Muneib poses for a photo at the top of the highest mountain in Damascus, Syria.
I am a Syrian-American. I was born in and currently live in Albany, N.Y., with my parents. My parents came to the United States sometime around 1976. I never knew about the Syrian revolution until just recently.
It took me a while to figure out what was going on. I was in Chinese class when the teacher asked how my family was doing in Syria and if everything is ok.
I didn’t exactly understand what he was referring to until I got home that day. I learned that a revolution had begun in Syria, very similar to the revolution that was and still is taking place in Egypt, in which the people were trying to get rid of the tyranny type government and substitute it with a democracy.
We discussed the revolution in Egypt in my World History class and it really interested me. It’s amazing how revolutions make their way to textbooks quickly. It’s good to know about something like this, since it is most likely going to make history.
When I heard something similar was taking place in Syria, I had my nose leaned close to the TV for a while, but after hearing all about shootings, deaths, drama, and protests on the news, it got rather stressful and I often found myself changing the channel.
The revolution in Syria affects me in several different ways. To begin with, it delayed my travel plans to go to Syria, and it certainly has a major impact on my family. A huge chunk of them are actually living in Syria. There is a lot of drama, chaos and fighting that's taking place.
Even though I have a lot family in Syria, it’s actually really hard to get to know what’s happening. For one, I haven’t talked to them in a really long time. Secondly, when I do have the chance to communicate with them, I try not to bring up the subject because I’m sure no one would like to discuss something as bad as this over the phone. Yet, I do know that whatever is going on there, it’s not as bad in Damascus compared to other areas.
It’s going to be really difficult for things to be resolved. I think we should just be patient. It's not like we can actually do anything about it. This form of tyranny has been going on for years in Syria, and I'm pretty sure it's not going to be given up so easily. There will be massive conflicts, I know that for sure. I think we just have to wait.
Many times when countries try to help other countries without them even asking for the assistance, it leads to bigger problems then the ones they started with. So unless Syrians ask for help, none should be provided.
The reason why Syrians are protesting and fighting is the same reason why we Americans fought against the British: We wanted our freedom. Freedom does exist in Syria. A lot of people think that people are forced to wear certain clothing, which isn’t true at all. People have the right and freedom to do so. However, there are certain types of freedom that can’t be expressed compared to the others: Freedom of speech. People don’t have the right to vote on who they want which is the reason why their government can be considered a dictatorship. People also can’t express their feelings towards the government. So of course, anyone who lived under these conditions would at least attempt protesting.
Would I participate if I was there? Probably not. First of all, the fact is that I'm from America and only going to Syria for a trip. So protesting wouldn’t seem quite right.
Second, because of limited freedom of speech, protesting hardly does anything. It won't even affect anything unless there is a huge amount of people revolting against it.
Last, if I was in their shoes, I don't necessarily think protesting is the safe way to go. To be honest, I don't even know what is. Due to this confusion, I think it’s both safer and smarter to be out rather than jumping in.