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June 20, 2011

Bashar's speech

June 20, 2011

June 20, 2011

If "conspiracies are like germs, reproducing everywhere, in every moment", as Assad said in his speech, then the regime is in a constant state of paranoia. Democratic pluralism and paranoia are two opposites, the only solution is the kind of totalitarian state that is now present in Syria. His promises of reform are void and have no true meaning. You cannot provide political space for others if you consider them vandals and saboteurs. Such proposed political changes require a revision of Syria's past. Assad was very adamant when he called the 1982 Hama massacre "the black era" of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Assad also used Baathist rhetoric, reminiscent of Aflak's ideology, when he said that "Germs are everywhere, within our bodies and without our bodies". Aflak, the founder of Ba'th stated that dangerous ideas are like germs which spread all over one's body, thus calling for the annihilation of the nation's enemy. I see in Assad's statement a call to eradicate "the disease of dissent".

The LA Times' correspondent had the following report about the proposed reforms, although I believe they will mirror the effect of lifting the emergency law. The Ba'th will remain the dominant party as it is synonymous to the state, so there is no effect to changing the constitution to say it is not the leader of the country. The constitution only matters when there is rule of law not a dominance of secret police over all forms of life.

"According to the Ba'ath Party official, who spoke to The Times on condition of anonymity, embattled President Bashar Assad will soon propose a change in the language of Article 8 of the Syrian Constitution from granting his party "leadership of state and society" to "leadership in state and society," in an attempt to meet domestic and international demands for change ...
"With this amendment, the Ba'ath Party becomes a party operating on Syrian territory and have priority in the state as a result of tradition," said the high-ranking official, who did not want his name to be used because he was not authorised to speak to foreign media. "A law of parties will be introduced within 30 days, allowing political parties to obtain licenses and giving the right to any group to establish a political party on Syrian territory and to compete with the Ba'ath Party and the Progressive Front," a collection of Ba'ath front groups." (LA Times)


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