Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Bashar al Assad Must Go

Over the months I have watched the situation in Syria in despair at the humanitarian catastrophe that is being caused because Bashar al Assad refuses to give up power and has decided that he must kill, murder, torture as many people as it takes just to stay in power.

At first the protesters were peaceful but the ceaseless and merciless violence of the Assad regime which literally killed thousands, made it inevitable that some of the protesters would take up arms, an act which only occurred after literally thousands had already been killed, the vast majority of whom were peaceful protesters. As John F. Kennedy wisely observed, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

Bashar al Assad has no one to blame for the rise of the Free Syrian Army except himself.

For 29 years Syria lay under the shadow of the Hama Massacre of 1982, in which thousands of civilians had been murdered. Because of the fear such ghastly atrocities produced the Syrian people lived under the shadow of the Assadite dictatorship.

But beginning in December 2010 Syrian witnessed what happened in Tunisia, when people rose up to protest against the Ben Ali dictatorship, and against all odds Ben Ali was overthrown and forced to flee to Saudi Arabia. Then the Syrian people saw the Egyptian people rise up and overthrow the dictator Hosni Mubarak after 18 days of protests. Similar popular protests occurred in Yemen and Bahrain.

And after all this people starting asking, Why is this not happening in Syria?

Some said, "Oh well...Bashar's young and photogenic. That must be it.""It's because he is anti-American. That must be it."

People thought that popular uprisings like those in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain would not happen in Syria.

But even then their impact was felt. As this report from the International Crisis Group put it:
In what had long been – or forced to become – a depoliticised society, casual discussions suddenly assumed a surprisingly political tone. What the regime used to do and get away with came under intense and critical public scrutiny. Subtle expressions of insubordination surfaced. Previously routine – and unchallenged – forms of harassment and extortion by civil servants met unusual resistance on the part of ordinary citizens, emboldened by what they had seen in Tunisia, Egypt and beyond. More broadly, Syrians – who like to imagine themselves as the Arab vanguard – increasingly were frustrated at being left on the sidelines of history at a time when much of the region was rising up.
Then came the protests in Deraa.

Suddenly the people went out into the street in vast numbers, and soon they discovered that Bashar al Assad has no legitimacy to rule the Syrian people. If he did why is he so determined to crush, destroy, murder, torture anyone who opposes him? Why did he rely on the fear caused by the Hama Massacre? Why did he ban foreign journalists from Syria when they could verify any alleged terrorist attacks that occurred? (Peaceful protesters were from the start demonized by the Assad dictatorship as terrorists. It was only later that some violent acts of terror did occur, a response made practically inevitable due to Assad's massacres.)

For the first time in 29 years the Syrian people broke through the barrier of their fear.

The Assad regime has been spending over a year trying to put the genie back in the bottle, but this is not 1982, this time the whole world sees what they are doing. In a completely ineffectual attempt to hide the murders and torture they are inflicting the Assad regime banned foreign journalists from reporting in Syria. Instead every citizen in Syria became a journalist, as one Syrian memorably put it on TV. Anyone who can record footage and post it on the internet could show the world that the illegitimate Assad dictatorship is destroying the Syrian people.

The most sacred duty of a government is to protect its people.

The Assad dictatorship has been on a wild shooting, torturing, even shelling rampage throughout Syria for over a year. That is not a government. That is a criminal gang.

I have no sympathy for the Bashar al Assad regime. The sooner it is gone the better.

As far as I am concerned justice demands nothing less.

Some people fear that something worse may occur if Assad is overthrown.

As far as I am concerned a murderous gang is utterly intolerable and must be removed before we can even begin to start seriously thinking how Syria can be rebuilt.

There is no hope in the Assad dictatorship.

The tortures, the disappearances, the killings are how the Assad dictatorship has always been "ruling" (I really mean oppressing) the Syrian people. How can an unpopular regime which has brought so much pain and suffering to the Syrian people bring any hope to the Syrian people?

Some are worried that if the Syrian opposition gains power religious minorities such as Alawites and Christians will be thrown under the bus and will be oppressed by fundamentalist Muslims.

Again there is no hope in the Assad dictatorship.

It has always ruled by fear and terror. The dictatorship has been desperately trying to make religious minorities fear change and simply put up with the dictatorship as most of Syria had been doing since 1982 and before Deraa. I regard it as wrong to ask people to submit to such a cruel and degrading regime for fear of something worse, to protect criminals and child killers like Assad. The Syrian people deserve far more than what the Assad criminal gang can give them. The regime must go.

Modern Day Martyr

Read this story about "Mark" a husband and father of two and a Christian missionary who was murdered for it. The report is kept very vague.

Though we did not work directly with Mark (a colleague sent by an African partner mission), across the Arab World our African colleagues are among our strongest discipleship partners. We thank God for their cultural understanding and contribution to ministry.

Mark was part of a team of two families serving in a Muslim region. Late in August, the team received death threats. The families were evacuated, but Mark stayed for one last meeting with believers before joining them.

Saturday night after the meeting while at home preparing his dinner, Mark was shot. He was discovered the next morning in his home, but he had lost too much blood to survive. At his passing, Mark leaves a young wife and two infant twin daughters.