A Freudian Slip and A Busted Spy is what you need to make a Humble Pie.
The Freudian Slip
At a time when so many are concerned about the decreasing size and number of protest demonstrations, the Assads’ attempt to overwhelm our senses with the cries of their supporters proved to be underwhelming, and revealed that both sides by now are indeed tired.
First, it was the choice of the Square: The 7 Fountains Square, although located in downtown Damascus, is not even ¼ the size of the Umayad Square, the usual venue for loyalty demonstration, with its ability to accommodate large crowds and its proximity to Syrian State TV and the headquarters several security apparatuses as well as the presidential palace.
Despite official assertions that over a million loyalists took place in the event, a Facebook user using information readily obtained via Google, estimated that since Square measures around 15,000 m2, and assuming that each square meter can accommodate 4 loyalists, the total number of participants could not have exceeded 60,000. But even if it were 100,000, the gap between the usual size crowds and this one is simply too glaring and too telling. With the majority of college, high school and junior high students taking a well-timely sick leave, Assad security officers could not put out the usual show. And the strain was so much for some of them, it seems, hence the first Freudian slip of the day:
Be that as it may, all the Assads have to do is hold on. It’s we, the opposition, the activists, the dissidents, the revolutionaries, who have to provide a vision for a better tomorrow, we are the ones who have to provide enough momentum to overcome the inertia of the status quo. So, one way or another we have to find the strength to move back to the streets, even as we begin to debate the ideas and notions that will shape our lives tomorrow. And remember, we have to talk about ideas and notions, not personalities and terminologies.
The Busted Spy
It will be interesting to see, in light of the threats recently uttered by Assad’s Grand Mufti, if this recruitment process included elements meant to do more than just “make audio and video recording of protests.”
Moreover, considering that Hezbollah supporters in the U.S. have been playing a key role in organizing pro-Assad demonstrations and events in places like Washington, D.C. and Dearborn, Michigan, as well as the recent uncovering of an Iranian-led plot against the person of the Saudi Ambassador in Washington, it seems, that even with a lead-from-behind policy on part of the Obama Administration, our bad guys are intent on bringing their brand of mad adventurism and turf-wars onto U.S. soil. Meaning: America does have a stake in the outcome of the Arab Revolution, and more specifically, the Syrian crisis, and should play a more active, if not proactive role.
The Humble Pie
If anything, the previous two incidents illustrate more than ever the need for a strong push now to ensure the collapse of the Assad regime. The regime is clearly on the brinks, and even at it carries on with its murderous activities, it is slowly but surely losing the ability to muster domestic support. It’s hanging on by default at this stage. But this is a position that it can maintain for all too long, and at the cost of so many Syrian lives, unless the opposition and the protesters receive a much needed international boost. In other words, opposition groups need to stop their jockeying for positions in the spotlight, to produce a political vision that can inspire the protesters, the silent majority, and even the people caught by default on the other side, thus avoiding to make the wrong kind of history, the kind they made back in the 1950s onward, and the U.S. needs to start leading again, from where leadership is usually done: the front row.
A big humble pie awaits those who wrangle and dither.