Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Simple Argument in a Complex Subject

Those of you who are familiar with the Syrian blogoshpere would probably have come across Creative Syria, and may have come across Alex, the creator of that fantastic website.. You may even have crossed swards with him (like I have.. on many occasions..) on the various issues discussed on Syrian blogs.. Whether you agree with his views or not, you cannot but admire his passion, his wit, and his highly intellectual debating abilities..
In a recent discussion about the fortieth anniversary of the 1967 War on my all-time favourite Syrian blog, Mosaics, Alex proposed that he would creat a website (or rather, an annex to his existing website), to be a platform to debate the various issues, including that of the Golan Heights.. and he did.. In line with the high standards that you would expect from Alex, he created a fantastic forum for the Syrian bloggers to launch debates and discussions..
In the first topic for debate, he wanted everyone to write an open letter to an Israeli reader, stating why we believe Israel should return the Golan Heights to Syria.. and the responses were simply fascinating...
Today, I have submitted my letter, and I thought I would share it with you.. (but I would strongly recommend you browse through the rest of the submissions on the Golan Heights, which are infinitely more articulate and a lot more intelligently written than anything I can ever pretend to come up with...)
Anyway, here is my two-pennies' worth:

A letter to an Israeli..
Why should Israel return the Golan Heights back to Syria?..


Greetings,

Alex, a very intelligent, articulate and highly educated cyber-friend, has suggested, on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the loss of the Golan Heights to Israel, that we Syrians should try and put our case to you Israelis, on why your Country/Government/People should hand back the Golan Heights to Syria…

This proposal was taken up by several equally intelligent, articulate and highly educated Syrians from all walks of life.. Some of the letters are posted on the very impressive website ‘Creative Syria’, that Alex has masterminded and so professionally executed.

Now, I do not claim any specialist knowledge in international law, politics, economics, history, or sociology.. If you want a glossy, highly polished answer to Alex’s question, then read George Ajjan’s response.. and for a logical, robustly-argued statement, read Camille’s (a.k.a. Alex) own offering..

Some commentators gave historic accounts, while others pointed out potential future benefits.. Some spoke of economics, others of strategic reasons.. I am sure that each offers a perfectly valid reason why Israel should return the Golan Heights to Syria..

Well.. I am a simple-minded fellow, with (I believe) a reasonable measure of decency and commonsense.. I do not possess the intelligence, sophistication, or specialist knowledge demonstrated by my compatriots (of whom I am immensely proud, I hasten to add!..).. For me, there is a simple reason why the Golan Heights should be handed back to Syria.. So how about justice, or good old common decency for a reason?..

The Golan (or the Jolan, as we prefer to call it!..) is, historically, geographically, demographically and every-other-reason-ically, Syrian.. Israel acquired it in a war that was waged purely for this purpose.. the acquisition of land.. You have held on to it for forty years, but it is still ours.. It is, and will always be, Syrian.. The fact that it has been in your hands for forty years does not make it yours.. It does not make the occupation and annexation legitimate, nor morally right..

I am not so naive as to believe that Israel would simply return the Jolan just because it is ‘the right thing to do’.. I am a pragmatist, and a realist.. Nevertheless, I really believe that, from a purely moral point of view, Israel should hand the Jolan back to Syria.. and what’s more, I also believe that although all the reasons elaborated upon by my fellow-responders are legitimate and sound, these reasons would be worthless if they did not have the moral foundation…

If Israel is truly serious about its declared intentions for a peaceful settlement, then it must show a degree of respect towards its northernly neighbour.. and that starts by returning to Syria what is rightfully hers..

Sincerely yours,


The Syrian Brit
(Photo: The Golan Heights. Source: http://www.atpm.com/)




35 comments:

saint said...

Great post Syrian Brit, thanks for notifying us of Alex’s blog and of this issue. Your words are smooth and valuable. I imagine one day the Syrian people and the Israeli people will discussed their future not their armies’ officers. These messages show the people power over what Syrian leaders have done in the past 50 years of leaving our relatives under occupation without allowing for NGOs and civil contact to do their part. I hope we will receive messages back from the Israelis and they will allow more than apples to be exported to Syria.

Yazan said...

I completely agree...
It should be the normal order of things, we shouldnt have to give reasons for getting our land back... its just absurd.

abufares said...

Great writing as usual.
It's the moral thing to do indeed. Will anyone listen though, I really doubt it.
If the Jolan is ever to return to its lawful owners some painful compromises have to be made. I believe that all Arabs have already done more than share of letting go of dreams. The Israelis have to make the decision yet, based on the sensible knowledge that military supremacy is worth shit in the long run. In forty more years, the demographic problems of Israel will have their devastating effect if they don't settle all hanging issues, peacefully, once and for all.

Anonymous said...

Syrian Brit, as usual, thank you for your kind words. You currently have the highest rated article at 4.7 out of 5 ... so it helps that you are "a simple minded" non-specialist in politics.

I just added another article from Hind Kabawat. And It was also unique, just like the 16 other articles.

Abu Fares, Yazan and saint, if you think of anything interesting to say, you are welcome to write.

For those of you who speak Hebrew, here is the Haaretz article that discussed this project, and other Syrian blogs (including Rime's) Yesterday

Alex

Yazan said...

SB,
I read this article for Bourhan Ghalioun and it instantly reminded me of what you were saying...
I think you will like it, its an interesting read..

http://critique-sociale.blogspot.com/2007/06/blog-post.html

The Syrian Brit said...

Yazan,
Thank you very much for the link.. a very interesting read, indeed..
His subsequent post is equally refreshing and provocative..
Thanks for introducing me to Burhan's blog..

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