Syria: Violence has to stop NOW regardless of who commits it

Syrian Women Observatory

During the events of the past few weeks, violence has manifested itself in its ugliest forms, as practiced by some and threatened by others. Putting aside the aims of the various factions involved, the SWO, in keeping with its commitment to its motto “For a Society Free of Violence and Discrimination,” condemns the use of violence by state forces and protestors alike, as well as the threats of violence by some who claim to be representing a “tribe” (as if we are living in a tribal era!). The SWO considers this to be barbaric behavior that utterly contradicts with the notions of citizenship, modern statehood,  freedom, democracy, and all other humanist practices. Such behavior only begets more violence, leading to destructive consequences for the entire society. Its continuation would be a big step backwards for Syria.

The SWO stresses that the Syrian government should be held responsible for any kind of violence committed by any of its forces, not only through rhetoric, but through a real and transparent investigation that implicates everyone who acts violently, especially against children. If the arrests of children are necessary, they should take place in a suitable manner under the supervision of a just and professional staff.

The SWO also maintains that protestors' use of violence, or even threat of violence, is entirely unacceptable. A real and transparent investigation should encompass any acts of violence committed by these individuals, as well. The ends never justify the means. Our aim is a real and authentic citizenship, which runs counter to any use of violence or ethical and tribal division.

We welcome any progress in the practice of citizenship, regardless of its source, because we at the SWO believe that this practice furthers the cause of non-violence and the issues of women, children and disabled. For that reason, the SWO calls on the Syrian government to take real, fundamental steps towards achieving Syrian citizenship at all levels.

Finally, the SWO condemns in the strongest possible manner any person or group that employs sectarian, ethnic, or tribal rhetoric. Entrenching such narrow identities runs contrary to membership in the Syrian state, and to the aspirations of every Syrian citizen seeking to enjoy his/her basic right to equality, both in rights and duties, regardless of race, religion, gender or any other discriminatory consideration.

By Bassam Al-Kadi, The Editorial, 23/3/2011

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