Demonstranterne kræver reformer, løsladelse af politiske fanger og ophævelse af den årelange nødretstilstand. Angry Arab rapporterer, at sammenholdet i den syriske regering er begyndt at slå revner: “The brutality of the regime is digging a bigger hole for itself“.
På al-bab.com skriver Brian Whitaker, at Syrien meget vel kan være på vej mod den kant, regimerne i Tunesien og Egypten (og til dels Libyen) faldt ud over:
The “fear barrier” is an important consideration for both protesters and Arab regimes. The regimes’ basic calculation is that at any given time only a relatively small number of people are likely to cause trouble – because the rest will be too afraid. So long as the fear barrier remains, they can be reasonably confident of dealing with the situation.What we saw in Tunisia and Egypt was that once the fear barrier was broken large-scale protests erupted in numerous places and the security forces were no longer able to cope. One sign of the fear barrier breaking is when people start openly destroying images of the president – and this is now happening in Syria.
Syria, at the moment, appears to be on the cusp. It’s probably fair to say that the fear barrier has been well and truly broken in Deraa, and it is cracking but not quite broken in other parts of the country.
Considering that it is little more than a week since the first serious stirrings against the regime occurred in Syria, events seem to be moving quite fast.
At styret er ved at miste det greb, som folks frygt har givet det over situationen, antydes blandt andet af scener som denne, hvor præsident Bashar Assads billede bliver angrebet:
Jeg håber det bedste for befolkningen i Syrien. De fortjener bedre end de sidste mange års diktatur og ufrihed, og de fortjener også at komme fredeligt ud på den anden side af det her.
Så typisk for de fremmede regimer at finde “fremmede” syndebukke for deres egen befolknings vrede. Lad os håbe, Mohamed Radwan og alle andre, der er fanget i de syriske myndigheders “operation syndebuk” hurtigt kan slippe fri igen.
Det er i hvert fald en rimelig tolkning. Flere højtstående officerer er nu gået over til demonstranterne og kræver at diktatoren Saleh går af:
in the streets of Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, rival tanks were ranged against each other after three senior army commanders announced that they backed the protesters.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Gabool al Mutawakil, a youth activist, said: “We are now in the middle of two militaries – one that has joined the protesters and one that is under the authority of president Saleh. There is fear of civil war, but we are insisting on having a peaceful revolution.”
Earlier Major General Ali Mohsen Saleh, the head of the north western military zone and the head of the first armoured division, announced his support for the protesters.
Brigadier Hameed Al Koshebi, the head of brigade 310 in the Omran area, Brigadier Mohammed Ali Mohsen, who heads the eastern division, Brigadier Nasser Eljahori, the head of brigade 121, and General Ali Abdullaha Aliewa, an adviser to the Yemeni supreme leader of the army also deserted the president.
Saleh, den næste arabiske eks-diktator i rækken. Måske der bliver til en hel kalender? Januar Ben Ali, februar Mubarak, marts og april – ja, hvem ved. Måske året kan sluttes af med Saudi-Arabiens kong Abdullahs fald i november eller december, skarpt fulgt af Qatar og De Forenede Arabiske Emirater. Lige for øjeblikket ser det sort ud på mange måder, men billedet kan nå at vende adskillige gange i de kommende måneder.
Michael Moore taler til de strejkende arbejdere i Madison, Wisconsin.
“America is not broke. Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you’ll give up your pension, cut your wages and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash, it’s just that it’s not in your hands. It has been transferred in the greatest heist in history from the workers and the consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the über-rich!”
Sharif S. Elmusa skriver i den egyptiske avis Al-Masry Al-Youm om, hvordan revolutionerne i Egypten og Tunesien har vækket befolkningens slumrende poetiske bevidsthed, og hvordan netop poesien har været blandt de elementer, der har båret revolutionen frem:
The political comes the morning after, although it’s articulated in slogans, drums and chants during the days of mobilization, and even long before that, in the daily sighs and dreams of the oppressed. Although we may adduce all kinds of “factors” to the eruption of the revolution, we cannot use them to explain its timing. The sudden synergy of hundreds of thousands of people chanting loudly and in unison, their joy drowning their aches as they inhale the air of freedom, defies rational explanation.
Great creative works, like Handel’s symphony The Messiah or Melville’s Moby Dick were made after periods of deep gloom. In the Arab world, revolution has poured out of the deep well of despair and loss of confidence.
