Darwin in Syria


As a follow-up to Chuck Freund's post on the Syria Exposed blog, here is the extremely funny latest installment which tries to dispel Syrian myth Number 9, namely that Syrians evolve. In this case, the imagined speaker, Karfan, means that Syrians are still torn apart by ancient sectarian animosities. The author also appears to slip in a very interesting bit of information on recent events in Syria–specifically fights between members of two minorities, Alawites and Ismailis, both offshoots (sometimes of offshoots) of Islam:

The unrest that chook the city of Misyaff few weeks ago is a big example of such stupidity. Of course, not many have heard of this unrest outside Syria because apparently the foreign media decided it was not as important as the Kurdish unrest in Kameshli which took place last year. Maybe it is not as important since Misyaff cannot be claimed as separate sovereign country as Kameshli could be. But it underlines the same principle: people here are still thinking the same way their ancestors did a million light-year ago.

Here is what happened three weeks ago with no comments at first:

—A quarrel started between few Alawie and Smaeili taxi drivers in the Taxi center at Hama City. All of those drivers came from Misyaff or the surrounding villages (Misyaff located on top of the mountains overseeing Hama city and belongs to the province of Hama).

—The Smaeili drivers, being more numbered than the Alawie ones, beat the shit out of those Alawies.

—The Alawies then went back to their village, brought backup of Alawie young men fully armed with Kalashnikovs and pistols and established checkpoints on the way between Misyaff and Hama. They dragged every single Smaeili driver out of his car and beat the shit out of his living soul.

—Angry Smaileis in Misyaff then attacked some Alawies living in the city, beat them, and told them to leave the city back to their villages.

—Alawies from a near by village famous for arm smuggling came to Misyaff with vehicles fully armed with heavy machine guns and RBGs and started shouting in the loudspeakers that they will fuck the biggest Smailie in the city and kick the Smailies away from the city back to whatever the hell they came from.

—Smailies then complained to the region governor in Hama, who happened to be a Sunni. His reply was: [What the hell, they are both Shiaa heretic sects, let them kill each other to the last living soul.] He refused to act.

—Angry Smailies then went to the streets of Misyaff in large numbers and started stoning houses of Alawies and the matter grew up to a near total civil unrest.

—By that time, our Lord King Lion the 2nd had heard of this turmoil that might disturb his calm and peaceful kingdom, so he sent the Army and anty-riot troops to calm the situation. He also ordered the careless Sunni governor to be replaced.

—The matter was contained but the people of both sides are boycotting the other side. The city looks like a dead city because what Misyaff lives on mainly is the trade between the Smailie merchants and the Alawie peasants.

Spelling errors and all, this is both useful, sad and utterly hilarious, and that's only the start, as Karfan goes on to describe an ensuing argument between an Alawi and an Ismaili, both friends of his, following the Misyaff fighting. Disgusted, Karfan declares that the only sensible person in the entire incident is the Sunni governor replaced by Bashar Assad (King Lion II).

At the end of the post, the author suggests that the blogging is done in Lebanon, which could be true, though I suspect that's probably just chaff. The Syrian regime is both tougher these days in some regards, with harsher measures being taken against demonstrators, and laxer in others (the publisher of the Lebanese daily Al-Nahar, Ghassan Tueni, told me today, for example that articles in the paper critical of the Syrian regime, faxed from Syria, are nevertheless making it through two levels of censorship there). The authorities may simply not know quite what to do with the Karfan blog, or anything else.