Throughout the week spanning March 18 to 24, The Nation will be posting installments of Abounaddara’s seven-part series, The Syrian Who Wanted the Revolution. Today’s video is the seventh (and last) in the series. You can find links to earlier ones at the bottom of this article. Check back tomorrow to watch a new video.
This week marks the fifth anniversary of the Syrian revolt. It’s nearly impossible to fathom the destruction unleashed on this country that, we must admit, no longer exists as a country. Syria is fractured and destroyed, much of it now unrecognizable. Overrun by foreign mercenaries and carved into pieces by militias and the Assad regime, the once-proud nation has become a Disneyland for the world’s most violent criminals, craven politicians, and psychopathic ideologues.
The revolution began differently. In January 2011, a peaceful protest movement, inspired by the Tunisian and Egyptian examples, was slowly blooming. It sprouted cautiously at first, spreading over the country and growing more daring over time. When 15 boys were arrested in Dara’a in March for scrawling “the people demand the fall of the regime,” a popular slogan of the Arab uprisings, on walls, the residents of this small southern town near the Jordanian border became enraged. They gathered on March 18 to demand the release of their boys. Instead, Bashar al-Assad’s security forces opened fire, killing at least four protesters. The Syrian spring had sprouted blood.
Five horrific years later, even the United Nations has stopped counting the dead. In August 2014, the UN put the death toll at 191,369. By August 2015, it would only offer an estimate of “over 250,000 dead,” citing a lack of reliable information. This February, another organization, the independent Syrian Center for Policy Research, released a report detailing its survey of the number of people killed, either directly or indirectly, by the war. That total reached 470,000 dead.