The late Nizar Qabbani, the love poet of the Arab world, who also penned much political poetry, wrote “the Arabs have died.” Mahmoud Darwish said “Egypt is not in Egypt.” But pain and suffering were as fertile as Egypt’s soil, green as Tunisia itself. They have reawakened the spirit, opened the portals of the body and the body politic. They have ushered Egypt back into Egypt and Tunisia into Tunisia. You could see the metamorphosis and hear it in the performance of the crowds and their words, in the free wheeling slogans and the rhyming couplets.
They rendered acts of poetry–cleaning the streets, regulating traffic, protecting the national museum, guarding houses, breaking bread with someone–even more poetic. These mundane acts became inspiring moments, like that of a poem, spawning a new spirit, free of the dust that had settled on the conception of work and on those who perform it day after day. Writing a poem and engaging in a revolution are both acts of self-discovery.
The revolution dignifies the ordinary, and elevates it, just as poetry transforms common words into rhythms and meaning.
Never will the privileged person who swept leftover food, cigarette butts and plastic containers into a pile in the street think of the street sweeper as lowly again–just like what a poem about a street sweeper does, it dignifies the person and the work.
Never will the person who helped formed a ring around thugs to prevent agitated comrades from meting out spontaneous justice forget the meaning of magnanimity. A poem that is not imbued with a spirit of forgiveness is an ersatz poem.
Never will the person who guarded the museum go by it again thinking it is just another building. Standing guard by the house of antiquities is like a poem about lost objects, about lives vanished; it keeps them alive for as long they last.
The words that revolutionaries make are poetry, even if they are not meant to be. Language under authoritarian regimes rusts, turns dull, loses its edge and luster. Revolution restores to words their truthfulness, meaning, even magic. The first word of the revolution was “The people want to bring down the regime.” It is the people who want, not the ruler. The declarative statement is economical, uses the active verb, and announces the expiry of the old order. It is in itself an act, a performance.
Sharif forklarer videre, hvordan den egyptiske opstands helt grundlæggende slagord – “Folket ønsker at vælte regimet” – faktisk er en henvisning til et digt af tuneseren Abu Al-Qasim Al-Shabbi.
De helt bevidste drab på fredelige demonstranter torsdag og fredag medførte en så voldsom reaktion, at styret i Bahrain lørdag eftermiddag valgte at trække miltær og politi bort fra urolighederne. Kronprins Salman lover dialog og opfordrer folk til at gå hjem, men demonstranterne er vrede og nægter at gå hjem, før deres krav er efterlevet.
Mange har givet udtryk for skuffelse over den amerikanske regerings manglende eller i bedste fald særdeles valne støtte til demokratibevægelserne i den arabiske verden. Den megen tale om “stabilitet” er under alle omstændigheder en fornærmelse – har en undertrykt befolkning brug for stabilitet? Nej, de har brug for frihed, frihed og mere frihed, som den palæstinensiske journalist Naser Alsehli forklarede til et møde om situationen, jeg deltog i forleden.
En anden måde at sige det på er, at det ville være godt, hvis USA fra starten havde tilkendegivet en klar støtte til protesterne i Tunesien og Egypten – for USAs egen skyld! Folk i området er ligeglade og ønsker ikke længere USAs støtte, som Robert Fisk forklarer i The Independent:
“The Americans interfered in our country for 30 years under Mubarak, supporting his regime, arming his soldiers,” an Egyptian student told me in Tahrir Square last week. “Now we would be grateful if they stopped interfering on our side.” At the end of the week, I heard identical voices in Bahrain. “We are getting shot by American weapons fired by American-trained Bahraini soldiers with American-made tanks,” a medical orderly told me on Friday. “And now Obama wants to be on our side?”
Folk er allerede begyndt at tale om den “anden afkolonialisering” – 50-80 år efter, at den arabiske verden holdt op med at være vestlige kolonier af navn, holder de også op med at være det af gavn. Vestens og USAs indflydelse er måske ved at være forbi. Hverken krigen i Irak eller Obamas og Clintons fumlen har gjort det lettere for USA at hoppe på toget. Det er endnu alt for tidligt at sige, hvad det hele ender med, men herfra skal ønskes masser af held og lykke til de gode oprørere i Bahrain, der nu er begyndt at tage deres egen by tilbage. Måtte de få alle deres krav opfyldt.
Bahrain er som en lille og ganske velhavende østat i Golfen en helt anden slags land end Egypten. Men tag ikke fejl: Det ulmer, og utilfredsheden med det indspiste og korrupte kongedømme er, som andre steder i den arabiske verden, kraftigt forstærker af inspirationen fra Egypten og Tunesien.
