A Brief Explanation of the Syrian Situation – Lubna Hasoun, Syria

To understand what’s going on in Syria, we first need to understand how its political regime works.

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As a Syrian who seeks to know the truth and to understand the situation, the political regime in Syria as I know it is a dictatorial regime wearing the mask of democracy and socialism to gain the approval of the people. The Syrian regime built itself on closing out whoever doesn’t have the same goals, and whoever doesn’t support it. You can deduce this by knowing that the Corrective Movement which Hafez al-Assad lead in 1970 was about closing out the members of the party he belongs to, the party that is ruling Syria, Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party. He closed out the members who were against him in the purpose of becoming the one and only dictator ruling Syria.

I believe that his dictatorial government built itself on the suppression of ideological and political liberty. This government is able to arrest any Syrian who has a negative opinion about, or says something against, the government for decades without anyone knowing anything about it. By doing so, the government is violating the right of speech, which is essential in The Human Rights Documents and in its own constitution. This regime has made religion the only tribune to express your ideas in Syria, as it has built approximately 18 000 mosques. The Syrian government uses religion to control the minds of the people. Most of the Imams work to serve the interests of the corrupted regime in Syria, and by leading people towards religion, they are leading them towards this regime.

The government here also relies on media deception. All of the media companies are like the rest of the institutions in the country: a soldier to serve the interests of the system, achieving what it wants, and spreading what it wants. Even the private sector media in Syria is under the control of the government.

Also, this corrupted government has intended to rely its educational system on the principle of indoctrination and determination of the students’ ideas. So in this way, the system achieves its goal of limiting people’s ways of thinking, making it easier to fool them and deceive them, all the while keeping them ignorance, in the purpose to gain the power.

It’s pretty obvious for those who have read the school books in Syria that they are intended to serve the interests of those in power. For example, we can never trust information in the history books of Syrian schools to contain truthful information of the nation’s people and history. It is clear that we study the history that the system wants us to study, even if it takes the falsification of obvious facts. Our Nationalism book has a clear aim to glorify this corrupt regime and the fake heroism of “the leaders of this great nation”.
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Even the scientific subjects are being taught in a bad way, in Syria we take the mathematics laws as they are, without knowing how they were concluded, and we solve questions on them.

And it shall be noted that there is no applied side of the education in Syria, I mean that we do not do experiments on what we have received theoretically.
Simply, our government doesn’t want the youth to become thinkers and scientists, but a generation who wants to receive the information as they are, regardless of if they are true or not. A generation who doesn’t think or analyses. Even when a Syrian graduate from Syrian schools and colleges, he forgets all what he has memorized during his studying period, just to get good marks, not for the sake of knowledge. All these to serve the main goal of the government, to keep on its people’s ignorance. Therefore keeps on its power. How corrupted it is!

Despite of everything, I admit it’s a smart way to control people, it has kept the people ignorant, and suppressed them for more than 40 years, therefore kept on its power. After Hafez al-Assad died in 2000, his son Bashar al-Assad ruled the country, using his father’s dictatorial methods.

The Syrian Uprising, A Result Of The Corrupted Government

But, was this government able to keep on this regime?

The Jasmine Tunisian Uprising was a popular uprising in Tunisia that protested against corruption, poverty and political repression. Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali had to step down in January 2011. It was the first revolution of Arab people’s to get rid of its corrupted governments. These revolutions have been named the ‘Arab Spring’.

Eventually, the wave of the Arab Spring reached Syria. The people of Syria woke up from their sleep that had lasted more than 40 years. The Syrian uprising started from Daraa’, a province located south of Syria, as, many people say, the government refused to answer the political requirements of the Daraa’ people. Syrians realised they were being fooled and deceived by the government, which steals from its people to serve its interests. How can a government be strong without its supporters? You may ask,”how can such a corrupted government even have supporters?” The answer is, by supplying them with money.

Humans can be selfish beings; the Syrian government hadn’t created a feeling of national unity between its people. Instead, it made its people spy on one another. I think that a good number of people knew how corrupted the government was, but because at the time the government was so strong, it was too dangerous to express one’s opinion if it contradicted with the government’s principles.

There were many people working for the government as spies. Their main job was to learn what people thought about the regime and write a report about those people, sending it to the government. If the government didn’t like the opinions, they would arrest those who had been caught for an unknown period of time.
Many Syrians during the Arab Spring realised that the Syrian media gave lies and deceived the people, so the revolutionaries went to the foreign media. However, they found that even here there was deception and there was always the investors’ interests.

Alongside this uprising, involving many movements with a goal of freedom from the corrupt and dictatorial government, there were also Islamic movements that started from mosques. Everything became confused in Syria, and who the rebels were, and their goals, was no longer known.

