This commentary was published in al-Hayat on 02/05/2011
Whoever oppresses the people with an “iron fist” is bound to eventually fall. Whoever ignores the rights of the people and closes the door before freedom of expression is bound to eventually fall. Whoever ignores reforms with stalling is bound to eventually fall. Whoever monopolizes political life for himself or for a certain faction, will not be spared and will not remain a leader, even if he were to barricade himself behind golden chains. Whoever denies democracy, justice and the dignity and pride of the people, is bound to eventually exit his cocoon (nay, his palace), and whoever hangs the people on the nooses of poverty and oppression, and then addresses them with arrogance and pride, will one day be hanged and there are many Arab examples for this during the present century.
The Syrian regime is hanging the nooses for the people, just as Muammar al-Gaddafi is doing with the Libyans. It is unleashing armed groups of thugs and gangs, as well as security, intelligence and army brigades to kick, run over, curse, insult and kill its people, just because they are demanding the hastening of the reforms and their rights.
These are unarmed people seeking the implementation of “absent” reforms, and taking to the streets to stage peaceful protests. However, they are being killed, lynched and forced to flee their homes toward other countries. How painful it is to see the refugees and the pictures of the corpses coming from Daraa and Baniyas, despite the media blackout imposed by the regime to cover up the protest movements and demonstrations and conceal the killings targeting the people.
Why were these tanks and armored vehicles not mobilized to strike Israel when its aircrafts flew over the presidential palace in Lattakia? Why did the army not move toward Israel when its aircrafts destroyed military positions near Deir ez-Zor? How can this “dubious” contradiction be interpreted?
How can one believe those who have been pledging they wish to liberate the occupied Golan for the last fifty years, without shooting even one bullet at Israel? Can the practices of such a regime be defended and can its mischief be justified by anyone except for hired and paid mouthpieces?
Who amended the Syrian constitution in less than a quarter of an hour to bequeath power? Why was the regime’s lifting of the state of emergency and the oppression practiced against the people ten years late, at a time when it is still using the broken record of the “conspiracy” and “infiltrators” to justify its actions and unleash the thugs and snipers to oppress and kill the population publicly?
Unfortunately, the jails of the Syrian regime are still filled with prisoners of opinion, while the security apparatuses and army units are still besieging Daraa, cutting off electricity, food and water supplies, and killing people who are demanding freedom, dignity, equality and the improvement of the living conditions. Each Friday, the regime is committing massive and atrocious mistakes that will not be forgotten, as long as it is insisting on facing the popular demands with shootings, oppression and brutal murders.
The Arab people are revealing a wish to embrace freedom, reject slavery and restore their dignity, which has long been absent from their countries.
I do not know if the Arab leaders read about former Brazilian President Lula da Silva whose term recently ended, and how the Brazilians throughout the country wept his departure. He was the orphan president who cried whenever his country achieved a success, to the point where his popularity reached 80% and not 99.99% as it is the case with the Arab rulers against whom the people rebelled and who were ousted, sent to exile, placed in prison or prosecuted.
Da Silva came to the presidency after he was orphaned and worked as a shoe shiner in the suburbs of Sao Paolo, then as a boy in a gas station, as a mechanic and a vegetable seller. His family lived in a one-room apartment behind a night club, from which they could hear loud music and the cursing of the drunks. However, the self-made Lula says that his mother taught him how to walk with his head held high, and how to respect himself so that he is respected by others.
The story of the former Brazilian president with weeping is quite long, and forces the Brazilians themselves to cry. During his last speech as the president of the country, Da Silva burst out in tears, not because he was leaving his post, but because he saw how loved he was by the people who took to the streets to salute his modesty, actions and decisions, which raised his country’s stocks and rendered Brazil the eighth greatest economic power in the world under his mandate. For their part, the Arab presidents do not seem to have any regrets over the massacres, oppression, injustice, killings, corruption and tyranny to which they subjected their people, and are still holding on to their chairs even if at the expense of murdering them all. Therefore, it seems there is no hope in seeing the latter learning from the story of “the orphan son of Brazil,” who left the presidential seat with a testimony of loyalty and love signed by the people. The Arabs desperately need the likes of Da Silva, but they never learn the lessons! Right?