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A Look at the Syrian Blogsphere

After a tense month of anti-violence campaigns, the Syrian blogsphere seemed to be quite calm this week…

Discussions revolved about the new step from the US to give a $5 million to promote democratic governance and reform in Syria.
While Joshua Landis of SyriaComment.com sees this step as a good start, but a bit worried that it won't have the proper effect if not supported by other moves.

This is a good start. Now Syrians will have to figure out how they can apply for the funds without getting bashed by their government.

Ironically, American legislators are trying to have the embassy staff reduced even further, which will undermine the effectiveness of democracy promotion. Only by supporting effective representatives on the ground in Syria can America be expected to evaluate and judge how best to promote democracy. Building links to courageous and imaginative people working in Syria who are trying to expand the scope of local civic institutions should be key.

Rime Allaf from Mosaics says that this step falls short on all terms, compared to the support the US gave to the Iraqi opposition against Saddam Hussein regime. She feels that the regime feels more safe than ever as the US is not interested with a regime change in the near future.

Be that as it may, it seems perfectly clear now that America is not bothered with regime change in Syria, for the moment at least (which has been my hunch); had it been even remotely interested, it would have disbursed more than those peanuts. This amount merely allows the Syrian regime to complain about it without worrying, and to demonstrate that American designs are less than honorable.


Away from politics, Ghalia of Cocktail had a brilliant post on Syrian children, their dreams, fears and hopes for the future.

Joudy 10-year-old, she already speaks two languages perfectly in addition to Arabic, she answered me without hesitation; “interior designer, I also love fashion, and yeah I can’t wait till I grow up to do a plastic surgery to my nose, there is something wrong with it, I don’t like it. I also will drive my mother’s car or buy a new one and let little kids sit in the back so I’ll take them to nice places to play.”

Talking to children from variant social levels…

Hameed, 9-year-old, I met him in Old Damascus at Souq al-Hamidiyeh, he was supposed to be at school while he was actually working as a goods porter, “What do you want to be in the future?” I asked. He looked at me quizzically, he needs not to say anything, from his reaction I knew that he had never thought of that. “I don’t know, I have to ask my father, he will decide for me, I really don’t know!”

Finally, a very strong post by Ayman from The Damascene Blog, featuring a caricature by Naji al-Ali…

- Are you Muslim or Christian? Sunni or Shiite? Druze or Alawite? Coptic or Maronite? Greek Catholic or Greek Ortho…

- I am Arab, jackass!

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