May 14, 2014, Cairo – The Syrian poet Adonis says that the Arab Spring in Syria lacked true revolutionary spirit, and that without a foreign invasion President Bashar Al-Assad will likely remain in power. In an interview with the Cairo Review of Global Affairs published today, Adonis faulted the armed uprising as “a movement to change power” that is helping destroy the country.“The Syrian people didn’t really participate in what happened,” Adonis, winner of the 2011 Goethe Prize for literature, said in the Spring 2014 edition of the Cairo Review. “There weren’t big protests. And armed men took over [the revolution], which gave justification to the regime. A revolution in [Syria] can’t be carried out with Turks, or people from Pakistan. The people must carry out their own revolution. The people only partially protested. But they weren’t filled with revolutionary spirit.”
Adonis, the pen name of Ali Ahmad Said Esber, 84, who lives in exile in a suburb of Paris, said that protests swept the region in 2011 because “the Arab people needed to free themselves. They expressed this innate need for freedom.” When the protesters faced the Al-Assad regime, he said, “time was needed to make it fall, and without violence.” The armed uprising is now “a movement to change power. And it doesn’t deserve having the country destroyed over it,” he said.
“There is lots of despair in the Arab world,” Adonis added. “And I think what’s happening in Syria, among those being destructive, it’s an act of despair. This ferocity, this delight in being destructive, comes from despair, not hope. The regime will not fall, unfortunately. It will remain. If there isn’t an invasion from foreign countries, it will stay. And if there is an invasion, like in Iraq, it will be catastrophic.”
Adonis’s comments appear in the Spring 2014 edition of the Cairo Review, which features “Special Report: Struggle in the Arab World.” Among the essays is “The Tunisian Experience,” by Islamist leader Rachid Ghannouchi, who argues that the country’s recent adoption of a new constitution demonstrates that Islam and democracy are compatible.
To read the full interview with Adonis and “Special Report: Struggle in the Arab World” in the Spring 2014 edition of the Cairo Review, go to www.thecairoreview.com.
The Cairo Review of Global Affairs is the quarterly journal of AUC’s School of Global Affairs and Public Policy (GAPP). The journal is also available online at www.thecairoreview.com.
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