Khaddam: On Independence Day…I call on all Syrians to work to restore national unity that was weakened by the regime and to realize the seriousness of the sectarian situation in the country.

publisher: وكالات Agencies

AUTHOR: عبد الحليم خدام

Publishing date: 2009-04-17


Dear citizens,

On the sixty-third anniversary of the foreign forces’ departure from Syria, I extend my congratulations on this dear occasion in our recent history. I urge you to reflect on the meaning of independence and recall the significant sacrifices made by our people to achieve the departure of foreign forces from our homeland.

The forefathers struggled to achieve the departure of foreign forces so that our people could live freely and sovereign in their homeland. They strived to build a state that provides tranquility, security, freedom, justice, and equality for the people—a state that protects the country, uplifts the people, and ensures the reasons for strength, prosperity, and progress while preserving Syria’s role in the advancement of the Arab nation.

Independence is not just a word or a day we celebrate every year. Independence means a free and secure people, masters of themselves. Independence is a sovereign state capable of protecting its land, uplifting its people, ensuring equal rights for citizens, regardless of religion, sect, ethnicity, or gender.

Independence is a state of justice, equality, freedom, and democracy—a state for the entire people. Independence is not just a song we sing, but it is freedom, dignity, tranquility, progress, and national unity. It is the powerful, free, and prosperous sovereign nation.

Dear citizens,

The foreign presence that imposed itself on Syria by military force was a constraint on the freedom of our people and a violation of our country’s sovereignty and dignity. It used force, repression, imprisonment, killing, exile, and persecution to maintain its presence in Syria, imprisoning and suppressing all advocates of freedom and independence.

The foreign occupier seized the country’s wealth, attempted to dismantle national unity in Syria, hindered the progress of the Syrian people, and kept them bound by backwardness. On this Independence Day, let us contemplate our reality and what has happened and is happening in the country under this regime.

The foreign occupier forcefully ruled Syria, and the ruling family imposed itself through military power. The foreign occupier confiscated public and individual freedoms, using repression, imprisonment, killing, and exile. Isn’t this what the ruling regime is doing, using all means of repression and terrorism, including imprisonment and killing, to stifle the people’s freedom and the citizens’ freedom, sowing fear?

The foreign occupier governed the country by force and crippled the role of the people. Isn’t this what the ruling regime is doing? The foreign occupier attempted to dismantle national unity in Syria. Isn’t this what the ruling regime did by fueling sectarianism and creating tension, as seen in the Kurdish problem, through its oppression, injustice, and arbitrariness?

The foreign occupier seized the country’s wealth, impoverishing the people. Isn’t this what the ruling regime did and is doing through its corruption?

Dear citizens,

Independence and the fundamental issues of freedom and basic rights for citizens and the exercise of the people’s sovereign rights are not mere words in the speeches of this or that ruler or in the slogans of this or that party. They are not documents written and then folded away by the ruler.

Independence is the destiny of the people and the fate of their future. A people deprived of their sovereignty have a diminished independence. A people whose will is restricted and freedoms seized are a people with diminished independence. A people ruled by fear and repression are a people with diminished independence. A people whose wealth is looted and oppressed by corruption, suffering poverty, unemployment, and hunger because of the regime’s corruption, is a people with diminished independence.

Dear citizens,

You all live the suffering that has exhausted the people and weakened the country. You all understand the state of collapse that Syria has reached under this regime, and you all complain to yourselves at a time when you should be complaining to your brothers and friends. Solidarity of efforts and a strong sense of the need to work for the salvation of the Syrian people from their ordeal are essential.

You all feel the bitterness as you witness the state of weakness and decline that the country has reached under this regime, and you are all convinced that there is no solution except in achieving change and restoring the Syrian people’s freedom, building a system in which the people are the source of power.

You are all concerned about the reality and afraid of the future.

All of you, dear citizens, know that the regime has destroyed the national economy with its corruption and policies. It flooded the markets with foreign goods, leading to the paralysis of the national industry and the closure of a large number of factories in both the public and private sectors. There were significant losses in companies due to the inability of the national industry to compete with foreign goods, attributed to the high taxes, restrictions, customs duties, corruption, and the rising energy prices. This economic policy, in addition to crippling the national industry and increasing unemployment in Syria, dealt a significant blow to the agricultural sector. This was a result of the government’s agricultural policies, raising the prices of agricultural production requirements, as well as adverse weather conditions, leading to a decline in cultivated areas and a shortage in production. The substantial damages also affected livestock, causing hundreds of thousands of agricultural workers to migrate to cities in search of a livelihood, exacerbating their suffering and that of their brothers living in urban areas.

