I am going to cut the chase and get straight to the points I want to make here, there are many things I want to say in Arabic later on but I am going to say here what I am incapable linguistically to say in Arabic, unfortunately, I am westernized.
The campaign that some Syrian bloggers launched against homosexuality which has technically begun yesterday is the first campaign that has to do with Syrian social matters. To be more specific, this campaign is identity-based. Bloggers feel that because they’re Arabs and Syrian and of course, Muslims, they’re threatened by the existence of homosexuals. Not just because god said so in Quraan, but also because they feel that the reason why homosexuals are getting more vocal about their rights is because of the internet, western interference through tv and movies, and what have you.
I have to say here, that part of what they’re saying is true, but not quite so. But we’ll get into that later on in other post.
What I find so interesting about this campaign is that and as I have said above it is an identity-based campaign. Syrian bloggers campaigned to free a fellow Syrian blogger. Tariq Biasi, they campaigned for occupied Palestine and occupied Gaza, they campaigned for occupied Golan Heights also. Campaigns about freedom of speech and Palestinian and Golan liberty does not reflect the “who I am” formula the campaign against homosexuality heavily carries within it. By saying “I am against homosexuals”, Syrian bloggers are saying this is who we are, we are Muslims, we are Syrians, and we are normal human beings. We want to save our society, we are locals and we wont let strangers to take the only thing we got; our identity.
As much as I “oppose” the simplistic, clichéd, typical argument this campaign offers, this very simplicity is exactly what the Syrian society is constructed of: ready-made thoughts, traditions and habits, so called “religious values” (which are not really religious but I am going to talk about that later in other post), these typical thoughts that some of us disagree with and in fact want to change are nothing but what Syrian society is made of. Hence opposing this campaign mean that I am opposing a whole society, and by doing so, my opposition per se, is meaningless. What I should do along with my opposition is talking as well, really talking and explaining and let the other understand where I come from, which I haven’t done in a long time and I was wrong not doing so.
Let me continue explaining why this campaign is the only authentic campaign Syrian bloggers that has ever launched: it’s because it is a non-virtual campaign. The virtual becomes a non-virtual for the first time in the Syrian blogsphere concerning an unspeakable taboo. As the matter of fact, it is the only non-virtual campaign the Syrian bloggers have ever launched.
Syrian bloggers calling for freedom of speech in Syria is like fucking for virginity. And Syrian bloggers calling for the liberation of Palestine and Golan heights is exclusively virtually authenticated; it means that it is only real in the virtual world, so I am not sure how real it is.
Syrian citizens cannot non-virtually be calling for any of these matters on the ground. Even for Palestine and Golan heights, Syrians are being censored and closely watched by Syrian intelligence. I know Syrians and Palestinians in Syria who are not allowed to leave the country because they were pro-Palestinian activists within Palestinian camps. And certainly, Golan Heights is a Syrian state matter and not the people’s. With regards to Golan Heights campaign, Syrian bloggers are self-conscious about their incapability to be activists on the ground for Golan and that’s one major reason why they had to campaign about it virtually.
In other words, in Syria things go this way: we blog what we cannot say in public in Syria.
But the campaign against homosexuality is not the same as the rest of the campaigns. Syrian society is homophobic, sectarian, racist and discriminate against women. And all these matters are considered taboo to be discussed in the Syrian blogsphere, different kind of taboo: we all pretend to be the “good blogger” who is against honor crimes, sectarianism, racism and we never talk about women issues in Syria, there are some exception of course but generally speaking, it seems that we want to look good so bad-or that we are in denial- that we cannot say what we are daily living to preserve being a “good blogger” or a “good Syrian”. In other words, silence about problems in Syria is how we deal with these problems in order to change, as Syrians.
So why this campaign is authentic and real and very important to change? for example, if Syrian bloggers campaigned IN SOLIDARITY with homosexuals it would be the same as the rest of the campaigns, too good to be true. I wouldn’t feel good about it precisely because it would be exclusively virtual and thus inauthentic.
The authenticity and the historical spatial reality of any idea or an opinion no matter how horrible it might be is our only key for change in Syria.
I consider this campaign a success for myself because I personally feel that I provoked the unspeakable and now it’s out so loud and it’s time that we have our long awaited little talk.
It also made me realized how wrong I was, I acted stupidly to bloggers who uttered some bad words against homosexuals, sexual liberty for women and erotica, topics that I blog heavily on this blog.
But things are going to change from now on, it took me Daddy Long Legs, Adnan and Lina and Treasure Island :) to understand that I need to smile and take a deep breath before I start talking.
It is very outrageous for some and for me to hear arguments that are against non-virgin women and homosexuals, but these very thoughts are real, and we need to feel good about having Syrian bloggers who depict the majority of the Syrian society, cause without them, we ourselves, won’t be real anymore, we will think that Syria is fine, everything is fine, and we won’t be able to touch a bit of what is not so fine about us.