“We Christians suffered from the same lack of freedom as everyone else. We suffered from the same corruption. Now, we are under the same shell fire.”
By Paul Wood
7/26/2012 Syria (BBC) – Near the small town of Zabadani, a group of rebel fighters sing a song addressed to the Syrian president’s mother.
“Oh Bashar’s mother,” they chant, “your husband’s being fried in hell. You and your son are following too.”
The men are in good spirits. They have been driven back from the capital, but their offensive did better than anyone expected. And they are preparing for another go.
What if the rebels win? I went to see the people with as much at stake as anyone in the final outcome here, Zabadani’s Christians.
A young man with him says: “We Christians suffered from the same lack of freedom as everyone else. We suffered from the same corruption. Now, we are under the same shell fire.”
Another man adds: “Whatever the collective opinion is in Zabadani, we will follow it.”
That is the point – not to become dangerously isolated from wider society in Zabadani. The town has some 5,000 Christians and another 30,000 Sunni Muslims.
For now, all the armed groups are united around the single goal of overthrowing the regime.
After that, though, they will have to settle the question of how religious, how Islamic a state the new Syria will be.