Advice for Syrian opposition from a South African freedom fighter

Syrians are not the first people to start a popular uprising. I was on the ground in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico in the 1990s when the Zapatistas rose up against the Mexican government. In the 1980s, I was in Central America when wars raged through the peninsula. My own nation, the United States, began its history by declaring independence from Great Britain. The French also had their own world-renowned revolution.


A newcomer to a Syrian-American organization, it was already apparent that we needed advice if we wanted to succeed. We lacked experience so I started searching for a strategy, a distillation of a successful plan that would increase our capacity. How could I translate the experience of past revolutions into a working model? I was in need for advice from someone who participated in a successful popular uprising.


The opportunity soon presented itself. I received an invitation to attend a lecture by Patrick Chamusso, South African freedom fighter and member of the African National Congress. He is a quiet man whose unassuming demeanor would lead you to believe he lived an ordinary life. If it wasn’t for the film about his life, Catch a Fire, I might have believed my first impression.
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