Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

From “Bab el-Hara” to Bab el-Sebaa | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In Syrian drama television series, specifically those that focus on the Levantine cultural environment, characters of leadership and command are portrayed in an almost legendary manner. Perhaps the most famous of such television series was “Bab el-Hara”, which highlighted the characters of “al-Za’eem” and “al-Akeed” whilst glorifying and praising the role of the “resistance” against traitors and occupiers. The audience soon became fascinated with what they were seeing in the idealistic world of “Bab el-Hara”. Those championing the Syrian regime were happy for the success of the television show back then, because it helped them sell the idea to the Arab mentality that the regime was one of opposition and resistance.

But the realm of television shows is one thing, and reality is another. The Golan Heights is still under occupation and no television series has been produced to personify opposition in that part of Syrian territory. There is no al-Za’eem or al-Akeed to generate any sort of resistance over there. The true scene of resistance in Syria today has moved from the fictional “Bab el-Hara” television series to the real-life “Bab el-Sebaa” district. “Bab el-Sebaa” is an ancient Syrian district in the city of Homs, which has deservedly transformed into the capital of the on-going Syrian revolution.

“Bab el-Sebaa”, as known to the residents of Homs, is the home brave men who fear no one. Homs residents also know it by the name “The Black Stone”. They celebrate the history of the ancient city in their festivals, and pride themselves on being the grandchildren of Khaled Ibn al-Walid (May Allah be pleased with him), whose body is buried there. Homs has driven the regime to insanity. Its arms, missiles, troops, tanks and aircraft have failed to repress the revolutionaries, as well as those defecting from the oppressive army apparatus, who have joined the revolution in Homs in massive numbers. “Bab el-Sebaa”, not the fictional “Bab el-Hara”, is the real nucleus of Syria’s future.

The revolution in Syria is developing in a significant manner. The death toll is on the rise and the genocide strategy adopted by the regime persists. The same goes for its confusion in making decisions, especially in the economic domain. Strong objection on the part of businessmen has forced the government to retract its decision to ban imports. The Syrian Lira continues to experience devaluation and has lost nearly 20 percent of its original value. The regime has lost the sympathy of the Kurds and tribal clans, after launching attacks on two of their high-profile symbols. All these factors are accelerating the collapse of the regime from within.

The smuggling of gold and hard currency to other countries, particularly Iran, continues unabated. Families of senior officials are also leaving the country in a mass exodus to Eastern Europe, believing that the opposition Syrian National Council will soon be accepted and officially recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people, being acknowledged in France, Britain and Qatar. There is much talk about the existence of the large nucleus of a coup within the Syrian army, which will be ready to mobilise once the Syrian National Council gains enough external recognition. This is likely to be concurrent with the motion to freeze the membership of Syria’s regime in the Arab League, which may be proposed in the coming days.

The popular uprising has “adjusted” to the status quo and formed a parallel structure on the ground. There are dozens of secret hospitals treating the wounded away from the regime’s eyes. The same applies to schoolchildren as many of them are now being educated at home away from school. The country has gradually entered into a phase of civil disobedience. No sooner did the security intelligence apparatus organize demonstrations of support in Damascus, mobilizing all security capabilities to ensure success and evacuating other cities for that aim, than anti-regime protests broke out in Aleppo after security authorities had loosened their grip on the city. It seems that Aleppo will now be more active in the revolution due to the suffocating economic crisis and the increasing popular pressure on its residents.

The regime’s insistence on using the air force to quell the uprising will aid calls to impose a no-fly zone over Syria. There is a widespread belief that the civil aviation service will shrink and might even come to a halt very soon in preparation for the issuance of such a resolution. Economic sanctions have become very effective and it is expected that the people’s indignation towards the regime will increase, especially with the beginning of the harsh winter season. Turkey, Jordan and some honourable people in Lebanon and Iraq are explicitly supporting the revolutionaries, in the deep-rooted conviction that the regime’s days are numbered. The Syrian regime is still living in the age of fictional resistance, yet this is only relevant on the television screen during the holy month of Ramadan, and not in reality all year round.

The distance between “Bab el-Hara” and “Bab el-Sebaa” is the same as the distance between the fictional world and the real world, which the regime has been out of touch with. The real world will have the final say in this conflict, and we all hope the drama of the on-going Syrian revolution will have a happy ending.