Choice of Texts

Michel Aflak

The Struggle

We have never believed that the stage of construction had come. Construction cannot take place except in a unified Arab nation liberated from all vestiges of foreign domination and influence. But our present task, after the foreigners have evacuated some of our regions, and their occupation of other regions has become less concentrated, is to build up the national struggle and strongly consolidate it.
(Our cause is still that of nationalist liberation, 4 -Al-Baath -August 19, 1946)

Real struggle can never be destruction, negativeness or inaction. It is creativeness, building, and a fruitful and positive action. But its quality of innovation and creativeness makes it appear, in the eyes of many, especially those against whom it is directed, negative and destructive, because the very emergence of sound action destroys their degenerate hopes, and merely steering for the correct goal appears as a defiance to their crooked ways, and the rise of the new structure will put their decrepit buildings in the shadows, and reduce the space, which they have been monopolizing.
(The positive struggle is the way for this generation to achieve the overthrow, 4 January, 1948)

The ethical views of the Arab Baath in its present form would be summarized in the following: as long as this kind of normal and dignified life is forbidden to the overwhelming majority of the people as a result of the corrupt conditions, those who believe in the rights of the people will not agree to participate in a life they consider illegal and unjust for the people. Therefore they prefer the life of principles. Struggle and the serious law of life cannot allow the realization of a great goal, an important progress and a fundamental change without paying a high price for it, which means sacrifice.
In the ideological and practical conditions that I have mentioned, the sound and successful methods of our movement are objectively adequate.
(The comprehensive ideological movement, 1 -1950)

The struggle, which is the practical expression of the idea of radical change, means that the nation awakens after that long slumber, after that relaxation and capitulation to easy and soft life, after that long absence of the spirit of serious and hard life. It means that the nation must have that nostalgia for combating life and destiny and must look at life with a profound and heroic view and see value in the effort before seeing its fruits.
(The Arab Baath is the radical change. 1 -1950)

The way of combatants is hard in appearance but, easy in fact, for they fight not only their own power, not in their limited and small number, but also because they fight armed with the interest of the larger number of the Arab people who are awakened by the advance in the vanguard and discover in that vanguard themselves their interest and their way. They fight with the will latent in the heart of the whole nation, the will that the nation lacked, as a daring model and example of movement from passiveness and slumber to awakening and action.
(The Arab Baath is the overthrow, 1 -February, 1950)

We struggle and fight the corrupt and false political and social conditions not merely to remove them and exchange them for others but also in order that the nation may regains its unity through this very struggle.
(Of the meanings of radical change, 1 -February, 1950)

The Arab nation is the victim of the harshest injustice known to this age. It cannot combat an injustice of this historic magnitude and overcome it unless it deepens its struggle in such a way that it touches the roots of humanity and meets every human and historic struggle.
The Arabs have experienced the hard and bitter path to the extent that their value has been reduced and their spiritual level lowered, the masses of the people have become isolated from the conduct of their affairs and the fate of the nation has become a plaything in the hand of the wealthy, exploiters, amateurs and vain adventurers.
The atmosphere becomes putrid, when degeneracy reigns pessimism spread and the human soul is deadened to the meaning of destiny and the historic mission.
(The battle between genuine and superficial existence, 2)

The Arab people, led by the believing and conscious vanguard, will persist in its liberating, historic struggle beating the trail laid out by life for every true and genuine action. It is the way of revival from within, so that the souls are created before the means, the wills before the arms. It is the living tide that penetrates the soul of the nation, reveals its innermost points and touches its freedom as its deepest roots. When struggle steels the spirit of our nation and its tide embraces the masses of our people, then matters will appear differently than they do now. The Arabs will then know that atrocious imperialism, usurping Zionism and every external aggression and internal injustice were all nothing but opportunities for the Arab people to affirm their cultural values and renew their humanitarian message.
If the experience, at this new stage of revival, has entailed additional humiliation, harshness and suffering, it is in order that the expression of the Arab message becomes the bearer of additional liberty, mercy and right.
(The battle between superficial and genuine existence, 2)

Is there a realized Arab nation? It is realized to a small extent, but it is realized wherever there is struggle and especially when it is serious and faces death at every hour... In confronting death all deceptions and the burden of centuries of inactivity are lifted, as well as the burdens of ignorance and various selfish interests. All these hindrances, which have made the nation weak and caused it to lose its humanity and its capacity to respond to life and its cultural potential. All these negative and harmful burdens that destroyed our nation will cease to exist when death is confronted.
The man who stands up to death is the real man.
Man at the hour of death becomes ready to sacrifice his life, and he discovers then the unnaturalness of the consideration, which fettered him: bigotry, and private interests, for death is more powerful than any artificial thing.
Our nation exists, then, wherever its men carry arms.
(The unity of struggle in the Arab Maghreb, 1 -March, 1956)

