The war of the nail
Now that it is getting quieter in Syria, I sometimes think about the beginning. The Arab Spring did not just enter our country. As often with wars, it started with a small incident. An incident that resulted in a great war. In the city of Daraa in southern Syria, children at their school wrote that President Bashar al-Assad should leave. The children of that school were arrested and thrown into prison. Fathers, grandfathers, and imams went to the head of the security service to get the children free. Children in prison, that should not be possible! The man answered them, “If your children misbehave, send your wives to me. Then I will make children with them who are of good quality.”
With that one sentence, he touched something important. The honor of Syrian men. They went out into the street in anger. The crowd grew bigger and bigger, until the entire country revolted and the Arab Spring was still blowing to Syria. After a while, the children were released. They were tortured. During the interrogation their nails were cut off. So far, that it hurt.
In the Netherlands the word ‘honor’ does not mean much. It is not a holy word where people have very deep feelings. It might not be the reason for a war here. In Syria, an impaired sense of honor, as it turns out, can work as a lighter that sets an entire country on fire. Of course there had been a lot of years for years, and the nail incident was just a spark that allowed things to explode. Nevertheless, to date there is talk about ‘the war of the nail’. You could also say: ‘The war of honor and freedom’.