Syria: “We Support Bashar and Want the World to Leave us Alone”

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011.

Everybody hates Bashar El-Assad. Syrian men hate him. Syrian women hate him. Even a middle-aged American man who sees himself as a lesbian Syrian girl, hates him. But, isn't it possible that some Syrians do not really hate him as much as we assume?

I had never stumbled upon a netizen supportive of the Al Assad regime before until a few days ago when we were contacted by a Syrian who lives in Canada accusing Global Voices’ coverage on Syria of being one-sided, tilted with the international media in the anti-Assad camp.

Street poster featuring Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Image by Flickr user watchsmart (CC BY 2.0).

Street poster featuring Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Image by Flickr user watchsmart (CC BY 2.0).

He said we have to shed some light on the other part of Syria that the media usually ignores, and to bring voices of people there who have a different point of view. He was even kind enough to help us find some of those users on Twitter who were separated from us by the law of “Six Degrees of Separation“.

In fact, no time is better to measure the Syrians’ sentiments like that after a speech given by Al Assad on June 20, 2011, so we went to see what do those who support him had to say.

Dina Jaffary, who is a Syrian living in Damascus, shared her opinion about the speech:

@DinaJeff: I liked the speech,, very reasonable, logical and transparent, didn't expect less, or more.

@DinaJeff: 4 those who were expecting 1 speech 2 turn z country upside down, u need 2 get off twitter, a/ hang out w/ real ppl more often.

Shadi Hijazi, who has done his Ph.D. in Business Administration, added that millions of the Syrians went to the streets in support of Al Assad. The marches came during and after the president's declaration for amnesty for many citizens:

@shadi: Millions to the streets of #Syria supporting president Assad, and another pardon for crimes committed before 20/06/2011

Sate Hamza is not really pleased with those foreigners who speak for the Syrians and are critical to the speech:

@sate3: If you're not Syrian & didn't find anything positive in the #AssadSpeech, don't even bother; it's none of your business.

Hamza's tweet rings a bell how both social and traditional media might sometimes ignore the geographic location of the news sources, and might even amplify some voices at the expense of others:

@moshebli: 5 people from my friends like the Syrian revolution page…4 Lebanese, and 1 Syrian :S (I've got many Syrian friends btw)

@DinaJeff: for those who think that Twitter is the real deal, and the source of all news…Gee, u need to go out there and get a life! like a real one!

And when it comes to traditional media, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya are the most widespread news channels in the region and they for sure are being blamed for their coverage, which according Mohamed Shbeeb, Oulabi and Nai is also one-sided:

@Mhd_Shbeeb: Where are @AJALive & @Alarabiya from those rallies of Millions ??? Syria is safe, & always will be :)

@Nye30: Jazeera doesn't broadcast the millions who want the president but the hundreds who don't?! Lek tfeh. [How stupid!]

@ooulabi: It's becoming clear that the Syrian “revolution” is being led by the Media not the people. #Syria #Aljazeera

Also foreign media outlets are being blamed:

@moshebli: You can't watch foreign news agencies and AJA and believe what they say about what the people want, because the story is one sided #syria

Ghassan, who is a medical student living in Lebanon, believes that the whole Arab Spring is a Western invention:

@gKbbCH: Not one of them Arab “revolutions” would have survived without Western support.
@gKbbCH: And this same Western intervention will make sure that the “revolution” will not become a revolution.

Dina – who doesn't believe in coincidences – and RK believe there is a plot to spread chaos in the region:

@DinaJeff: معناتها اللي لسا مفكر انو القصة قصة اصلاحات وحريات, بكون كتير غلطان’ المطلوب هلأ نشرالفوضى بكل أشكالها بكل المنطقة
@DinaJeff: It means that whoever still believes that it's all about reform and freedom, is totally wrong. What's being done now is the spread of chaos in all its forms in the region.

@3plus1twtr: Everybody wants change. Some want anarchy. And the “some” are ruining it for “everybody.”

Deek El-Gen adds that Saudi Arabia is partnering with the United States in this plot:

@deekelgen963: Iraqi friend: i am not a fan of Bashar but i am convinced he will be forced out of office because Saudi Arabia n US have other plans for Syria.

However Oulabi slightly disagrees with them as he sees the situation in Syria is different from that in Egypt and Tunisia:

@ooulabi: The difference between the revolutions in Egypt/ Tunisia with Syria is that there is no full out majority support for change in #Syria

And since the Syrian regime and that of Iran are in some sort of alliance, the Iranians are being accused that they intervene in Syria, and the Syrians who support Al Assad on the other hand are accused of being Iranian traitors. Some of those accusations borrow terms from history books though:

@ooulabi: Yet to see any proof of Iranian or Hezbollah fighters involved in all this, this has to be the best joke ever.

@ManoliaSy: شو يعني العميل الصفوي ؟ وعنجد عم بسأل مو مزح لان امبارح اسمعت حدا قالها هون
@ManoliaSy: What's the meaning of a Safavid agent? Seriously, I am seriously asking and not joking, as I heard such accusation yesterday by someone here.

And finally, Moshebli wrote asking people around the world to leave them alone:

@moshebli: A message to the people of the world. The majority of Syrians are with their president, so leave us alone!

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011.


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