Syrians are no exception among- st the Arab people in demanding our freedom. The explanation for our apparent tardiness was a huge barrier of fear, which began to fall on March 15, 2011 at a demonstration in front of the Interior Ministry.
The prisons were filled with young protestors, but the people continued to assert their determination on this “Friday of Pride” and the city of Der’aa was the scene of the first martyr of the Syrian revolution. Many cities participated in the uprising and Damascus marked its own revolutionary contribution.
The bodies and blood are tokens of the words of freedom we finally screamed. The security forces answered by beating and detaining us. I was in a mosque where I saw how those who shouted, “Allah, Syria, Bashar [al-Assad]” shed the blood of demonstrators shouting, “Allah, Syria, Freedom”.
I saw young men and women demanding freedom, and a whole generation wanting change. Syria was tearing down the wall of fear.
But the answer came in sticks falling violently on our heads. I witnessed three young men being taken away, surrounded by tens of police officers who dragged them to an unknown destination.
When I was finally able to leave the mosque, right before the gates were closed on the rest of the protestors, there were hundreds of policemen and high ranking intelligence officers all around. I tried to follow the detainees, just to know where they were taken to, but I got lost amid the convoy of identical black cars. I realised later that the number of detainees was actually much greater than the number of people we saw getting arrested.
The regime’s reaction to the demonstrations left me filled with hatred. The regime hasn’t learned that repressive measures are not the way to calm the people down. On the contrary, repression makes them angrier. And Syria is on its way to a full awakening, in all its cities and towns.
Homs, Deir el-Zor, Banyas, Aleppo and Der’aa are all rising up for Syria. I saw young people facing bullets with bared chests for freedom, and children arrested along with young protestors.
I cannot stay glued to the TV, watching. The street is the means to get the demands heard. The revolution will prevail, like fire in a dry bush. No one can make the protestors return home before their demands are met, especially after bloodshed has marked out the regime and the people.
As the calls for demonstrations increase, the repression escalates too, but that also mobilises public opinion in favour of the protestors. My friends, who were neutral at first, are now supporters of the revolution. And those who were afraid are now the ones calling people to the demonstrations.
The fear barrier, built over decades, will be conquered soon. A friend says that activism should now concentrate on widening the hole in this wall of fear until it falls apart. It seems this is already happening.
The regime is naked now. There is no covering it up with slogans like “the fortress of resistance” and the “spear in the eye of imperialism”. There is no place for neutrality now. It’s time for change. It’s time for one homeland that unites us without any sectarian, ethnic or political exceptions.