There is no God but Liberty; our conscience its messenger
Friday, March 19, 2004

Baathism Soon Will Be Discarded into Trashheap of History

Very interesting analysis in the Dubai press by a former Canadian diplomat:

The clashes are minor so far but if they grow or Kurds begin to make demands can the Syrian government crush them at will? Will the world turn a blind eye to this act? Not very likely.

They are an Alawite regime that has survived over a Sunni majority through unquestioned rule of force. If the Kurds crack this fa├žade, many others may be encouraged to also push the limits. Bashar and his men may be standing at the tip of an iceberg, exactly where the American government wants them to be.

Indeed, the US is betting that the Syrian regime will crack without invasion, through slow and steady pressure because it does not have a very stable base.

The challenge ahead for the Syrian president is to find the techniques of government to manage the Kurdish affair, as well the nascent voices for liberalisation while maintaining rule.

It is a large question mark whether the holders of power in Syria have the experience or the make-up to navigate the shoals of this new circumstance.

posted at 11:56 PM by Jonathan

Newroz March 21

March 21 is Newroz - the Kurdish New Year - which is part of the Kurdish Zoroastrian heritage....... Newroz is often referred to as Persian New Year and is celebrated by Iranians, Zoroastrians, Afghans, and Parsis in India..... Given the historical importance of this holiday, there may be renewed Kurdish demands for rights.....

posted at 7:15 PM by Jonathan

''The fear from the regime is gone. Nobody is afraid anymore. . . . This [was] an era, and it's over''

... Michel Kilo, a Syrian Christian and government critic whose writings are officially banned in Syria

posted at 3:53 PM by Oubai

A year after Saddam Hussein's Baath Party regime was toppled next door in Iraq, Syria's Baathist regime is facing the greatest challenge to its power since it took over 41 years ago this month

... from the Miami Herald

Unfortunately the article parrots the completely false assertion that the "old guard" is really in control and that Bashar Assad needs time to "consolidate" his power in order to enact reform. As this blog previously pointed out, this is absolutely not the case; there IS no "old guard" left in substantial positions of power, Bashar Assad is in total control and ,as his actions have proven over the past years, reform is not on his agenda.

posted at 3:51 PM by Oubai

So you say you want a revolution ?

A call for aid: A press release sent out by Kurdishmedia asking for financial support for the Syrian uprising

Could this be the first case of a blogger-fueled pro-democracy revolution in the Arab world ? Certainly mainstream press didn't even begin to fully report the story of the uprising until two full days after the story began circulating on the blogosphere. And now bloggers all over the US who desire a peaceful and democratic middle east have a chance to possibly play a direct role in changing the face of the region (and in turn history) for generations to come.

The liberty revolutions of the middle east may have begun with the young men and women courageous enough to stand up to their respective dictatorships, but their efforts can only be sustained by the watchful eyes of the world. This is where the blogosphere comes in to play, no one can deny that blogs have proved an important informational catalyst for news of the uprising to reach the mainstream press. The fuel to the flame of democratic revolution in Syria and the middle east is our consciousness and the whole world's of it. If the Baath believe no one is watching, they will not hesitate to uproot every last seed of liberty that has already been planted.

posted at 11:39 AM by Oubai

Kurdish uprising continues on

From the Seattle press

Notice how this article here on the Syrian Kurds describes them as "non-Arab." This is perhaps the case because far too many people have assumed that just because the Baathists use the name "Syrian Arab Republic" for their country, that Syria's population has been and is exclusively Arab. This is far from the case - Syrians are Albanians, Arabs, Armenians, Assyrians, Jews, Kurds, Turks..... They are Sunni Muslims, 'Alawites, Christians, Druze......

posted at 9:13 AM by Jonathan

Celebrating Zoroastrianism

Some good news, for once, from Iran where the authorities have permitted Iranians to celebrate their ancient Zoroastrian roots. It is time that the EU, along with the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand make sure that all peoples of the Middle East are free to worship God in whatever way they choose. After all, if Copenhagen and London can have churches, mosques, and synagogues, why shouldn't Saudi Arabia likewise allow for the constuction of churches and synagogues? We will know that change has come to the Middle East when a Jew can worship in a synagogue in Riyadh just like a Muslim can worship in a mosque in Toronto.

From the Australian daily, The Age

Sparks fly as Tehran lifts ban on ancient festival
Date: March 18 2004

By Paul Hughes

Iranians danced in the street, threw firecrackers and jumped over bonfires as authorities tolerated an ancient fire festival for the first time in 25 years.

Halted since the 1979 Islamic revolution because hardliners considered it un-Islamic, the Chaharshanbeh Suri, or Red Wednesday, festival was officially recognised in Tehran where the city council set aside dozens of parks for people to enjoy the boisterous celebrations.

Tens of thousands packed the streets of the capital, hurling firecrackers into the air to mark the eve of the last Wednesday of the Iranian calendar year.

The festival dates back centuries to pre-Islamic times and is thought to be derived from Zoroastrian traditions that accord special properties to fire. The Iranian New Year, which falls on March 20 this year, coincides with the northern spring equinox.

Unlike previous years, when riot police blocked off streets and hardline Islamic vigilantes beat and arrested many trying to enjoy the festivities, security forces were virtually absent.

posted at 8:53 AM by Jonathan

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