Yesterday there was an enormous gun battle that lasted most of the afternoon and throughout the night in Damascus. Any explanations? Any questions by the esteemed parliament that the president of this banana republic appointed? Has the parliament demanded an end to the Syrian army’s activities in Homs, Deraa, and the countless villages where it’s passed through like a Tatar horde? No, nothing. They stand there in their “Sunday best” – or should that be Friday? – and clap when asked to clap for the man who has treated this entire country and its people like a joke. When all the voices are silent in a great country like Syria, and the man in the suit gives you that patronising half-smile because he knows that he’s got it sorted, what can you feel but utter contempt?

Yet that’s nothing besides the renewed vigour of those fifth columnists who did well out of the dictatorship; those young and educated, suited and booted, who have now rallied as a representation of an illusive “internal” opposition which – shock and horror – wants to negotiate with the dictator, and wants him to stay, “just long enough to hand things over”, you understand? Pardon my ignorance, but I had thought that the real Syrian internal opposition was the one getting shot at and pounded with artillery on the streets of Syrian cities and towns.

I’ve read history, in fact I’m currently reading Philip Khoury’s history of Syria during the mandate years, and I’ve never come across anything as barbaric as what this regime is doing to the country today. I grew up with that heady mix of nationalism and intense pride at kicking out the French. Yet the Great Revolt of 1925 is like a picnic compared to what’s happening in the Syrian Revolution of 2011.

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