If we fear change because it could bring with it all sorts of bad possibilities, no good will ever come.
A few individual acts of vendetta and self-defense aside, the Syria Revolution has so far been quite peaceful. Despite the regime’s continuing attempt at instigating confessional strife, the protesters have for the most part managed to avoid falling into this pitfall. Still, there is no denying that the situation is pretty sensitive and tricky, ad that the potential for the revolution to devolve into communal strife is too real. But the only practical thing that can be done here is to continue to infuse an element of reason and pragmatism into the popular daily discussions taking place involving the nature of the change that we want to see in our country. There is no other choice, and there are no magical solutions. And other than taking part in the change, there are no guarantees that can be offered to alleviate anyone’s fears. Conferring a special status on certain segments of the population is exactly what we are fighting against now. Rule of law, respect for basic human rights, a measure of local governance, an electoral system that allows for all different national and religious groups to be represented and to have input in the decision-making process, and enshrining all this in a new constitution is the best that can be done. Going beyond that will not come as a step in the right direction, but as a relapse.
The stakes have always been high in this regard. The House that Assad built, and the rules that he imposed on all have all but ensured that. Moreover, the nature of the political processes in our societies will ensure that there always be fanatics and people encouraging and using them, and the best we can do in the fight against fanaticism is to first acknowledge the existence of the problem and its extant, especially the fact that it is not restricted to one particular group. We need to be aware as well that the nature of current developments on the ground makes clear that slowing down or going back are not options. Change, drastic change, will have to take place come what may.
Meanwhile, there are a lot of people on the ground, from all different intellectual, political, national and religious backgrounds working tirelessly to bring their communities together around common denominators. Their work is important, and they deserve our support. I remain guardedly optimistic, mainly because I am aware of their existence and their activities, and aware of how much support they actually have among the Syrian people at large. They are the solution.