chapter  3
42 Pages

The Alawites The Beleaguered Community

This chapter discusses the Alawite ordeal in Syria and the collective memories that haunt them and their failure to assimilate into mainstream Islam. It investigates the standard narrative of the Syrian revolution, critique some of its major tenets, and tease out the dangers of collective punishment the narrative implicitly calls for. The chapter examines the quality of the secular/liberal opposition, its sectarian proclivities, and its moral compromises. It also discusses the Islamization of the Syrian opposition. The Assad regime made conscious efforts to assimilate the Alawite community into the mainstream. But one would normally expect an 'Alawite regime' to invest in institutionalizing and solidifying the Alawite identity to ensure its survival and the livelihood of its followers, allegedly its very backbone. The chapter concludes by focusing on some examples of the anti-Alawite bigotry that the opposition consistently engaged in while keeping in mind that the vernacularization of bigotry is a precursor to mass killings.