The Syrian opposition as seen by Syrians

After decades of being in the shadow the Syrian opposition members are now in the spot light and are facing the tough mission of standing before the Syrian people to be judged and evaluated. Are they going to be accepted by the people? Would they be able to gain their trust, or would they remain the victims of pre-judgments and suspicions?

Are they really capable of bringing true change and development to the country while maintaining its unique social fabric or are they carrying a sectarian agenda that can destroy that fabric once and forever?

In this long and 2-parts report we will try to sum up the most known figures of the Syrian opposition and see what Syrians from different backgrounds have to say about them. Please always remember that getting a Syrian citizen to say his opinion is a much tougher job if he is pro-opposition than it is if he is a pro-regime. Therefore, the percentage of negative opinions against positive ones does not reflect in anyway the true balance of power in the Syrian society.

Dr. Burhan Ghalioun

President of the Syrian National Council

Born in 1945, in Syria, Dr. Burhan Ghalioun is a Syrian (Also carries a French passport) political scientist and professor of political sociology at ‘Universite de Paris-Sorbonne’, and, as of August the 29th, the president of the Syrian National Council, the main body of the current Syrian opposition.

One of the common accusations pro-regimers always make about Syrian opposition figures is being Islamists or members of the ‘Muslims Brotherhood’. An accusation that cannot be used against Dr. Ghalioun, who is known to be one of the most famous theorists for secularism in the Arab world or even on global level.

Burhan Ghalion is also the director of the ‘Centre d’études de l’Orient Contemporain’ and professor of Arabic civilization at the ‘Sorbonne-Nouvelle-Paris-III’ University. He is the author of numerous books, dealing with sociological and political issues of the Islamic world, most written in Arabic with several of them translated to French.

H.M, 32 years, teacher said: “This man is nothing but a tool in the hands of the western monsters, he is implementing the famous agenda of imperialism, and I don’t care whether he is a political scientist or a fisherman. He is not human; he leads the massacre in Syria by leading the SNC. We kicked him out of Syria before because his attitudes were not acceptable in Syria, so now he is trying to take revenge on the regime, so he is not thinking about any kind of reforms, he simply seeks revenge. I will never trust such a man and will never live in Syria if he and his gang ruled it.”

Maher.O, 35 years old, said: “I have heard and read about him, actually I respect educated people, and he is very educated, but to lead Syria, I don’t think so! Because to lead Syria you have to have the proper experience that allows you to manage the problems and to give the proper solutions, he doesn’t have such an experience. Besides that, he can’t make any step forward without being led by foreign powers. As a human I respect him because he is a very educated man, but I don’t want him to be an official in Syria, he is leading the opposition who has caused free killing of the citizens. He should forget Syria and, as for me, I will never vote for him under any circumstances.”

“Of course I support him” KH.S, 50 years old, engineer said, “He is the man who will fulfill the demands of the free people in Syria, he is the new hope; a very educated man who knows what he is doing and understands the needs of free Syrians. I trust him because he has suffered enough to be ready to come up with the right plans regarding how to rule Syria and lead it to the free and respectable life. He is good enough for me and for everyone else to lead the reforms. He has the experience to lead the development process in Syria. Of course I will vote for him and will support him to the end. By the way, I don’t believe that he is being led by the super powers in the west; he was one of the poor people in Syria. At least he will be working in his graduating filed.”

Radwan Ziadeh

Member of the Syrian National Council

A Visiting Scholar at ‘The Institute for Middle East Studies (IMES)’ at ‘Elliot School of International Affairs’ at George Washington University.

He is most recently a Prins Global Fellow at Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at New York University and Visiting Scholar at The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) at Georgetown University.

Before that he was Reagan-Fascell Fellow at National Endowment for Democracy (NED) at Washington DC and Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University in New York City. He was also a Visiting Fellow at Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs) in London and a visiting scholar at Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard University (2008-2009). In 2007-2008 he was a Senior Fellow at United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington, DC.

Basheer. Ba, 36 years old, male said: “Do you call him a man?! Do you imagine him talking on behalf of the Syrian people?! I can’t accept dealing with this butcher, how the hell do you ask me about considering him as an official? OMG, he has the voice that everybody on earth hates, I will kill him myself. He doesn’t know anything about politics, he doesn’t have the respectable appearance that could make you proud of in front of the world. I know his past, he is nothing but a boy who used to reject everything and theorize everything. He is not suitable for Syria the land of lions and eagles, the land that fights the most dangerous enemy on earth; Israel. He is a childish, he is a toy in the American hands, I don’t know how the Americans think! Do they really believe that Syrians will follow such a boy?! Is he a Syrian at all?! I have never heard that he works in politics before. I will not allow anyone to lead Syria or let’s say destroy Syria while he is sleeping in the lap of the Americans!”

