by Rhodri C. Williams
It is hard to find words for Syria anymore. After 18 grinding months, the lengths that a cabal of pampered psychopaths will go to in order to preserve their unwarranted power becomes more appalling by the day.
The constant escalation of atrocities are wrecking the chances of any type of positive future for the country, but they also serve to confirm that almost any outcome would still be better than continued rule by the current regime. They are also a frontal rebuke to the legitimacy of the UN, with Russia and China seemingly no more concerned about dragging the Security Council to the bottom than the Assads are about destroying a country they can no longer rule.
And, at a personal level, the atrocities are a bracing reminder that man’s persistent inhumanity to man still retains the power to shock, even in this jaded age. Think you’ve seen it all, wise guy? Get a load of this!
In this case, the ‘this’ is the shelling and subsequent massacre of 400 or more civilians in the Damascus suburb of Darayya. As described by the BBC, Darayya was the birthplace of the peaceful, ingenious and almost insanely courageous protests that quickly exposed the hollowness and brutality of the regime. After what has happened now, I cannot imagine how one could reasonably expect any further forbearance from ordinary Syrians faced with the choice between peaceful protests and armed resistance. They stand an equal chance of violent death either way and the futility of the first option is now amply in evidence.
While the sheer number of people killed by indiscriminate shelling and up-close-and-personal murder by security forces in Darayya exceeds the toll of prior massacres, the moral collapse of the regime is most evident in a pornographic attempt by the state media to place the blame for these acts on the Free Syrian Army. As Robin Yassin-Kassab puts it in his incisive blog, it is a case of the murderer demanding sole speakers’ rights at the funeral. Where it goes from here, nobody knows.