Mandag angreb myndighederne en demonstration med tåregas og hagl, og en demonstrant blev dræbt. Da omkring ti tusind mennesker i går ville begrave ham, angreb politiet igen og dræbte endnu en demonstrant. Folk er vrede, og tusindvis af mennesker har nu slået sig ned i Manamas centrale “Pearl Roundabout”, som de har omdøbt til “Tahrir Roundabout”. Oprindelig krævede de blot reformer og en ny regering, men efter de to drab lyder kravet: “The People Want to Overthrow the Regime“, som Mahmood fortæller:
Arriving at the Salmaniya Medical Complex – the main health facility in the island and in which the mortuary is located, I noticed three police jeeps with some ten or so riot police milling about just opposite one of the entrances of the hospital nearest to the mortuary. I paid them no heed as I thought that they must’ve been there as a token force and they won’t dare do anything when the funeral cortege passes by in an hour or so. I carried on and went in to the mortuary and joined the several hundred mourners already present there, with a lot more pouring in as time went by. The atmosphere, though tense, remained peaceful with occasional political and religious chants. Once the body was brought out, the crowd galvanised and started moving in an orderly and peaceful fashion to the main exit. The plan was to bury Ali Abdulhadi Mushaimi in the nearby village of Jiddhaffs’ cemetery, just a few kilometers away.
But as we arrived at the gate to exit – and I was almost at the front of the mourners – the tear gas was fired at us and live bird-shot too was fired into the crowd, the latter was the ammunition whcih was used to kill Ali Mushaimi, the person we were carrying to his final resting place. I didn’t know it at the time, but another martyr was mowed down not more than ten meters ahead of me. Fadhel Almatrouk now joins the pantheon of fallen Bahraini martyrs. I suspect that he won’t be the last. The people of Bahrain have paid dear with their lives over decades fighting for their rights and will continue to do so until their rightful demands are met.
Unable to breath and faced with an inordinate use of force against unarmed civilians, the cortège driver decided to drive away from that exit and attempt to get out another exit on the other side of the hospital. People were scrambling about trying to protect themselves and show respect to the deceased at the same time; however, even that was not to be. The so called security forces encircled the protestors between the original exit and the one at the far end and started shooting tear gas at us inside the hospital grounds. Some protestors out of anger and frustration started lobbing stones at the police, but when I shouted at them to keep it peaceful with another phrase taken from our brothers in Tunisia and Egypt (سلميه سلميه) others took up the cry and prevented demonstrators from resorting to violence.
The tear gas was choking us. With eyes streaming and lungs on fire, we sped off after the cortege to continue to be faced by the riot police and their liberal use of tear gas. The avenues and lanes around the hospital were saturated with people walking away in the direction of the chosen grave yard, but coughing and trying to cope as much as possible with the poisonous atmosphere. People, though, were stopping and helping each other. Some producing tissues to help wipe away eyes and others sharing their water or offering a helping hand when needed. The atmosphere, though charged, was still determined. We are going to do good by the fallen martyr.
Several international journalists were in attendance, from Reuters to the New York Times – both of which interviewed me along with several people in the crowd. Wa’ad’s Ebrahim Sharif and MPs from the main Al-Wefaq political party were in attendance and they too were interviewed by probably all journalists present. The common denominator to most of the answers were the need for real reform of the government, the constitution, addressing corruption and attending to the people’s needs.
By the time the body was interred, people streamed out of the area in the direction of the capital Manama, specifically to the Pearl Roundabout, a main landmark celebrating the unity of the Gulf Cooperation Council, but now rechristened by the protestors as “Bahrain’s Tahrir Roundabout” with people camping there under make-shift tents complete with their blankets and necessities fully intending to stay until their demands are met. From the latest pictures I’ve seen, there must be considerably more than ten thousand.
Bahrain er et lille land, og demonstranterne er oppe mod kolossale odds. Styret slår ned med jernhånd, og som overalt i regionen har regeringen forsøgt at bestikke borgerne med indrømmelser og økonomisk kompensation, og Bahrain har selv forsøgt sig med at sende en engangs-check på 2500 dollars til samtlige husstande.
Men det er ikke det, det handler om: Folk vil have deres frihed, også i Bahrain; eller, som Mahmood formulerer det: “They will not stop and they should not stop until basic demands are met: respect for human rights, better political and economic rights and proper freedoms of the press, expression and personal freedoms along with a representative government and parliament rather than the sham we currently have.” Måtte de få det snart.