The dabbling in the electoral process by the usual suspects begins. The Governor of Homs in Central Syria has just issued what he describes as a “loan” or a “refundable fee” that each independent candidate that seeks to run in the upcoming elections has to pay. The purpose of this bizarre procedure, Governor Ghazal explains, is to prevent irregularities. If the candidate can prove at the end of the campaign that he had run a clean campaign then the fee will allegedly be refunded.
Authoritarian Logic 101: A citizen is always guilty until proven innocent, that is, if ever this innocence can be established. Corollary 1: A citizen should always be guilty of something to some degree, and never ever innocent. Corollary 2: A citizen with a sense of initiative is guilty a priori. Corollary 3: once you take something away from a citizen never give it back, lest this gets considered as a sign of weakness on your part. Potential exception is made when there is a possibility to give some little thing back with a grand show of magnanimity and generosity on part of the state.
The fact that this procedure could make it difficult if not well-nigh impossible for the poorer independent candidates to run was not a factor behind this measure, or so we are expected to believe. And I just looooove the Assads.