Friday, April 22, 2011

What State of Emergency?

Anti-government protesters march during a demonstration following Friday prayers near Damascus on April 22.

It is as though the government of Syria has played a malicious little joke on the people of Syria. Promising reforms, promising to heed the complaints of the protesters, and taking a book out of the page of its mentor-state, the Islamic Republic of Iran. Make soothing sounds, and then - clamp down, hard. Live bullets! What else? This is not a game.

But rest at ease, the 50-year-old state of emergency has been lifted. Other legislation has taken its place. In fact, mirroring the original. Haven't people been warned? Haven't the rebellious protesters taken it upon themselves to defy authority? This cannot and will not be countenanced.

The Interior Ministry gave sound counsel to the people; their "armed insurrection" will not be tolerated. They have been ordered "to refrain from any mass rallies or demonstrations or sit-ins"; if they persist police will do their duty and "apply the laws in force."

And the scenes the world has witnessed elsewhere in the Muslim world are here again repeated. Funeral mourners attacked by government forces, adding substantially to the need for additional funerals. Devout Muslims streaming out of their mosques after Friday sermons, met by live ammunition. All of which has fed the determination of Syrians to shed their tyrannical government. Tens of thousands now committing themselves to overturning the government.

Ignoring Bashar al-Assad's claims that fanatical Islamists belonging to al-Qaeda are determined to ruin the country. The Islamists, the Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood have been infiltrated by an foreign enemy source, the sinister Zionist entity, intent on destroying Syria....

And it is not, despite popular opinion, Syria's military and police who have been responsible for those deaths, the latest 72 in number, but the "armed gangs". "Those groups aim to create chaos and terrify the Syrian people, exploiting the reform and freedom process launched within a comprehensive program according to specific timetables announced by President Bashar al-Assad"; so claimed a SANA statement.

Why are not the people listening to the calm and sane voice of reason emanating from their responsive and freedom-supporting government?

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