Defining Hala Jadid as Allawite is plainly naïve and simplistic. In a nutshell, she is a secular Syrian activist, passionate about her people’s freedom, human rights, equality and last but not least, a daughter of a political prisoner who suffered the consequence of torture in Hafez Al-Assad's prisons.
Her grandfather, an education minister suffered a similar fate defending his principles. Hala Jadid has also an Allawite background, a religious minority that is now increasingly under the spot light, as Assad’s family and many of his allies are Allawites.
The Arab Digest speaks to Hala Jadid on her background, the Allawite community, and the future of Syria’s minorities:
# Hala Jadid, what is your political/cultural background? and how/when did you come to oppose Assad's regime?
My name is Hala Jadid, my culture and background are “Syrian” … I have only learned to introduce myself as “Syrian”. I was brought up as a secular. My parents raised me as such, and they did their best to provide me with the best education for a better and successful future.
One of my parents' major priority was to strengthen my human side, and to plant in me the commitment to build and protect my own people, feel their pains, defend their rights in dignity and good life. They were committed to very high morals and ethics without any other considerations, and basically, these principles are what my dad and other members of my family paid the ultimate price to save and preserve them: their lives.
The journey of my opposition against Assad’s regime started at my birth, it started at the arrest and torture of my father in Assad’s prisons cells.
I came to learn how to live with my deep wound and silent heartache after my father’s imprisonment, watching his suffering and illness getting worse every day, all of which only ended with his passing away.
For me, this revolution is about following my father’s footsteps and morals in rejecting, and fighting against all kinds of injustice and dictatorship. For me, it is freedom.
When the revolution broke out, it gave me the opportunity to break my 42 years of silence and pain, it was like I was waiting for it so long, to heal my wounds as it heals all Syrians wounds, and a way to put Syria back on the right track, to return it to its rightful place, which was concealed for a long time.
# Do you agree that the regime is dominated by Allawites? What does that mean for the community’s future?
It is true that this regime is dominated by the Allawite individuals, but there are many other segments of Syrian society supporting it, and there are non-Allawite partners in leadership, especially in the economic, political and logistical layers of the regime.
In my opinion, they are all partners in this hideous outcome. We cannot restrict or diminish this catastrophe to one Sect, although Allawites are the most visible, or let’s say the regime has pushed them to the front. What’s happening behind the scenes should also be questionable, and is also worthy of accountability.
The Syrian people today are not against the rule of any sect or group in Syria, as long as they get to power through democracy, legitimate and transparent elections; this is what the current regime lacks.
# Should minorities fear the post-Assad era in Syria?
I don't think the problem is about "Minorities and Majorities"; it is about the complete absence of democracy, and the unfair distribution of wealth even among the people who monopolize power.
Fear and sectarianism, were and still are, the regime's game par excellence. This regime plays the same card which is: (playing on the fear of Minorities) every time it feels a loss of support or some sings of restlessness among minorities, and this was obvious since the beginning of this revolution.
In fact, the regime was never fully supported by these sects, since Assad's prisons remain a witness to the plight of activists belonging to these minorities, who were imprisoned. They died in oblivion between the cold walls of Assad's torture prison; their loved ones were kept in the dark about their demise.
Assad's regime has started this dirty Sectarian game and is trying to ignite it because this is what keep it going in power. Minorities in Syria are protected only by their citizenship and patriotism not by individuals or political parties. Syria is a 7000 year old country, people from various beliefs and sects lived on its soil in harmony and love.
Therefore, these minorities have been always a part of Syria's history, and they will be forever.
It's a major mistake to reduce Syria's history to 42 years of Assad's rule. At the end of the day, we have to read (SYRIA'S) HISTORY, NOT (Assad's Syria's) HISTORY
#This regime is known for its dark prisons and barbaric torture of prisoners, while Saddam was known for his executions, ethnic cleansing. What does it mean for you to be a daughter of a political prisoner?
It means to live with injustice in absolute silence without the ability to make tyrants accountable. It means being forced to be silent in many instances in the face of many people's ignorance of an era's history, with its positive impact and mistakes as all the historical phases in Syria. Because Syria's history was written in that era by a dictator, and dictators always try to re-write history in their own way to spread their teachings, especially ignoring every patriot before them. This is what the current regime has done, as it connected the ancient and modern history of Syria to one person (Assad). As if Syria only existed through his accomplishments. The country of alphabets was born and will die with his demise and the end of his rule.
#How do you remember your father, and how would you like Future Syria to remember him?
There will be a reserved place for all honest patriots in Free Syria very soon ... these are the morals and ethics of the revolution, and these are the principles that it has stood up to, fought and died for. And for these same principles, the revolution is paying the ultimate price: the human life. The Syrians' revolution today is a revolt against all the frail principles that this regime planted in us. It is a revolution of dignity, freedom and justice. Alone, it will achieve justice and restore each Syrian to his/her rightful place. Personally, I can only thank fate for carrying my father's name and memory.