photo courtesy of AFP/Getty and the Guardian
"The freedom within us is larger than the prison that holds us"
The Guardian published this eye witness account of the regime's crackdown in one Syrian town.
"the Syrian regime has banned all foreign media and restricted access to trouble spots, making it almost impossible to confirm the dramatic events shaking one of the most authoritarian regimes in the Arab world....."
"....Friday was the second deadliest day since the uprising began in mid-March in Deraa, sparked by the arrest of a group of teenagers who scrawled anti-government graffiti on a wall. The protest movement quickly spread and is now posing the gravest threat to the 40-year rule of the Assad family"
The international consequences of regime change in Syria are many and complex. The fallout will be particularly marked in Lebanon and Palestine, and there will also be impacts on the country's alliances with Iran, Turkey, and Iraq, and, perhaps most importantly, on its relationship with Israel.With their allies in Egypt overthrown, Israel may not welcome yet more regime change so close by.
Upheaval in Syria will not only affect its immediate neighbours – it will reshape the balance of power in the Middle East more than any event in the Arab Spring thus far.
As Tariq Ali points out in this piece in the Guardian what is happening in Syria is an attempt to crush or contain genuine uprisings and protest. Ali argues that despite the West's pronouncements of its support for democracy in Libya, it continues to support dictators and despots in Iraq, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Syria, where Ali believes the West and Israel prefer that the Assad regime remain.
Extracts from "Groans"1Here I am you aloneIn this mad, gapingHellHere I am you alone and death altogetherWith its predators and its seers and the informersPerhaps I am arriving atThe limit of my possibilitiesFor you to arrive at the lastDreamFlare up until you see me andBecome complete until I see youMy rose between two firesInflaming meHopefully I am inciting wisdomIn this ruin I have triedTo the end of the flower and the fire,Then, how have they isolated my voiceAnd your silence?! Have you leaned on a belatedSword?!Or have I been exchanged--one absence for another?!...................3With thorns the guard caressesYour sparrowsAnd the state bestows upon youA precautionary death,And enough of the darknessFor you to go -so goYou are aware of the insanity of death,Thus the music breaks out, And your myths are shakenhis other body is in the arena,Are you asking meWho has splattered a name . .. And the throne with blood . . . ?No time . . .This other bodyWho has taken it from meAnd who has taken me from it?And who testifies that deathHas grown weary?The obscure caresses its vacancieswith wires and blasphemyI have tried often. . .. As the constellation has mourned the horizon of a poemI said I have tried oftenAnd with lilac, I have caressed your night.......................6I have not yet handed over my directionsTo the judgment of the sand . . .Behind me a timeAshamed of the deceits of geography . . .Thanks to the sparrowThat built a nest on the otherWindow and flew.Breaker of my backYour shadow is now a spent tomorrowUpon which I disperse my thoughtsAnd I call to you with what is in the spiritFrom the groan of the horse . . .Do you hear me . . . ?I am callingI am not searching for a collective graveRather . . . for my countryFebruary 1993