[Marxism] SYRIA: Seeing the women in revolutionary Syria | Tahrir-ICN

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Apr 13 17:47:59 MDT 2014

Studying the women’s situation in Syria, whether now or before the 
outbreak of revolution, without taking into consideration the 
government’s political structure, based on its intelligence personnel 
and tens of hidden security apparatuses, is a dead end if we wish to 
understand how women’s rights are directly affected by the government’s 
internal policies.

As a woman who lived most of her adult life in Syria, I would not dare 
to launch a women’s magazine, for example, in my university, without it 
being under the supervision of a government institution. The Baath 
ruling party had a National Students Union (NSU) set up in each 
university, which not only hijacked any daring independent initiatives 
coming from students, but also served as an intelligence body that 
watched and monitored closely any student who tried to lobby or organize 
any activity on such causes as the war in Iraq or the conflict over 
Palestine – even though the government boasted that it was the lone 
defender of Palestinian rights and was constantly attacking the US 
invasion of Iraq. Yet the regime understood perfectly well, that any 
improvised initiative, even in support of Palestine or Iraq, might pave 
the way for a lobbying closer to home and the organizing of active groups.

I am reminding the reader that we are talking about a government that 
owned and occupied the public space of a country, and everything that 
this entailed, for more than forty years. Citizens were cultured into 
not initiating, not thinking or even daring to dream about challenging a 
system that was tightly structured on political, social, military and 
economic levels. Not forgetting too, that the government had widely 
disseminated a culture of fear among its citizens with massacres like 
the Hama massacre of 1982 and several arrest campaigns in later years of 
intellectuals, leftists and Islamists, of Syrians and Palestinians, 
which resulted in 20 years in jail for a dissident, with no access to 
lawyers or visits from family members. So one should be clear, that the 
major obstacle towards securing and enhancing women’s rights in Syria, 
was simply the absence of democracy. Failing to support the people’s 
attempts at revolution, on the official level or in the decisions of 
international human rights groups, is in fact a clear statement of 
support for human rights’ abuses as a whole and not just those of women.


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