Brother/Sister, Where Art Thou?

This is the study that I have prepared during my first stint as a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution (July-December 2004). Though completed, the study was never published by Brookings, it was simply too whimsical to pass as a policy paper, and although I had permission to publish it elsewhere while acknowledging that it was prepared at Brookings, I got too caught up with the activities of the Tharwa Project and my the interrogations I faced upon my return to Syrian to follow up on this.  Continue reading “Brother/Sister, Where Art Thou?”

Turning Point!

I am not of the Crowd. I don’t even look the same anymore. I thought to myself as I walked along the sinewy pathways of Tishreen Park.


But my family was with me, walking right there beside me, Khawla, Oula and Mouhannad, they were there too looking and feeling as different as I do. I am definitely not alone anymore and I do have something now that I can and do belong to.

My son, Mouhannad, blames me for my dissident (or should I say dissonant?) activities, because they tend to endanger me (and as such us), and for what?, he asks. Most people here wouldn’t even like me (or us) or what I (we) represent.

He’s right, of course.

But what choices do I really have? Do I shake my head in a sign of sorrow and let a sad smile paints itself on my face and murmur some apologetic words regarding the foolishness of the human race? I am not that old yet. I don’t know if I will ever be that old.

Staying here, my wife says, you most probably won’t live to be that old.

She’s right, of course.

Pouting Ola is right too.

Everyone’s right these days. Perhaps even me.

But it is probably about time for me to be right differently. There are other ways of doing the right thing, and other places.


No Glasnost in Syria!

It is more like glasbust really – going for broke because you don’t know how to do anything else. Loosening your hold on power is simply out of the question, because you know the whole thing will come crashing down around you. It was meticulously designed to do just that. If not, there are those who will make sure the whole thing comes down out of sheer spite, and you know it, and you know them.  Continue reading “No Glasnost in Syria!”

The Breaking Point!

Optimists should read thisPessimists should read that.

And to bring things up to date, let’s point out that the Syrian regime is currently trying to acquire some new cards to play with and avoid reaching the Breaking Point: the chaos in Iraq and the Islamist specter, two things that Syrians simply don’t want to see in their country. Continue reading “The Breaking Point!”