Syrians Mark Nine Years since the Start of the Crisis, Reflect On What Should Have Been
By Mohammad Eid
Damascus - On the eve of the sedition, few Syrians could have guessed that they were witnessing the birth of a dangerous crisis that would befall their secure and safe country and thrust their homeland into a critical condition.
Nine years on and the Syrians can finally breathe a sigh of relief. But they are also asking the tough questions: Where did we get hurt? Where did we go wrong? What mistakes allowed the enemy to infiltrate?
We are not exempt from the shortcomings
While we toured the streets of Syria, we made sure that the people we spoke to were adults when the crisis broke out. Unlike younger generations who only heard stories about the war, older people can make comparisons between the past and present.
Omar, a mass media student at Damascus University, accuses the so-called opposition of lacking any form of self-criticism.
“Until now, they refuse to believe that they dragged us and the country to what the foreigners wanted,” Omar said.
He adds that he would be willing to forgive them "if they had assumed the minimum amount of responsibility instead of holding the Syrian government alone responsible for how things in the country turned out."
When we asked him about the responsibility that falls on him and other supporters of the Syrian government as he described himself, the young man replied with a dose of dignity.
"I am with the political and national options my government chooses. From the first moment and as the days passed, I grew more certain about my choices. But I have the courage to talk about many of the mistakes that were made."
Omar only mentioned these mistakes briefly without delving into their background, stressing that "we as Syrians did not realize the danger of the Takfiri incursion into our country as well as the ability and desire of these Takfiris to be (‘Israel’s’) longest hand in punishing our resisting country."
Insisting on the need to review one’s mistakes is Ahmed’s obsession. The Syrian government employee saw thousands of Syrians fighting within the ranks of the Nusra Front terrorist organization and acting as protectors of the Zionist entity along the borders of occupied Palestine.
“They tortured their countrymen, but they did not fire a single shot at the enemy. This is an act of treason. It is also a shortcoming from us, the ones fighting them. We should have fought them earlier with tougher national education."
Hope is still allowed
Many of the people we met engaged in self-criticism. None of them criticized the national choices made by the Syrian state.
"These are all subject to near-total consensus," said Samir, a shop owner.
Many expressed their satisfaction with the way things turned out today. They attributed the major breakthroughs in the crisis, especially on the political and military levels, to the "state of awareness of many Syrians from the first moment of the crisis which has not happened in many other Arab countries."
For his part, Qassem explains this by pointing to the fact that Syria’s major population centers had not been consumed by the Syrian crisis.
"How can it be a revolution when Damascus’s population of six million did not lift a finger against the state? Meanwhile, the revolution was imposed on Aleppo and its ancient cities through treachery. Its people were coerced and did not pay attention to the calls to plunge into sedition.”
Qassem and many others like him attribute this to the awareness that the Syrian government worked on.
Meanwhile, a law student named Khaled said the government "survived because it stood alongside all the resistance movements." He did not exempt the government from the failure to extrapolate the movement of time and what enemies can do.
"We all know there is a conspiracy against the homeland, but no one expected that it would be this way and with this ferocity. And this is the responsibility of the government, first and foremost.”
Despite the harsh criticism, the Syrians spoke with optimism. Wounds might sometimes conceal this optimism, but it cannot be erased from their faces. For Syrians, the accomplishments on the battlefield carried them to the "end of the tunnel" as Buthaina, an employee at the post office, put it.
According to Dr. Khalil, the Syrian people’s awareness has become the general feature that "raised people’s certainty and allowed the skeptics to reconsider their position."
For this reason, a senior Syrian citizen, who was full of love, said that hope is still allowed.