Posted by Joshua on Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
This morning, I published responses from Syrians living abroad. Most were very disappointed in the speech. Here I am posting comments sent to me by Syrians, most of whom live in Syria. Some of the more glowing comments come from a Latakia-based, Arabic facebook list named – Baladi Habibi – Mamnu`a al-fitna -waylu illi yu`adina [My Dear Country – Civil Discord is Forbidden – We curse whomever is against us] I have translated them. Many of the listers are Alawi and Christian, but there are also some Sunnis among them.
Majed: I have mixed feelings about the speech. On one hand, it wasn’t anywhere near the unrealistic expectations some officials alluded to, namely Bouthaina and Sharaa. But on the other hand, the speech was a display of strength and confidence, following a strong show of support by the Syrian people for the President a day earlier. As much as I would like to see reforms, doing so immediately following this suspicious and unpopular uprising could be interpreted as a sign of weakness that could weaken Syria’s resolve and embolden its enemies. There is no denying that the President is popular in Syria and throughout most of the Arab world; so why should he not capitalize on his popularity and turn this into an opportunity to consolidate and regroup. Why should he appease those with questionable agendas who are looking to even the score and embarrass Syria? I still think the President is a reformist. He has been slowly introducing economic reforms, and will, in due time, bring in gradual political reforms, perhaps starting this year. However, he is not willing to do it under pressure, or be black mailed into it by Syria’s enemies who are obviously trying to rob Syria out of its political gains from the recent revolutions in the “moderate Arab” camp who sided with Israel and the U.S against Syria and the Palestinian cause. Let’s face it, Syria has been vindicated since the Arab uprising, as those “moderate Arabs” and their masters suffered unprecedented humiliation. By giving in under the current environment, Syria will look indistinguishable from those who sold out to Israel and U.S, thus greatly diluting its hard earned gains.
Paul: Let me understand one thing: what could one have really expected Bashar to say? That from today on Syria is a democratic country? That people will obey traffic laws? That corruption will be over in a pass of magic? That the price of arghile will be lowered? In the circumstances i think he acted in the best possible way. Not in desperation but recognizing that change is needed. If he really understands where the wind is blowing he’ll do it slowly but surely. If not it will happen much faster and painfully.
Nabu: The people of Syria want a defiant leader, a leader with balls and that’s the image he showed in the speech. The people of Syria want a leader that doesn’t order things twice, not a weak and that’s the image he showed in the speech. Today’s speech was a gamble, I will admit. A gamble because the minority of the people who are not scared to say things they think will not like it and they’ll get again to the street. But the reaction will be strong and that’s the image he now wants to show on the ground. The govt knows it’s coming, and it will tackle it. The liberty seekers will be cornered everywhere just like he cornered them in Hama. Whatever he said, he is backed for every word he mentioned inside and outside Syria. He thought about it, he took his time and he thinks this is the best for the long run for him, his image, his community and for Syria.
Rula: Evey drop of blood in our veins is essential to our life. But for our leader, Dr. bashar, we give him all our blood and all our vessels because of him we live a happy and luxurious life, safe for our children and we give you our eyes – you opthimologist. Oh hero. It is rare to find such a man.
Syria All Mighty: May anyone who is a Wahabi know that their end is near. They only have 2 choices. They can leave our country and go live in their extremist paradise in Saudi Arabia, or they can stay and fight a losing battle. The Syrian people have spoken. The millions of Syrians who took to the streets to support our president have given them this ultimatum. If they were smart, they would leave. However, I may be asking too much of these barbarians to possess even a semblance of intelligence.
Shadi: Your laugh shook their grave, your laugh opened their grave. Your voice was a fire on them.
Talib: I thank Mr. President, Dr. for his care and genuine feelings when he talked about the unity of the Syrian people and when he thanked us for doing our duty and focusing on the importance of the wisdom of the people in rejecting the foreign conspiracies.
Judy: This is the best speech I have ever heard. God protect this president and this dear country. What do you think about those cute jokes that he made?
Zeina: President Assad said: “The Blood that was spilled was Syrian blood. We all care about it. Those victims are our brothers. Their parents are our parents. And we should find the reasons behind the killings and those who killed them.”
Aamer: A thousand congratulations. A thousand thanks to God, and thousands of congratulations for our big victory over the campaigns of destruction and corruption.
Lina: The wisdom of the people is the protection of Syria. President Assad astonished us with his wisdom.
Antoinette: The speech ended too quickly, but every word was a lesson to us. And a good and new example in how to love the country and leader. Thanks you Mr. president. Thank you Abu Hafez. Thank you big brother. I am so fortunate for such a big brother, who sacrifices for the safety of the country.
Souri: A civil war won quickly by the regime won’t be bad if the alternative was chaos, division of Syria, and Islamist rule. However, the civil war scenario looks unlikely now that the revolution has failed to gain momentum among the Syrians.
Munzer: What Bashar did not learn from his dad Hafiz Al-asad?
Anyone was watching Bashar Al-asad’s speech yesterday on 30th of March 2011; he must have remembered his dad Hafiz Al-asad. Everything was the same, the atmosphere inside and outside the parliament building was the same, members of parliament were chanting for Bashar inside and ordinary people or may be (Mukhabarat ) chanting for him outside. Only one thing was different; the leader. Bashar is nowhere near his dad in terms of leadership charisma and seriousness. I think his dad told him to show strength and seriousness in such great events and unusual circumstances, but such things cannot be learnt, these are gifts from God and cannot be inherited or transferred along with power. Bashar’s biggest mistake yesterday in his speech was the lack of strength as well as not showing enough seriousness that match the level of the events that Syria is undergoing now. The events in Syria at the moment are the most dangerous ones since 1980s; Bashar knows that, so he should have showed far more seriousness than he showed yesterday. Seriousness never meant weakness, but strength. Yesterday’s speech seemed like a speech of victory, which should not be, it is not the time now to celebrate victory while there are mothers mourning their sons and others waiting for their sons and daughters to be released. He admitted that innocent people were killed, so showing not just saying some sorrow and grief was so important and necessary in order to convince the public and to win their hearts and minds. Words and just words are not consumable by the public anymore. Moreover, the nation is in a big danger and under a great plot from outside elements according to him, so the mood should be tense and edgy and not the right time for him to be cheerful….He failed to convince the people and to abort the revolution. No wonder why the people went into the streets of Latakia immediately after his speech to protest and express their anger. I think delaying the speech did not make it any better. Hafiz Al-asad’s speeches were doing the work of magic in the hearts and minds of people, not just among the ordinary people, but among well educated and well informed Syrians and Arabs, he was a great magician. Basher Al-asad could not reach the illiterates.
Equus: For all who keeps lingering about the emergency law. Look at the Egyptians..they toppled Mubarak on Feb. 11th and YET the emergency law is NOT lift with no specific date in sight despite the extreme pressure from the US. So why the media wants Assad to lift his in 24 hours.