Daraa and Free Syria

September 22, 2021

From the September-October 2021 issue of News & Letters

In Daraa, the birthplace of the Syrian Revolution, resistance has continued. Fifty Syrian revolutionaries and their families were forced to leave the city on Aug. 26 under a Russian-brokered truce, in the face of a brutal siege by elite Iranian troops. It illustrates once again the truth of the saying, “We thought we were fighting Assad, then realized we were fighting the world.”

The Assad regime itself has been reduced to a mark of shame, branding world imperialism as hopelessly murderous and inhuman. Yet against all odds, the spirit of freedom and revolution continues in Syria. The displaced will join other revolutionaries in the Free Syrian enclave in the northwest.

It may be true that Idlib and northwest Syria have been turned into a kind of prison camp for revolutionaries. It is miraculous that demonstrations could continue in Daraa under the most brutal, fascist occupation. But history tells us that it is in prison, or under occupation, or defying enslavement that the idea of freedom is most real. It is there it becomes a determinant for the future.

When a better, more humane world comes to be, humanity will recognize that Free Syria is one of the principal reasons that world has a right to exist. It is no mere stratospheric utopia, or intellectual’s scheme, but the reality of human suffering and transcendence.

—Gerry Emmett


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