Syria-Solidarity : A Must

October 11th, 2012 | Posted in Civil-war, Other, Solidarity, Syria
    A statement by Tadamon! Montreal

Destruction in Homs, Syria, April 2012

Brief context

The people’s struggle in Syria for liberation from the brutal, dictatorial rule of the Assad regime has arrived at a critical juncture. Central neighborhoods of Syria’s largest cities, Damascus and Aleppo, have become the sites of direct armed confrontation between the forces of opposition to the regime – especially the Free Syrian Army (FSA) – and the state’s military and security forces. The battles have been especially intense and protracted in Aleppo with devastating consequences for residents of the city. The state has used heavy artillery, aerial bombardments and shelling and has deployed troops, snipers and security operatives in a wide range of city quarters in pursuit of its strategy of dealing with the revolutionary movement by sheer repression and force. The result has been heavy civilian casualties, destruction of homes and civilian infrastructure, mass displacements of population and, in some areas, dire humanitarian conditions (e.g. lack of food, no electricity, water shortages, no essential municipal services). State military attacks on civilian areas amount to “war crimes” according to some human rights organizations (e.g. Human Rights Watch). Meanwhile, the actions of some elements of the opposition (broadly understood) have also been qualified as human rights violations (e.g. summary executions of captured regime fighters). Armed confrontations between opposition and regime forces, in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria, and the increased violence that has resulted are the outcome of the Assad regime’s strategy of using repression, terror and brute force to deal with oppositional activism, protest and popular calls for freedom, dignity and the end of absolutist rule. In the face of regime brutality and terror tactics, the popular uprising which began in March 2011 took armed form, increasingly, in late 2011 and became decidedly “militarized” in early 2012. With the turn to armed struggle and the advent of fighting in Damascus and Aleppo the revolution has arrived at a crucial and important juncture.

Current juncture

It is now more vital than ever for individuals and organizations throughout the world to state in the clearest and strongest of terms their support for the people’s struggle in Syria. The current context in Syria cannot be characterized accurately using single or simple terms or phrases. Rather, it must be understood in its complexity – local, regional and international – and in its historical scope. Yet, it is possible and valid to draw from the context the conclusion that Syrians throughout Syria, from all economic classes, belonging to all social and cultural groups have recognized Assad rule for what it is – authoritarian, arbitrary, violent and divisive – and are saying collectively “no more”, “we do not want government that robs us of dignity and freedom”, “we want the downfall of the regime”. Simply put, this demand for revolutionary change is deserving of support.

Call for Solidarity

Tadamon! Montreal restates its stand of solidarity with the people of Syria and calls on all people of conscience, all those who stand for social justice, self-determination and the right of dissent to do the same. In taking this stand, Tadamon! affirms the following:

• Syrians are engaged in a legitimate struggle against brutal and corrupt authoritarian rule. Their calls, in early 2011, for democratic change and respect for their fundamental rights, following the inspiring revolutionary changes in Tunisia and Egypt, were met with repression and violence on the part of the Syrian state. Syrians remained steadfast in their calls for change, breaking what they termed the “wall of fear” that had been erected by the Assad-Baath state over some 40 years to silence and neutralize dissent, opposition and critique of the system of rule and its modalities of domination.

• In the face of the regime’s relentless pursuit of a security-repression strategy for dealing with popular protest, Syrians came to call for the downfall of the regime. This objective was pursued, initially, by means of peaceful protest, civil disobedience, strike actions and other forms of non-violent struggle. These actions are ongoing. Armed resistance became part of the struggle gradually as a result of events and developments on the ground. It has taken organizational form, most saliently, under the banner of the “Free Syrian Army”. In conjunction, people have become increasingly convinced that meaningful change can only be achieved by meeting the regime’s armed, repressive force with armed resistance. In this context, in which uncertainty and instability are prevalent, acts of violence, theft, incitement and intimidation, regrettably, have been committed by political actors whose aims are at odds with those of the main segment of the opposition. Today, the situation in Syria is complex and volatile. Yet, it can be summed up as a situation of revolutionary struggle. It takes multiple forms, has features of centralization and fragmentation, stability and variability. It is directed towards the ultimate goal of liberation from the brutality, arbitrariness and abuses of Assad-Baath rule.

