين من سورية غير ذلك،
وعدم اعتراف النظام بهم، وعدم تأمين آلية للنهوض بحركتهم مدنيا، وتعدد القوى التي تسعى إلى استغلال هذا الوضع (داخليا وخارجيا)،
كل ذلك يضعف قدرة هذه الحركة على التنظيم والتخلص من شوائبها والنهوض نحو حركة مدنية منظمة بشكل جيد وقابل للاستمرار طويلا. وبالتالي هو يسمح لكل تلك القوى (ضمنا المجرمون المسلحون، أو الزعران، أو الشبيحة..) أن يعتلوا منصات القيادة في هذه الحركة. وفي حال حدوث ذلك سنكون فعلا قد تأخرنا إلى حد قد ندفع فيه ثمنا باهظا.

Comments (323)


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301. AIG said:

Nour,

Abraham Lincoln fought fellow Americans to grant slaves freedom. Bashar Assad is fighting his fellow countrymen to deny them freedom. See the difference?

How is the fact that somewhere someone did not call for democracy an excuse to support Assad? All dictators need to go. This is Syria Comment, that is why we are discussing the specific dictator in Syria. It is your interest to make it democratic and prosperous, yet you support a ruthless dictator.

And yes, Syria is a very backward country, even by middle east standards. And that is only because of Assad and his policies. He killed the potential of the Syrian people. He squandered the wealth of Syria. He robbed the people blind.

Why do you keep using other countries as an excuse for the sorry state of yours? Why does that even matter?

And how did Assad’s Syria not “submit” to Israel? Is the Golan quiet? Yes. Is Hezbollah quiet for 5 years? Yes. Did Syria do anything after Israel bombed its nuclear facility? No. Did Syria do anything after Mugniyeh was killed in Damascus? No. So just because Assad talks big he has not “submitted”? Assad has to submit to Israel because he is mortally afraid of the brave Syrians that want democracy. He can’t really fight Israel and stay in power. Do you not see how he is fooling you?

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July 5th, 2011, 4:35 pm

 

302. jad said:

The meeting of today:
دمشق: لقاء البرلمانيين المستقلين من اجل سوريا حديثة
http://youtu.be/Xb2XYHdZEzY

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July 5th, 2011, 4:38 pm

 

303. Mina said:

873,
No doubt Qatar stepped in to share with some old friends in the pressure to put on the Palestinians (and especially Fatah, the secular ones) against their move to declare statehood. They attacked Erekat with the Guardian/aljazzara leaks then tried to promote the MB to bribe in Hamas as they had bribed Turkey into the plot.
No fundamentalist and no wahhabi wants secular Syria to arrive anywhere (and tourism was starting to blossom), and several local thugs (governors, mukhabaraat etc) were making their best on the ground in Syria to prevent Asad’s reforms to be implemented.
Bibi was promessing a peace plan to show that he was not simply refusing any plan, but now he is trying to corner both Obama and the Palestinians (and take the Europeans as hostages).

Israel’s politicians are so perfectly fitting in the region: a president in prison for rape, Olmert in trial for corruption (as would be Sharon, weren’t he not still frozen, contrarily to all their religious precepts…) And now they are trading corpses to return to the Palestinians instead of living prisoners. How civilized indeed. A model for the ‘nations’.

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July 5th, 2011, 4:41 pm

 

304. Mina said:

AIG 295
This is Syria Comment, and there is no way you can comment on a country you have not visited and you don’t speak the language of.

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July 5th, 2011, 4:47 pm

 

305. AIG said:

Mina,

Do you ever think a little before you write? Have you visited Israel? Do you know Hebrew? Yet you comment a lot about Israel. Do you ever take your own advice?

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July 5th, 2011, 4:56 pm

 

306. Nour said:

“Abraham Lincoln fought fellow Americans to grant slaves freedom.”

HAHAHAHAHAHA. Abraham Lincoln did not fight a war to free the slaves, that was only a side issue. He fought the war to prevent the division of the US. I could easily claim that he was fighting a war and killed hundreds of thousands of people to deny the southerners freedom to choose to secede. It is their right to secede if they want to, but this criminal brutally suppressed their right to do so and had no problem killing hundreds of thousands of his own people. (Note: I don’t actually believe that, but this is the type of logic Zionists use).

“Bashar Assad is fighting his fellow countrymen to deny them freedom.”

Again, HAHAHAHAHAHA. This is typical Zio-western nonsensical, empty rhetoric. Somehow, Syria is the only country in the world not allowed to confront armed thugs in its territories. Clinton was perfectly justified in killing over 80 people in a compound in Texas who threatened no one, but Syrian forces are not allowed to respond to fanatic thugs who have killed over 500 soldiers and officers so far. Moreover, notice how Zionists never engage in any real analysis that takes social, political, and historical factors into consideration, but prefer to just make silly, vapid blanket statements to feign concern for Syrians.

