Syrian Reactions to the President’s Speech

These are comments by Syrians and one Israeli living abroad who heard the President’s speech:

  • I just got a call from some of my hard core syrian friends. This is what one said: “Finally, i respect bashar. He has showed that he is a real man. He has spared the country bloodshed. Any sign of weakness, it would have been the start of the end. Bouthaina was a disaster. She raised expectations of reform way too high. reform? what reform? This public deserves nothing more than what we have. all the modern and reform minded people are dreamers. they live abroad and think that Syria can becomes a london/paris/ny if we just reform. it is either civil war or the status quo”. i ask: but wouldn’t investments suffer now? his answer: investments? what investments? who is really investing in syria anyway? kentucky fried chicken? we can do without it. those that dont like it can leave to their fancy foreign capitals or beirut. they are welcome in the summer to enjoy the food and arghile and go back to their democracy”.
  • Your friend is part of the 25 percent of hardcore supporters. I hope you understand that this not the view of the majority 65 percent. The majority are supporters but in a more logical way. They believe in Bashar as a reformer. Loosing that image will still get him your friend as a supporter (part of the 25 percent) but will get him to loose the more important 65 percent. And by the way, your Iraq/Lebanon analysis of a sectarian sunnis in Syria is totally wrong.
  • i always expect a grand speech a historic speech a vision for a better future. alas he is alawys vague and cirumvent. why did sharaa say “expect announcments that will please the people”? why did bouthina insiists that the emergency law will certainly be lifted? why did he not make any major announcement?!?!? what about the multiparty system they have been promising ?what about the elections they have been promising? why did he not go over any of that?
  • The regime just committed suicide by a thousand cuts. Somebody has decided that either all Syrians are dumb and we can continue to trick them forever or that civil war is much better than giving the people more power. The logical conclusion that more and more people will reach.. “الشعب يريد إسقاط النظام ” . And, you can forget about dardari being the PM. It will most likely be something like mubarak did. Head of mukhabarat.
  • Horrible.. he looked very weak and distraught. he basically paved the road for more bloodshed.. and i was foolish enough to have some hopes… Syrians are doomed to this mentality of hoping for the savior character. Check our mythology for more information.
  • I was disappointed. Like many previous speeches in the past decade: Yes, we need reform, we are going to legislate reform.WHAT reform, WHEN? I’ll tell you later.What after another decade?In my opinion he has to move within days not months or years, or it will be too late. The World is watching.
  • Bashar and the Ba’ath are not going to come down easily. Look at the map of the ME. People can be disappointed and I am one of them. However, he did the sensible thing for the survival of Syria and the regime. Reforms under televised popular pressure are not genuine reforms. He might be seen as showing the ugly face of the regime but I will judge him from now on by how much action and reform he will put outside pressure, and of course on his human rights records. He took notice and he should act to bring about much needed reforms, but you can’t ask him to do political suicide.
  • I’m not sure why you choose to link the survival of the regime with the survival of Syria, the well being of the regime does not equate to the well being of Syria, just look at the past decade or so, the regime was very strong and Syria was getting weaker by the day. Everyone was expecting Bashar to lead a revolution against the regime, and boy did he come up short on that one.
  • If the youth in my country do not like the government, they can vote for someone else. Israel is a democracy. There is complete freedom of speech in Israel.  When the average Syrian has half the education, rights and prosperity of the average Arab Israeli, let me know. When 12% of the population rule over the other 88%, how is that not apartheid? The Alawite minority has put in place an apartheid state in Syria.
  • A region that has produced Moses, Jesus and Mohammed will never know peace, modernity or democracy. So long as your religion and sect defines you and your political views, you cannot claim to live in a true modern society. So long as the religion you are born into becomes your identity, we are doomed as people. I grew up in a household and with a dad who grew up in that religious upbringing that defines us all. He soon revolted against it and by the time we were born he saw it a source of all evil (ues elie…you remind with him). I am disgusted by all this. I am saddened that the religious of suuni/shia/alawi/christian/jewish can destroy the standards of living of so many people that get one f……ing single chance on this planet……….what a waste………….. ok i am done for today.
  • Yes sir God and his many incarnations and constructions are at heart of our ailments.
  • Personally, I felt all along that Bashar is incapable of reform. He is inexperienced and weak. Today, he decided to go along with the gang in his immediate family. His rule is purely a family affair. No Sharaa, no Buthaina, no battikh. Today, he has become the declared leader of the gang. He stands naked. All past propaganda tricks are gone. He’ll survive this round. He is ready to order the tanks to crush the people. Corruption, steeling the country’s oil revenues, abu Ghraibs dungeons, the security thugs…… will go on with vengeance. What happens in a year, two, or three is any one’s guess. The geopolitical situation could very well determine the fortunes of this lot.
  • i hope that the speech has put away the myth of bashar as a reformer who is blocked by the old guard. he is a bona fide baathist at the core. he is not a qurdaha baathist but one educated from the finest of damascene schools and society. he showed that he can wear the two hats with ease. he can talk art, ipod, ipad2 and read books to the kids at night and can just as easily wear his army uniform and carry a stick if he has to.
  • This explains why we are not living in Syria. We are the lucky ones and I count my blessings everyday.