In my opinion, the reason that this revolution failed was because the Syrians, as a collective, were not organized and didn’t have united goals. The government hadn’t spread national unity between the masses of humans from different regions, who had found themselves living in the same country after conflicts between major countries. In Syria, the loyalty of every person is to the region they live in, not to Syria. Instead of unifying the populace, the government that took advantage of them in their fragmented state.

Foreign Interests In The Syrian Region

The spread of revolution in Syria weakened the grip of the government on some regions of Syria. The government now doesn’t have its previous power, which meant the Islamist Jihadist extremist groups were given the chance to emerge in order to make an Islamist State in Syria. The Jihadist plans didn’t contradict the surrounding countries’ major interests, so the Islamist extremist groups grew in Syria. These governments may even have funded them. You see, the Islamist groups undersell the gas and petrol of the Syrian land to those major countries; in turn, these countries supply them with money and weapons so they can achieve an Islamist State in Syria.

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If you are asking me for an evidence for that claim, I don’t have any. But by watching the situation and the events happening, one can make a hypothesis. Until now, the most logical explanation of the existence of ISIS, and other terrorist groups in Syria, is that they are being funded by major countries. The conflict in Syria is international; it’s no longer a revolution to end the dictatorial government. It’s about agreements and combats between the interests of major countries – countries that take advantage of the corruption of the Syrian government, of the oppression on the Syrian people, to achieve what they have planned.

Many of us are against the occupation and exploitation of our country. We are against ISIS and we are against the extremist movements. At the same time, we shouldn’t forget the al-Assad regime, its violence and corruption, and what it did to the Syrian people. What can we do now? We should probably focus on getting rid of the negative foreign interventions first and then focus on the government, changing it within an organized plan. We should also stand with the Syrian Army, because if it collapses, the whole country will be divided, and millions of Syrians will die from the massacres by the Islamist Jihadist groups.

I have tried in this article to provide the truth about Syria’s situation, compatible with what I see – and I think it’s the closest to reality. If, somehow, something new happens, we will report again with more accurate information and ideas, all in order to know and spread the truth.
These are some questions I posed on some Syrians to provide a clearer view to the readers on what we, Syrians, think of the situation:

1. How do you feel about the current government?

I hate it. 100% against it.

It’s not a democracy. It’s not even a dictatorship! It’s more like the mafia ruling a country.

How do I feel? Angry and sad, I guess. To be born in Syria is a burden, and Syrians are making the best out of it. They are kind and hardworking, but they are ignorant. However, no one deserves to be born into this catastrophe.

Totally corrupted.

The current government is illegitimate because it didn’t come to power under the Constitution. And if this was not a sufficient reason for its illegitimacy, the practices carried out during the crisis, and in the pre-crisis period of arrests and violations of human rights, in addition to its failure to perform its duties towards the citizens, are sufficient reasons for the fall of its legitimacy.

The worst government, but it’s better than no government.

We all know that the government has caused Syria to be in a civil war because of the wrong violent activities it has done, and it used to lead for a violent reaction. This is what changed protesters into rebels, and since these extremists are fighting for personal goals, I think that the government must not be replaced.

If the government fail controlling the situation, extremists will take over. We have to focus on this point because the only reason we’re still seeing this government as good and reasonable for us is because of what the extremists are doing.

In the end, we’re standing against violence, war, hatred and weapons, whoever is responsible.

During the Syrian conflict, it has been obvious how the government is corrupted, and this corruption is also one of the reasons that caused this war or conflict.

2. What do you think about the rebels?

I hate them and I find them worse than the government.

Ignorant people with a cause. They won’t reach anything with their current methods. We must distinguish between rebels and terrorists though. The difference is hard to spot, but I know that I can’t consider someone who isn’t Syrian and fighting in Syria a rebel.

It depends on the cause he’s fighting for. If it’s to promote a religion or to satisfy his imaginary friend he calls God, then he isn’t a rebel. Basically, a rebel who I would support is someone who is only fighting to defend himself, his family and his country against the regime.

The rebels are just as bad as the government; the irony is that they are fighting against it.

In fact, there are no longer so-called “real” rebels who were found at the beginning of the revolution because of the entry of extremists and racists and their control of the revolution and turning it to their favor. All of this has distorted the image of the peaceful revolution.

It shall be noted the these extremists were the creation of the system and other conspirators against Syria to achieve their goals and interests in the region.

Firstly, let’s define it: who is the rebel? I think the rebel is any armed person that uses armed force for personal satisfaction or some agendas.

The messed up situation in Syria is the perfect environment for such people.

Protesters used weapons to defend themselves, but the weapons have spread so now we don’t know if those who have weapons are bad people or good people.

