The noble phase of the Syrian revolution

The noble phase of the Syrian revolution
Comment: The peaceful start to the Syrian revolution has been lost amidst the ensuing bloodshed and chaos of the last four years.
4 min read
15 Mar, 2015
The peaceful nature of the initial protests has been lost in bloodshed [AFP]
On an evening in the month of Ramadan in 2011, residents in the Damascus neighbourhoods of al-Mazraa, al-Maliki and al-Talyani were surprised to find baskets containing canned beans, hummus and a bag of dates on their doorsteps. Someone had put the baskets there, rung the doorbell and then left. The residents did not know who it was.

The surprise was at the bottom of the baskets, below the canned food. There were leaflets calling for the fall of the regime, and others explaining the idea of a democratic civilian state.

One or two months earlier, in another area of Damascus, an international visual arts delegation visited Syria to take part in a forum for art and sculpture at the citadel in Damascus. On the closing day, before participants returned to their home countries, they found boxes of famous Damascene sweets waiting for each of them. "A gift from the students of the Faculty of Fine Arts," it said on the boxes.

The surprise came when a Russian participant decided to try the sweets at the airport, while waiting for his late flight after everyone else had left. Below the sweets was a CD and a note written in English and Russian, asking the artist to watch the content of the CD when he returned to his country and tell the world about it if possible.

The CD’s content documented peaceful protestors facing live bullets. It was later found out that every participant had received the same CD with the same note written in English and their own languagein the box of sweets.
     The colours white and purple will always signify the 'beautiful phase of the Syrian revolution'.

These were just two amongst many methods young men and women in Damascus were using in their peaceful civilian struggle. The people of Damascus will never forget the thousands of ping pong balls with the words "long live Syria, down with Assad" written on them, that rolled down Mount Qassioun. They will never forget the famous laser beams writing the word "leave!" on top of Mount Qassioun on a dark night. Nor will they forget the balloon that exploded above the presidential palace, dropping thousands of leaflets condemning Assad's crimes and demanding he leave office.

No one will ever forget the red waters of Damascus, in reference to Assad's crimes that drowned Syria in blood. The people of Damascus will never forget the voice of Ibrahim al-Qashoush, chanting in crowded places, alarming security forces and giving people a hidden sense of joy. Young men and women used to hide small cassette players, switching them on remotely to play Qashoush's song.

The colours white and purple will always signify the "beautiful phase of the Syrian revolution". Protestors dressed in one of these two colours would march through the streets in a civilised protest that usually ended with the arrest of anyone dressed in either colours.

The seats of public transport covered in pro-revolution and anti-Assad stickers will also stay in the memory of most of the city's residents, as will the walls of the city covered in pro-revolution graffiti. The people will also remember Assad's doll hanging from the President's bridge in the centre of the city.

Every day new memories were made of Syrian people's civilian struggle. For example, protests would turn into joyful parties, with people singing and dancing to challenge the pain and grief felt for the country's youth that were being lost at every moment.

In history, no other revolution has managed to remain so beautiful for so long, when confronted with such brutal crimes. The whole world has never denied the details of such a creative and sacrificing revolution.

This fine and painfully noble revolution, that so many have worked to murder and tarnish, is the Syrian revolution that people no longer remember. Now blood is the only memory of Syria, as everyone has conspired to bury this beauty, leaving no trace that would trigger nostalgia for this noble phase.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

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