When Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem talks from Tehran about a “cosmic war on Syria” he adds a new word to our vocabulary for “cosmic” is definitely much more intense than “international” or “global.” The word “cosmic” transcends countries, policies and interests to denote an existential concept that springs from the essence of things. Therefore, a “cosmic” war would undoubtedly be much fiercer than the two World Wars of the past century.
In fact, the minister was not mistaken when he used this word, for there is actually a “cosmic” reason why the regime he represents cannot continue to rule. With exceptional courage, the Syrian people have decided to put an end to such a cosmic freak of nature and fight for the creation of a normal, healthy country.
For Muallem, the word “cosmic” implies the complete innocence of the party against which the war is waged and allows this party to victimize itself all the way. It also makes the conflict seem like one between absolute good and absolute evil.
There is, however, some truth to this ridiculously exaggerated theory because what is happening in Syria is so unbelievable it might as well be thought of as some supernatural phenomenon.
The Syrian foreign minister is finding it difficult to realize that the regime, which has been ruling since 1963, can actually be replaced. Suffice it to say that the Baath Party came to power on the same year John Kennedy was assassinated and while Nikita Khrushchev was still ruling the Soviet Union.
A past of this type gives its main players an illusion of immortality especially if, like Muallem, they are diplomats who are aware of the magic of politics and the bargains it involves or if they are security-oriented and hence believe that repression makes history.
Because the Syrian revolution is one that is totally made by and for the people in such an astounding manner, the easiest way to deal with such a “surprise” was attributing it to supernatural factors. There was, for the regime, no other way of interpreting such a daring act by “slaves” against a “master” they have tolerated for decades.
This famous phrase Muallem uttered from Tehran offers a mixture of confusion, sick imagination, and superstition. Note the fact the he spoke from the capital of an entity that is itself a violation of cosmic rules.
As for the revolution, it is still falling prey to contradictions and this is exactly what gives the minister and his regime more time in power and allows for more massacres to be committed across the country.
The revolution may want to put the country back in the normal cosmic track and get rid of the abnormality with which it is currently afflicted, yet it is doing so very slowly. The minister is unfortunately aware of this setback and this will remain the case until another surprise happens…
And it will happen!
(The writer is a columnist at the London-based al-Hayat, where this article was published on July 31, 2012.)