Savagery now at heart of the Syrian revolution

By: Diana Moukalled


After showing the dead body to his audience, a Syrian rebel known as Abu Saqqar held the heart he had ripped out of the Syrian regime soldier, looked at the camera and brutally bit into it. Abu Saqqar did not settle for doing this alone, but he vowed to repeat such savagery.

The barbaric act violated death’s sanctity and revived notions of cannibalism, which we had put down as acts from historic legends. But Abu Saqqar’s bite also bit off plenty of the Syrian revolution’s values, sweeping the torment endured by victims of the uprising to one side.

The man who committed this atrocity gave a fiery sectarian speech while he carried out his disgusting act. A few days after that, he appeared in another video, in which he was shown praying. Then he addressed the man shooting the video saying that if the bloodshed does not stop in Syria and Bashar al-Assad is not held accountable, then the entire Syrian people will become like him.


Legitimacy of the uprising in question


What turned this fighter, whom we don’t really know much about, into a cannibal? Why did the entire global media reveal concern in what Abu Saqqar did to the extent that he himself recently became at the heart of the Syrian conflict and his act became reason for some to voice suspicions about the Syrian opposition and the legitimacy of supporting it? Global reports did not show as much concern when it came to endless photos of victims of the regime’s brutality. The last of these photos were those from the Banias massacre.

Is it because the regime’s brutality has become monotonous? It is because the number of the victims, 80,000, no longer affects us?

Yes, we must carefully pause at this video, and we must shiver from its brutality because it clearly shows what the situation in Syria has come to. It clearly shows what kind of black days await us unless the massacres stop. Abu Saqqar’s act, however, is not a reason to alter our stance regarding the legitimacy of the Syrian revolution and regarding the unlimited cruelty practiced against the Syrian people by the regime forces.

Abu Saqqar’s video was not a disinfected image of war and brutality. It was not a polished image of the torture and murder victims. It was an image depicting violence and cruelty in its clearest forms.

The horrible crime committed by Abu Saqqar appeared to be like the electric shock the world needs to realize how the situation is developing unless current crimes in Syria are put to an end. The Syrian regime is certainly the party which is directly and mainly responsible for these crimes. Of course, this does not at all justify criminal acts committed by opposition fighters.

We would not be exaggerating if we assume that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was one of the most reassured people when he saw Abu Saqqar’s video. This comfort appeared less than two days after the video was released as he and his family appeared walking through the streets of Damascus smiling and talking to people in a manner implying that Damascus is calm, that there is no violence shaking Syria to the core and that the “civilized” president peacefully mingles with his people while opposition fighters show their “true” colors.

After two years of unprecedented violence, Bashar al-Assad managed to drag the revolution into an arena for murder and tit for tat killings.

Abu Saqqar bit into the heart of the Syrian regime soldier, so will Assad succeed in engulfing the heart of revolution?


This article was first published in Alsharq al-Awsat on May 20, 2013.

Opinion articles do not necessarily reflect ARA News’ view.


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