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Syria’s ‘general strike’ fails

May 18th, 2011 · 3 Comments · Politics

As well as the sanctions, the other news is that the ‘general strike’ called for today has, by all indications, failed entirely.

This was the first real test of the opposition’s reach. Could it convince the silent-middle to stay at home, a relatively safe form of protest? It seems not.

And that would stand up what some commentators have been saying about this uprising. Unlike Egypt or Tunisia, there is no critical mass. There is a hard-core of people who want the fall of the regime, and a hard-core who love the government. The rest just want both sides to shutup and let the economy open up again.

Martin Fletcher, a Times (UK) reporter who sneaked into Syria said:

It’s a very complicated story. There’s a lot of anger at the government but there’s a lot of anger at the protestors. Assad still has quite a lot of support in Syria and a lot of people think the protestors are disrupting normal life, they simply want this to be over. One diplomat said to me that about 20% of the population love Assad, about 15% hate him, and all the rest just want this to be over. It’s not as simple a story as it’s sometimes portrayed as in the outside world.

While Victor Kotsev, writing in the Asia Times today, says something similar:

It is not clear that the middle ground – a sizeable number of people who do not buy completely into either (protestor or government) narratives – has been destroyed completely yet. This, by the way, is a very important sign to watch for.

Just one thought to leave you with. How will the protestors react to the US sanctions. Do they even care? Or will they fly American flags on Friday and further alienate other Syrians?


3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Abu Kareem // May 19, 2011 at 2.27 am

    It failed because people are scared. Between the hard cores are a large percentage of hate the regime but are too scared to say it. In a sense the regime has succeeded by violence and intimidation. Also the opposition should have known that and not call for a general strike; this was a gift to the regime.

  • 2 Rabi // May 19, 2011 at 10.08 am

    It failed NOT because the silent majority are with Bashar, it is because they are so scared to even close their shops. They know that if they close the shops, the shop will be attacked by the government’s gangs. It happened before in Syria that the government sent criminals to destroy shop on strike.
    The majority of the Syrian people are so scared of the government because of40 years of state terrorism.

  • 3 Samer in New York // May 22, 2011 at 2.46 pm

    I agree that Syrian’s live in fear. It would not be easy to get out in the streets and protest, knowing that your life is in danger, but it would be right. No one should have to live under the hand of a man that is willing to kill you for having an opinion, for protesting or demonstrating, or for saying what you believe. Whether or not Syrian people are walking in opposition, when Assad falls it will be a good day for the world and for Syria. Of course we should support all Syrian people and respect their lives, and I strongly believe that they deserve a better leader and better government. Assad is simply willing to kill his own countrymen. Perhaps when Assad and the regime is finished we will see a more confident and outspoken middle without fear of being intimidated or beaten for having a simple political view or philosophy. All my love and support to the people of Syria in these difficult and important times.

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