Saturday, September 17, 2011

Meeting in Damascus: Guideline of The Three "No"s

Today marked a qualitative leap forward for the Syrian opposition. The opposition, around two hundred individuals, some flew from overseas, met in a private estate on the outskirts of Damascus today. The government denied them a permit to meet in a public space, in return the organizers denied the crew of the official Syrian tv channel to be present at the meeting. What made this meeting qualitatively distinct from the dozens of opposition meetings and conferences held in Paris, Istanbul, Doha, etc. is that for the first time an actual demand sheet was read in the conference representing the demands of the protesters.

This meeting, in other words, was held to provide a forum to support the actual protesters and their demands, instead of being a platform to leap onto the shoulders of those protesters to advance other agendas. Furthermore, this meeting included a diverse representation of the opposition, which reflects the true fabric of Syrian society.

This meeting also concluded with what has become to be known as the "three no s", namely:

No to foreign intervention
No to violence
No to sectarianism

More opposition groups seem to start to converge to this baseline of the three No s. What is also noteworthy is that the business community in both Aleppo and Damascus seem to lean to the moderate opposition line, which was represented by this meeting today in Damascus.

These recent developments reflect the general sensitivity of the Syrian population regarding: 1) the Iraqi experience, and 2) the Lebanese experience. Syrians in general detest the notion of a Syrian expatriate coming to "save" their country in an American armered vehicle. Even worse, they do not want foreign forces to invade and wreck havoc in their country. In addition, Syrians detest the sectarian governing systems in both Lebanon and Iraq, which on the outset is placed to protect the rights of all sects and ethnicities but in reality the system ingrains the frictions between the sects.

The three No s are a start. This ethical stance of the opposition in Damascus today provides an inclusive platform on which all Syrians can participate and be part of.

سوريا حبيبتي.. الحرية و الكرامة