Khozama. Na, 38 years old, female said: “I think he belongs to a specific group of people in Syria, even though, this group of people refuses him as the rest of the Syrians do. I don’t believe that there is one Syrian who could support such a man, who tends to allow the external intervention in Syria. He is begging for external intervention, he and the rest of the gang (SNC). Anyway, I don’t respect him and I will never accept him as a Syrian citizen, I have many suspicions that he bought his certificate from American universities, he should forget what he is doing and stay home.”

Riad Seif

Born on 25 November 1946, Seif is a Syrian political dissident, formerly a member of the Syrian Parliament and a prominent businessman, who founded and led the Forum for National Dialogue. Seif was elected to parliament in 1994 as an independent and again in 1998. He is also a businessman who, for many years, held the rights for Adidas trademark in Syria.

According to Seif, his career in industry started with a workshop for manufacturing shirts in 1963, and in 1993 he began building the new ‘Adidas’ workshops in Syria, the first of their kind.

Ehssan Re, 45 years old, male said: “I used to respect this man, he was a hard working man, but I don’t know what happened to him, he lost his mind, he denied all what the Syrian regime offered him and all the facilities he had got to build his career! He is a thankless man, and I don’t respect or nor trust him anymore, he bit the hand that offered fed him, and he doesn’t have the experience that allows him to be a neutral and good official in Syria. Syria is facing a war because of his and his fellows’ attitudes.”

Mouna Hu ,36 years old, female said: “He is a merchant, so, Syria is just a deal for him, he is trying to win, he will not pay all this time and money just for the sake of the Syrians. We all know the greed of the merchants and how they think. He used to be a member of the parliament, he tried to take advantage of his position, but when the regime out-casted him, he turned against it. He is not a good Syrian citizen; I will never support him ever.”

Mounaf. Ya, 45 years old, male said: “I respect him and I will support him. I’m sure that he knows what is he doing, he doesn’t want to destroy Syria, he is trying to shape a new future for Syria, he is a good Syrian citizen and his family has its history in serving Syria through the hard times. He loves Syria and plans with his fellows to create the chance for the Syrians to choose the way they want to live the future. He is a very ambitious man and he is trying to rescue Syria.”


Riad Shakfeh

Secretary General of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood

Born in Hama 1944 and married with 6 kids. He used to work in the ‘Syrian Company of Irrigation Constructions’. He was a military leader in the Muslim Brotherhood.

He was involved with the Muslim brotherhood when he was very young, he once heard his father praising the teachings of Imam Hassan al-Banna (founder of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology), and so he was eager to join the Muslim Brotherhood. He started attending the open meetings of the Muslim brotherhood in Albahssa mosque in Hama in 1956.

Shakfeh is currently the Secretary General of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.

Ena’am Mo, 41 years old, female said: “Are you serious?! Is that what they -the protesters-need?! The Muslim brotherhood again?! The killers of the innocent people! Do you really know who this man is? He is responsible for the bloodiest massacres in the history of Syria, he is a very dangerous, and malicious man. I have read a lot about him, I don’t trust him and I haven’t met anyone who trusts him or wish to deal with him, he is not open minded. He is cunning and he will destroy peaceful coexistence in Syria. I can’t imagine that there is anyone who will or could support this man or his movement.”

Tareq Sa, 25 years old, male said: “Actually I am a protestor, but I will never support him, I believe in secularism and I don’t want any kind of religious ideas or slogans to participate  in shaping the future of Syria. This man represents the fanatic Islam so he is not suitable at all to join the reforming plans. We all know the history of this man and the bad events related to his name. I don’t care if he is an educated man or a good political person; I refuse his attitudes and directions.”

Moukhtar Ba, 49 years old, man said: “Are you kidding me? AL-Shakfeh! He is not the one who will build the new Syria; do you like to replace the cars with camels?! He belongs to a very dangerous movement that has tried to destroy Syria in the past; I have heard that he, himself, had committed many crimes against humanity in Syria. I have many suspicions about his new supporters. I will never trust him or his party.”

Mohamed. Da, 40 years old, said: “Syria needs new blood, new minds and ideas, this man is too old for new Syria or even for being a candidate for any small position in Syria, I will fight against this man, he is not suitable because of his admitted crimes and his frozen mind. He belongs to the fanatic Islam which could destroy any society in the world; here in Syria we need open-minded people not criminals.”

To be continued


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