Here we are again, O World, watching A People suffer in the name of freedom against tyranny and despotic rule of an impoverished majority by an elite minority. And this time, even trickier to deal with, as the contortions at the United Nations HQ daily reveal.
Once again we see the gruesome footage of mutilated youth and fleeing refugees across borders, this time Turkey’s with Syria. Meantime, further over in North Africa the incessant pounding of Gaddhafi holdouts, weapons caches and command posts by NATO planes eats away at the crumbling regime, with daily reports by the revolutionary Libyan freedom fighters that they will soon converge on and liberate Tripoli. An all too awful fascination of what will actually happen when that happens–lurks at the edges of our foresight.
What to do, how to do–for the Syrian anti-regime democracy and freedom aspiring millions, as HELP US is written all across the country despite the ban on media coverage–as The People find a way, at great personal danger, to get us images, so we can choose to find a way. Russia and China play the reluctant participants, for various reasons particular to them both. They don’t like the extent of where NATO has taken the UN mandate (“we really didn’t mean you to go so far” ) but are content actually to get rid of Gaddhafi and his thugs sooner than later– and China especially would be openly even more hypocritical to endorse putting down internal uprisings with Tibetans and other millions of aspiring democrats (think Tienanmen Square) waiting their turn…
So Syria suffers and some of us, a lot of us I suspect, suffer with them, but we feel helpless even as France and the UK (supported by the US and some others) take the lead again, however ‘weak’ the condemnation (no sanctions or backup)–but at least it’s a symbolic beginning we might whisper as we struggle to sleep whilst Syria erupts into nightmare proportions.
Recalling ‘the energy-field’ just before the UN and then NATO went after the Gaddhafi regime, it was a build-up of world opinion–following the exhilarating and positive events– still ‘revolutions in progress’–of Tunisia and Egypt. These North African countries, Tunisia and Egypt especially as they have been popular tourist destinations from ancient to modern times by Europeans and latterly, ‘the world tourist market’. They are almost really ‘part of the European ethos’; we share a lot of history, notably Roman. We might like to think that wasn’t so of Syria–but not true, remembering that most popular Christian expression ‘the Road to Damascus’–Syria was indeed very much a part of ‘our joint European-Middle-East’ history–it’s just that it never made it to Our Top Tourist Destinations (for various reasons) and it’s been rather ‘hidden from view’ culturally compared to Tunisia and Egypt. But for that matter, Libya was never a popular contemporary tourist destination either. ‘The Colonel’ made himself and his regime so unpopular (despite more recent attempts to normalize) that ‘we all got damn well fed up’. With Syria’s Assad replacing his cruel tyrant of a father (rather than the eldest son who was meant to), ‘there was hope’ for change and some of that still slightly clings on. But it is evaporating quickly with Turkey’s horror of what they are receiving across their borders, tales of monstrous acts. Maybe it will be Turkey, on the eve of an election itself, who will help move the impasse.
But on a different level, it is Us, Those of Us Who Are Watching and Yearning with freedom-aspiring Syrians, it is Us Who May Turn the Tide Again, as We Did with Egypt and Libya–Tunisia happened so quickly, it made it ‘easier’ with Ben Ali and his hated wife (and family) fleeing ahead of the storm he’d brought upon themselves.
Watching, sending ‘the energy of solidarity’, however mixed and conflicted by not knowing much of this ancient culture, but knowing the basics that People need, that is our beginning. With the apparent collapse of hope in Bahrain due to Saudi Arabia’s thuggish support for the regime there and the mixed intricacies of the Yemeni Situation, We The Watchers in The Stream (vide Aljazeera’s coverage by that name), we can eventually help tilt the axis of good against evil (so to speak) –will it be soon enough to prevent mass slaughter in Syria (as was done in a relatively media-free hidden way by Assad’s father)? Maybe, maybe not. We managed to prevent it on the Road to Benghazi, let’s hold the hopeful vision for a New Awakening (in some form, maybe a Miracle as it was for Paul) on the Road to Damascus.
And then again in the end, it is The Peoples of these countries who “will do it for themselves”–we can only support their choices, their aspirations for a better life.