samedi 21 juillet 2012

The "Palestine Branch"

Three of the Arab Levant peoples, Syrian, Palestinian and Lebanese, are companions in misery, having together endured the exactions of the Syrian regime. The plight of the Palestinians stands out, however, and holds specific implications, since all three peoples were held hostage by this regime under the pretext of the “struggle for Palestine”.

Thus, the state of emergency, the ban on political parties, the subjugation of state and society, the safeguard of the so-called "soft waist", and the "confrontation of surrender plots” all stemmed from the "primacy of the Palestinian cause".  Lebanon's Palestinian refugee camps’ wars can be tied to it, as were arrests and oppression in Syrian camps.
One needs only note that Damascus most horrendous torture departments  is known as "The Palestine Branch" for him/her to grasp  how Assad regime established its relation with the cause of Palestine, which finds its expressions in a dark brick prison on the one hand, and a bleak virtual one on the other.  Dissident Syrians and Palestinians are packed inside the first, where they are tortured and degraded for having betrayed the "core" cause of the regime.  Opponents are confined to the second, by means of a mind-numbing jargon of resistance, which brands them as "enemies of Palestine" and of the Baath party, Palestine's self-anointed standard bearer.

It was over the Palestine theme that the regime laid a vast framework of intimidation, suppression of freedoms, and consolidation of despotism.  Those who dared challenge it would be charged with "entertaining a plot" in made-to-order indictments churned by various security services, and locked up in the "Palestine Branch”.

Likewise, the regime concocted a "comprehensive agenda" which served as charter for a motley bunch of  "recalcitrants" and is recited ad nauseam, invoking Palestine yet again to mask their misdeeds.  In it, they portray the whole world (with more than a touch of hypocrisy or idiocy) as a den of schemes and conspiracies, directed against them and their patron regime, on account of their “loyalty” to Palestine.

This cruel hoax was perpetrated over four decades, and then brandished as a sword by the regime and its allies against the Syrian revolution for freedom and justice that started last year, in the belief it would deter it. They were stunned for once to realize it was too late, and that repression and hubris were no longer effective.  For no longer did the “Palestine branch” intimidate, and the Lattaqieh, Deraa and Homs Palestinian refugee camps, along with the ones in Damascus and other urban centers, found common cause with their Syrian neighbors, and broke in a matter of weeks with years of subjugation and humiliation.

The revolt has now fractured the very walls of "Palestine Branch", and Syrians (along with Palestinians) are snuffing out between its cells.  Once it soon comes to collapse, the tens of thousands who left bits of their lives in it will build a memorial atop its ruins, dedicated to those who were robbed of their years and hopes inside it, whose mothers sighed in anguish on the sidewalks around it, and stood in the long waiting queues... 

Ziad Majed
Thanks to my friend Omar who translated the original textfrom Arabic