Christian Science Monitor
President Assads defiant speech stuns Syrians who call for more protests

The Syria Revolution 2011 Facebook page called on protesters to take to the streets immediately following Assad’s speech. “Go down into the streets now and announce the uprising – control all the cities and declare civil disobedience from this moment onward,” it declared.

The question now is whether the opposition will redouble its efforts by escalating the unrest that has left dozens dead and shaken the country. A litmus test may occur in Friday, Islam’s holy day and usually a focal point for street demonstrations following noon prayers.

31 March 2011
The Korea Herald
(c) 2011 The Korea Herald

PARIS (Reuters) ― French President Nicolas Sarkozy has stolen the international limelight with his bravura intervention in Libya but he may find it trickier to deal with the gathering crisis in Syria.

It was Sarkozy after all who ended Syria’s international isolation when he feted President Bashar al-Assad in a visit to Paris in 2008. Assad was given the seat of honour at Bastille Day celebration, marking the moment at which Assad’s Baathist regime was accepted back into the international community.

Nobody sees France or any other Western power wanting to start another military campaign. Yet Sarkozy has set a precedent that puts him under pressure to take an equally firm hand on the crackdown on pro-democracy protests in the former French colony.

More than 60 people have been killed in towns across Syria as demonstrations have spread in recent days, prompting Assad to send the army out on the street as he faces the gravest crisis in his 11-year rule.

Sarkozy ― who grabbed control of the world response to the Libyan crisis to reassert France’s influence in North Africa after its clumsy handling of revolts in Tunisia and Egypt ― must come up with a smart strategy on Syria or lose his new kudos, analysts say.

“He can’t go out on several fronts at once, and the front where he is engaged is starting to show the difficulties of such an operation,” said North Africa expert Christian Bouquet at the University of Bordeaux III.

Syria poses new dilemma for Sarkozy

Comments (52)

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51. jad said:

Mr. President.

“Why can’t the demonstrators and opposition begin by drafting and circulating, on the Internet, a new family law . A family law that calls for civil marriages, full punishment for Honor killing, equal rights for women/minorities, make marriage dowry system illegal,… Have the demonstrators go to the street for the purpose of replacing existing non democratic Sharia Law. I think Syrian government will be delighted to support such demonstrations. Syrians can help the Syrian government reform.”

Because they don’t want to do that, which is in my opinion a mistake.
If you call for such things you are, ‘Secular AKA KAFER’, ‘infidel’,’Non democratic’ and AGAINST THE REVOLUTION.
Many of the people writing on that site are either using empty slogans about’freedom’ without any idea of what they want, many of them are also calling for revenge, and some of them are calling for chaos. They are using the most horrible way of all, Blood and Graphics to use people’s emotion to get them in. Intelligence and dialog doesn’t exist there.
The goal is not what you describe, it wont work for the majority of those supporting the revolution FB site.

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March 31st, 2011, 10:42 am


52. Syria: the boldness of Bashar al-Assad said:

[…] For hardcore regime supporters, it's an attitude they can understand and admire. One of them, quoted in Joshuah Landis's Syria Comment blog, […]

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April 1st, 2011, 4:10 am


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