Rural Damascus continues to seethe, Homs continues to suffer, Idlib, Hama, Deraa and Deir Ezzor continue to defy, opposition groups continue to wrangle, the international community continues to watch, and Assad continues to kill. Nothing new under the sun.
Some people refer to the increased militarization of the revolution in certain parts as though it were a moral failing. I find that position to be extremely hypocritical, not only because people have a legitimate and internationally recognizable right to protect themselves against killers and to fight for self-determination against occupiers and usurpers, but because many of those appalled have until recently never paid mind to Ghandi or Martin Luther King Jr. Their heroes have always been people like Che Guevara and other “freedom fighters” from Latin America and Africa, and they have always supported armed “resistance” movements in the region like Hezbollah and Hamas, and considered pragmatist leaders like late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and current Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad as traitors. They even rarely thought twice about airing their sympathies with Taliban fighters and the Jihadis in Iraq, who to them are/were fighting against imperialism and had every right to use all the means available to them in this regard.
There is so much fear, hypocrisy, shortsightedness in this attitude as to make me sick.
Should civilians ever be killed, terrorized or otherwise targeted for vendettas by revolutionaries and defectors, I will surely consider that to be immoral and I will condemn it in the strongest possible terms, will call on the revolutionaries to stop the perpetrators of such acts, and I will call for them to be brought to justice as soon as conditions allow as part of the transitional justice scheme that we will have to implement once the regime collapses.
Luckily, there is little of that happening so far, and all resistance that we have witnessed in Homs City and elsewhere in Syria on part of the defectors and revolutionaries have falling, with few aberrations, very much within the guidelines of accepted norms for people defending themselves and trying to fight for their survival against a methodical killing machine.
Personally, I still believe in the viability of nonviolent tactics, even in these conditions, but practically, I will not fault on moral ground the choices made by defectors and their supporters, as this represents to me an utterly arrogant and hypocritical attitude. Moreover, now that we have a Free Syrian Armt at play with such popular support in so many parts of Syria, I will not bury my head in the sand and ignore this reality, not will I condemn it. Rather, I now recognize that nonviolent tactics have to play out in parallel to the activities of the defectors.