If we went back 4 years before, I couldn’t give a clear view if they were right or wrong, because media is controlled by politics. However, what I’m sure about, is that what is called a “revolution” has started from the mosques, so I was sure it will fail.

What do you think a couple of people shout “Allahou Akbar” (God is great) would do to reach democracy in Syria?

This revolution would have succeeded if it started from schools and universities and even started from the government itself.

After 4 years since the war began, all we have seen from the rebels are terrorism and destruction, and also worth mentioning is that the violence was from both sides, the government and the rebels.

3. Do you think Syria is safe from ISIS and the rebels?

No, it isn’t. Syria today is an international warfare and the rebels and ISIS are serious threat to Syria and my own existence.

I don’t consider them as rebels. I also don’t think that’s a good question. It’s not safe. Right now ISIS might be killing Syrians. Syrians are already not safe.

Well, until now, there are still regions that have been safe from ISIS, but for how long? Honestly, I’m not so optimistic about the situation.

Since the region has turned into a battlefield for conflicting parties, Syria is no longer safe from anything at all. Each of them fights for the benefit of a specific party.

What caused ISIS to emerge is the international support, and the situation in Syria was like a magnet for rebels and extremists. Yes it is safe, ISIS is just a bubble that will blow too fast, as fast as it started.

I live in a region out of ISIS or the rebels power so I’m currently safe. I think if I was living in one of the regions they have power in, I would not be safe. Syria, of course, is not safe from terrorist groups such as ISIS.

4. Do you think the education in Syria is good?

No, I don’t. The teachers aren’t qualified to teach modern school books and the books are not good either. And adding to all these is the core problem: Syria was built wrong.

It’s not a matter of opinion. You can see the rank of Syrian universities and education. I would say that it’s worse than anything around here.

It’s bad, teachers don’t take efforts to let their students learn and understand; it’s all about memorizing.

Education in Syria has failed, because it was not applied properly, especially in teaching languages. It relies on the principle of indoctrination and determination of the students’ ideas and limiting their thinking.

Syrian education wasn’t bad in the past, as we all know, the public universities and schools of Syria were built in the 1920s and 30s. Most of people in the Middle East came to study in Syria back then.

But when Syrians used to focus a lot about the physiological needs, they didn’t pay attention that the education is collapsing. And now in this civil war, thousands of children lost their schools. I used to be an English teacher for those who have lost their schools in Damascus, and I have a clear vision in telling that Syria’s current education is in its worst state.

I think it’s good because it’s free and available for everyone. However, it’s very bad in scientific and valid information values.

5. Do you think that Syria is true democracy? Do you think that Syria has true freedom of the press?

No, I don’t. We have no democracy and no freedom, not from the regime and surely not from the rebels either.

No and no. It’s in the basis of communism. It’s hard to accomplish freedom in political systems such as the Syrian system. Not to mention that it stands until today because people were afraid to speak their true opinion in the presence of arbitrary arrests and even murder when necessary.

Well, we can call the democracy here selective, which means that some selective people (selected by the government to serve its purposes) talk in the name of the people of Syria.. It’s like fooling the people and making them think they have a democracy.

Of course not, the Constitution is just words on paper and is no place to actually implement any form of democracy, and this was one of the main reasons of the revolution.

The media is like the rest of the institutions in Syria; it’s a soldier to serve the interests of the system, even if it takes the falsification of facts and distortion of reality.

There is no democracy in the Middle East, as a whole. Democracy is a package, we can’t only choose freedom.

Syria has democracy, and freedom of speech as long as you are not offending the head of the pyramid.

6. How do you think we can stop this war?

I don’t really think there is a good way to end this conflict. Best case scenario is having a third foreign party crashing both sides and forcing peace till the time is good for Syrians to rule themselves.

I don’t know. I really don’t know, it’s a very complicated issue and I don’t think I can solve it.

The situation here is so complicated, everyone is angrier than the other. I have no answer for the solution to the war, at all.

Apparently,seeing what the war has accomplished, it will not be easy to end it. The matter requires the intervention of the United Nations, the UN Security Council in earnest, and the intervention of the International Court of Justice to prosecute the crimes committed during the crisis. However, the control of the major countries on the decisions will continue to be an obstacle.

The war can be ended by stopping the fight and making a reconciliation between disputing parties, the isolation of the current government and the formation of a transitional government as a prelude to real elections for a legitimate government under the Constitution.

LOVE. Love can end the war. Do you really have to kill somebody to revenge, if you love this somebody? NO.

Love will lead to forgiveness. 200 000 people died in Syria. if Each person’s family decided to take revenge, another 200 000 will die! It will also lead to coexistence, as people will easily leave weapons and live with each other again.

Many people tried to find solutions and all failed. I don’t see a near solution. The situation is bigger than being pro Assad, or against Assad…

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