The Syrian resistance: a tale of two struggles
Part I: Nonviolent and violent conflict
Some of you have honor - don't shoot! You have brothers & sisters, you have brothers - your daughters - your mothers & fathers in your town - they're just like us, don't shoot! …This earth is big enough for all of us! You don't have the right anymore to take all of it for yourselves!
Non-sectarianism shone during Syria’s most massive rally, of an estimated 400,000 in Hama’s Clock Tower Square in July 2011, full of scenes of cross-religious embrace, women’s participation, and nonviolent conduct. This broad-based appeal would have hardly been possible, had not the uprising been unarmed.
Dodge-and-feint tactics enabled protesters to protest another day, as did marching in narrow alleys rather than open squares on the Egyptian model, and holding protest signs backward over their heads, so faces in videos could not be identified. Street protests, whose number rose to 920 different locations in one week in the nonviolent phase and declined to fewer than 300 during the autumn 2011 when violent resistance began mounting, played an important role not only in publicizing the movement’s message but in giving people a personal sense of empowerment, long absent under the police state. One young activist, “Rose,” expressed why protesters did not stop demonstrating, even knowing they could be killed: “We do other activism, but we will not stop demonstrating: to taste freedom, if only for ten minutes!”