A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Syria: Beware the People Weeping

I think I quoted this before:
There is sobbing of the strong,
And a pall upon the land;
But the People in their weeping
Bare the iron hand:
Beware the People weeping
When they bare the iron hand.

That's Herman Melville's poem "The Martyr." It was about the assassination of Lincoln, which also occurred on Good Friday, the day the Syrian carnage began in earnest. The images of dead civilians and especially dead children coming out of Syria are too intense for me to reproduce some of them.

I asked a while back "Can the Opthamologist [Dr. Bashar al-Asad] Read the Handwriting on the Wall?"

It reads, "Your turn has come, O Doctor." Ajak al-Dor ya Doktor.

I'm starting to think Asad is burning bridges, cutting off his own hopes of exit. If he plays the hand his father (and even more, his Uncle Rif‘at) played in Hama in 1982, I think he is less likely than they to get away with it. He and Qadhafi right now seem in a race to see which becomes the first Ceausescu of the Arab Spring.

And he was the young, enlightened, promising hope of the younger generation, or so we were told. But then, so was Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi.

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