What to read on Syria


Joshua Landis recently posted this long account, anonymous, written by an American in Syria. Read it. It’s the best writing on Syria so far, in my humble opinion, and I’ve seen it all over the ‘social networks’ for days. Fear and confusion reign; there is propaganda from the government, perhaps exaggeration or at least unreliable sources and information from media barred from the country; and worst of all people seem to be digging in. Not only the government and it’s myriad security arms and special army units. But sects and communities, though the picture isn’t stable, and nothing is certain. As the author writes:

Amidst the new voicing of patriotism and all this rhetoric about unity, Syrians are terribly divided. People like Nisreen are not trying to empathize with those who are protesting, to understand their difficulties and motivations, but instead cling to easy explanations that vilify them. And people like Na’ima are writing off the sectarian fears being experienced by many, without trying to understand their experience. These fears may or may not be justified, but they are certainly not absurd. The real tragedy that I observe is that different groups are not working to understand each other. This is the main problem of Syria today: Syrians do not understand each other. If only they could reach across the divide a little and consider the fears and concerns of the other side.

This is just one short excerpt from a long, excellent read. The rest is at Syria Comment.

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