Syria: The New Libya

Posted on July 23, 2011 in GlobeScope

By Brian Pape:

What seemed to be a peaceful revolution started by an angry fruit cart salesman in Tunisia that used self-immolation spread across the region like a conflagration of democracy and freedom from the young voices all over this region and of the world. People used social networking sites to meet up and begin massive rallies leading to the overthrow or at least huge reforms in countries like Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, and Egypt. But now we see the tide of this Arab well turning from a peaceful world revolution to one of a blood red bid for control and dominance of their respective countries’ leaders.

This has been most prevalent in the protests that turned into war in Libya. When Muammar Ghadafi began using mercenaries and his security forces to murder and break up protests. Then it became clear that not every country would so easily listen or tolerate dissent of their rulers and would use any means to keep control. When Ghadafi’s armed forces and mercenaries were targeting entire towns and cities of unarmed civilians, a resistance began to take shape against Ghadafi, the situation turned from what could have been a revolution of peace, like in Egypt, to a bloody civil war that is still raging. Now NATO is involved mainly using warplanes to attempt to support and encourage the resistance fighters and help lead them to victory. This however has not been the case in Syria.

The protests in Syria began against president Bashar al-Assad whose family has ruled the country since 1970 had initially agreed to reform. Now it seems the country has turned into a place from open public decent into a security crackdown resulting in what some have reported to be over 1000 dead since the protests began. There is strict control over the media so all the details of the situation are sketchy at best, but from YouTube videos and reports from people on the inside, it seems the violence is continuing to increase. There are still protests going on however and the young, brave people who persist in the face of security forces; who fire on unarmed protesters; have got political retribution from other countries in the form of sanctions and constant disapproval from various leaders and media around the world. I can’t help but wonder if this situation will become a constant bloody struggle between the people of Syria and the people who so desperately want to continue to maintain their grip on power. If this does persist it is likely that resistance will eventually turn to a more organized, and potentially more violent protest as it did in Libya.

Right now it is hard to say as the evidence is slowly coming out of the violence perpetrated by the government against its people and the brave protesters who stand in the face of their government without guns chanting “Peace!” I, coming from a country (U.S.) that has seen its share of protests, I can’t help but be reminded of the protests in our country during the turmoil in the 1960s. Young men and women stood for freedom and justice stood against our own armed forces here at home. When the national guard had to protect African American school children going to class when racial segregation was not only accepted but was the law. When young men who at the time couldn’t even vote for their President but were being sent to war to fight against enemies half way across the world and die for that same President.

As one of my favorite bands from that era Buffalo Springfield said “There’s a man with a gun over there telling me I’ve got to beware…We got to stop children. What’s that sound? Everybody look what’s going down.” I hope the youth of the world will heed that advice during this new time of global protest and learn to eventually stand together in peaceful protests.