I have been meaning to talk to you. Oh, if I could only talk to you. If you could only see what is happening. I am sure you can, wherever you are. See how everything seems to be falling apart. Everything that you built, everything that you gave me, what you asked me to take care of before you left, what belongs to us. Nothing seems to be like it used to…
If you could only stand in my shoes. If you could only feel my hatred, my rage, as I see these people on the streets, screaming my name, desecrating my picture, calling for my death. How can they be so ungrateful to me, to you? After everything we have done for them, all that we have given them. The history of this great nation that we have instilled in them. The pride of being from this noble land. Isn’t that enough? We have prospered, we are stable. Why isn’t that enough?
But you were once in my shoes, I remember. How you managed things in Hama, so gracefully, so swiftly. Nobody ever heard of anything again. Mother told me to follow in your footsteps, and I have, but what am I doing wrong? There are no more empty cells in our prisons, no more empty spaces in our morgue.
…What more am I supposed to do with these rascals, filling the streets, thinking they know what they are talking about wanting the regime to fall?
…What more am I supposed to do with these scoundrels, writing about humanity, rights, human rights, thinking that all this belongs to our country? It belongs to the West, and when the West comes, I tell them what they want to hear, and they buy it, as they always have. Do you think our people are ready for free speech, for freedom of assembly, for rights?
…And what more am I supposed to do with these children, your son may have taken it a bit too far, displaying their wounded bodies for the whole world to see, but how are we to shape the future with such insolence roaming the streets, haven’t their parents taught them who they owe respect, who to pay allegiance to?
Things have changed since you’ve been gone. I’ve been trying to work on the economy, improving people’s lives, tourism was booming and tourists flocked to see Old Damascus. Yes, there may be some corruption, but which country doesn’t have corrupt elements in its midst? Some of those who used to be close to you have now left to other ventures, some like Abdel Halim even think they can call themselves opposition members, portraying themselves as some sort of saviors, when they were as implicated in the system as we are. And of course more Sunnis in the opposition like Burhan Ghalioun, who thinks he can lead a country as easily as he leads a class at Sorbonne.
Part of me wants to believe this is a conspiracy of some sort. But part of me feels we’ve been betrayed or cursed by some evil force I have no control over. Erdogan seems to believe he is Sultan Erdogan, that I head a province in his empire, as he preaches to me about rights, about reform. Unleashing the Turkish Kurds on him in the north doesn’t seem to have the effect that it used to. Israel doesn’t seem to be able to back us up anymore, its head is spinning with the mess in Egypt and Iran’s nuclear drama. I only hope it knows what awaits it if we fall. Russia we have on our side for the time being, but the U.S doesn’t seem to buy our lies anymore.
Things in the region have changed. I hope you’ve been keeping track of those who’ve died and been toppled, I would rather not talk about it all over again. I don’t think I’ll end up like some of them did, I mean, I know the people hold a special place in their hearts for us. Amid all the chaos, we have had regular demonstrations supporting us, to show the rest and the world how strong we are. Today we need to pay many of them, I like to see it as providing certain incentives to participate, but they would go regardless, I am certain.
Somewhere things haven’t changed, yes, you guessed, our little brothers across the border. Lebanon is still a mess and will always be. You should see how those who used to crawl to get our blessing are now whining night and day for our demise, and those who are still our allies, are scared for their fate if we fall. I know those who truly care for us, and there are those who are loyal, the Hezb being one of them, but they aren’t many, and you know that.
I know that we will not easily give up what we have acquired, what you built and gave us. But I also wonder if I will end up like Hosni or Zein al Abedin. Your grandchildren are safe though, you don’t need to worry. I just wish things could go back to the way they used to.
Oh father, where art thou when I need you the most?
 In 1982, former Syrian President Hafez Al Asad, father of current president Bashar, crushed a revolted by the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood in Hama killing tens of thousands of Hama residents. Also known as the Hama Massacre.
 Abdel Halim Khaddam served as Syrian vice president from 1984-2005. He is currently living in exile in France.
 Burhan Ghalioun is a Syrian professor of political sociology at Sorbonne University and current head of the opposition Syrian National Council.