In every country worldwide, governments provide assistance to the agricultural sector because they recognize the dangers of agricultural decline, impacting not only their needs but also causing economic and social harm.

The regime’s adoption of a consumptive economy and halting economic development in industry, agriculture, and labor poses a significant threat to the country’s future and will exacerbate unemployment.

On this historic day and national anniversary, I call on the youth of Syria to realize the danger to their homeland, their reality, and their future. I urge them to shoulder their responsibilities, emphasizing that the independence we celebrate was achieved by the youth of Syria as the main force in the struggle.

Your responsibility is immense, youth. Your national role in effecting change is fundamental. Your responsibility to save the country calls for organizing yourselves and dispelling fear, becoming the vanguard of change and its primary strength.

Throughout Syria’s various stages, the youth played a leading role. Reflect deeply on what the youth achieved in past years in bringing about change and establishing democracy in their countries.

On this historic day, I call on thinkers, intellectuals, men of science, education, lawyers, doctors, engineers, pharmacists, and all those working in free professions to reclaim the roles of their predecessors who struggled for the liberation of Syria and its independence. Today, achieving the second independence requires your efforts and sacrifices.

The suffering of the working class in Syria, including laborers, farmers, small earners, the poor, and the oppressed, requires citizens living in poverty and hardship to realize that the end of their suffering and the restoration of their rights will not come through silence or waiting for the ruler’s conscience to awaken. For those citizens, living in poverty, act for your children, for the salvation from your suffering, for lifting the injustice. Uproot fear, organize yourselves, and fight to realize your rights and secure the future of your children. Unite your efforts and advance at the forefront to achieve change and build a state of justice, equality, and freedom.

On this national occasion, I address businessmen and traders, most of whom have become victims of the policies and corruption of this regime. I urge you to revisit Syria’s history and remember the national role played by Syrian traders and businessmen during the struggle for independence. They were a major force in confronting foreign occupation, with their consecutive strikes and aid to the national movement playing a significant role in achieving independence.

The nation needs you, so I call on you to collaborate with the people’s forces and contribute to effecting change.

I also address the armed forces, urging them to reclaim their national role, which the regime deprived them of when it used them as a tool to protect itself and a means to terrorize people. Place the army back within its national responsibilities, defending the country, liberating the land, and protecting the nation from aggression.

You all know the extent of the damages inflicted by the regime on the country and the suffering of the Syrian people at a time when the wealth of the corrupt is increasing.

The regime instills fear in the people through you, making you, in the eyes of the overwhelming majority of Syrians, an army to protect the regime rather than a force to protect the nation.

I call on you, military personnel, to reclaim the national role of the army and return to your natural position within the embrace of the people.

Brother Citizens,

Syria is a devastated country under this regime, a country where the will of its people is constrained by its terrorism and suppression.

Our people today suffer as our fathers and grandfathers did under foreign rule. They fought until achieving independence on the 17th of April 1946.

For the salvation, liberation, and progress of our people, we must unite our efforts to achieve a second liberation.

Unify your ranks, break the wall of fear, and shatter the system of injustice, oppression, tyranny, and corruption.

Syria needs all of you to liberate its occupied land. Syria needs your collective efforts for revival, progress, and prosperity.

In conclusion, I call on all Syrians to work towards restoring national unity, weakened by the regime, and to recognize the dangers of sectarianism in the country.

In closing my speech, I address our brothers in the Alawite sect, partners in the homeland, destiny, and suffering. I urge them to be at the forefront of the struggle for change and to remember that their fathers and grandfathers were partners in resisting foreign occupation and achieving independence.

I call on them to remember that Syrians, in the face of attempts to dismantle national unity, stood stronger than the foreign force, thwarting those attempts and preserving the unity of the Syrian people.

The regime has sought to revive sectarianism, instilling fear of other sects, your partners in the homeland and destiny. At the same time, it has cultivated a sense of injustice among other sects, creating the impression that the regime is sectarian. All of this is aimed at weakening the internal front and placing barriers against the collaboration of societal forces to achieve national change and build a civil democratic state, where religion is for God, and the nation is for everyone.

Brother Citizens,

Strive to regain national unity, as it is the guarantee of security, stability, progress, and the protection of the homeland. Struggle for liberation and salvation from this regime that has deliberately weakened Syria and oppressed its people. Uproot fear and fight to achieve the second liberation.

Peace be upon you,

Long live Syria, and long live its free and proud people.