Jul 27 2012
By Fatih Abdulsalam
Azzaman, July 27, 2012
Reports on fighting in Damascus, the Syrian capital, point to a systematic procedure government troops have been pursuing once entering an area that has been captured by the rebel Free Syrian Arm
The reports say that Syrian troops enter houses, pick up a few young men and after having them summarily executed, throw their corpses on the streets as a deterrent and threat to others.
Most of those executed in this manner were said to be of ages between 18-30. This means that a young Syrian aged 17 was five years old when Bashar al-Assad inherited his father as Syria’s president and the one aged 30 was 17.
These are the people who had high hopes of reform, democracy and freedom when Assad assumed power in 2000; at least that is what Assad himself promised to do during the first year or two of his presidency.
But the young President, instead of pursuing his reform agenda, fell into the bosom of Syria’s old guards and succumbed to the theory that tough and tight security is the solution and not reform.
The first fiasco in Assad’s term came when early in his presidency he moved to squash the first signs of a peaceful Arab Spring in Damascus. His security forces ruthlessly crushed peaceful demonstrators whose only wish was more freedom and not at all a change of the regime.
Assad had plenty of time to embark on serious reform but what happened during his presidency was totally against the expectations Syrians had of having a young president who has been educated in the West.
Today, millions of Syrians are craving for real change and they firmly believe it cannot come about so long as Assad and his old guards are in place.
Those who are being executed by Assad and his forces were supposed to go to streets and shout for the reforms which the president himself had promised them during his simple and modest swearing in ceremony.
This is, I believe, what makes a continuation of Assad and his regime almost impossible. He lost the present generation the way he did when he lost the generation that witnessed his ascendency to power.
How nice it would have been if the young president had pioneered and commanded real reform in Syria, opening all the windows for all kinds of birds to enter and sing, even if some of their hymns he did not like.
He would have become a point of reference for his own people, even for those who might have not liked his presidency, assuming a high moral ground besides his executive power.
But Assad has lost. He has lost his opportunity to become a true leader of a nation aspiring for change and reform.
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