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    What Kind of Support Do Syrians Want?

    By Mohammed Al Attar

    Beneath layers of complexity and political wrangling, we should not forget that the Syrian revolutionaries are fighting for their basic rights to dignity, equality and a respectable standard of living. More than a political decision, supporting them is first and foremost a humanitarian and moral duty.

    Since the start of the Syrian revolution fourteen months ago, there are still many people outside Syria asking the same question: How can we give our support to the Syrian people without becoming part of regional and international political coalitions which we do not support?

    Some of those taking part in the uprising consider the question as idle. They believe it conceals a fundamental reluctance to engage on the part of governments and popular will. At best, it means foreign powers are doomed to lag behind events in the country. Despite these doubts, there is a pressing need to address this dilemma with greater patience and understanding.

    During an open debate organized by London’s Royal Court Theatre at the end of August 2011, I was asked:“How can we support the Syrian people in their revolution without inevitably serving the interests of political agendas?” I was silent for a few seconds, unsure of what to say, before tentatively replying: “I’ve no doubt that it is still possible to separate the fundamental justice of the protestors’ cause from the distortions of politicians and the media.”

    Much has changed since then but the same question continues to be put forward, and I have no clearer answer than that my brief and improvised one which I provided at the Royal Court Theatre.

    For many reasons—more, indeed, than we have room to go into here—it seems evident that Syrians are paying a high price for having to explain what should be completely obvious, in an effort to drum up support for their revolution.

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    Mohammad Al Attar is a Syrian playwright and drama practitioner. He graduated in Applied Drama from Goldsmiths, University of London. His play “Withdrawal” was performed in London, New York, New Delhi, Berlin, Tunis and Beirut. His play “Online” was premiered at Royal Court Theatre in London. His most recent play “Look at the Camera” was premiered in Brussels and Berlin. Al Attar has published numerous texts for performances and critical contributions published in several Arab newspapers and magazines.

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