A Syrian, fighting the brutal Bashar al-Assad regime, asks “where is the world?” That is the important question. Where is everyone when people – especially neighbors – are fighting to throw off the shackles of tyranny?
The Syrians need help to rid themselves of Assad’s brutal rule. Assad had been able to muster support from the army, Syria’s loyalists, and China and Russia before they began to waiver in their support of Assad.
Still, as 2011 is coming to a close, there are good signs that the people-power movement is not only still alive, but seems to be spreading to Russia.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says he welcomes a “dialogue,” but all that is within limits. Putin is not ready to give in to the opposition. Although he is still in the driver’s seat, and he is still calling the shots, Putin knows he is on shaky ground.
No dictator in the Middle East is on solid ground, and it is doubtful Assad is sleeping very well at night. He may be well guarded, but Assad’s ruthless rule has made him one of the most hated men in the Middle East.
He is western educated and much was expected of him. So much for that. We cannot forget that he has left a trail of blood to match his brutal father, who slaughtered his way to power and perpetrated a ruthless crackdown on an uprising in the Syrian city of Hama.
Assad has been barbaric in his drive to keep control when the future seems to bode an end for tyrant dictators in a region where they have prevailed much too long.
The revolutionary atmosphere has been dormant for years. It took the anger of a Tunisian produce vendor who was publicly slapped in the face – a slap heard around the world – by a female municipal inspector. Humiliated, he found no help from higher up officials and immolated himself. His story went viral and caught the sympathy of the Arab masses.
So far the dictators of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia have fallen. The United States dispensed of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in a now-ended eight-and-a-half-year war. By the end of the New Year, we can foresee several new rulers emerging from the revolutionary spirit in the Middle East.
It’s not over yet. There is concern with the potential outcome of a forthcoming power play, especially in Egypt where the leadership could be up for grabs.
The Arab drive for freedom stems from years of police state rule and suffering. The Syrians have tolerated a century of French rule, followed by military dictators, one after another. The dictators were only eliminated by assassination.
There is no stopping the on-going revolts in the Middle East. The cry for freedom has been heard around the world once again.
The U.S. has a leadership role to play. We have been preaching freedom since the American Revolution, and the world has heard the rallying call.
We should be happy to see others practice what we preach.
The fate of these countries in turmoil depends on the people understanding their own power after disposing of one-man rule that had persisted for many, many years.
America can make a tremendous contribution to help lead these people out of their wilderness. We should seize the moment and play our traditional role of healing the wounds and leading these nations to a brighter day. It is an opportunity provided by oppressed people who have opened their doors and need our help. We did it after World War II, when we lent a helping hand to a defeated enemy. We should do it again.