From an anonymous journalist in Syria (h/t to Will Moore):
no matter what happens now, no matter whether Assad falls this year or this decade, Syria is already irreversibly, fundamentally changed. Syrians have found their voice, and they will not surrender again into silence. Fathers in Deraa insist that they will happily die to secure the futures of their daughters and their sons, and if their children must die too for the next generation, then no sacrifice will be spared. As one Damascus activist explained, the freedom of joining a protest, of standing in the street and holding a reckless and untouchable regime accountable for the first time in generations, is a freedom no one will relinquish once they taste it.
This passage reminds me of Doug McAdam’s concept of “cognitive liberation,” which I discussed last week (see point #4). This is a process in which people suddenly and collectively decide that they are no longer afraid, that their recent fear or apathy was based on lies, and that there is no going back to the old ways of thinking. McAdam identifies this process as an important factor in getting people to mobilize–and stay mobilized–until some sort of major shift occurs.
In other words, the genie is out of the bottle, and he’s not going back in.
Now, although the above passage makes the claim that “Syrians have found their voice,” it’s hard to ascertain from the article how widely shared the cognitive process really is. But one thing we know from prior research is that the more people sense that change is inevitable, the more inevitable the change becomes. It’s circular, yes, but it’s true.
Read the full story here.