So what is Syria’s truth?
Not so long ago I was aghast at the thought of world intervention when chemical weapons wiped out hundreds in the Damascus suburbs. World media quickly blamed Assad and threatened action, which was eventually avoided when Assad agreed to surrender all chemical weapons. This process is ongoing. In December, 2013 the UN announced the attack had come from rebel freedom fighters.
But what is the truth?
I saw the headline Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad makes rare public address as army moves in on Aleppo and started reading. I was going to post it with a link. Looking for photos I stumbled across images coming out Syria from the freedom fighters. One in particular struck me. So I started asking why are people freedom fighting. Why is the government firing on its own people? Why is this not in the mainstream media?
Researching I realised the issue is complex and there is no longer just the freedom fighters and government. There are factions among the factions complicating conflicts among everyone. Being Australian I have little understanding of Syria and its government so I looked into that. What I found shocked me, the Syrian people have lived under oppressive governments for at least 50 years.
So many displaced people. So many people living in fear. So many prisoners to inhumanity.
What started as protests when Syrian troops rounded up a handful of young boys in a Syrian border town has turned into 3 years of civil war. What did these boys do wrong? They scrawled graffiti in their schoolyard as a challenge to the Syrian government in 2011. Where does it end? When will the Syrian people be free of oppressive governments, and rebel factions, to live in peace and freedom?
I cannot see the answers to any of this except for governments to give way to the will of the people. I stumbled over some of the conditions Syrian governments force their people to live under. I cannot make judgements over who is right or wrong in this conflict. It is up to individuals to form their own opinion. But I can say that when people are oppressed long enough the frustration boils over. In Syria the frustration point was the arrest of those young boys and the ensuing unsuccessful protests.
Something I found interesting, and scary, was the government kept the people living under emergency rule from 1963 to 2011. During this time public gatherings of more than five people were banned, and still are. Assad lifted the emergency rule as a result of the protests in April 2011.
This is a quote from Wikipedia about Syria’s socioeconomics:
Discontent against the government was strongest in Syria’s poorer areas, predominantly among conservative Sunnis. These included cities with high poverty rates, such as Daraa and Homs, rural areas hit hard by a drought in early 2011, and the poorer districts of large cities. Socioeconomic inequality increased significantly after free market policies were initiated by Hafez al-Assad in his later years, and accelerated after Bashar al-Assad came to power. With an emphasis on the service sector, these policies benefited a minority of the nation’s population, mostly people who had connections with the government, and members of the Sunni merchant class of Damascus and Aleppo. By 2011, Syria was facing a deterioration in the national standard of living and steep rises in the prices of commodities. The country also faced particularly high youth unemployment rates.
And from Human Rights Watch, The World Report, 2005, page 498, “The government strictly limits freedom of expression, association, and assembly, and treats ethnic minority Kurds as second-class citizens.” In 2013, this is not much different, and probably worse with reports coming out that activists, bloggers and supporters of free speech become government targets.
Does any of this sound familiar to you in your country? Are the legislators making new rules that do not make sense or are only to raise revenue? It reminds me of what is happening in my country. Since free trade was introduced into Australia much of our manufacturing industry is lost with GMH recently announcing it is pulling out to move its operations to Asia. And today announced it never was going to stay regardless of how much taxpayer money propped it up. Huge widespread economic impact on two states and the communities that service the Holden car industry.
Australia’s once vibrant farming community has the highest percentage of suicides because they are up against so much ‘red tape’ to survive on the land they love. To make it harder, there are two major buyers pushing prices down often forcing farmers to sell their produce at a barely break even price.
Meanwhile people lose their jobs, prices go up, and the food quality is poor as it comes in from free trade countries without the same safety standards our own farmers need to meet. Legislation becomes a bully’s tool to hold over people’s head if they do not comply. And this is just a microcosm of what is happening in our communities thanks to free trade.
What is happening in Syria is likely to happen around the world if we do not stand up to our own rights and to oppressive legislation in our own countries. If we stay silent, silence is assent.
love, light & peace
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