Thursday, June 15, 2006

"Religion is the opium of the people" Karl Marx / Chairman Mao


This is my first blog and I am not happy.

See the post by Ehsani2 on of 14 June 2006 on the Christians of Syria and Lebanon.

The post offers an insight into the political fears of a dwindling minority in Syria. That minority is labelled as Orthodox Christian and the fears are about an Islamist takeover of Syria.

I offer this comment:

Ehsani2's analysis is perceptive but, I am afraid the post is fundamentally unacceptable to me. All this talk about Christians and Muslims is divisive and pointless. Surely it is better to campaign for a secular and democratic future, with one man one vote, regardless of creed or ethnicity than to serve the regime with this kind of scare mongering.

We all know and understand the realities of our nation and the role of religion in accentuating cultural differences and tribal allegiances (Marx and Mao were right; "religion is the opium of the people"!).

Sure, Syria could end up being ruled by Islamists when the Assad clan are ousted. So what? If the political system is truly democratic and fair, people will eventually reject extremism through the ballot box. Our energies should be focused on uniting Syrians at home and abroad around the simple objectives of democracy and justice. How do we do that? We translate these abstract notions into meaningful and specific reform programmes. If we cannot at least agree the broad principles then we have no hope of ever changing the status quo.


Anonymous said...

I agree that the opposition should work together to promote democracy and clear reform plans, but I think religion will still play a huge part in the political process for decades to come. For example, do not expect the majority of the population in Syria to agree a constitution which allows a Christian to become President.

Tony - Canada

The Syrian Brit said...

For your information, it is only the most recent version of the Constitution (i.e. the Ba'athist 'secular' Constitution) that states that the President should be a Muslim. Previous versions stated that Islam is the official religion of state, but did not decree the religion of the President.. Interestingly, the previous versions were voted on and approved by a duly elected National Assembly, while the current version was shoved down our throats!.. So much for your theory, Tony!..