Khaddam’s message on the occasion of Christmas, the Islamic New Year

publisher: المكتب الاعلامي للسيد عبد الحليم خدام

AUTHOR: عبد الحليم خدام

Publishing date: 2008-12-21


Dear citizens,

I am delighted to extend my warmest congratulations to you on the occasion of Christmas, the Islamic New Year, and the New Year. I pray that Allah Almighty blesses these holidays and that the flag of freedom continues to soar in the skies of Syria.

Brothers, the year 2008 was marked by increased poverty, deprivation, hunger, widespread unemployment, and a decline in the standard of living. It was also a year that witnessed the ruling segment of corruption transitioning to a new phase, tightening its control over the national economy, institutions, economic activities, as well as the country’s resources and wealth. While the wealth of this segment grew, the people suffered and became poorer.

Moreover, 2008 saw a rise in repression, arrests, killings, and the curtailment of freedoms, with unfair sentences being handed down to those fighting for freedom, democracy, and national unity.

Dear citizens, you are all aware that this regime is illegitimate and maintains its control over the country through force and repression under the emergency law. You are also aware of how the regime’s president allegedly secures 99% of the votes during elections. Additionally, you know the process for changing your representatives through the elections for membership of the People’s Assembly.

One of the most serious actions taken by this regime is the use of sectarianism to tighten its grip on the country. It has employed tactics that foster sectarian divisions and instill fear among different communities. Through its behavior and practices, the regime instills fear among Muslim Christians and Sunni Alawites, while perpetuating a sense of injustice and deprivation among the majority of the Syrian population. It achieves this through isolation, exclusion, discrimination, and denying their children access to national institutions such as the armed forces. Furthermore, the regime resorts to accusing this community of being a breeding ground for terrorism, further fueling fear among other minority groups.

On this blessed occasion of Christmas and the New Year, I can only address our Christian brothers and urge them to inquire about the reasons behind the decline in the percentage of Christians within the Syrian population. According to a recent census released by the regime, Christians now comprise only 4% of the population, compared to over 13% in the forties and fifties.

I implore them to contemplate the reasons behind the mass emigration from Syria to countries such as Canada, the United States, Latin America, Australia, Europe, and the Arab Gulf states.

In the forties and fifties, Christians played a significant role in governance, and their presence in the leadership and institutions of the state was prominent. We should remember that one of Syria’s historical leaders, the late Faris Al-Khoury, served as both the head of government and the president of the Parliament on multiple occasions.

During the era of democracy, Christians actively participated as partners in the state and society, contributing to the economy and education. However, let us examine how their circumstances and roles have evolved under the current system.

Have you ever wondered why Michel Aoun was summoned to Damascus and why he prepared that program during his visit, including meetings with Christian authorities and visits to churches? Could this be a message to foreign countries that he is forming an alliance for minorities in hopes of garnering more support for his regime? Exploiting people of certain sects to serve specific interests is an attempt to convey a message to certain countries that our secular system is being targeted by fundamentalist Islam.

Furthermore, in addition to the deplorable sectarianism, the regime has created a Kurdish problem through unfair and racist treatment of a segment of our population, who have been our partners in history and destiny. The security services of the regime are also fanning the flames of discord between our Kurdish and Syrian citizens.

The Syrian people achieved their national independence through a united front that formed a protective force for the country’s sovereignty, security, and stability. However, the ruling, authoritarian, and corrupt regime has weakened the country, allowing Israel to occupy parts of its territory and violate its sovereignty and dignity. Thus, the regime has achieved what foreign powers have failed to accomplish.

Dear citizens, relying on an unjust ruler instills fear and stifles reason, hindering initiative. It leads the country down a path of backwardness, tyranny, and corruption.

The salvation of Syria cannot be achieved by merely claiming that the small cannot resist the mighty. It can only be attained through national unity, the eradication of fear, addressing tyranny and corruption, bringing about national change, and building a civil democratic state.

On this occasion, I pay tribute to the activists who have been imprisoned by the regime, assuring them that their struggle will result in freedom for our people and that the flag of freedom will fly high in the skies of Syria. May you all be well every year.