Words of Resistance in the Syrian Intifada

Words of Resistance in the Syrian Intifada We can trace what’s happening — and may yet happen — in Syria by what the protesters chant at their demonstrations: The slogans are already a history, a politics, a manifesto and a new identity, writes Zénobie. Middle East Online“From now on, no more fear!” Ma fi khawf baad al-yawm! chanted the people of Deraa, in southern Syria, on 18 May.

State repression intensified, but the protestors rejected the culture of fear, and in many towns declared they were ready to die: “Martyrs are going to heaven in their millions”; “There is only one God, and God loves martyrs”; “Resist Banias, freedom is worth giving your life for” Banias is the name of a port. Martyrdom was a theme in every region, expressed in a slogan currently popular in the Middle East: “With our souls, with our blood, we sacrifice ourselves for you, oh martyr.” To express solidarity with a town where many people have died, they chant another version: “With our souls, with our blood, we sacrifice ourselves for you, oh Deraa” Bi-ruh bi-damm, nafdîk ya shahîd.Every protest since March has called for freedom by twisting a slogan of the regime; so “God, Syria, Bashar — that’s all!” has become “God, Syria, freedom — that’s all!” Syria was under a state of emergency from 1963 until this April, so freedom is associated with democracy: “We demand freedom and democratic elections.” This transcends sectarian divisions: “Freedom, freedom, Muslims and Christians!”; “We are the partisans of freedom and peace.”The latest style, which is high-flown, is meant to mark the dignity of the individual citizen. And you can hear the growing rumble of anger in: “Don’t insult the Syrian people” Al-shaab al-suri ma byandhal.

Full text: Words of Resistance in the Syrian Intifada.

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