|Peaceful against all odds!
As the Assads increase their reliance on local militia and gangs, the potential for a nationwide meltdown increases. Only the protesters’ continued commitment to nonviolence keeps the country together at this stage.
The village of Al-Baydah near the coastal city of Banyas today was the scene of a horror show mastered by the Shabbiha, the pro-Assad gangs who seem to be taking the lead in the nation-wide crackdown alongside regular security forces, loyal army troops, and selected unites of the Republic Guard. Few hundreds of them poured into the village’s main square, conduced house raids, arresting hundreds of inhabitants and dragging them to the public square where they were beaten with batons. The children were forced to watch then stage a pro-Assad rally.
We can now confirm as well, that several army officers have indeed been executed because they refused orders to open fire on unarmed protesters. The inhabitants of the city of Madaya, which remains under military siege after yesterday’s protests, assert that their son Murad Hajjo was killed by security officers for his refusal to open fire on protesters. This is what the inhabitants of the historic city of Tadmor (Palmyra) also think was the fate of their son, Muhammad Awad Al-Kanbar, whose funeral was held earlier on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, and despite the current state of siege imposed on each town in Deraa and on communities and suburbs throughout the country, several rallies were held today in support of the people of Banyas, including in Deraa City, Hrak, Kobani, Kisweh, Barzeh and Al-Tal.
Finally, around 75 students who took part in yesterday’s protests at Damascus University or refused to take part in the pro-Assad rally that hastily thrown afterwards have been summarily expelled from university or referred to a disciplinary committee for expulsion.
A Message to The International Community:
In his address to the Libyan people following the onset of Libyan Revolution, Saif Gaddafi explained in full nauseating details how the situation will be made to degenerate into a civil war between a Benghazi-led alliance and Tripoli-led one. In his first address to the Syrian people following the onset of the Syrian Revolution, Bashar Al-Assad, laid out the plan for Syria: security-led crackdown everywhere and against all protests under the pretext of weeding out infiltrators and resisting foreign conspiracies and designs, coupled with reforms that will unfold according to his vision, his timetable, and more importantly, under his leadership.
Considering, on the one hand, that protesters are already questioning the very legitimacy of Bashar’s leadership, that violence is not succeeding in stifling their commitment to the cause and that Bashar has proven time and again that he is incapable of carrying out true reforms, the questions facing the international community are all about choosing sides and ensuring that the situation in Syria does not follow the Libyan Scenario. Rather than waiting until Bashar’s thugs on the streets bring his “prophecy” to fulfillment, world leaders need to take action now to explain to the Assads that there will be consequences to their thuggery. Assets freeze, targeted sanctions, actions by UN Commission on Human Rights and UN Security Council, all these are now steps that need to be considered. Let’s see for once if we can prevent conflict, rather than manage it.
He was the first, and will be remembered in post-Assad Syria as one of our many, many principled and courageous heroes. His name was Khalid al-Masri, a young conscript soldier, who said no when his Assad-loyalist army commander gave him the despicable order to traduce a mosque in Deraa, and beat or shoot those at prayer in it. Khalid said no — a word unknown in Assad 1& 2 Syria — that sad prototype of the Orwellian police state, where Big Brother kills all who rebel against his cruel and absolute rule.
For saying no, Khalid al-Masri was shot in the head point blank, to make an instant example of him. Maybe because his extraordinary stand was far too costly to a dying regime. An army insurrection by conscript soldiers, belonging to a majority population, could bring it down more quickly than one can say ‘Maher, Maher, ya jaban, khod junudak ‘al Golan!’ (Maher, Maher, you coward, take your troops to fight on the Golan) — a furious chant that has gone up across the towns and cities of Syria, which rousingly sums up the accusation that both Bashar and his violent brother Maher, are lions when it comes to turning their guns on their own people, but pussycats when it comes to the Israelis.
Shooting Khalid al-Masri in the head made a hero of him, not an example. In the last 48 hours, more and more soldiers and heads of army units have categorically refused to fire on unarmed protestors, and have died for their patriotic stand.
For more than 40 years, the Syrian army has been denatured by packing into it in the most sensitive positions members of the Allawite community who profess utter loyalty not to Syria, but to the Assad clan. These Generals — with their chestfuls of undeserved medals, pinned to the khaki that clothes their over-corpulent bodies; with their fabulous financial sinecures and their appallingly-corrupt record both in Syria and in Lebanon — have nothing in common with Khalid al-Masri. They were at war with him when he was alive, and are at war with his memory now that he has been murdered, because he and others like him show them up to be the traitors to their country that they actually are, using a position — once made glorious by Yusef al-Azmeh — to enrich themselves obscenely and kill their down-trodden and impoverished fellow citizens shamelessly.