by Ghassan Karam
It is always lamentable when killings become a common everyday occurrence and in particular when many of the victims are innocent civilians, children women, and old people. It is especially chilling when death and destruction becomes a daily affair by the forces that were meant to protect the population against foreign enemies and to guard their rights and privileges. It is especially disheartening when “evil” is rationalized as essential since that transforms a shameful and ignominious act into a trite one. That is the danger of allowing murder, and oppression to metamorphose into a sterilized, common and hackneyed accounting of those killed every day in cold blood by a ruthless dictatorship whose sole interest is to maintain its ability to oppress, exploit and abuse.
Taking away life of civilians of all ages, including children, by their own government just because they dared protest against tyranny is always wrong. Obviously, deontological philosophy will never permit such egregious acts since it is based on a profound understanding of our moral and ethical obligations to each other. But neither would consequentialism, its opposite, approve of murderous acts that would not prevent greater numbers of people to be killed in the future.
The irony of the daily horrendous events of loss of life in Syria is that the tragic loss of life is being used by those that are essentially responsible for it as an excuse and a rationale for them to continue their senseless spilling of innocent blood by ordering heavy artillery and tanks to level neighbourhoods that dared demonstrate for democracy and personal rights. It is paradoxical when the oppressors who had over forty years to adopt some reforms and let the sunshine into the dark and rotten dungeons that they have built start portraying themselves as reformers and as democrats. The foreign minister of this rotten regime, Walid Al Moualem, even declared that the Syrian Ba’ath gang is ready to teach the world a lesson in democracy. He has no shame, neither do his fellow conspirators. I wonder whether Mr. Al Moualem even knows what is the meaning of democracy, citizenship, human rights, diversity, personal responsibility… Obviously his Don; Bashar Assad does not, as it was made amply clear in his interview with Danish TV where he said that he implied that he is a dictator who knows best what is good for the Syrian people, their personal preferences be damned. It was also laughable when he told ABC TV , just a few months ago, that he was not in control of what goes on in Syria and so he must not be held accountable for the approximately 6000 lost lives, tens of thousands of prisoners, many city quarters across Syria demolished or an economy that is about to implode.
It is not uncommon for individuals to have a distorted vision of reality but when the preservation of such a vision results in the deaths of thousands and the destruction of dreams then that paranoia and delusion cross a redline. The acts of the last year have made it amply clear that those in control of the Syrian government are driven purely by personal ambition to stay in power and to exercise their tyranny and oppression. Syria as a country that belongs to 22 million people is an alien idea to them since the country is a fiefdom for the Assads and their clan, a mentality based in a pure vision of personality cult worship and a party that is all knowing.
Is there a place for such tyranny and repression or do the citizens have the right and the moral obligation to put an end to a half a century of exploitation and abuse? It has been long in coming but finally the Syrian brothers have awoken from their slumber and have taken a stand for what is right and just. It is the Ba’ath and Bashar that have tried to exploit the situation over the past year in order to distract the revolutionaries from demanding what is rightfully theirs; the ability to decide their own destiny. Bashar could have avoided all this bloodshed had he declared his intension to hold free elections and to introduce meaningful reforms over a year ago. He chose not to do so only because he did not believe that the Syrian masses deserve to be treated with dignity. Let him reap what he has sown.