November 16, 2012 - Correction Movement Day in Syria

Syria was once part of the Ottoman Empire, but the people suffered hardships and longed to govern themselves. After World War I, Syria was established as a French “mandate,” which means that the land and people were still under foreign control. Finally, after World War II, the nation gained independence in 1946.

But Syria's problems were far from over. A series of coups, coup attempts, and military leaders shook the nation. There was a lot of conflict, and the promise of representative government, written into Syria's constitution, was unfulfilled.

On this day in 1970, Hafez al-Assad led a bloodless military overthrow and brought some stability to Syria. In honor of Assad's “corrective” movement and stability, this holiday was supposed to be celebrated with joy and hope. However, the reality is that Assad ruled Syria with authoritarian control, and open criticism of his government was repressed. After 30 years of his rule, when he died, his son was elected president—but he ran unopposed. That doesn't sound very democratic, does it?

Since March of 2011, Syria has been shaken by uprisings and a civil war, as people have protested their government's iron rule and demanded representative democracy in actuality, not just in the constitution. Just this month, an umbrella organization called the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces has been recognized as a legitimate representative of the Syrian people by many nations, including most Arab nations, France, the U.K., and the U.S.

Will anyone be celebrating “Correction Movement Day,” this year? Maybe. After all, the younger Assad, Bashar al-Assad, is still the president and still has most of the power.

Happier Syrian stuff...

Check out Azlin Ahmad's beautiful photos of Syria. 

Corinthian Travel does not currently offer tours of Syria (naturally, given the civil war raging there!), but its website of 10 best tourist sites still promises that someday, people will once again be able to safely travel there... 

A Taste of Syria offers three free sample recipes. 

Also on this date:

Anniversary of the crowning of Jadwiga, a 10-year-old girl, as King of Poland (!) 

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