Nonviolence Movement in the Cradle of the Uprising

25 February 2015

The Syrian Nonviolence Movement in Daraa was established in early 2013. The significance of the date, well after the Syrian uprising had all but become an armed rebellion, is profound. It is an emblem of the undying spirit of nonviolence in the Syrian uprising: “However different our methods, freedom remains the ultimate goal,” one of their sign said.

The group was established to “bring forward the voice of the revolutionaries to the whole world, at a time when civic action has been eclipsed by the armed struggle, and at a time when the regime is trying to portray the uprising as a dying movement, and the struggle as one of sectarian motives,” according to one of the founders of the group.

The group’s insistence on the ideals of nonviolence comes out of deep belief that “nonviolent action is the most efficient resort to building strong moral nations, and is one of the guarantees of democracy,” the group states. The group has taken to the streets to mobilise people and garner support for their ideals. They have also collaborated with local self-governance councils on a variety of initiatives including planting trees, organising support workshops for the refugees in the town, and supporting the local field hospitals in the area.

"It's my right to play without fear of bombs." Source: Facebook.
"It's my right to play without fear of bombs." Source: Facebook.

The banners that the group chooses to use in its activities take a critical look not only towards the tyranny of Bashar al-Assad, but also against some of the authoritarian forces in the uprising itself. On 17 October 2014, for example, one of the children unfurled a banner that said “closing the border-crosses [to Jordan], is more painful than Assad’s barrel bombs.” In reference to the Free Syrian Army’s activities that forced Jordan to close the border crossing at Nassib, close to Daraa. “Which is more difficult, to bring down the regime, or to bring down the opposition?” another stated, in reference to the often fragmented and toothless political opposition forces. The movement has also turned its attention to the hypocrisy of the international coalition that was set-up to combat ISIS and asked: “What about the terrorism of the Syrian regime?”

The group has also taken to coordinate with some of the armed rebel groups in the areas, in order to try and “right some of the wrong trajectories that the uprising has taken.” This is also out of the belief that armed resistance must always be accompanied by civic resistance too, and that the two should compliment each other.

The group, which has received no financial or material support from any side, has brought Daraa back to its rightful place as the cradle of the Syrian uprising.


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Illustation by Dima Nechawi Graphic Design by Hesham Asaad