We are still witnessing the repercussions of the criminal assault undertaken by Bashar al-Assad’s forces – with MiG aircraft – on the University of Aleppo campus. This assault, which left more than 200 dead, is a scene from a new chapter of death and terror that the al-Assad regime is carrying out against its people.
The series of killings, destruction and sabotage continues in Syria by all means, methods and techniques. Aleppo has been subjected to an organized campaign of genocide against all civil and cultural symbols. The old city market, bearing its beautiful Mamluk and Ottoman legacy, which was considered one of the largest and most famous indoor markets in history, suffered a massive fire that burned down its historic stalls as a result of the regime’s bombardment. The same happened to the Great Umayyad Mosque in the city, which was burned, looted and destroyed deliberately, and of course to the city’s most famous symbol, the majestic and historic Citadel of Aleppo.
Today we see the regime attacking and destroying the University of Aleppo, one of the most important and prestigious Arab academic establishments. The historic university was an institution long before Syria was contaminated by the regimes of Hafez and Bashar al-Assad and the Baath party. The targeting of the University of Aleppo and the prestigious College of Architecture was intended to send an implicit message, but it was very clearly directed towards anyone who wants to rebuild Syria in the future. The al-Assad regime is not only destroying the country, it is also seeking to destroy anyone who thinks of rebuilding it in the future.
Political scientists, analysts and those following current affairs warned of the gravity of the situation inside Syria and their strong fear of it worsening. They described the situation as akin to Somalization, Lebanonization or Iraqization, in reference to the deteriorating conditions various Arab countries have suffered, having been ravaged by fragmentation and ugly scenes of infighting, with opposing sides and warring factions. Countries like Somalia, Lebanon and Iraq are frightening examples of state collapse and civil war, and the high price of both. However, what is happening in Syria today is a separate phenomenon that will go down in political history and be analyzed for years to come; a phenomenon we can call Assadization. Assadization is the practice of committing genocide against your own people whom you are supposed to govern, promoting the idea that the world is conspiring against you because you advocate the principles of resistance and opposition, and repeating this idea again and again to try to convince the public into fear and submission.
In the future, Assadization will be a political case study that is carefully considered. Psychologists will meet to discuss it in order to come to terms with the panic and fear that the regime instilled in the hearts of the people over decades, through humiliation, degradation and intimidation. Likewise, sociologists will meet to study how the regime could exist with all its malevolent layers, one on top of the other; full of suspicious and conniving personalities. Economists will debate how the regime could eliminate the virtues of enterprise and courage that the Syrian economy was traditionally known for, forcing entrepreneurs and businessmen to leave the country, and then plunging Syria into massive debt through a farcical series of economic failures and experiments that exhausted the country and its people.
The phenomenon is still ongoing in all its forms, and Assadization will continue until the last moment. The regime, which came to power via a Trojan horse of lies, is no longer convinced of the slogans of Arabism, resistance, socialism and unity that it used to raise; whilst in reality it is practicing the exact opposite in an ongoing and sustained manner. Today, as the regime confronts its people in a battle for survival and salvation, there is no longer any room for shame, not even for lies, for the mask has fallen completely and al-Assad’s true face has been revealed.
Bashar al-Assad came to power via the Syrian People’s Assembly in something akin to a masquerade ball. He quickly amended the constitution to suit his own interests and then in a satirical comic scene tried to convince the world that he was democratically elected. It is worth noting that Bashar was not his father Hafez’s first choice, but after the death of his older son Basil al-Assad in a mysterious car accident, Bashar was portrayed to the people with kind expressions such as the beloved doctor and a man who understands the internet. These slogans were used to distract the people from the continuing series of Assadization that has brought the great land of Syria to the sad state of affairs we see today.
The hope inside people has died, and suspicion and fear among them has been born in its place, stripping them of their dignity and freedom. The world has betrayed the Syrian rebels and has failed to provide the Free Syrian Army with weapons or information. It intervened in Mali immediately to salvage the situation there, whilst Syria and its people have been calling out for more than two years. This is shameful political hypocrisy.
Assadization is a political cancer that has plagued the Arab world and we must get rid of it. Al-Assad is only surpassed in his crimes by those who continue to support and justify him.