Monocolumn: Syria Revolts: Expatriates Speak Out

Monocolumn: Syria Revolts: Expatriates Speak Out

In a small Lebanese restaurant on London’s Edgware Road two Syrian chefs sat sipping tea as they watched President Bashar al-Assad deliver his first speech since the anti-regime protests began last week.

  • 31 march 2011

Monocolumn is Monocle’s daily bulletin of news and opinion. Catch up with previous editions here.

In a small Lebanese restaurant on London’s Edgware Road two Syrian chefs sat sipping tea as they watched President Bashar al-Assad deliver his first speech since the anti-regime protests began last week.

This area of London, known affectionately as “Little Beirut”, is a microcosm of the Arab world, bundled into the carpetbags of Middle Eastern immigrants and unpacked just north of Marble Arch. With its Lebanese restaurants, Halal butchers and Algerian cafés this is where London’s Arab community comes to work, play and passionately talk about politics.

But yesterday, while an audience of Syrian parliamentarians frequently interrupted Assad’s speech with applause and shouts of support, the mood in London was distinctly muted.

One of the expatriates, a 48-year-old from Deraa – the scene of some of the most violent protests in Syria – offered a jaded perspective on the situation.

“If the government can be changed, then why not? But they’ve been in power so long I can’t really imagine it. It’s more than just removing the president, it’s a family business, an economic and political mafia. His nephew controls Syriatel [the country’s largest telecommunications company], his brother runs the army and his cousin is responsible for security in Deraa.”

When pressed on what he meant by security, the second chef interrupted. “You know how these protests started? Some children, 10 or 11 years old, were arrested for writing about the government. When they were released after several days, they had had their fingernails removed. That is security. I had no problem with the regime before but now…” He tailed off.

Daniel Jacobius Morgan is a Monocle staff writer

To continue reading click here.


DIY Kit Lets You Build Your Own Wooden Bike, Boat Or Caravan

Design & Architecture
Culture Today

Messaging Add-On Helps You Correct Your Friends’ Bad Grammar

An iMessage sticker pack will help you copyedit text messages

Automotive Today

Mercedes-Benz Introduces A New Electric Mobility Brand

The separate entity aims to simplify the identification of Mercedes EV products to customers


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Work

See All
Mobile Today

Tinder’s New Feature Makes Swiping A Group Effort

The dating app wants to democratize its gestural interaction by buying in to the social polling trend pervasive among millennials

Related Expert

Sasha Orloff

Lending, Social Good, Education

Syndicated Today

Autonomous Garbage Drone Prevents Trash From Reaching Deep Ocean

The solar-powered WasteShark collects refuse closer to the source: the harbor

Automotive Today

Aston Martin Reveals Its Own Luxury Powerboat

The sleek AM37 echoes styling elements from the British brand's sports cars

Advertising Today

An Escort Website Fights Violence Against Sex Workers

The advocacy campaign from McCann aims uncover the human toll of the exploitative industry


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Digital Design Expert: Mobile First Is Dead, Think Mobile Native

Brian Cooper, chief creative officer of OLIVER Group UK, explains how some brands are still playing catch-up to new technology

PSFK Labs Yesterday

The 10 Steps To Discover, Hire, Develop Your Next Leader

PSFK's Future of Work report outlines key steps in the employee development path to empower next-gen leaders

Culture Today

LIFE Magazine Relaunches In Pure VR

The general interest periodical, which ceased publication in 2000, has turned into a portal for virtual reality content

Mobile Today

Reorder This Detox Drink With A Simple Text Message

Dirty Lemon is streamlining its communication by letting customers place orders, ask product questions and request help exclusively through chat

Op-Ed Today

The Future Of The American Workforce Requires Unbundling College Education

President of JetBlue Technology Ventures: developing corporate education programs for non-traditional students

Retail Today

Gilt’s Pop-Up House Is The Kind Of Store You’ll Want To Live In

The New York City townhouse plays host to the latest in retail inspiration, curation, and lifestyle activation (and some libations, too)


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Mobile Today

Registering To Vote Is Now Just A Text Away

A new bot aims to mobilize underrepresented groups this election season through SMS and Facebook Messenger

Africa Today

Virtual Reality Game Gives Lessons About Emergency Birth Care

LIFE is a serious tool that takes advantage of new technology to help save lives

Luxury Today

Shoe Repair Has Moved Onto Your Phone

Cobbler Concierge is an on-demand service to get your footwear fixed online

No search results found.