|Nour Chammas | Attorney||Cleveland, Ohio|
Re: ‘Syria is ...’
Due to the various foreign forces that have occupied our land and the ensuing division and fragmentation that resulted from such occupations, our national identity has been compromised, and as such the true meaning of the name of our homeland, namely Syria, has been lost. While historians and other intellectuals continue to identify Syria, albeit without an accurate delineation of Syria’s borders, as that region that encompasses the general area of the Fertile Crescent where civilization was brought to this earth, most people today associate the name Syria with the current Syrian Arab Republic, which is a product of western colonial carving of the natural geographic environment that gave rise to the Syrian nation. Seeing Syria with such a narrow lens gives an inaccurate and falsified image of our identity as a people.
It is impossible for a society to form and take shape without it being attached to a particular geographic territory, which is the fundamental factor that shapes the character and temperament of such society. It follows from this sociological principle that when a nation is no longer conscious of its natural environment it thereby loses its national identity, leading to its impending fragmentation, which can only bring it woes and disasters. This has been the case of our Syrian nation, where our loss of national consciousness has pitted various particularistic groups against each other and drained the nation of its energy, making it an easy prey for foreign designs and agendas. Nevertheless, with our proper understanding of the true meaning of Syria the homeland, we can once again retrieve our lost national identity and Syrians can once again occupy their rightful place among the living nations of the world.
The Syrian homeland is that stretch of geographic territory where the Syrian nation was formed, and it has natural geographic boundaries that differentiate it from other lands, stretching from the Taurus Mountains from the northwest and the Zagros Mountains in the northeast to the Suez Canal in the south, including the Sinai Peninsula, and from the Syrian (Mediterranean) Sea in the west, including the island of Cyprus, to the arch of the Arabian Desert and the Persian Gulf in the east. It can be expressed with the general description “The Syrian Fertile Crescent, with Cyprus being its star.”
It is here where civilizations that enlightened the world and contributed to humanity in general were born. These civilizations include the Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Akkadians, Chaldeans, Arameans, Hittites, and Canaanites. Syria was the birthplace of the alphabet, the first musical notation, the first code of laws, the wheel, the sail, the numbers, astronomy, mathematics, engineering, architecture, chemistry, physics, art, and philosophy. Syria thus can be accurately said to encompass all science, all philosophy, and all art in the world. It is from this land that the world was transferred from an age of darkness to an age of enlightenment, allowing mankind to advance and develop into where we are today. Syria has historically played a crucial role in the advancement of human civilization and it shall inevitably reassume this role once the Syrians become aware of their national identity and return their nation to vitality and strength.
Every Syrian should keep imprinted in their mind the vastness of their homeland, the symbol of their heritage, from the glorious mountains of Lebanon to the peaceful hills of Palestine and to the grand plains of Sham (Syrian Arab Republic) and Iraq if they are to transform their nation from a weak fragmented body into a strong, advanced, and dynamic society, where they shall continue to contribute to the world from their wide array of talents and intellectual capacities. While our forefathers experienced conquerors in the past and tread on their remains, it is our job to put an end to conquests and to proceed therefrom to our natural position as global leaders in scientific, philosophical, and artistic achievements. Only then will the true image of Syria finally be uncovered.