The three new No's

On February 28, Oussama Eduard Moussa, a 30-year old Syrian blogger and journalist was arrested after publishing an article on the Internet in which he criticized Arab regimes for failing to provide the basic needs to their citizens. MENASSAT is republishing his original article.
Oussama Eduard Moussa.

[Editor's Note: The author, Oussama Eduard Moussa, is a Syrian blogger who was arrested on February 28, 2008 after he published the article below on his blog under the title 'The Three New No's: No Gas, No Fuel, No Electricity.' Moussa was first summoned to national security headquarters at Haska, then transferred to Qamishli and finally to Damascus. He has not been heard of since. This article has been lightly edited for style.]

During the golden age of Arab nationalism, the three Arab No's were No Reconciliation, No Recognition, No Negotiations [with Israel.]

With time and the changing circumstances and positions, many Arab nations have sinned against the three original No's.

The nationalist revolutionary speech however has remained, except that the "fight against colonialism and Zionism" has gradually become an excuse for the despotic [Arab] regimes to justify colonizing their own people, controlling their choices, their decisions and their very thoughts and to tame the free voices by saying that no voice should rise above that of the battle.

Today, the equation is much simpler and clearer to the ordinary Arab citizen, who goes to sleep hearing that, "The Salary is no longer enough to buy a sandwich," and wakes up to, "We have no fuel."

While the defenders of the earth and the rights [of the Arab people] issue their futile, disgusting statements in the official newspapers and on the official screens, talking about their famous three No's [...] it is obvious to all that true Arab leadership disappeared with Nasser's rule and that ever since Arab nationalism has failed to translate its loud political speeches on the ground.

In fact, as soon as these ideological parties gained power in their countries they became involved in harsh internal struggles which weakened the nationalist movement and kept it from accomplishing their goals and vision.

Border conflicts arose between neighboring countries, Arab forces invaded Arab territories, replacing the struggle for the Arab unity whose callers kept lying to the Arab people about its imminent implementation.

Today, the situation has changed along with the speech. Syrians, at least the poor who constitute the great majority, as well as other Arabs and foreigners, are no longer concerned with "erasing the Zionist entity from the equation" or "pushing the Zionists in tothe sea."

The politically repressed, socially suffocated and humanly oppressed Arab citizen is no longer touched by the alleged victories.

They are no longer moved by the promise of "combating global imperialism" and stopping its control of the world.

Today, all this doesn't exist.

The second you sit down in the company of two Syrian citizens, you are confronted by the three new NO's: No Gas, No Fuel, No Electricity.

You can't pass by a fuel station without hearing a symphony of insults. "We can't live in this country if we can't provide our children with a few liters of fuel to keep them warn. We can't live in this country with just a bottle of gas to cook the small amount of food we have. We can't live with a few hours of electricity a day to help us with our jobs that we are about to lose anyway."

Meanwhile, fake statements such as "freeing Palestine from the sea to the river" have been pushed to the bottom of the list of the Syrian and Arab citizen's concerns. Before freeing Palestine, before doing anything at all, I should be able to feed myself and my children, and provide them with heat, with any means possible.

What is worse, carries on the devastated Syrian citizen, is that some officials appear in the media claiming that, "The citizen is the cause of this crisis," because he is stocking up on fuel.

These officials claim that the citizen "tries to buy a bottle of gas even if he doesn't need it," ignoring the fact that the price of a bottle of gas has reached 4.000 Syrian Lira or tow-thirds of the ordinary citizen's monthly salary.

They say the citizen "is wasting electricity for no reason," as if providing heat for one's children was somehow a luxury that the Syrian citizen doesn't deserve,

But we must be kind to these officials for how are they supposed to know these facts when they are sitting in their warm palaces or in their fancy cars.

How could they know that when an ordinary citizen wants a bottle of gas he must prepare himself emotionally and physically for a fierce battle in which he will use the foulest language and receive the meanest insults in return and in which he will usually end up the loser?

I return to the old No's to ask those calling upon them some few innocent and not-so-innocent questions, such as:

How could this citizen who is deprived of everything, be able to fight an entity such as Israel, if you are unable to provide him with oil, gas, electricity and water?

How can he go to the battle field to face any enemy while he is carrying the suffering of his children?

And for what?

For a bunch of people who are robbing his country?

Or for some fake slogans that contradict everything that is applied on the ground?

Today, ladies and gentlemen, the Arab world is divided into two sections, two entities.

The greater part preferred to follow the current heading towards political and democratic change, economical booming and technological and informational development.

The other part decided to keep on outdated concepts that are about one century old.

The first entity is now enjoying burgers, luxury and technology without any No's; the second is now eating wood, fear and an ideology with the taste of many No's.

Long live our new Arab No's.

About Oussama Eduard Moussa:

Oussama Eduard Moussa, is a 30-year old Syrian blogger and journalist. He is a well-know activist in the Assyrian community, teaching the Assyrian language at summer courses and participating in Assyrian cultural festivals. He is also an active member of several human rights organizations in Syria. In a press statement, the Democratic Assyrian Association has said that "Moussa's arrest is illegal and does not respect the Syrian constitution which allows every citizen to freely express his opinion."