Statement to the Syrian People,
great creators of life and sculptors of our future history
With regards to a campaign to nominate me as president, recently initiated, I wish to say that I had no previous knowledge of it whatsoever. After consulting with a number of people of trust, we agreed to leave this campaign as it is, without in any way intervening.
We have therefore delayed answering hundreds of messages sent to me, in order to maintain neutrality. No group was mobilised or called upon to take part, specifically in order to preserve the complete spontaneity of the campaign.
As a result, a number of positive factors have emerged:
• The campaign has provided a neutral, accurate, practical and field-level indicator of the various outlooks of a large number of Syrians.
• It has emphasised the presence of a real National Bloc, that encompasses Syrians from all segments of society. This shows that there are indeed latent and influential forces within Syrian society, that have yet to move, and that cannot be disregarded.
• It has shown that the independence of Syrian political decision cannot be excluded or exterminated, no matter what. This constitutes a political line of thinking that is very strongly present, and which will become the principle incubator for a reclamation of our devastated Syria.
• It has brought to an end the sickening concept of ‘immortal leadership’ and the fallacious notion of an ‘absence of alternatives’, showing a communal, popular political awareness of this long over-due change.
• It has shown up the weakness of certain factions, that tend to think in narrow Party terms, with hardly any taking account of our suffering people or our destroyed country.
• It has provided a telling account of factions and/or individuals, who wish only to derail and destroy any and all positive initiatives, without providing other visions or alternatives.
• It has revealed that there is indeed a young generation, jealous to guard Syria’s core interests, which is able, through persistence and skill, to change all equations. This generation constitutes the precious human capital of Syria, and is its most vital credit.
• The campaign, despite its simplicity and spontaneity, will nevertheless create a bottleneck in the face of scheming plots against our people, solidifying their will and their unquenchable thirst for freedom, which they will win, no matter the obstacles placed in their way.
• It has even shed interesting psychological light on the flaws of some people, who are quick to brand others as traitors. Such flaws are not innate: they are the result of the hateful suspiciousness which the regime has implanted in the Syrian mindset, using intense propaganda, over the last fifty years and counting.
• The high response to this spontaneous campaign during its first thirty hours constituted a good indication concerning the choices of our formidable people.
• It has shown that civil, peaceful revolution is still alive and well — having been the instinctive manner in which our Revolution against Fascism began, three years ago.
• It has become clear that dedication, honesty and good management will be capable of activating issues vital to Syria’s future. Fake ‘elections’ will be stripped of their legitimacy, without having to resort to world media forums, or to the spending of millions of dollars on PR.
• No one will ever rule Syria again unless he or she is elected by Universal Ballot, in transparent elections, to be monitored by specialists, returning our country to the brief democratic period it had after Independence, and will have again, after Assad and his killing machine is dismantled by our efforts and our hopes.
Our faith is in a free Syria, immune to the interventions or machinations of regional countries or international domination. This is what drove us to accept a political solution, even the principle of negotiating with certain elements of the regime — NOT as a step to strengthen or legitimise or prolong its existence, but rather to save Syria, its people, and its national territory from disintegration and utter destruction.
As for any election process, not one step will ever be taken at the cost of our people and country.
• Elections from now on cannot be guaranteed unless neutral monitoring groups are on the ground to ensure their integrity.
• The process of being nominated for presidential elections should no longer be a mere individual action. On the contrary, it is a most serious responsibility, that can only take place based on widespread dialogue with honest politicians, civil groups, activists, and all factions of clean revolutionary forces. It must include dialogue and consultation with the oppressed segments of our people — who continue to live under the violent and terrorising hold of the regime — and in coordination with loyal nationalists, from all factions, religions and ethnicities in our society, and from both genders.
• We will not give legitimacy or cover to any elections carried out by the regime, which aims only to preserve its fast-waning existence. However, when objective circumstances for free elections arise, we will not delay in supporting and working for their success. We will withdraw in favour of those with the needed qualifications; will be at their complete disposal, in order to rebuild our country and the wellbeing of our traumatised people.
Syria’s Revolution for freedom and democracy was not created by one faction. No one therefore has the right to dominate decision making. It was created by hundreds of thousands of civil activists, civil organisations, peaceful resistance, intellectuals and journalists, students in mosques, Christians of all denominations, doctors, lawyers, business people, entrepreneurs and many others of both genders, long before politicians arrived to join them. Syrian women bore a great burden during the initial peaceful stage: many were raped and martyred; thousands were detained, and millions now suffer the greatest traumas under vicious bombardment, and in the face of hunger and displacement.
The time has come for those who created the revolution to regain control of it.
Those who began this campaign (which I had no previous knowledge of, as I must stress, again and again) deserve my gratitude, and that of our Syrian people. They emphasised that the aim of the campaign was not to give legitimacy to the regime, but rather, to block all attempts at fake elections, due to be carried out over the maimed remains of our dead, and the blood of our sons and daughters. They faced many difficulties; were accused of being traitors; were doubted and mocked. They, however, managed to bring back many honourable meanings to our lives. They did this by showing the civilised face of Syria; the genuine nature of its people; their patriotism and unity; their concern for efforts designed to reconcile. We all reject being brutally crushed by the vicious regime on one side, and by opportunistic grabbers of our country on the other.
Regional hands are working for their own benefit, settling their scores in our country, spilling the blood of our children and innocents as they do so. Yet a shocking international silence continues to prevail, after three years of our holocaust.
We as Syrians must be as one hand, and the beating of one heart. We have always been and will always remain a great country, that has given to world civilisation many of the things that it values most. There will never again be room in our homeland for an opportunistic oppressor or foreigner.
Ahmad Mouaz Alkhatib