The thunder of artillery duels on the nearby Golan Heights was drowned out by the tramp of soldiers on the march and the cheers of the people on Wednesday (I May) as Demascus celebrated May Day.
The thunder of artillery duels on the nearby Golan Heights was drowned out by the tramp of soldiers on the march and the cheers of the people on Wednesday (I May) as Demascus celebrated May Day. The capital was ablaze with flags, decorations, and banners with patriotic slogans, for the occasion. They were all aimed at exhorting the workers to produce more as their part of the struggle with Israel.
The Syrian economy is in tatters because of the war effort. Seventy per cent of the nation's economy goes to the armed forces. Despite the fighting on the Golan Heights, the Damascus parade was mostly military. For three hours students, workers, militia and sports teams marched through the city to the roar of the people. Units of the Palestinian Liberation movement also took part in the parade.
President Hafez al-Assad did not attend, but hundreds of photographs were a constant reminder to the people. He has developed into a father figure and his unyielding attitude on the Israeli question commands widespread support in the country as he prepares to meet United States Secretary of State. Dr. Henry Kissinger.
The American statesman is due in Damascus on Saturday (4 May) on what could prove one of the most difficult peace missions of his career. The May Day decorations will still be in place as he drives to meet President Assad, a reminder of the intense nationalism which has been revived in Syria.