Not every dark night turns into a bright morning, sometimes it turns into darker nights. Since 8 years and 3 months, the sun seems to be lost in the despair of each Syrian. Year after year, month after month, week after week, day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute, second after second, the cries keep on getting louder, the misery keeps on getting intenser, the freedom keeps on getting farther.
It all started with hope, a hope to see democracy. Freedom from the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad. In the spring of 2011, many of the Arab countries started revolting against their own government, demanding the end of dictatorship and the introduction of democracy. This uprising got famous worldwide as the Arab Spring. As a result, many of the Arab countries like Egypt and Tunisia saw the fall of dictatorial regimes. The problem with success is, it brings hope and inspires other people. In this case, it was Syria which derived the hope of freedom from emerging dictatorship.
A few days later, they were arrested, detained and tortured by the policemen. As the news came out, the family of those students along with thousands of other civilians started a march against the government demanding the release of those students. The problem with hope is it brings confidence, confidence brings courage. Few courageous students started protesting against the regime of Bashar al-Assad by painting walls with anti-government slogans.
After a few days of demonstration, the government decided to release the students. Among those 15 students, 14 were extremely tortured and one 13-year-old boy was killed. This news inflamed the demonstrators with anger, thousands of people started protesting against the government demanding suspension of the officials and removal of Bashar al-Assad. This time in many more number with diverse ways and solid intentions.
Bashar al-Assad’s response was covered in the metallic body of rifles. His response was bullets; he opened fire at the demonstrators. Bashar al-Assad had attacked his own countrymen, killing thousands of protesters. July 2011, the demonstration started on a daily basis, incessant killings started on a daily basis. The bullets from the rifles killed not only the soul of demonstrators but also, their hope of a democratic Syria. This gave birth to SFA (Syrian Free Army), a rebel group aiming to overthrow its own government. For centuries, we have a name for this kind of situation in a country – a civil war.
Since July 2011 till date, the only thing which has gained freedom is the soul of 5,00,000 dead Syrians. According to the UNHCR, 5.5 million citizens have left the country and 6.5 million citizens have been internally displaced within Syrian borders.
There has been international involvement from America and Russia. Russia supports Bashar al-Assad’s government, whereas America supports anti-Assad groups. The Shia majority governments of Iran and Iraq and Lebanon-based Hezbollah have supported Assad, while Sunni-majority countries, including Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia have supported anti-Assad rebels. Syria has also been divided with sectarianism, most Syrians are Sunni Muslims, but Syria’s security establishment has long been dominated by members of the Shia sect, of which Assad is a member. Altogether both the Sunni and Shia come from the same religion, they have some conventional differences but it need not be politicized.
In these 8 years, we have seen Syria being destroyed mercilessly and today, Syria has become the greatest tragedy of this century. One doesn’t know what will happen tomorrow but surely keep this in mind: when you get up tomorrow and start your day by holding hands in front of God for your well being, sit there folding your hands for an extra second and pray for Syria.