In just about any other nation on Earth, the massacres in the small village of Tildou in the Al Houla area of Homs and on the tiny famr of Qubair in Hama would have been considered a disaster of national and epic proportions. The murder of 49 children and 34 women on May 25th, 2012 in Al Houla and of 78 people (half of them women and children) twelve days later in Qubeir would have been labeled a national catastrophe in any other country (save North Korea perhaps).
There would be a mourning period, flags flown at half-mast, the head of state would give speeches stating his/her sorrow and sadness, government officials would visit survivors in their homes and hospital beds, they would visit the site of the disaster, a ceremony would then be held where the head of state and local officials would attend memorials in dedication of the slain, lay wreaths, maybe a flower and then urge the nation to band together, sometimes a symbolic tombstone is planted at the site where mourners across the nation can come to pay their respects, leave memento’s and mourn.
Not in Syria.
Let us just imagine for a second that the regime actually believed their own (poorly) fabricated story of the massacres. Then why not declare a national catastrophe? Three days of mourning? Two days? One? Moment of silence? Flags at half-mast? Two thirds mast? Why not even make some semblance of an attempt to mourn the horrific loss of 49 little children?
Perhaps not even the Assad regime can stomach such a sickening lie? No, of course they can and they have many time before. The reason is because they simply don’t care. The children of Houla were part of them. The infiltrators. The Protesters. Those that ruined the ‘Utopia-Of-The-Few’ that was Syria for the past 40 years. Above and beyond any formal, forensic and accurate investigation - the fact that the government, the so-called ‘protectors’ of the people, did not mourn the children of Al-Houla for a single second speaks volumes of the regime’s guilt.
The same can be said for the lack of mourning or declaration of a national disaster after the bombings in Damascus on December 23rd, 2012 (44 killed) March 12th, 2012 (27 killed) and May 10th, 2012 (55 killed) in addition to the Aleppo bombings on February 10th, 2012 (28 killed) and March 18th, 2012 (2 killed). There was no national catastrophe declared despite the large death tolls and the fact that many of the dead were civilians. There was no mourning period. Flags still flew at full mast. Unidentified bodies were quickly buried and labeled “Anonymous” while some of the victims died twice - which can be a common occurrence Syria.
To add insult to national injury, the Assad regime seemed to revel and even gloat about the bombings - “See! we told you Al Qaida was here! “ with a smile on their face. Minutes after each attack the bulldozers were called in and spontaneous crowds of loyalists would appear out of thin air to chant, not for the souls of the dead or for the wounds inflicted on mother Syria, but for Bashar Al Assad. State TV would pan out from a pristine and untouched portrait of Assad or his father, Hafez amidst the rubble of the aftermath and show the world that immaculate and divine intervention left these ‘treasures’ untouched as the flesh of women and children lay smoldering mere feet away - God took pity on the bust of Hafez Al Assad’s face, but not on the life of lesser Syrians.
This leads me to the (obvious) conclusion that the Assad regime can be ‘credited’ for one single thing since March 15th, 2012. Their successful de-humanization of all Syrians on the other side in the eyes of Assad’s supporters, forces and hired thugs. The rural population of Syria was always considered ‘lesser-humans’ to the regime, pre-revolution and since. The Baathi strategy was to keep the cities slightly content and the hell with the countryside, who cares what the peasants think … or feel. This is apparent (with the exception of the city of Homs) in the massacres since March 15th, 2011 in the rural towns of Sanameen & Azra’a (Daraa), Al-Houla & Rastan (Homs), Latamneh & Soran (Hama), Khan Shaykhoun & Taftanaz (Idleb) Aza’az & Al-Atareb (Aleppo) amongst well more than a dozen others. All took place in the countryside … and not by coincidence. They are the lesser humans. They do not deserve your tears.
The early Baathi dream of urbanizing the downtrodden rural masses is now just a memory, never fulfilled under Hafez Al Assad. Today Bashar Al Assad has buried that early thought six feet underground. Literally.