Robin Yassin-Kassab

Syrian Protests and Bullets

with 8 comments

Three films from demonstrations in Syria yesterday. People protested in the suburbs of Damascus, Hama, Dera’a, the Kurdish north east, the desert town Raqqa and elsewhere. The first film shows a large crowd in Lattakia chanting ash-sha’ab yureed isqaat al-nizam – The People Want the Fall of the Regime. No reservations there. The second film shows security forces firing live ammunition at protestors in Homs. The third is Tartus. They’re chanting bi-rooh bi-dam nafdeek ya Dara’a – With Our Souls and Blood We Sacrifice for you, O Dara’a.

Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

April 9, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Posted in Syria

8 Responses

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  1. Robin, I believe they are chanting Nafdiki Ya Daraa, and then Nafdiki Ya Taybeh in the last clip.


    April 9, 2011 at 11:14 pm

  2. I’m becoming a little skeptical about the protests. I would never condone the violence used to curb these protests by the government but I’m starting to realize that aside from the Kurds (Which must be granted citizenship and recognition of their linguistic and cultural rights), most of these protests represent one segment of the Syrian society which is ultra conservative males who gather in mosques. that does certainly tip the balance for me towards favoring security and stability as opposed to more freedom. The minorities in Syria are scared. Even the Druze in the Golan Heights held a pro-Bashar demonstration. Christian, Ismaelis and Alawites seem to be absent from these anti-government protests. Although most people would like to see reforms, not everybody in Syria wants to see a complete throw of the government. Given Syria’s short modern history, it is hard to predict whether complete democracy is a good thing. Especially that the middle east now is a hot bed for Islamic fundamentalism and conservatism.


    April 10, 2011 at 5:32 am

  3. I totally agree with Ahmad…On top of this, I don’t think the information we are getting in the West are a true reflection of what is happening…

    I am not a supporter of the regime in its current state. But I am getting messages from my family from inside Syria that confirm these demonstrations are not peaceful….. Some of us lived through the eighties and remember well the chaos and the killing..I hated the muslim brothers way of trying to enforce chaos and change. I am not going to support them now…

    At the beginning, I thought that all these Shabe7a were sent by the regime to enforce Fitna and fear. I don’t believe this is the case right now. I think a significant number of them is sent by islamic movements…

    I think that most Syrian are tolerant people and I love my country this way. I think that the regime is fighting extremism and at the moment extremism is fighting the regime as well. I refuse to be dragged to the streets to support any of these parties. I wish there is an opposition that distance itself from both of these parties, I will definitely rally behind it. I can’t see one, more importantly I can’t trust one.

    I was optimistic about Dar3a movements, the regime dealt with it badly. However, what followed is a sick way of trying to force change by enforcing fear and chaos….It won’t work and even if it does it will lead to a worse state…

    I refuse that my country turns to Libia or even to Egypt. I don’t want Syria to be an Islamic country, and don’t want minorities to be worried.

    A. AK

    April 11, 2011 at 12:45 pm

  4. If Christians, Alawis and Druze are absent from the protests, it’s time for them to be more courageous. Syria is already like Libya and Bahrain – the regime is gunning down young men in the streets and then telling silly stories about foreign infiltrators. I don’t believe these stories. If they are true, then the regime is obviously unable to protect Syria’s borders and so should step down.

    The people demonstrating are Syrians. A lot of Syrians are vaguely Islamist, so some of the slogans will be Islamist. But some of the demonstartors, or most of them, have not shown us they are Islamists. They’re calling for freedom, and in solidarity with the martyrs.

    All the evidence suggests that it is the regime which is encouraging fitna, using violence, spreading fear. Syria has serious sectarian problems, but the answwer is not to keep the Syrian people indefinitely choked.

    If by now there are some Syrians using weapons against the security forces that are murdering them, I think that is quite understandable. If I and my family were being shot at, I would look for a weapon.

