Day and night, for years, an overwhelming force battered this quiet nation, one of the cradles of human civilisation. Hundreds of thousands died and millions fled abroad or were internally displaced. In many cities and villages, not one house is left intact, but Syria is, against all odds, still standing. During the last 3 years, I worked in almost all of Syria’s perimeters, exposing the birth of ISIS in the NATO-run camps built in Turkey and Jordan. I worked in the occupied Golan Heights, and in Iraq. I also worked in Lebanon, a country now forced to host over 2 million (mostly Syrian) refugees. The only reason the West began its horrible destabilisation campaign, was because it “couldn’t tolerate” Syria’s disobedience and the socialist nature of its state. In short, the way the Syrian establishment put the welfare of its people above the interests of multi-national corporations.
More than two years ago, my former Indonesian film editor demanded an answer in a somewhat angry tone, “So many people are dying in Syria! Is it really worth it? Wouldn’t it be easier and better for Syrians to just give up and let the USA have what it is demanding?” Chronically petrified, this young woman was always searching for easy solutions that’d keep her safe, and safe with significant personal advantages. As so many others in this time and age, to survive and advance, she developed a complex system resting on betrayals, self-defences, and deceptions. How does one reply to such a question? It was a legitimate one, after all.
Eduardo Galeano told me, “People know when it’s time to fight. We have no right to tell them … but when they decide, it’s our obligation to support them, even to lead them if they approach us”. In this case, the Syrian people decided. No government or no political force could move an entire nation to such tremendous heroism and sacrifice. Russians did it during World War Two, and the Syrians are doing it now.
Two years ago I replied like this, “I witnessed the total collapse of the Middle East. There was nothing standing there anymore. Countries that opted for their own paths were literally levelled to the ground. Countries that succumbed to the dictates of the West lost their soul, culture, and essence; they turned into some of the most miserable places on earth. The Syrians knew it… were they to surrender, they’d become another Iraq, Yemen, or Libya, even Afghanistan”. So, Syria rose. It decided to fight, for itself, and for its part of the world. Again and again, it retained itself through the elections of its government. It leaned on its army. Whatever the West says, whatever the treasonous NGOs write, the simple logic just proves it all.
This modest nation doesn’t have its own powerful media to share its courage and agony with the world. It is always the others who comment on its struggle, often in a totally malicious way. However, it’s undeniable that whilst Soviet forces stopped the German Nazi advance at Stalingrad, the Syrians managed to stop the fascist forces of Western allies in its part of the world. Of course, Russia got directly involved. Of course, China stood by, although often in the shadow. Iran provided support. Lebanon-based Hezbollah put up what I often describe as an epic fight on behalf of Damascus against the extremist monsters invented and armed by the West, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, the main credit has to go to the Syrian people.
Yes, now, there’s nothing left of the Middle East. Now, there are more tears than raindrops descending on this ancient land. Yet, Syria stands. Burned, wounded, but it still stands. As is being widely reported, after the Russian armed forces came to the rescue of the Syrian nation, more than 1 million Syrian people were able to return home … often to encounter only ashes and devastation, but home. Like people returned to Stalingrad, some 70 years ago.
So what would my answer be to that question now, “whether it would be easier the other way”, to surrender to the Empire? I guess something like this:
Life has meaning, it is worth living, only if some basic conditions can be fulfilled. One does not betray great love, be it love for another person or love for one’s country, humanity, or ideals. If one does, it’d be better not to be born at all. Then I say… the survival of mankind is the most sacred goal. Not some short-time personal gain or “safety”, but the survival of all of us, of people, as well as the safety of all of us, all mankind.
When life itself comes under threat, people tend to rise and fight, instinctively. During such moments, some of the most monumental chapters in human history emerge. Unfortunately, during these moments, millions tend to die. However, the devastation isn’t because of those who defend our human race. It’s because of the imperialist monsters and their servants.
Most of us are dreaming about a world without wars, without violence. We want true kindness to prevail on earth. Many of us are working relentlessly for such a society. Nevertheless, until we construct it, until we defeat all extreme selfishness, greed, and brutality, we must fight for something much more “modest”… for the survival of people and of humanism. The price is often horrible, but the alternative is one enormous gaping void. It’s simply nothing… the end, full stop!
In Stalingrad, millions died so we could live. Nothing was left of the city, except some melted steel, scattered bricks, and an ocean of corpses. Yet, they stopped Nazism. Western expansionism began its retreat, that time towards Berlin. Now Syria, quietly, but stoically and heroically, stands against Western, Qatari, Saudi, Israeli, and Turkish plans to finish the Middle East. Moreover, the Syrian people have won. For how long, I don’t know. Nevertheless, it proved that an Arab country can still defeat the mightiest murderous hordes.
2 January 2016
New Eastern Outlook