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August 31, 2006



Ammar, Great article, very reasonable and could be a great frame of work for communications between different communities and a basis for the future.

You countinue to surprise me with your level of wisdom and ability to write very well in short times.

You have my support and freedom of our political prisoners should be one of our early objectives.


One more thing...I kind of wanted to steer political debate about the subject when I wrote "Looking for a good Syrian General" but I did not envision that it would be taking shape that quickly.

You are right 2006 is so fast, much faster that 1789, French revolution time, or the fall of Berlin Wall. Assad is next.

ghassan karam

I am the first to admit that we need to deal with the world as it is and not as we wish it to be. Yet I am very troubled Ammar, when we feel compeled to deal with " an Alawite problem" or even worse with "an Alawite- Sunni" relations. I do not see how a society that insists on having the identity of its various constituents be basically defined by their personal religious beliefs can effectively deal with the challenges of the twenty first century. If we are to insist that nationality is still seminal shouldn't we at least acknowledge that our individual acts and motivations should not be coloured by such issues as personal belief but by a vision of what is the national good. In this case we should not be concerned with the Alawite-Sunni divide but we have to be driven by what is good for Syria. If we cannot do that and I suggest that we act as if we cannot then our hopes and aspirations will not amount to much.


Indeed, Ghassan K, I, too, feel quite uncomfortable when I see our humanity reduced to these rigid epithets as Alawis, Sunnis, whateveris. But, these problems do exist at a certain guttural level in our societies, and we cannot simply ignore them. Perhaps we should say that we suffer from an identity crisis that is reflected on various levels, including our communal identities. The idea is not to get rid off these identities, but to feel comfortable and safe in them enough to make us stop wearing them on our sleeves where event he a soft blowing breeze can irritate them. It is not going to be easy to get to this stage, and we have to start by uttering the holy name of Yahweh here, and call our problems by all of its true names, including sectarianism, lack of development, authoritarianism, paranoia, etc.


Ghassan, I wish your view is applicable. It was true may be in the first 5 years of the Alawite control, but when it extended 40 years while we are still watching and waiting it is a different case now as we see the number of member of oppressed is accumulated and reaching all sectors except them. What make it very different now not only the time pass or our feeling those things have and going to change but the way things have reached a rock bottom. Looking around and seeming similar system in Iraq, whose turmoil is pleading for the Syrian regime to make a change is another factor. The bad need for economic change before the train falls in the valley is as well screaming for a move. I have never been a sectarian in my life, I moved away from the scene way back and left the country for them. Now us out of the country is 1/3 of them and we are feeding them and still treated like shit. Every time I visit them I see things getting worse. We hear and listen to our friends and relative and we feel their pain. We interact with statesmen and we understand that the sectarian divide is the heart of the problem before the economical and the managerial ones. We know that and we know they cannot dare to whisper the word of sectarian even between themselves or in the dark. Their life sheltered with sarcastic remarks since M. Maghoot wrote the play of Ghorbeh and other comedies. I fear for the country from violence and chaos and I keep wishing the government would do something to no avail. Till this moment I cannot write my name on what I write because the fear still eating my heart from their tyranny.


I don't know about you guys, but I see a much more urgent problem to worry about right now, and I see it as the main cause of the situation we're in. i don't like to think sectarian, nor religious majority-minority, and the truth is that 20 years ago there weren't any religious concerns like nowadays in Syria. I see this new divide as an American policy, happily adopted by the government and largelly used as another weapon to keep themselves up top. The big serious problem is promoting mediocrity, even worse, promoting incompetence, thus keeping every good fit person out of their rightful role in the society. And this fact has taken it's toll. I agree with Ammar on the issue that this Sunni hatred towards Alawis is mostly imagined, and I have mentioned too on Syria Comment that Alawis did commit some ugly injustices against Sunnis in the past, like Hamma and Latakia, and they should expect some consequences and hostilities from the abused families or from the victims themselves. Anyway, as I said before, all this new wave of dividing and secterizations is more crap to frighten the minorities against the prospect of Sunni-led change.

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