No Equivalence Possible Between Syrian Regime and Opposition

Artwork by Imranovi Faour

In the following edited translation of Abbass Beydoun's post (in Arabic) on January 30, the Lebanese poet, critic, and editor of the cultural pages of As Safir newspaper examines the dilemmas of choice existing between the regime and the opposition, as well as the issue of responsibility and the causes of violence in the Syrian conflict. 

The choices are difficult, yet they often do not appear immediate or urgent. Still, the state of disappointment or frustration encourages many to disengage or detach  from the politics of the Syrian conflict. But how could this be when barrel bombs fall over the heads of the people? Can we still treat the combatants as being even or equal? In the best of cases, those speaking of evenhandedness act as witnesses to the crime. Siding with the regime constitutes the most opportunistic position because the opponents come to resemble the ruling group in violence and criminality. Defending the crimes of the opponent, or downplaying them, proves equally opportunistic. Here, standing against the crimes and repression of the two combatants should not make us forget that the ruling party bears the greater responsibility. In fact, Assad's relentless grip on power, and his refusal to relinquish it after almost half of a century of tyranny, bears the responsibility for attracting the worst groups to Syria. Choosing between the regime and opposition proves ambiguous, problematic and theoretical. In reality, our position towards the Islamic extremist groups proves antagonistic and does not practically differ from our position in regards to the ruling regime. Our war with these groups remains unquestionable. It goes without saying that while the rise of extremists helped the regime to win some support, but these new supporters had been waiting for just such an opportunity to align themselves with Assad. The flaws of the opposition arise as the result of a society trapped for centuries in states of stagnation, despotism and ideological domination. It's an explosion that carries to the surface all the deadly divisions and repressions, which are an inescapable outcome.  

Edited translation by Elie Chalala

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