A group of Syrian, Arab and international activists launched the Global Campaign of Solidarity with the Syrian Revolution at the World Social Forum in Tunis last month to create an open and diverse platform to support the Syrian revolution. The World Social Forum was an opportunity to create organic relationships with progressive intellectuals and social movements. In addition, it was an important moment to re-inscribe the Syrian revolution in a larger framework of popular struggles against oppression and authoritarianism. It was an occasion to reassert the Syrian people’s right to self-defense and resistance against despotism and dictatorship.
The following statement, signed by intellectuals, academics, artists and activists from more than 30 countries, reminds the world that what is happening in Syria today is a people’s revolution for freedom and dignity–and for that reason, it should be supported by all means. The campaign has called for a day of solidarity on May 31, during which groups in various cities around the world are invited to organize protests, cultural events and other symbolic actions in public squares and in front of Syrian embassies, as well as online. Groups based in different countries will choose the most effective strategies to support the Syrian revolution and remind the world that:
– The massacre of the Syrian people must stop now.
– Assad must step down and be brought to justice.
– All countries or groups must end all financial and military support to the Syrian regime.
– All Syrian regime embassies must be closed down. Complicity with the Assad regime will not be tolerated.
– The Syrian representative must be expelled from the United Nations.
– Aid must be sent to all Syrian refugees and internally displaced.
* This published introduction above is unsigned and its relation to the statement below is not evident. In contrast to the statement, the introduction contains a string of wrong-headed proposals that fit comfortably with the U.S. et al-led drive to install a pro-imperialist puppet regime in Syria, including the closure of Syrian embassies, expulsion of Syrian representatives from the United Nations and diversion of aid away from institutions of the Syrian regime. The introduction also gives the U.S. and its allies a carte blanche to ‘bring to justice’ Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. The world is all too familiar with the kind of ‘justice’ that the U.S. has brought to Iraq and Afghanistan… –RA
We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the millions of Syrians who have been struggling for dignity and freedom since March 2011. We call on people of the world to pressure the Syrian regime to end its oppression of and war on the Syrian people. We demand that Bashar al-Assad leave immediately without excuses so that Syria can begin a speedy recovery towards a democratic future.
Since March 2011, Assad’s regime has steadily escalated its violence against the Syrian people, launching Scud missiles, using weapons banned by the Geneva Convention such as cluster bombs and incendiary munitions, and using aerial bombardment. The regime has detained and tortured tens of thousands of people and committed untold massacres. It has refused political settlements that do not include Assad in power, and it has polarized the society through strategic acts of violence and by sowing seeds of division. The regime has also, since the early days of the uprising, sought to internationalize the crisis in order to place it within geopolitical battles that would only strengthen the regime.
Staying true to the logic of an authoritarian regime, Assad could never accept the legitimate demands of the Syrian people for freedom and dignity. Thus, there is no hope for a free, unified, and independent Syria so long as his regime remains in power.
This is a revolt that was sparked by the children of Deraa and the sit-ins and demonstrations of the youth in the cities, the peasants of the rural areas, and the dispossessed and marginalized of Syria. It is they who rallied nonviolently through protests and songs and chants, before the regime’s brutal crackdown. Since then, the regime has pushed for the militarization of the Syrian nonviolent movement. As a result, young men took up arms, first out of self-defense. Lately, this has resulted in attempts by some groups fighting the regime to force a climate of polarization, and negation of the Other, politically, socially and culturally. These acts that are in themselves against the revolution for freedom and dignity.
Yet the revolution for freedom and dignity remains steadfast. It is for this reason that we, the undersigned, appeal to those of you in the global civil society, not to ineffective and manipulative governments, to defend the gains of the Syrian revolutionaries, and to spread our vision: freedom from authoritarianism and support of Syrians’ revolution as an integral part of the struggles for freedom and dignity in the region and around the world.
The fight in Syria is an extension of the fight for freedom regionally and worldwide. It cannot be divorced from the struggles of the Bahrainis, Egyptians, Tunisians, Libyans, Yemenis and other peoples who have revolted against oppression and authoritarianism as well as against those seeking to usurp or destroy the uprisings and divert them for their own agendas. It is connected to the Palestinians’ struggle for freedom, dignity and equality. The revolution in Syria is a fundamental part of the North African revolutions, yet it is also an extension of the Zapatista revolt in Mexico, the landless movement in Brazil, the European and North American revolts against neoliberal exploitation, and an echo of Iranian, Russian and Chinese movements for freedom.
The Syrian revolution has confronted a world upside down, one where states that were allegedly friends of the Arabs such as Russia, China, and Iran have stood in support of the slaughter of people, while states that never supported democracy or independence, especially the U.S. and its Gulf allies, have intervened in support of the revolutionaries. They have done so with clear cynical self-interest. In fact, their intervention tried to crush and subvert the uprising, while selling illusions and deceptive lies.
Given that regional and world powers have left the Syrian people alone, we ask you to lend your support to those Syrians still fighting for justice, dignity and freedom, and who have withstood the deafening sounds of the battle, as well as rejected the illusions sold by the enemies of freedom.
As intellectuals, academics, activists, artists, concerned citizens and social movements, we stand in solidarity with the Syrian people to emphasize the revolutionary dimension of their struggle and to prevent the geopolitical battles and proxy wars taking place in their country. We ask you to lend your support to all Syrians from all backgrounds asking for a peaceful transition of power, one where all Syrians can have a voice and decide their own fate. We also reject all attempts of any group to monopolize power, and to impose its own agenda, or to impose unitary or homogenous identities on the Syrian people. We ask you to support those people and organizations on the ground that still uphold the ideals for a free and democratic Syria.
What you can do:
* Find out more about the Global Campaign of Solidarity with the Syrian Revolution on its Facebook page.
* There is also information on Facebook about the global day of solidarity set for May 31.
* Sign a petition in solidarity with the struggle for freedom in Syria.
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