Assad’s Pyrrhic Victory

Originally published at New Politics

Cartoon against the presidential elections. Artist unknown.

It’s difficult to recollect the euphoria of the early days of the 2011 uprising in Syria against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Reflecting on that time, Syrians speak of the breaking of the “fear barrier”—the suffocating authoritarianism and repression that had silenced them for decades. At the protests calling for freedom that sprung up across the country that spring, there was a carnivalesque atmosphere replete with dance and song. Over time, as land was liberated from state control, Syrians collectively built a creative and vibrant revolutionary culture and planted the seeds for a new democratic society. Syrians both at home and abroad were optimistic for the future. We believed the regime would fall. We thought our just struggle would win.

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