Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

A Major Step in Damascus | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In contrast to what we are accustomed to, the Arab countries have taken quite a step in their attempt to help Syria out of the current crisis in which it finds itself. This time the Arabs have not settled for their usual role of the audience but rather they are in the line of fire with Damascus against the European capital and Washington.

The success of such diplomatic endeavors is restricted to the Syrian government”s actions, as nobody can help the Syrians if they do not want to be helped!

Amongst the crises of Damascus is its heritage of a totalitarian language as well as the outdated Cold War reforms, and a slow development amongst a vigorously active world. Syria”s Foreign Minister, Farouq Al-Sharaa”s speech exemplified a culture that does not want to recognize the level of change that is taking place all over the world.

Such a culture does not differentiate between a student protest in Damascus and a speech delivered at the headquarters of the most important international organization, the United Nations. Such a culture does not differentiate between the oppressive national language of empty rhetoric of which the poet Nizar Qabani says, &#34has never even harmed a fly,&#34 and between a responsible and rational language that tackles the realization of the enormity of the problem. Therefore, if this is the language used by the Foreign Minister, what is possibly left for the Defense Minister to say? Furthermore, if this is the language of a besieged country that requires international sympathy, then what would be the language of the superpowers whose battleships traverse the wide oceans of our world?

Such is the very crisis; the indolence of decision-making and hesitancy in resolving matters. Releasing a number of political prisoners at such a time is a major step. However, other prominent detainees remain imprisoned, the majority of whom are Syrian nationalist who have never possessed any arms or committed any crime. What was considered their crime was actually defending their country during a number of events.

Freedom of opinion and freedom of the press remain non-existent in Syria, which explains why the indigenous people resort to foreign media as a news source. Some of these forms of media are objective and fair however, others are resentful towards Syria. Old guards are still responsible for key decision-making, therefore we say President Bashar Assad of Syria has an excellent opportunity ahead of him to divest Syria of its current complications and dilemmas by making serious changes in Damascus that would almost resemble a revolution. If such a suggestion were implemented, old thinking would be eliminated to be replaced by a modern Syria. Such a picture is not far from reality.