With the opening of the 59th Damascus International Fair this month after a five-year hiatus, one can assume with cautious optimism that Syria has won the war against terrorism and Imperialist aggression, if not yet militarily, certainly intellectually and spiritually.
The Fair was a major success with a huge turnover, a victory that the people of the proud and secular Ba’athist Syrian Arab Republic have every right to celebrate, not least because the theme was national revival and infrastructural renewal, with exhibitors from 23 different countries showcasing their products.
The people of Syria have shown tremendous moral resistance and grace ever since its independence in 1946, despite being on the receiving end of perpetual Israeli aggression, and more recently, of Western and Gulfi financed war that has ravaged the country since 2011.
But it is not just Syrians who have demonstrated a great deal of courage under sheer terror and destruction. The Palestinians who are being oppressed, starved, displaced and murdered in the 21st Century by the illegal and genocidal Zionist regime in Tel Aviv have also shown tremendous resilience. What’s more, the Israelis are armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons, while the Palestinians have only stones, guns and the occasional crude rocket to defend themselves with.
As far as I and many others are concerned, there is no such thing as a Palestinian terrorist in Palestine, any more than there is such a thing as an Israeli holding a gun with a clean conscience. The fact that the Zionists are annoyed that the Palestinians don’t shut up and put up, is another matter. What is true, however is that the Palestinians have every right to do as they please in their land, and it is the occupiers, the European immigrant Jews, the colonialists, who are the real terrorists. They have constructed a fake state and made a career terrorizing the natives in the most sickening and inhumane manner imaginable. The Palestinians are surviving against all odds.
I say all odds because other than Syria, Palestine has no real friends in the Arab world. Hamas is an extremist group with a dubious record both militarily and morally. It only exists as controlled opposition, to maintain the status quo. It has failed to protect the Palestinian people, much less liberate them. Nothing good will ever come of Hamas; as far as many are concerned, they are traitors to both Palestine and to the only real ally of Palestine, Syria. Let us not forget that during the Imperialist war on Syria, Hamas was on the same side as al Qaeda/Isis and Israel who have sought to dis-unify and occupy the Levant for decades.
What is quite interesting, is that when the British offered the European Jews part of British Uganda, they rejected the idea and insisted on Palestine due to the biblical connotations, an unrelated but clever marketing tactic that they have mastered to perfection.
I am inclined to believe that the British and the Jews may have known at some level that the Arabs would have been an easy people to occupy and oppress. That is not to say that the Arabs are not good warriors, they are just not trained to kill. Frankly, they could not have chosen a more defenceless people, and there are historical and cultural reasons for this.
Arabs have had it comparatively easy as a people throughout history. They were united and taken care of under the Caliphates and they also enjoyed substantial autonomy under Turkish rule that the Greeks, Serbs, Armenians and others were deprived of. Perversely, this reality has allowed for dis-unification over petty and meaningless matters, precisely because they are intrinsically more united than many other peoples who have struggled for centuries to create what the Arabs have naturally.
The Arabs have a common multi-continent contiguous landmass with many resources, a common language, Islam and Christianity are accepted as two styles of worship of the same God/Allah. All of this has resulted in an Arab culture that has become dis-unified not in spite of, but because of unity.
Germany had to fight a war with its own states and foreign powers (Austria and France) to unify; Russia struggled against centuries of foreign invasion and wars; India is grappling with sectarianism as the socialism of Nehru is subsumed by Modi’s radical Hindu extremism; Philippines suffered centuries of oppression, first under Spain and then under the United States. The Arabs, however have only been colonised by European imperialists as recently as the 20th century, and even though the states of the Arab world are technically independent, many still suffer from the cognitive dissonance of post-imperial malaise combined with a sense of independence and freedom based on the previous thousand years of Arab history.
If the presence of a colonial settler state of Israel combined with American military meddling across the Arab world cannot show the Arabs their existing advantages of historic unity, what can? Instead they have allowed themselves to be manipulated. The Shi’a/Sunni divides are getting worse while previously they had been better. The Arabs, once the most unified people in the world despite healthy local differences, are now fighting amongst one another over small differences. They are dividing and conquering themselves. They have set up their own gallows and then invited the imperialists in to perform the executions.
With the exception of Spanish barbarism in the 15th century, and the crusader aggression, the Arab people have never known suffering like they have in the 20th and 21st centuries. This tragic reality may instill a sense of perspective, and serve as a reminder that they are one people, that they can put their minor differences aside and fight the real enemies: Israel and the West.
There is only one leader in the Arab world today who clearly and sincerely articulates the importance of Arabism and unity against common threats to peace and prosperity. That man is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. While Arab countries stand divided along sectarian lines and remain compromised due to alliances with imperial powers who retard the progress of Arab freedom and dignity, only Bashar al-Assad and the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party can provide a leadership strong enough to bring unity to the Arab world. This is a leadership that emphasises national liberation, personal dignity and collective prosperity. For the Arab world it is a choice between this, and oblivion.