Jerusalemites show the Syrian revolution has not been forgotten
Lives were taken, neighbourhoods went on strike and Islam’s third holiest site was boycotted as a form of peaceful resistance. The future was cloudy, but Jerusalemites took comfort in the fact that the only form of certainty they had was their persistence and unity, as they shocked the world by lining up in thousands to use their prayers as a form of protest.
Eventually, Israel gave up its plans to forcefully impose harsher security measures on al-Aqsa and by Thursday, Muslim leaders in Jerusalem announced that the faithful should now enter the Mosque to pray.
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Despite the fact that Israeli police continued their violence against worshippers, Palestinians refused to stop celebrating.
Coffee was being handed out and so were sweets like baklava and knafeh. The energy in Jerusalem was overcome with a mixture of the eyes of worshippers flooded with tears as they pressed their foreheads on the floor and thanked God for the victory and those unable to contain their excitement through song, dance and nationalist chants.
Though, despite their own victory, struggle and cause, in the midst of the excitement, it was clear that their own cause wasn’t the only thing on their minds. In a show of solidarity and unity, celebrating Palestinians begun to recite chants of the Syrian revolution.
This particular form of solidarity is rare nowadays.
With Syria being branded as the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War and being associated with a spiralling refugee crisis and a stalemate on the ground, the essence of the Syrian revolution is now long forgotten.
Like Palestine, Syria is used as a political tool to perpetuate the self-serving discourse of a “supporter”. Too often, anti-imperialist circles that reject Western imperialism but whitewash Russian imperialism claim the best option is to support Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad under the guise of him being an ally for counter-terrorism.
Compared to 2011 when the Syrian revolution began, the immunity of dictator Assad has increased dramatically, despite his crimes against his own people becoming more violent in his hold for power.
Overlooking the humanitarian crisis, talk of the Syrian call for their rights, freedom and democracy is met with pretentious eye rolls and baseless announcements that the Syrian revolution had never even existed, using the fact that there is now no united military opposition against Assad as a way to dismiss the early revolution.
By repeating the chants in their own victory, Jerusalemites have shown that they have not forgotten the Syrian revolutionary spirit. They are not only reminding the world that Syria is more than the proxy war it has spiralled into, but that the essence of the Syrian revolution is not buried in the blooded rubble of history.
They are showing the world that the call for freedom will never be forgotten and the call for the fall of the Assad regime, no matter how much international support he will continue to receive is not one to be invalidated.