[Marxism] Fwd: Three lessons learned from the Syrian conflict | Opinion | Daily Sabah

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Dec 4 01:26:00 MST 2014

I bought a house in the city of Homs in early 2011, and I wanted nothing 
to disturb what I hoped would be a trouble-free existence. As long as 
the state provided me with electricity, some security, a stable currency 
- and a half decent Internet connection - I could not care less who 
headed it as long as they left me alone. My fence sitting lasted through 
the initial demonstrations in Dara, the subsequent crackdown by the 
regime, the spread of demonstrations to Homs and even to my home village 
of Talkalakh. Through it all, I was adamantly in the "leave me out of 
it" camp. All that changed on the night of April 18-19, 2011. In the 
evening, I was in my home village debating with my uncle the wisdom of a 
planned Friday demonstration.

A few hours after midnight, I was in a state of complete and abject 
terror. The next morning, I was mad as hell. And by the afternoon of 
April 19, I had initiated my first contact with a foreign news agency as 
an activist from Homs. I had turned completely and irrevocably against 
the regime. The event that had suddenly and so jarringly finally gotten 
me off the fence was the massacre by the regime's security forces of a 
large scale demonstration being held at the time in the very center of 
Homs - the city I had planned and hoped to make my home after so many 
years of not having a place to call home. By sheer luck, my own brother 
had missed being caught up in the terrible events of that night when 
demonstrators were hunted down in the streets and butchered in cold blood.

It shook me. It was an all-out declaration of war against the city of 
which I had come to regard myself an inhabitant. It was an act of 
barbarity against my neighbors, friends and relatives. I did not know 
what I could do to fight back, but I was about to find out. All politics 
is personal. When you get down to it, the most committed people from any 
side or camp are those with deep personal reasons for being so, 
regardless of the political justifications they may use to justify their 
politics. It is a basic reality all politicians know when they look for 
adherents to their way of thinking.


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