After the death of Syria's President Hafiz al-Asad inmid-2000, hopes were high that his son and successor, Bashar, might succeed inreforming a system that had become a byword for economic stagnation and thepitiless repression of dissent.
For six months, and for the first time indecades, Syrians were able to speak freely, without fear of the hated secretpolice.
Political discussion groups mushroomed. The press started carryingarticles openly demanding democracy, and petitions were circulated insistingthat democracy was essential not only for its own sake but as a condition fordesperately needed investment and economic expansion. Based on the testimony of key players, Syria: Neither Bread Nor Freedom recounts the drama of the `DamascusSpring' and its repression, and reveals what happens in a state like Syria tothe institutions that occupy the political space between government and governed.
From political parties to parliament, from the media to the judicial system anduniversities, this book lifts the veil of rhetoric and propaganda to reveal asystem so demoralized and corrupt that power is wielded for no purpose butpower itself.
This is Bashar al-Asad's legacy and the system which, given time,he hopes to reform.