Syrians will be free and we will never return to prison

By Anwar Al-Bunni

“Everyone was aware that Syria’s transition to a democratic, civil country would destabilize the entire region, destroy a series of criminals bent on maintaining absolute power in all the far and near neighbouring countries, and change an entire history of exploitative regimes that served the interests of external powers. This in turn would herald the change of the whole world. Everyone stood against the peaceful, democratic Syrian revolution.”

The current period is witnessing the tenth anniversary of the start of the Syrian revolution and the Syrians’ declaration of their will to break out of this prison state and attain freedom.

The most prominent question that may be asked in another ten years is, were this will and this revolution worth the terribly high price that the Syrian people have paid and are still paying?

Freedom is a thing beyond any value, beyond even comparison to any other value, and it is equal to the value of life itself.

The right to choose is supreme, and without that freedom to choose life itself may be worthless. This freedom has been stolen from Syrians by the criminal Assad regime for half a century, and they decided in March 2011 to regain it whatever the cost, and most definitely deserve it.

All the Syrian people are suffering now, but we are sure all of us were also suffering before the revolution, though our suffering at that time was silent and helpless, and silent suffering is a fatal death.

There is suffering now outside the authority of the constantly criminal regime, in refugee camps, in displacement camps, and in countries of asylum ... But we are able to speak, to shout and make our voice heard by everyone, and to condemn the criminals who make us suffer, and we feel the right and freedom of choice. We feel alive. Meanwhile, Syrians who are still under the control of the criminal regime very certainly suffer, but they are unable to shout and speak out, silently suffering a killer who lays waste not only to their souls, but to their bodies too.

More than half a million victims have died, more than half of Syria’s population is displaced both internally and as refugees, more than 15% of the homes and infrastructure of Syria has been completely destroyed, and more than 150,000 detainees still missing and hidden in the detention centers, while an entire generation needs to be educated, needs a roof to shelter it and a family to embrace it.

This is an enormous price for freedom and living in dignity that the Syrian people demanded – but when did freedom have a price or a cheap price? And when was dignity not priceless? It is either first or it is last, there is no in between. Like life and death, like existence and nothingness. The Syrian people chose to return to existence and to renew their honorable history.

The whole world watched the miracle of the Syrian people launching their revolution, which no one expected, even the Syrians themselves who were surprised to discover themselves leading this great revolution. This is a peaceful democratic revolution, one which all the world’s states and powers have struggled to destroy and kill: once by militarizing it, then by Islamizing it, third by demonizing it, and fourth by dispersing it, by enticing and intimidating its leaders and embedding poisonous saboteurs among them, and last but not least: preventing any support for the activities of peaceful democratic groups.

Everyone was aware that Syria’s transition to a democratic, civil country would destabilize the entire region, demolish a series of criminals bent on power in all the far and near neighboring countries, and change an entire history of exploitative regimes serving the interests of others. This would herald the change of the whole world. Everyone stood against the peaceful, democratic Syrian revolution, even some of those who claimed to support its victory fought it. Regional powers and great powers; Iran, Russia, Turkey, all the Gulf states, America, even China, and we will definitely not forget the influencing factor of Israel. Europe stood by watching, fearful and apprehensive about this change in its interests, and receiving the effects of what is happening in Syria with apparent impotence. They cure their impotence with conditional humanitarian relief, and with a puppet theater invented in Geneva as a cover for their helplessness and absolute fear of the results of the victory of the democratic revolution in Syria.

There are those who say or believe and promote the idea that the Syrian revolution has been defeated! They say we must accept a return to prison, or accept the crumbs that are thrown for us!

They are dropping this revolution on themselves that are already defeated. Whoever is afraid of paying the price for freedom must remain in his place and be satisfied with his position and not advance in the ranks.

I can confidently say that this revolution has basically triumphed since March 2011, and this high price and the long march is to reach the results of this crushing victory that happened, this people and this revolution is a myth that it has remained steadfast until now.

Its greatness and great victory lie in its steadfastness for all these ten years, despite the fact that the whole world, with its massive military, political and economic powers, and the fiercest criminal regime in history, fought the revolution and still it did not fall.

The voice of this great people is still crying out for freedom and dignity and rejecting tyranny and oppression, despite all the suffering and the terrible heavy price, and it proves its presence in all of Syria and abroad, the areas of displacement and countries of asylum.

All the military and political forces of the world have not and will not be able to silence this great people or bring them back to submission and imprisonment again, and the demands of this people remain the same: freedom and dignity, demands from which they have never budged.

This people, whose history stretches back for several millennia, taught the world its first alphabet and wrote its first musical note. Its capital, Damascus, the oldest continuously inhabited capital in the world, which has faced several destructive earthquakes and still stands, will not be erased or buried by fifty years of the rule of criminal monsters. Rome was greater than Nero, and Petersburg was greater than Stalin. This people and this Syria will teach the whole world a new lesson on steadfastness and on defending the values of freedom and justice - and we are already paying the price for that on behalf of the peoples of the whole world. The myth of the Syrian revolution has changed and will change the world, and the people of this country, with all its ethnic, religious and sectarian diversity, who rose to freedom, will continue until reaching the end of this road which culminates in building the state they deserve as a civilized people in a state that fully respects their rights. And the regime of tyranny and criminality will be brought down, and we will put its criminals behind bars as examples for all. This people will restore the original face of Syria, and change the world to fit it.

History will remember this revolution and its effects and results as a major global turning point, which changed its direction for the better, and we are entitled to be proud of that despite all our pain, suffering and losses.

We came out and tasted freedom, and no one will ever deprive us of this taste.

Anwar al-Bunni
Head of the Syrian Center for Legal Studies and Research, Editor of the Human Rights and Civil Society Department in Talaatna Aalhriya magazine

Original article (in Arabic):