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Injustice in Syria sparks revolution

by Ramsey Kincannon, Senior Staff Writer

Syrians across the country used to chant, “Syria, God, Bashar — that is enough!” The third chant referred to a once-loved president of the Syrian Republic, who people of Syria are now rioting and protesting in order to ensure his resignation.

Bashar al-Assad is the successor of his father, Hafez, who had been acting president of Syria since 1971 — nine years after an emergency law was enacted that suspended the rights of many of their citizens. Hafez al-Assad was responsible for the Hama massacre, which was described by author Robin Wright as “the single deadliest act by any Arab government against its own people in the modern Middle East,” with the lowest death estimates being around 10,000 and the highest close at 80,000. That was the last time that Syrians protested their country’s crumbling under the rule of a member of the al-Assad family.

Since al-Assad† took over in 2000, his initial promises to change the social and political structure of the country have withered away. Human rights groups have come away disgusted by Syrian policies,† and due to the fact that the al-Assad family is in charge of the government, army, and police, it’s hard not to see why.† In addition, women and ethnic minorities have experienced much discrimination and there’s no protection of free speech or freedom of association. In fact, Human Rights Watch has given Syrus some of the lowest human rankings in the world.

Small protests had occurred during Bashar’s rule, but nothing nearly as enormous as the swell of protests that started in late January and are still raging. Much like the situations in Egypt and Libya, the protests started slowly ó and about the same goal: free elections and more human rights — and have steadily grown since. In the middle of March, the protests significantly increased in intensity.

Bashar’s response to the protests was more of the same — he sent his military might in order to crush the revolt.† The military response, though, has only led to the continued recruitment of anti-Bashar protests across the country.† Much like Libyan leader Muamar Gaddafi, al-Assad has continued to fight the protests ó by cutting power lines, water supply and closing the borders in the hope that the revolutionaries will one day grow tired of protesting and retreat.

Recently, reports came out that al-Assad has begun to use army-level weapons in order to combat the protests, which has been furiously condemned in international circles. According to VOA news, President Obama has called the attacks “outrageous,” and has decided to freeze many American assets to Syria. The U.N. has also expressed significant concern over the attacks, but the Security Council has yet to approve any particular plan. For now, it looks like this revolution will be fought exclusively amongst Syrians.

Despite the bloodshed, many protestors still remain hopeful and optimistic that al-Assad and his family will be ousted from the government. Syrians across the country now chant proudly as† they fight for democracy.

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