Bashar Al-Asad: 'They want us without a memory, so they can plan our future'

From a speech by the President of Syria, delivered to the students of Damascus University

The fast pace of developments in our region and the tragic consequences of these developments have made Arab citizens pay a high price in terms of their livelihood, security and dignity. The confused vision and the loss of direction among some people violently shocked the convictions, ideas and values of the Arab people, particularly young people.

A number of international circles, and their agents in our Arab establishment, have been trying to promote their destructive political schemes under exciting names which touch people's feelings and emotions. They have been targeting people's minds and souls before targeting their countries, and invading their cultural identity and national existence before invading their national borders. They have been doing this in an orchestrated media campaign which has met a partial success thanks to the high technology it possesses, the money it spends, and the dubious trumpets it hires to promote this campaign of deceit.

Theorists of this war have targeted our youth, in particular. That think that these young people are the weak point in any confrontation or any attempt to crack our national structure. I tell you, in all confidence, that your generation will prove to the enemies and the opponents that it is not less capable of standing fast and challenging than those who preceded them. Hence, you and I are going to face these challenges togetherand will defeat them with the determination that we inherited from our fathers.

A quick look at the issues raised at present in the political arena will show that all of them have one root, which is our absolute refusal to bargain over independence versus subordination, sovereignty versus submission and dignity versus submission.

The problem of certain powers with Syria, or Syria's problem with certain powers, is its pan-Arab national identity. Arab nationalism is our identity and our history; and history is our memory which enables us to go to the heart of the present and the future. They want us without a memory so that they can plan our future for us, and without an identity so that they can identify our role for us.

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