As I think about how to describe Assad’s so-called “elections” and what, if anything, to do about them many words come to mind:
Faux. Fake. Imitation. Bogus. Fraudulent. Phony. Mock. Forged. Make-believe. Pretend. Pseudo. Artificial. A sham.
So should we protest? Boycott? Burn symbolic voter cards?
No. Just shun the #ShamElections.
They have been enabled by the US-Russian Chemical Weapons agreement last September and the results are a foregone conclusion. After all, the Assad’s have been winning pretend-elections for decades with 97%+ of the votes to maintain the illusion of popular support.
Fittingly titled the #BloodElections, the conditions in Syria hardly provide for a “free & fair” election. Approximately 40% of the population has been displaced with 2.5 million Syrians living in surrounding nations. 160,000 have been slaughtered with the real number sadly much higher. Hundreds of thousands are physically & mentally scarred. There are over 50,000 documented political detainees and thousands more missing.
The regime continues their unrelenting siege warfare and indiscriminate aerial attacks on population centers – not an election environment devoid of intimidation and coercion, is it?
Furthermore, the regime only controls ~40% of Syrian territory, bolstered by thousands of sectarian foreign fighters making Assad the largest warlord in the country – not a representative, nor sovereign head of state.
Media outlets have been enamored over the past day with the images of “tens of thousands of Syrians” who shut down traffic in Beirut, Lebanon to cast early ballots – whether the crowds consisted mainly of regime loyalists, were driven by rumors of being banned from Syria if they didn’t vote, or whether many Syrians were coerced by mukhabarat and pro-Assad Lebanese militiamen is not important (all are true). The fact is even “tens of thousands” makes up only a fraction of the 1.5-2M Syrians who are currently in Lebanon. Context is everything.
The more attention this faux-election is given, the more it is perceived as having substance in the minds of regime propagandists and apologists, media outlets looking for neat narratives and world powers that have colluded against revolution over the past 3 years.
So what should we do?
Just shun these artificial-elections. Use this opportunity to mourn for our lost – for our devastated nation. Organize public activities in your area to pay homage to the sacrifices millions of Syrians have made, and will continue to make, as the end of the regime is still, sadly, beyond our grasp.
#BloodElections = #ShamElections