Zionists really think Syrians are stupid people. They are so racist, and think so highly of themselves, that they actually believe they can fool Syrians into buying their utter nonsense. They also have no problem insulting the positions taken by the majority of Syrians regarding the affairs of their own country, as if they do not know what is needed to make their country better or do not care, and need the Zionists to give them lessons. As they say in Lebanon, go play in the garden.

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July 5th, 2011, 5:04 pm

 

307. Mina said:

AIG,
Yes I did have once a quick glance at your Little America on the Red Sea/Mediterranean Sea. It cuts my way from Egypt to Jordan.
Yes I can read a little Hebrew. It’s not that far from Arabic and is just a matter of learning the alphabet.

You are so active on QN and here that I really don’t understand why you don’t learn Arabic. Apart from providing people with a sterile debate, I really don’t see the point. You claim Syria as the most backward country in the Middle East but you speak from somewhere in the snowy steppes of Canada or from air-heads California! Please visit a few countries in the Middle East and get back (you will see Syria has one of the best infrastructure). I know quite a number of Jews who did visit Egypt, Lebanon and even Syria.

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July 5th, 2011, 5:08 pm

 

308. AIG said:

Nour,

The Syrians being killed in Homs do not want to secede, they want basic human rights that Assad is denying them. There are facts on the ground: Assad has killed and imprisoned thousands of Syrians because he didn’t like their politics. What excuse can you give for that? Why would you want to give excuses?

Fact: Syria because of Assad is one of the most backward countries in the world. You want to blame others for it, but only Assad is at fault. How is it possible that such a “great” leader made his country such a failure? And why would you support him?

Syrians know how to make their country better, but they can’t because a ruthless dictator won’t let them. If you support Assad, you certainly need lessons on how to make your country better. Just look at his dismal track record and his submission to Israel.

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July 5th, 2011, 5:13 pm

 

309. AIG said:

Mina,

So you don’t understand Hebrew but visited Israel for 5 minutes and now you are an expert?

I was in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. And I studied Arabic at school. I am not an expert on any country. But I can see when people are making stupid excuses to support a dictator just because he talks against Israel and the US.

It is not I that is claiming that Syria is among the most backward countries in the middle east. Just read the international reports and rankings.

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July 5th, 2011, 5:20 pm

 

310. Nour said:

Wow, the hysteria is even getting worse. Someone who doesn’t even know Homs, what it looks like, where it’s located, its demographics, or anything like that, tells us that people in Homs are being killed because “they want basic human rights that Assad is denying them.” What a bunch of utter crap. But then again, crap is exactly what Zionists dish out on a daily basis. Unfortunately for them, Syrians are not listening to their BS and have no desire to play their stupid games. Syria is marching forward and it will come out of this stronger than before, regardless of the noise made by the very racists occupying their land.

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July 5th, 2011, 5:22 pm

 

311. AIG said:

Nour,

Who are you trying to convince? Yourself? Syria is in dire straits because Assad is an inept leader backed by a mafioso regime that kills its own people. The economy is faltering and Ramadan is approaching. But of course, things are great in Syria. That is what Bashar taught you to say and that is what you will parrot. Syria will be better off, but only once it gets rid of Assad and the corrupt regime backing him.

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July 5th, 2011, 5:46 pm

 

312. Mina said:

AIG 303 no expert and not squatting the comments of a blog commenting Isr’s politics, unlike you and your fellows.
To sum it up: dictators are bad bad bad. Western politicians are angels angels angels. The West brings money and democracy. In history, good/free/Western allies never return to dictature bad bad.
Believe it if you want.

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July 5th, 2011, 6:59 pm

 

313. Tara said:

Why,

Would you take a question about the Shiite in Lebanon?

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July 5th, 2011, 7:09 pm

 

314. why-discuss said:

Nour

I am really amazed by the patience you have to reply to AIG’s comments. It’s been a long time that I am skipping all the zionist Israeli comments. It is totally a waste of time. They live in a paranoia, surrounded by walls, proud of their economical successes and totally oblivious of the harm and humiliation they inflict on a day to day to millions of Palestinians they keep in leech.
It is an unhealthy and artificial country that few countries in the world like and I am not surprised they are so interested in Syria and Egypt who are real countries with real people.

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July 5th, 2011, 7:25 pm

 

315. why-discuss said:

Tara

I am not an expert on Shias in Lebanon… what’s the question?

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July 5th, 2011, 7:26 pm

 

316. Tara said:

Dear Why,

Did the Lebanese Shiaa consider themselves oppressed before the rise of Hizboullah?

