From the July-August 2020 issue of News & Letters
by Gerry Emmett
Not long ago, the genocidal Bashar al-Assad regime propagandists were touting a Syrian “renaissance.” That lie has disappeared as the Syrian pound collapsed, losing over 80% of its value. This caused yet further misery throughout cities and villages devastated by regime and Russian bombs, Iranian mercenary militias, and sadistic murderers that a corrupt world allows to pass for a “government.”
Discontent has been manifest even in regime-controlled areas as stores close and food and medicine become even further out of reach for all but the elite—and even they have come into internal conflict, between the Assad and Rami Makhlouf branches of the ruling crime family.
THE BIG AND EVER-GROWING LIE
Assad now claims this currency collapse is caused by U.S. sanctions triggered by the Caesar Act passed by Congress in December. The Caesar Act was inspired by horror at the mass torture-murders documented by and smuggled out of the country by a regime photographer. Its passage took years of struggle by Syrians, Syrian-Americans, and allies.
In reality, the figures targeted for sanctions have appropriated the wealth of the country and turned it against the people, using it to crush every trace of humanity, every creative impulse, everything that might give “wealth” meaning. The problem isn’t sanctions, the problem is genocide.
THE TEST OF WORLD POLITICS
Meanwhile, resistance continues in northern Idlib—where Russia has just resumed bombing—and in the south, in Druze-majority Suwayda, and in Daraa, where a low-level insurgency continues. These testify to the possibilities lost when the U.S. held back the Free Syrian Army’s Southern Front.
The extent to which the existence of the Assad regime, with the complicity of all world powers, has degraded human life is impossible to overemphasize. It has made open genocide a constant, consciously chosen, officially enforced part of all of our lives. It is meant to dehumanize us. Opposition to this remains the absolute test of world politics.
Despite all this, Free Syrians can still speak the word, humanity. When humanity finds its own voice it will speak the words: Free Syria!