Homs clock tower, a symbol of resistance

Homs clock tower, a symbol of resistance
Comment: Despite regime celebrations at the famous clock tower in Homs, local residents will not forget the massacre that took place here in 2011, argues Najati Tayyara.
2 min read
14 May, 2015
The clock tower became the focus of anti-regime protests [AFP]

On the first anniversary of the end of the siege of Homs, regime forces restarted the clock on the city's famous tower.

This was a celebration by the regime of its victory over opposition forces that had left it in control of the city in May 2014. During the fighting, the regime destroyed the old town and the city's outskirts - leaving the area in a worse state than many destroyed German cities at the end of the Second World War.

The media faithfully covered the reopening, showing the image of the regime's flag on the tower as the clock began ticking.

It was meant to erase the memory of the famous clock tower massacre in April 2011, and of the iconic clock as a symbol of the Syrian revolution.

The square, the clock tower and the city have all grown in metaphorical stature as the people of Homs have awakened from their long slumber. 

They are no longer the lighthearted folk who used to be the butt of Syrian jokes. Now they raise their heads high and boldly say no, without fear.

     During the protests, the clock tower became the beating heart of the city.

The clock tower became the focal point of anti-regime protests in Homs.

Since then, the square where it stands is no longer known by its official name: Gamal Abdel Nasser Saqure, or by its popular name, al-Tahrir Square. It is now the Clock Tower Square.

During the protests the clock tower became more than just a monument or a tool to tell the time, it became the beating heart of a city.

When regime forces cut off routes to the tower to stop protests, youths held protests in other squares, including al-Zawiya Square in the centre of the Bab Houd neighbourhood.

The city of Homs became the capital of the Syrian revolution, and was subjected to a vicious campaign of violence and destruction by Assad's forces.

Today, the regime can organise celebrations and bus its supporters and goons into Homs.

It cannot erase what has happened in the city.

Najati Tayyara is a Syrian lawyer, writer and activist.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.