[Marxism] Palestinians turn against Assad regime
dmozart1756 at gmail.com
Sat Jul 23 09:15:27 MDT 2011
Palestinians turn against Syrian regime The shift in sentiment among
refugees could further erode Assad's legitimacy
BEIRUT, Lebanon -- While stripped of their nationality in
living in Lebanon in the worst
any in their community, Palestinian refugees in Syria have long
better circumstances <http://www.unrwa.org/etemplate.php?id=55>, including
equal rights with citizens.
But in a development that challenges a central pillar of the Syrian regime's
legitimacy, Palestinians in Syria are beginning to turn against a
dictatorship that for decades used its claims of resisting Israel and
fighting for Palestinian rights as justification for the repression of its
"We will not accept to be a bargaining chip for the Syrian regime," said Abu
Ammar, 50, a Palestinian refugee living in Yarmouk, a poor southern suburb
of Damascus and the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Syria.
"The regime wants to use us against the pro-democracy protesters but I think
most Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk now moved from being neutral to being
on the side of the Syrian protesters," he said. Ammar is a former militant
in Fatah, the dominant secular Palestinian party, and is now a car mechanic
The camp is home to some 150,000 registered Palestinians, as well as tens of
thousands of Syrians.
As Syrian protesters demanding basic rights continue to be gunned down by
President Bashar al-Assad's security forces, Syria's Palestinians are
beginning to stand up like citizens themselves, protesting against the
ruthless violence of Assad's government.
"Palestinian refugees in Syria live among Syrians, not like in Lebanon. For
six decades we have lived together and there are many mixed marriages and a
new, mixed generation," said a political activist from the Democratic Front
for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP).
"When the protesters call on us to participate, it shows they consider us
partners, not strangers. We have the same rights as Syrians, so we also have
the same responsibilities."
On July 1, in the first reported mass participation of Palestinians in the
opposition since the uprising began in mid-March, more than 3,000
Palestinians from the refugee camp in the central city of Homs joined the
More than simply a boost to the size of the protests that Friday, the
participation of the Palestinians, for some long-time Syria watchers,
represented a seismic shift.
"Dictators have used the Palestinians for the last 50 years to get
legitimacy, saying to their people, ‘You have to tolerate all this violence,
all this lack of freedom, all this brutality because we're going to liberate
Palestine.' That's a lie," said Wissam Tarif, director of Insan, a Syrian
human rights organization.
"My father bought it. And the fathers and grandfathers of the people
protesting on the streets bought it too. But we don't."
Anger is growing among the half a million Palestinians living in Syria as
details emerge of the regime's role in pushing Palestinian protesters into a
deadly confrontation with Israel last month, in what was widely condemned as
a move to divert attention from its own brutal crackdown.
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