When the people are mobilized and the youth receives arms and becomes trained and when they disperse among the people to lift their morals and explain to them the gravity of the situation and the battle, when they caution them against hesitancy, weakening and conspiracies, I firmly believe that the battle will be under our control and we shall be able to seize the opportunity to enlarge its scope. I t should be born in mind that enlarging the field of the battle is not confined to the engagement of armies, although the engagement of armies is the most important thing, and the serious manifestation of the battle.
But the battle has many fields in which the interests of imperialism could be hurt, brought under pressure, frighten and shown that the whole Arab land will erupt, that the nation is persistent and nothing will bend its will. This will especially take place when the people, of whom you are the vanguard, enter the atmosphere of, war. We do not yet have, the atmosphere of war, with all its seriousness, deprivation, its change of many customs and the usual style of life, its elevation of spirit and ardor, its urging for sacrifice and heroism in the ranks of the people, and its warning to be on the alert for every emergency. What has taken place now would be simple if compared with the hidden designs of imperialism, which has remained undeterred by world public opinion; by the U .N. Imperialism is attacking in an insolent way. What will prevent it from occupying Syria and the other regions? Therefore it has become imperative to mobilize the people and be ready.
(The battle and the will of the nation, 5 -November 4, 1956)

There are in the Arab nation groups and individuals who realize that there is no escape from this battle, and it is much better for the battle to be open, and the Arab people to come to it willingly and quite conscious of their objectives and goals, aware of what should it choose when entering it and for what purpose. When the battle becomes so open and so clear, the Arab people will be saving itself for many latent powers will arise and grow with clear and open knowledge.
(The battle and the will of the nation, 5 -November 4, 1956)

What are of great concern to all of us are the struggle of Maghreb and the unity of Maghreb. On the basis of our description I say that the unity of Maghreb cannot be realized except in the unity of its struggle. Any division in the struggle of Maghreb will make impossible the political and economic unity in future. Political Unity is that which is achieved in the combat, for the combat is the healthy life of the Arabs, like every nation, which has lost its leadership in the past and become backward and needs to catch up, to rise. The healthy state, which expresses the reality of the nation, is struggle.
Look at the Arabs without struggle and you will find them among the backward peoples. Look at them while they struggle and you will find them among the highest nations.
In struggle we build the foundations of our future life. In struggle the factors causing decadence will be removed. In the atmosphere of struggle there will be no private benefit, base rivalries and selfishness will cease to exist, because struggle builds a new standard and spirits will have either to be elevated to it or be left out.
(Our view of Arab unity, 1 -1956)

We have entered a serious battle and let me say immediately that this war is vitally necessary to the Arabs, and that any evasion from it or even putting it off was
a forgery of the Arab revival and a corruption of the genuineness and virility of this revival. Renaissances and movements of revival must have their price. The price will not be too high when compared with the value of revival. You must be convinced of a certain thing that deserves to be the rule of life for every Arab youth: that life cannot be cheated. Serious life is not deceit. Correct history, and nothing survives in history, which is to correct, cannot bear deceit and cheating. Nations cannot become independent, they cannot grow and their senses cannot be acute, their spirits cannot be elevated, the spring of action for building and sacrifice and good cannot be deep and overflowing unless they suffer by themselves and pay the adequate price for what life requires from them.
Struggle is a mater that penetrates and extends to the life of the simplest citizen in the smallest village and to the conditions of that life and its ways. From that life and similar lives the powers and capacities of the nation are formed. If the struggling elements are unable to influence the rule in a way that creates a source from which they can draw their liberating radical change rallying cries and if they cannot change conditions and create the forces which would make them equal to the task of the liberation of the Arab homeland and its unification and overcoming the obstacles posed by imperialism, its allies and agents, their aloofness from the rule will better serve the purpose of awakening the people and maintaining the straight forwardness of its direction and the vitality of its struggle.
(A struggle commensurate with the goals and risks, 2 January 25, 1957)

Struggle is the best educator for awareness because it is a direct and correct experience of the meaning of liberty and the meaning of right, justice and progress.
(The struggle for unity is the struggle of the masses, 2 - March, 1957)

The way is paved to start this attempt, but this orientation does not mean that to elevate the Arab struggle to the level theory inevitably means rigidity, a loss of flexibility and verbal attachment to previous ideas and plans. The theory, if it cannot create the future, can allow participation in its creation by what it gives to struggle through the will, planning and the preparation of adequate conditions.
It does not prevent adaptation to new and unforeseen circumstances but it secures the continuation of the political direction through flexibility and adaptation.
It is not sufficient that the intuition of the new revolutionary leaders be correct and profound an that their treatment of the present conditions be open to the future and plan for it, for the leaders may go or be changed, and it is necessary for objective bases and rules to be within the grasp of the greater number of the people and be enriched by the experience of the struggling people over the years. They will be invoked as yardsticks to measure the extent of the progress of our struggle, the soundness of its march as well as a means for the people to supervise itself and its leaders.
(For an Arab overthrowing consciousness, 2 -August 2, 1957)

The Arab future has to either be faithful to the principles of popular struggle and become a new future, creative and worthy of carrying the message, or else derogate these principles and ideals, considering that they were necessary for a certain stage they have exhausted their objectives. The latter will carry the seeds of fundamental shortcomings and new relapses.
(The historic role of The Baath movement, 1 -April 7, 1960)


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