ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Experiments in Autonomy

Affirming the Syrian Revolution

Amidst the chaotic violence and the geopolitical stratagems emanating from Western powers as well as from regional forces, one should not forget that the Syrian crisis escalated from the emergence of a genuine social movement. What was once a call for revolution has translated into a grass roots, democratic and participatory governance system—operating in “liberated zones” across the country. Despite the current turmoil prevailing over their land, the Syrians are a resilient people and their efforts should serve as an inspiration to us all.

It would be an understatement that the Arab Spring generated a tremendous amount of political turbulence across West Asia and North Africa. Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi immolated not only himself on 17 December 2010; he set the whole region ablaze. Indeed, his sacrifice inspired millions of others, “from the ocean to the Gulf” as the saying went in the heyday of Arab nationalism, to protest their oppressive regimes. They would even find international echoes in movements such as Occupy and Los Indignados.

There was initial optimism that these transnational revolutionary uprisings would prove to be a catalyst towards the resolution of enduring regional tribulations, or lead to transitional governments that would shake up the political status quo. The slogan “al-Shaab Yureed Isqat al-Nizam” (“The people want the fall of the regime”) reverberated through the region’s streets and squares, as mass revolts vented against poverty, state repression, corruption, and inequality. These spontaneous insurrections were decentralised: bereft of any political party leadership in their mobilisation, and entailed a suspension of ideological narratives traditionally centred on nationalism, socialism, or Islamism.

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Updated On : 31st May, 2017
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