Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Syria: The Regime is besieging itself | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The image was distant and shaky, but it was real.

A little boy fearfully clasping his father’s neck as the latter tries to carry him away from the pursuing soldiers. Sprouting up everywhere like mushrooms, the soldiers are trying to arrest the boy amidst a jumble of screams, shouts and chaos in the street.

We don’t know whether the boy was arrested or whether his father’s attempts were successful in protecting him from a dreaded fate.

The “YouTube” footage does not tell us what happened to the Syrian boy who had committed a cardinal sin for children in Syria today; taking to the streets and chanting anti-regime slogans. To us, mere viewers of this footage, Syria today appears as glimpses of incomplete clips and stories, mostly culminating in a cruel and horrific atrocity.

How could we not fear for the little boy clinging onto his father’s neck, and not think of Zeinab al-Hussni, the young woman who had fallen victim to draconian torture in Syria’s security cellars? We hold our breath and hope that this boy’s name will not be raised alongside the names of those children, teens, and young men and women from Syria who over the past seven months have become martyrs for the revolution and inspiring figures for the masses.

The image of this trembling little boy is one of thousands which the regime has been trying over the past seven months to contain, monitor and curb until finally it all backfired as the regime suddenly found itself besieged and hemmed in by such images. What did the media blackout imposed on the Syrian popular uprising achieve over the past few months?

The official account about armed gangs and infiltrators roaming the streets of Syria has been totally shattered and has grown exceedingly unconvincing, even for the closest of regime associates. Reports of the regime’s atrocities have filled the headlines and continue to do so. The attempts made by Syria’s official media to promote the idea that life over there was normal and that “everything in Syria is fine” only contributed to widening the gulf separating the regime from its people and the rest of the world, with the exception of Iran, Russia and Lebanon (at least officially).

Footage that has been smuggled out, leaked, or simply issued with a view to make a statement, and here I mean clips showing security elements and pro-regime thugs (Shabiha) torturing or killing their victims, has become a customary daily post online, and an everyday reality at the same time.

The claim that the regime is still powerful is unconvincing because it has become besieged by a scene that the world can no longer ignore. Yes, the regime is besieged by the scene of its innocent victims. The assertion that post-revolutionary Syria cannot go back to as it was before derives its logic from this fact. How could the world stomach the possibility of Syria’s regime staying in power now? By doing so, the world would be sending a message that the regime’s bloody crackdown on the revolution could pass as an approved and legitimate method for quelling uprisings wherever they erupt.

What draws ridicule and contempt at the same time is the conceited attitude of the regime’s media while stating that protests have begun to register a marked retreat. It is as if those people are proud that the power of tyranny and unrestricted killing has gotten the better of the masses.

The hard truth is that over seven months ago the regime tried to besiege the city of Daraa and castigate its youth. Today this same regime has come under siege and is on the brink of collapse.