Assad’s fall has become a certainty. The question being debated amongst Syrians is what follows.Â
Of all the ideas flowing of what will become of Syria, nothing is more important than to build a pluralistic society. Many speak of pluralism as a mean to co-exist but I want to project a different angle to this concept.
A pluralistic society is one that debates issues benefitting the many living under its protection. By engaging in those debates related to laws, culture, religion, tradition, values, languages, and education, Syrians will start the process of re-gaining the brain power they lost to 48 years of one political party making the decisions for all of them.
Nothing is more empowering than a Kurd debating an Arab, or a Muslim debating a Christian, or an Azadi debating religion, or a devout Muslim debating secularism. It opens the door to “thinking” as the ultimate authority. And thinking is what Syrians need the most today.
There is a reason why our brain power has so diminished the last 48 years and greater concepts of co-existence and tolerance have been diminished to the point where even our smartest base of intellectuals practice exclusion as an option and tolerance as a privilege accorded only to friends and not to foes.
Pluralism afford Syrians the luxury of elevating their arguments to a new level of intellectual aptness. The opposite is true if one group succeeds in dominating the Syrian society again, something we Syrians fear Erdogan of Turkey — with Saudi Arabia paralleling the same notion of a one flavor vanilla Syria — is embarking upon to serve his own personal interests and ambitions.
With Islamism in power, debate will even become a rarer commodity. As many know, questioning is forbidden in Islam, which means thinking is limited to how to stop us from thinking. I am speaking here of Sunni Islam and not Shia, which provides the freedom to explore matters beyond our understanding.Â
With pluralism, the debate gets richer but it will also lay the foundation of two parties settling their differences, Syrians embracing other ideas and opinions, and our youth developing new means to solve our societal problems peacefully.
Since the rise of the Ba’ath Party to power in 1963, Syrians first lost to brain drain with millions escaping its contempt for the flow of free ideas (17 million Syrians live in the Diaspora today) and lost as well to brain-diminished capacity because of the one-track idiocy calling itself the Ba’ath ideology.
Is that reason enough for the US State Department to consider supporting the liberals who will advocate for pluralism? Or will it continue to support the Islamists who will advocate for plain vanilla? We hope they start that debate amongst themselves soon.Â