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Watching the Ongoing August 15, 2023, Intifada

September 09, 2023
By Bassam Michael Madany

Two southern Syrian provinces have risen-up against the oppressive Assad regime in Damascus. Unlike previous uprisings since 1970, President Bashar Assad has not sought to squelch this Intifada. One reason is the provinces are adjacent to Jordan, Lebanon, and occupied sections of the Golan Heights. The most likely reason is the fact that the population is Druze, a religious sect related to Shia Islam. The Druze have been fiercely independent and had opposed the French presence in Syria between 1920 and 1946. I remember their 1936 uprising against the French and its news that was covered in the newspapers that my father read.

The previous uprisings that took place since the Assads (Hafiz and Bashar) assumed power in 1970 were immediately crushed with brute force. Not this one! Why, and what is the plan of his foreign protectors, Iran & Russia?

Nowadays, there’s a major factor, the Internet or social media. The world is watching the ongoing drama from its epicenter: Al Suwayda and Daraa.

Crowds of people, men, women, young people, and children, some carrying banners with large Arabic words that broadcast their grievances:

Down with the despot!

We’ve had enough

We want to live as free people.

The scene resembles a grand festival. Crowds were parading, carrying large colorful banners, some from local areas, others displaying the Syrian flag. Young men climbed a local government building that had large pictures of extolling the achievements of the Assads. They tore the pictures and threw the pieces into the air. As those pieces kept raining down on the streets, it appeared that everyone was having a great time.

One thing I observed was the dress of both men and women. Very few men wore tribal outfits, meanwhile I couldn’t see one woman wearing traditional Islamic garb. They appeared no different than Western women! One leader wore a short sleeve blouse and blue jeans. Many wore something similar. Finally, have they joined modern free humanity?

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