Syrian Students, Leftists Find Practical Steps to Support Intifada

Published December 13th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Hundreds of Syrians, including intellectuals, leftist party members and students staged a demonstration in Damascus Wednesday chanting ‘down with Washington’ as US flags and American products were set on fire. 

The demonstration was led by senior members of the Syrian communist party. 

A communiqué distributed during the demonstration called for a boycott of American products, a halt to any dealings with American companies, and the use of oil in the ‘battle’. The communiqué also called on Arab countries to support the Palestinian Intifada through donations collected by popular committees ” which would back the struggle of the Palestinians who have been sacrificing their blood on behalf of the Arabs,” . 

Saleh El-Saleh, a lecturer at Damascus university told Albawaba “what scares me more than anything else is that one day the death of a Palestinian could become the second news item in any bulletin.” When we demonstrate, he added, “ we demonstrate to keep the Palestinian news and concerns alive, because everyone is trying to push back news of the Intifada and make it appear after the American election news, or the resignation of Ehud Barak or after the weather forecast.” 

Saleh said the Palestinians are still facing Israeli occupation,” we don’t know what is happening behind the scenes in Arab countries, some talk about secret channels, some about negotiations and others want us to believe that the return of Ehud Barak will bring peace to us and to the Palestinian people, how many times do we have to believe Barak? Those who want to negotiate, let them do so, those who can negotiate by demonstrating, let them do so, those who can negotiate with the Katyusha, let them do so, and those who can throw stones, let them throw them. These are the negotiations we want.” 

The young poet Burhan Haseeb told Albawaba “ It’s not enough to burn the American flag, we need serious steps, we should share the bread of the young men of the Intifada, it has become a matter of national dignity to move from the burning of flags to something more serious. What is needed is to open all Arab borders to all those who can carry weapons. What is happening in Palestine is a genocide of a people and not merely stopping a demonstration, the Intifada is continuing and everyday, more and more Palestinians are falling martyr. The number of victims and martyrs of the Intifada is more than the number of those killed in Arab-Israeli wars.” 

Gilan Mansour, a law student at Damascus university asked why the resistance operations in southern Lebanon were restricted only to men of the Lebanese Hizbollah group.” I want all Arab factions and parties to join the military front. If they can’t, then the leaders of the Arab parties should disappear, look at them, they lead this demonstration, I wish I could see them leading ranks of fighters, but I’m sure this will not happen, because they are merely parties based in offices, and not on the battleground. I went out to join the demonstration to express support for the Intifada and not to support these parties which are walking in front of us as if they are leading us to victory.” 

“I’m Palestinian,” Mohammad Othman says,”I care for Yarmouk, Sabra, Shatila and Unifil camps, but what is important to me is to leave the camp for Palestine. Mahmud Darwish (poet) taught me to dream of Palestine which I haven’t seen yet. My father was promised to return home, but he forgot all about it, he was preoccupied with life’s worries, but now we returned to it, we returned in our dreams, we don’t want to emigrate to Australia or Canada or the United States. I’m a communications engineer, and Germany needs more than a million engineers, but I will not emigrate to Germany, and I will paste my certificate on the back of a donkey or a bull if I’m not able to work in Palestine. The distance is becoming shorter between us and Jerusalem and we will not allow anyone to maintain that distance anymore under any slogan. The Jews must return to where they came from. We will not accept UN resolution 242. We want the whole of Palestine for us, there will not be an Arab, Jewish or Armenian neighborhood anymore, there will only be a Palestinian one. It is then that there will be a Palestinian Moslem, a Palestinian Jew and a Palestinian Armenian, let the Jews of Poland apply for jobs in Canada and Australia or let them go back to Lech Walessa.” 

The Damascus demonstration later decided that practical  

Nabil Mulhem 



steps should be taken by setting up popular committees to support the Palestinian Intifada. These committees would be led by university students to collect donations. 

The students appeared to be asserting their independence from political parties which have been seeking to entice them to join their ranks --  



© 2000 Al Bawaba (

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