University of Southern California

Center for Religion & Civic Culture

Syria’s Stockholm syndrome and its sectarian war

Image of Syria’s Stockholm syndrome and its sectarian war

The Financial Times published an op-ed on the unrest in Syria by CRCC Research Associate Rhonda Roumani. The piece, published on March 13th, talks about the complex reaction to Syria’s revolution, even among its expatriates.

An excerpt:

When I worked in Syria as a journalist from 2004 to 2007 I was surprised to learn how many backed the regime - including members of my extended family. And those who supported the regime (as well as those who opposed it) came from all walks of life - Sunnis and Shias, Alawites, Christians and Druze.

At first I chalked it up to a sort of Stockholm syndrome. With time, I came to understand it differently. Bashar the son was better than Hafez the father, many believed. After all, what was the alternative? They placed a high value on stability. As the conflict intensifies, I often wonder what those who once backed the regime are thinking now.

The article is available online for a limited-time and via subscription on the Financial Times website.

Photo from the Associated Press.