Saturday, December 14, 2013

Syria: Citizenship in the Midst of Chaos

Ongoing discussions about the crisis in Syria are nestled in the ugly confines of sectarianism.  Despite the very human suffering and crimes against humanity committed in Homs, Aleppo, Malula, and Adra, which have not spared any ethnicity or religious domination, yet the default trend in political discussions are the criminal categorizations of citizens by their factional identity. Unintentionally, this trend among intelligent people echoes the practical mentality of the criminals and terrorist who diminish the whole of a person to fit the simplifications of a demented ideology.

When the Islamists entered Adra few days ago, a city housing factory workers initially but has received and is housing refugees from neighboring cities, they targeted and sorted out families, mothers, fathers and children through their religious sects. What these families have suffered for two and a half years did not matter, what mattered was the preconceived ugly notion of eliminating the "other".  The "other" is not only used to justify the slaughter but to establish a political agenda for Jabhat Nusra, ISIS, and newly formed alJabha al Islamia. 

It is a continued travesty that the discussions on Syria echo and reenforce the criminal sectarian mentality, and repackage it to be palatable around dinner tables or at higher level committee meetings.

The criminal oversimplification should not find its way into the discussion among solution-seekers for the Syrian crisis. Syria needs to be aware of the shortsightedness and long term weaknesses imbedded in a sectarian solution. Syrian citizens is what Syrians are, nothing less. Lebanon which tried to emerge from the factional infighting during the Lebanese civil war through a factional constitution is still suffering.

While forming a coalition between the Syrian government and the inside opposition to unite against the terrorist groups could set Syria on the road of deliverance, there is no doubt that factional crimes are rampant. Pushing back against the criminal sectarian categorization of citizens is a political and educational endeavor to be started as soon as possible.

What intellectuals owe themselves is not to muddy their truth-seeking mentality with criminal simplifications, which consistently justify certain solutions on sectarian considerations. This is a slippery slope with no end in Syria, the land of ethnic and religious diversity.

What Syrians owe Syria، after all the lessons have passed، is to anchor the meaning of citizenship in the hearts, and uphold the love of country above any ethnic or religious affiliation.

سوريا حبيبتي...الحرية و الكرامة