By Octavia Nasr
4 March 2014
What we are witnessing from Syria to Russia is not survival of the fittest but rather prevalence of the maddest. How else would we describe nations bullying each other in plain sight to force them into submission?
One should remember the tactic and intensity of Syrian shelling on the residential Christian areas of Lebanon in the late eighties to understand this kind of bullying. It means no mercy and no logic. It also means killing people physically or killing their resolve and any hope they might have. It means the focused shelling will only intensify until all are dead if necessary or all survivors are on their knees begging for mercy.
Those who refuse to beg are controlled through other methods. From sanctions to jailing and assassinations, the Bashar al-Assad Regime has a history of serving torture and intimidation in various potions. To each his gall and no one escapes the wrath of a regime that thrives on people’s misery and disrespect.
Remember the trips to Syria by politicians to be accepted or to be left alone to do their jobs, or those apologizing profusely for earlier “transgressions” and declaring loyalty and obedience to the master al-Assad, who has the power to keep them alive or turn them into corpses.
It is the same regime that kept its hold on Lebanon for decades and when the people spoke out and kicked Syria out. They were promised a scathing pay back. The octopus was counting on its loyal tentacles to spread deeply and widely around Lebanon.
Parallels in Russia
Following the same logic, Ukraine sought closer ties with the European Union, and Russia said no. Russia then used its tentacles to create dissent and make the struggle as bloody and as deadly as possible. When the people prevailed and overthrew the government, Russia stepped forward ready to invade the country to save it from its own self. There is no logic in this equation, only aggression, bullying and a headless beast taking everything down with it as it falls.
Russia and Syria have no legitimacy left. What they do have is the bullying power that wreaks havoc as a world. Late to act, it finds itself unable to jump in this bloodbath and powerless in the face of suffering innocent victims.
Syria will starve the people of Yarmouk to death and Russia will invade Ukraine, because they can. The players have crossed all lines. At this point the world cannot face this barbarism with civility.
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.