The Syrians who still take to the streets demanding freedom, dignity and democracy are a beacon of hope
As we mark the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the Syrian Revolution, it may seem strange that the revolution should be something to celebrate.
With the revolutionary struggle and ensuing war having claimed the lives of half a million people, injured another two million and displaced or made refugees of over half of Syria’s population, while laying waste to the country, there seems little to celebrate.
Yet as someone committed to social change and social justice, the mere fact the revolution began at all points to the strength and courage of millions of people, and their ability and potential to effect social change through mass political action.
This is an example which we must not allowed to be buried in the reports of bloodshed, regime brutality and ISIS tyranny which dominate most news stories about Syria.
The revolution is not responsible for the carnage which came after. The Syrians who took to the streets demanding freedom, dignity, and democracy did not know how their own government, and the world’s governments would respond.
They simply asserted their inalienable human right to be free, and that alone is worth celebrating and remembering, that even the strongest of tyrannies can be resisted and overthrown. And the people do not bear responsibility for the actions of tyrants.
As a socialist, I support the Syrian Revolution because one of the cornerstones of a just and equal society is democracy. Without democracy the struggle for a better world becomes next to impossible, and the Syrian people have shown their continued commitment to fight for democracy despite five years of the most brutal civil war.
They have built democratic local councils and attempted to organise a new civil society in spite of all the savagery unleashed upon them.
With our planet increasingly beset by inequality, conflict, unaccountable business elites and ever more brutal and authoritarian regimes, the revolutionary struggle of the Syrian people has been a beacon of hope, of continued resistance to tyranny, even in the worst circumstances.
If you want a future governed by principles of justice, equality and democracy, and not by the whims of the powerful, then the victory of the Syrian popular revolt over the murderous tyranny of the Assad regime is an essential condition for securing that future.
And the struggle is continuing, despite everything. During the lull in the fighting brought on by the ceasefire, Syrians returned to the streets in their hundreds and thousands in peaceful protest to demand the fall of the regime and call for a united and free Syria.
Their revolution continues, and so should our support for it.
Mark Boothroyd is a nurse and member of Syria Solidarity UK, where this blog was originally published
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