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July 5th, 2011, 7:33 pm

 

317. Mawal95 said:

An anti-Syrian said: “The new Syrian media laws are a joke. It is clear that Assad does not plan to grant real freedom of speech.” That’s false and you’ll be seeing it’s false over the next twelve months. Among the reasons why I know today it’s false today is that (a) the vast majority of Syrians who support the regime want the regime to enact real freedom of speech, (b) the vast majority of Syrians do support the regime, which has the consequence that real freedom of speech is practically harmless to the regime, and (c) the regime has said it’s going to enact real freedom of speech. Quote: “The Prime Minister issued a decision on May 24 [2011] on forming a committee of specialists, academics and experts, tasked with drafting a new media law and laying down the necessary mechanisms to reconstruct the national media system. On July 5 the First Draft of the New Media Law has been finalized by the committee and submitted to the Information Minister”. http://www.sana.sy/eng/361/2011/07/05/356508.htm The Draft law is not publicly available yet. It is required to be public on or before July 24.

Now I’ll forget about the anti-Syrian, and talk to the pro-Syrians. A member of the drafting committte for the new media law said July 5, as quoted at sana.sy: “The most salient point in the draft law is the broad freedom granted to journalists, with responsibilities and obligations as to reach a responsible free media…. It requires that the journalist be committed to principles and values of the constitution and law and observe the values of authenticity, ethics and honesty as to preserve the values of society…. The draft law states that media, along with all its types, is independent and free, with nothing restricting it except the constitution.”

That’s sounding like it’s not as liberal as I would like it. The publishers are being required by law to be “responsible” and to “preserve the values of society”. Such a law enables the State to censor. In the country I’m in at the moment (not Syria), the constitution gives the government strong, sweeping censorship powers under the umbrella of “preserving the values of society”. In that country nowadays there is little censorship. In the old days there was a lot of censorship. In the time in between, the law largely didn’t change; rather, the government’s censorship department adopted a different policy about what was necessary for “preserving the values of society”, with no need for new legislation to change the policy. Likewise in Syria, it looks like the media law is going to be dependent, to some degree, on what policy the government adopts in practice about the meaning of the language.

I’ve said before that a liberal media policy, where every schmuck is let speak his mind and publish it, has been a success in every country where it’s been tried. When someone publishes irresponsible trash or something contrary to the good and proper values of society, the great majority of the society ignores it. It can pose no danger to good society because it will be recognized as trash by good society, and rejected, and most of Syrian society are good people. We’ve seen that awesomely in Syria over the past few months (i.e. nearly whole world was publishing irresponsible trash about the army shooting at peaceful protesters, while the Syrians, who know their army and their government better than the rest of the world does, could see it was trash).

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July 6th, 2011, 4:17 am

 

318. Badr said:

I was in Syria.

AIG,

If not during the 67 or 73 war, can you elaborate?

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July 6th, 2011, 4:52 am

 

319. Shami said:

As long as MB is not in power,minorities are safe.

Dear Syria no Kandahar,
Do you believe that the ekhwani culture can be erased other than by democratization?
Today Syrian society has evolved towards ekhwani ideal because of the lack of spheres of freedom,it explain all the paraoina that is now cultivated by what has became archeological minorities,they are also less educated and many are leaving.
The young generations of christians in aleppo have become very islamophobics ,it was a marginal behavior few decades ago,it must be the same for other parts in Syria,today they feel like a besieged minority.
Aleppo has already become in many aspects an Islamic emirate ,it’s completly dominated by the corrupt clerical union.
When i was young i dont remember that my city had so many talibs in religion ,today they are seen everywhere and are very young.
The ekhwan are the few among the islamists that have integrated democracy ,political change as an end and not only a mean.

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July 6th, 2011, 7:15 am

 

320. Le point de vue d’un opposant réformiste - InfoSyrie.fr said:

[…] Camille Otrakji, pour le site Syria CommentSource : http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=10574Traduit en français pour le site algerie-network par Kinan al […]

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July 7th, 2011, 6:28 am

 

321. louai said:

Agree with you Shami , democracy is the effective weapon against any radical thinking from any side ,but a sudden change in the country will bring only a radical ideology to power (in this uprising case Islamists) that’s why we are supporting a soft move to democracy not a radical fast change .

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July 7th, 2011, 11:37 am

 

322. Shami said:

Louai ,such regime is not capable to take the necessary steps that are necessary for a succesful democratic transition ,for all the reasons that you dont ignore.(be honest with yourself)
They are not a Mahatir Mohamad nor a Gorbachev.
But change is inescapable,they missed the possibilties of reconciliation and are likely to stay tied on a grotesque menhebak cult till the last day of their system,thus ,we can try to guess of what would be the consequences of their own behavior.

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July 7th, 2011, 7:19 pm

 

323. zo Kad said:

Dr Landis, I love your interview with Bassam, he is the only opposition figure I respect and although I might not agree with all his views, I respect him. Unlike other opposition Figures, he is driven by love for Syria and not opposing just for the love of it. He want a better Syria. He deserves to be heard and to be part of the next Govt in Syria. Thank you both

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July 11th, 2011, 3:22 pm

 

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