GENERAL Philippe Petain, leader of the then French Army, was left with two bitter options — to surrender to the Germans or resist when France was defeated in the Second World War by Germany, and Paris was subsequently destroyed.
After hesitating for days, General Philippe Petain decided to surrender in order to prevent the city of light from transforming into the capital of darkness, misery and sadness. Based on his decision, the first place the then German leader, Adolf Hitler, visited in the occupied Paris was ‘Arc de Triomphe’ (the victory arch).
Unlike the French in 1940, they did not brag or fuss about their land — like some Arabs are doing today with slogans of honor, land and resistance, and vowing to continue until the last drop of blood is shed — while fighting against their compatriots and not under foreign aggression.
Unfortunately, the situation escalated to involve foreign occupations after Syrians went to the extent of involving Iranians, Russians, “Hezbollah”, “DAESH”, “Nusra Front” and “al-Qaeda” in their mastery of destroying cities and nation, and displacing their own people. Thousands of innocent people were either slaughtered at the hands of terrorist groups or swallowed by the Mediterranean Sea.
Today, there is a lot of talk about Aleppo — the oldest populated city on the face of the earth. Aleppo was once considered the commercial capital of Syria but the largest of its cities is now in shambles. It seems that the feuding parties (the regime or the opposition) do not see the destruction of the industrial city and the scores of people killed on a daily basis, as the slogans continue to air — as if Syrians fighting in Aleppo are not concerned about their city. In fact, it seems they are not even concerned about the entire Syrian fatherland.
There are about 350 open military fronts fighting on the barricades of more than 600 armed factions, and an estimated 500,000 deaths have been recorded over the past five years, besides 12 million migrants. It was possible to avoid all this only if Syria — with all its different social layers — listened to the voice of logic and dealt with the internal crisis through dialogue, without picking up weapons.
Syrians would have avoided all this if they had learnt from France’s experience to preserve their capital and the cultural beam of the world — despite their differences, given that the French had faced foreign invasion and not internal upheaval. Unlike Syria, the French did not put their destiny in the hands of erratic political stances or the almost empty stances of Western and Arab countries.
Syrians would have saved themselves from the current catastrophes if they had followed the French example. Wasn’t it worthy of Syrians to learn from the woes of the Lebanese war? Despite the war ended a quarter century ago, Lebanon remains a failed country due to the brawls of its warlords destroying their country based on personal interests, and enabling the militia from Iran called “Hezbollah” to spread its influence on the establishment.
Syrian factions were duped by a United States official who claimed the Assad regime would be defeated within a month or two…. and his defeat was imminent. Today, the same United States of America is saying they have yet to find an armed or moderate Syrian faction capable of taking the place of the regime in Damascus after almost six years of war. Isn’t it time for the Syrians to realize that Washington, Moscow and Tehran have made them the firewood in their quest to protect selfish interests? It is clear that the end of the war is still far.
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times