All Not So Quiet on the Western Front.
Appearances aside, things were not so quiet in Syria today. Deraa witnessed mass protests which led to the usual crackdown by security forces leaving a reported 5 protesters dead. Meanwhile, Lattakia’s Sleibeh Neighborhood was transformed into a new Tahrir-like square, all with a central platform, speakers and public debates over nature and extant demands. Reports say that some troubles took place early on the day as the stage was being set, but there are no confirmed reports of casualties.
Damascus was not completely quiet as small, with a small demonstration in Jeramana Suburb leading to a swift crackdown.
Tomorrow is set to witness big demonstrations organized by the state in support of Assad. The event is being planned in the usual way: forcing army recruits doing their obligatory military service to attend dressed in civies, alongside middle and high school students, college students, public sector employees, and, with a new twist in these last few years, private sector employees working for companies owned by Bashar’s cousins, other relatives and their lackey and partners.
Bashar may choose to speak in one of these demonstrations and may introduce his reforms, or at least address recent turmoil. But whatever he says, the very nature of the show: staged demos in which people are blackmailed and bribed into feigning support, dancing and shouting their hearts out for the love of the Syrian Idol, serves to reinforce the protesters in their demands for Bashar’s ouster and regime fall. In other words, regardless of what happens tomorrow, the very f act that it will take place has already strengthened the resolve of the protesters, and the revolution will continue with eyes already set on this coming Friday: the Friday of Martyrdom.
Song to Deraa by Local Singer (with English subtitles in box below video)