Beyond the fury of war, oblivion …
“And now? What is happening in Syria?” – asked by one of my students I surrender to the evidence: the Syrian revolution, that never really awakened sympathy from anyone in the international community and the Western public opinion – but more probably suspicion and distrust, more generally even indifference and boredom – seems to be forgotten today.
Everything and nothing at all has been written on Syria – by distant researchers and academics, and partisans that have been caught in the mood since March 2011, by badly informed journalists that knew nothing, annoyed by the dim lights of a “Syrian spring” that gave birth to a condemned revolution, strangled by galloping Islamism, by an insolent West, that at the same time unchained, unknowingly, the tribal hell of Libya and cynically turned away from the Syrian democrats.
The revolution did explode, finally, in the first days of May 2012, after one year of uncertain shambles; in the spring of the same year it was already too late … the protagonists of the play had already changed and the game was not anymore played by besieged citizens, the Free Syrian Army and the regime, but between those that had conquered the scene: Al-Qaeda and soon even the Islamic State… “Too late” hence: two terrible words, that reminded Paris, Washington, Berlin and Brussels that time was not at their disposal… and that the Arab world, more complex than ever, would not give expected answers in their tricky and foolish calculi.
From a war of media (dis)information, orchestrated towards those undecided parties tearing themselves apart over there and relayed by lazy and sick media, all ready to report any rumour that came the way to confront their political certainties or their ideological beliefs, Syria closed itself up. It was on one morning of April or of June 2013, when the proportions of the kidnapping industry rendered impossible any reporting on the grounds, even to those rare observers that still kept risking their lives by entering this damned country, and of which some paid their daring enterpriseswith a very costly price.
Since then few trustworthy reports have come from Syria. The war carries on, in a chaotic way, disseminated between well-defined fronts and without knowing all the time, who the actors of this Dantesque scenario are… Hell and closed-circuit media, inside a big box with a closed lid; a painting in which more than 1.500 factions of different size are present, rendering the bigger picture near to impossible to analyse. How, in those conditions, can it be mentioned in the two minutes and thirty-five seconds of television newsflashes?
The shouts for help barely reverberate, like a distant echo, confused and collapsing, eventually disappearing, out of reach of disinterested ears (of the international community), unmoved by the events and hoping that its actions against the emergence of an expansionary ubiquitous caliphate may counterbalance its past mistakes.
The Maghreb and Orient Courier has hence gone back to Syria, to Damascus, to Homs and to Aleppo, even to the Western front, which barely resists the Islamic State wanting to consolidate its bases in the country of Sham.
Reports, maps, analyses and details of the evolution of a conflict that has known a great number of movements and turns, of prodigious ‘turning-arounds’, pushing the European democracies to revise their copies and to tie relations again, even if less and less obviously, with those that some had too quickly called “finished”, but who, in the end, never ceased to be the master of ceremonies in their kingdom…