|Good Cop Bad Cop|
I’m sure you know what I’m talking about… We’ve seen it over and over in as many Hollywood movies as you’d like, yet let me paint the picture! A suspect is sitting in a small investigation room with dimmed light just enough to distinguish the table and set of chairs in the middle. He’s been made to wait an awful bit of time as the first step of the unnerving investigation process, his body language would suggest that this is working. Two cops are outside watching him closely through the mirror glass trying to judge the exact moment to step in, and when they do, the agreed upon process begins. The “good cop” takes the initiative by grabbing a seat very calmly and sits to face the agitated suspect, while the “bad cop” is using the wall as a mattress. The “good cop” would kick off with simple basic questions moving on to the serious ones rather quickly, hoping the guy in question would respond positively and therefore make easy of their job. Well, more often than not the suspect doesn’t cooperate and so the “good cop” would act tired and leave the room for a cigarette or a cup of coffee, and that’s when the “bad cop” would step in. He’s been watching all the nonsense with impatience and now comes his chance to do it his own way; violence would start with words and would normally escalate into physical assault, just about when the “good cop” is back again. Appalled and angry, he would scold his college and ask him to take a break, he would then turn to the suspect who’s starting to feel like he might have a friend here or at the very least a nice enemy. Nice would describe the words used to get the truth out of him, it all depends really on how fragile he is becoming; otherwise the game of “good cop bad cop” will continue until all is out!
This, the way I see it, portrays to some extent what’s been going on in Syria for years! After the physical death of Hafez Al-Assad, Bashar seemed to be the perfect candidate to become his successor with an extra role of the “good cop”, whereas his brother Maher and the rest of the army and intelligence leaders would carry the spirit of Hafez by taking up the role of “bad cop”. For years Bashar played the reformer, who’s always ready to sweat-talk the nation into more trust and hope, whereas the intelligence device would deal with all those who dare to question that. Recent events very strongly expose this game to all those who couldn’t see it before, as we see on daily basis the “bad cop” is in action while the “good cop” is trying to hang on to the image of the regime and legitimize the game! But Syrians “the suspect” are having none of it; some never really bought it from the start, while many others are finally able to see.
There are few major differences comparing the Hollywood version to the Syrian one, though. One is the fact that both cops are in reality bad ones in the Syria scenario playing a dirty game, as opposed to the good cops usually portrayed in the movies. A lot of theories about Bashar would suggest he’s stuck with his role rather than playing it willingly, but for my money and after all that had happened it’s all the same. Another major difference would have to be that “the suspect” is innocent, falsely accused, and should not be a suspect in the first place; just like those playing the cops should never have been fit to play these roles as the current happenings would suggest.
In short, we dream of a new game now; where cops are just cops, leaders are just leaders, and people are safe and able to choose their leaders and cops and question them… it’s the game of democracy!