    “..the more important truth is that despotism will never protect anyone from religious extremism, because religious extremism is one of the symptoms of despotism.” Alaa al-Aswany.

    Robin Yassin-Kassab

    April 11, 2011 at 2:02 pm

  5. and thanks, Rime

    Robin Yassin-Kassab

    April 11, 2011 at 2:05 pm

  6. And Ahmad and AAK – if the regime is so sure of its infiltrators story, why doesn’t it allow full media access to Deraa, Banyas, Lattakia, etc, so we can see the truth?

    Robin Yassin-Kassab

    April 11, 2011 at 2:16 pm

  7. I don’t believe the infiltrator stories. They are rediculous. I’m not against the protesters in Deraa and elsewhere. I do support them to some extent. Everyone has the right to protest.

    Regarding the protests in Banias: Al-Assad responded to some of the demands it seems. He re-instated 1200 niqab-wearing women back to their teaching jobs. That by itself is really unacceptable, it’s degrading, offensive and opressive. We live in a male dominating society where many women have little say in how to run their lives. We just cannot comply with these kinds of demands. The other demand from the protests in Banias was the segregations of sexes in school.. Now I hope that’s not going to be reveresed.
    Also, Banias is the stronghold for Khaddam and maybe his supporters are driving the protests there.

    In Deraa, I’m guessing the nature of the protests and demands are different and more grassroot.


    April 11, 2011 at 10:44 pm

  8. ” The more important truth is that despotism will never protect anyone from religious extremism, because religious extremism is one of the symptoms of despotism.” Alaa al-Aswany

    That is the essence of the problem…A single ruling party and extremism… They are there to support each other existence…By being dragged to the streets only on Fridays we are giving the government an excuse to kill and send infiltrators….

    Syria and Israel also support each other existence… If it was not for Syria the Northern border of Israel would have never been protected…. And if it was not for Israel the Syrian government would have found it very difficult to impose the emergency low for 40 years…

    My relatives inside Syria are receiving phone calls from unknown sources threatening them and telling them that all Alawiis are targeted…My relatives and so many others Syrian minorities and majorities are confused and worried… At the time being they see gathering starting from mosques, Khadam’s people in Banias and Refa3at people in Latakia… Well, this is a recipe to repeat the eighties… And mind you all, the eighties were not only about the killing in Hammah… So much killing happened before that if you need a reminder!!

    For something to work out in Syria and to have the support and the cover from the West and the Arabs we need to stop these mosques business and we need not to threaten the Israelis peace…

    The regime in Syria will not change by violence and extremism. If anything it will continue to be endorsed and will become more powerful….. It is a lost battle, but it could be a long one…

    There are ways to change in Syria, and there is more importantly ways to attract and move the majority that are still observing and watching….The demonstration in the University yesterday was a start… The litting of candles in Babtouma was another one… I wonder what will happen if people stop using their Makhlouf mobiles for a week or two, what if they cancel their mobile service altogehter…. Mukhabarat can force us to stop chanting but can’t force us to use mobiles…
    Guys, people discuss politics in Al Khouli and Al Khadam and Al Assad cafes and restaurants… Don’t you realise that we are giving them money to kill us….AND, it is not about these names only, think about the business men supporters of the regime, why don’t we all stop drinking Mandarin (the feezy drink produced by Al Jud company)…. Why don’t we all stop using phones cabine installed by Hamsho group and stop going to his restaurants….. Why don’t we all stop buying Baladna magazine and other products of the United Group…. Stop using Syrian airlines… These measures and many others can easily be advertised through small groups and will not scare people… We are not killing each other or starving each other at the end of the day… We are giving up luxuries that make money to this regime…. Slowly, our voice will be heard…

    I am only asking to try not to give a chance to history (eighties) to repeat itself… The regime still has so many cards to use… They can still struck deals with the West to cover their killings and actions… Please don’t give them the chance to do so…

    A AK

    April 12, 2011 at 1:30 pm

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