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Syria and the Arab silence…Again - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The French are astonished, and they are right to be, by the Arab silence towards the Syrian regime’s brutal suppression of its own citizens, over the past three months. France and Turkey, the al-Assad regime’s closest allies in the past, have broken there silence, as has the West, whilst the Arabs are still silent!

Ankara, which was Syria’s godparent both in the region and internationally, broke its silence and spoke about Syria’s atrocities against women, children and the elderly, and it is suffice to note that more than 4 thousand Syrians have now fled to Turkey. The French defended Bashar al-Assad’s regime in the past, and marketed it regionally and internationally as well. Yet here they are today trying to unite the international community against the Damascus regime, in order to put an end to its repressive actions, where it has used aircraft to kill its citizens. Meanwhile the Arabs, all Arabs, continue to remain silent. The death toll of innocent Syrians has surpassed one thousand, not to mention the tens of thousands of prisoners and those reported missing, yet the Arabs have not uttered a single word!

Footage was released every day revealing the crimes committed by the regime against the Syrians, and still the Arabs did not speak. The footage revealed the humiliation and torture of children, youths and the elderly. We saw an old man moaning as he was kicked in the face, by the Syrian regime’s men. We saw a group of these men take a photo standing on the back of the Syrian man, after they had kicked him with their shoes. We heard the Turkish Prime Minister talking about the brutality of the Syrian regime, and how it was now difficult for him to defend it, yet the Arabs did not say a single word condemning the regime in Damascus. Demonstrations are prevalent in Syrian cities and towns, even the most obscure ones, with everyone coming out against the regime. There have been protests in Homs, Hama, Latakia, Aleppo and Damascus, and young officers have begun to dissent from the army, and join the so-called “free officers”, yet again the Arabs have not said a single word.

Thus the question today is: When will the Arabs say the right thing about what is happening to the unarmed Syrians? I raised this question earlier, and I will put it forward again today. How can the Arabs rise up against Gaddafi, and call for the international community to take a decisive stand against him, while they do nothing about the Syrian regime, neither the GCC or the Arab League, the latter being an organization which has surely past its expiration date. If we are to call a spade a spade, then it is sad that the Iranian regime, along with Hassan Nasrallah and some in Lebanon, which itself is a country in need of a moral and political revolution, are standing with the regime in Damascus, while the Arabs so far have not stood with the defenseless Syrian people who long for freedom and dignity, the two most basic rights!

It is true that politics is a matter of interests and realism, the art of opportunity, but that does not mean we should discount the ethical and humanitarian dimension. In the past Europe and America rushed to protect the Muslims in Yugoslavia from [Slobodan] Milosevic, and also in the heart of Europe. At this time there was no mention of the fact that it was in [Europe and America’s] interests for Islam to be weakened in Europe, but rather it was a matter of ethical and humanitarian values. When will the Arabs do the equivalent for the Syrians, who have no one to protect them except God?

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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