• An outcome in Syria that is consistent with justice, equality, dignity and respect cannot be achieved exclusively or primarily by military or violent means. Syrians must move towards discussion, dialogue, negotiation and reconciliation. Oppositional forces, of various currents, have stated this over and again and have taken steps in this direction. However, the departure of Assad from the Presidency must precede any process of negotiation towards democratic, participatory government and national reconciliation. It is Assad and his backers who bear responsibility, ultimately, for the conditions of danger, need and insecurity in which so many people in Syria now find themselves. It is Assad and his backers who stand in the way of an end to the fighting, destruction, massacres and killing and who block movement towards a viable collective process of building democratic, inclusive, pluralistic and accountable political structures.

• Syria has become an arena of political power contests among state and non-state actors competing for advantage and a share of the spoils. Whether they claim to stand behind the Assad regime and the status quo in Syria (e.g. Russia, China, Iran) or behind the opposition and the end of the Assad regime (ie. Western powers, Turkey and some Arab-Gulf countries), states are using the Syrian context to gain geo-strategic leverage and to advance their interests in the region. These interests converge only nominally and superficially with those in Syria who are fighting, sacrificing, risking their lives and dying for a new Syria of democratic governance, accountability and justice. Meanwhile, various non-state political actors (e.g. militant groups of differing religious, sectarian and other ideological currents) are also seeking to achieve particular goals that may be divisive and may or may not converge with the goals of the main bloc of revolutionary forces.

• Foreign military intervention by Western powers will not bring about an end to the Syrian conflict that meets the aspirations and hopes of Syrians. Foreign military intervention would bring about dependency and external control and would open the possibility of neo-colonial domination for the benefit of Western powers and Israel. This is not the outcome for Syria that people seek.

• The Syrian revolution can be and must be won by the people of Syria. It must be won for the purpose of achieving progressive societal, economic and political change in Syria and the region. Liberation from dictatorial rule in Syria and the advent of accountable, inclusive government will open up opportunities for liberation throughout the region, not least in Palestine. It is the fear of progressive change in Syria that is behind the various reactionary stances of regional and international powers whether they claim to support the revolutionary movement or not. People of Syria must carve their own independent path to veritable liberation. They can and, ultimately, must do so together. We must stand with them in solidarity.

No to foreign military intervention in Syria. No to the Assad regime. No to sectarian civil war.
Yes to self-determination for the Syrian people. Yes to liberation for Syrians and all peoples of the region.

Some solidarity actions you can take:
• Issue solidarity statements or declarations supportive of the liberation struggle in Syria.
• Endorse the Tadamon! Montreal statement by sending it on your organizational or personal list.
• Organize and support solidarity initiatives in your city or locale.
• Organize or donate to humanitarian relief efforts for Syria.
• Organize and support initiatives that seek to advance social justice, equality, accountability, self-determination and progressive change in all contexts

Stay informed on developments in Syria and inform others:

Jadaliyya: Syria

Local Coordination Committees of Syria

Syria Tracker: Missing, Killed, Arrested, Eyewitness, Report

Human Rights Watch: Syria


Free Syria !!

Comment by Kais M'sallem — October 11th, 2012 @ 1:25 AM

Thanks Tadamon

Comment by Nezar Hammoud — October 12th, 2012 @ 10:03 PM

Sorry to see you mentioning Human Rights Watch as a reliable source. It has been compromised for several years now, even more so than Amnesty International.

The totally legitimate desires of the Syrian people have been high-jacked and there is no ‘middle way’ possible. ‘The West’ wants Syria smashed as Iraq was smashed. The issue is not even hitting Syria to get at Iran, but overall US corporate hegemony.

Sorry so many people will only realize this when it’s too late.

Comment by Siusaidh — October 16th, 2012 @ 12:39 AM

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