By Octavia Nasr
18 March 2014
Three years on, Syria has literally turned to ashes. Syrians have been scattered in heartbreaking ways incomprehensible by any logic or reasoning. The suffering and pain, totally unnecessary, unwarranted and certainly undeserved, is beyond imagination.
How can we describe the situation in Syria and what logic can we employ to make any sense of the past three years? No words or deeds at this point can alleviate a fraction of what Syrians have gone through and will go through for a long time to come.
Cowardice must be the headline. Everyone is coward except the victims. Start with the cowardice of a regime that prefers to see its nation destroyed and burned to the ground, useless, deserted except for ghosts. A regime that will stop at nothing to remain in power, even if all what is left is power over bodies and body parts. Bashar Assad had the power to reform but he refused to use it because inclusion was never in his plans. Change was never on his agenda. A thriving Syria was never what he aspired for.
Failing To Lift A Finger
The neighbours and the rest of the international community were also cowards. When the time was right to act in support of the suffering Syrians and the struggling opposition, no fingers were lifted. No real action was taken to prevent the bloodbath even when it was clearly occurring. The world numbingly watched Syria descend into its disastrous fate as various monsters fought over its many wounds and broken limbs.
The opposition’s cowardice is in its division and its lack of vision, leadership and direction. The momentum was there, the energy as well; the people took a courageous leap of faith and stood in the face of the tyrant. They quickly discovered that there was no clear plan or serious effort to swiftly contain the situation and rally support in the face of a bloodthirsty regime with equally bloodthirsty friends and allies.
Syria is desperate, calling for nothing more than pity. No one with a heart or with their right mind would say anything that could only make things worse. Now is a time to be silent, what needed to be said was said. There were warnings, there were threats, there were diplomatic efforts, there were tears and there was so much blood and so many bodies than anyone bears to count.
The cowardice today is to exist without feeling remorse or responsibility!
This article was first published in al-Nahar on March 17, 2014.
Multi-award-winning journalist Octavia Nasr served as CNN’s senior editor of Middle Eastern affairs, and is regarded as one of the pioneers of the use of social media in traditional media. She moved to CNN in 1990, but was dismissed in 2010 after tweeting her sorrow at the death of Hezbollah’s Mohammed Fadlallah. Nasr now runs her own firm, Bridges Media Consulting, whose main aim is to help companies better leverage the use of social networks.