World: SYRIA: Chasing Out the Demons

NEAR the farming village of Shra, 200 miles north of Damascus, thousands of Syrian fellahin crowded onto a dusty field last week for a joyous ceremony: 3,927 men were to receive titles to the land they and their ancestors had always tilled for the enrichment of others. Brightly dressed sword dancers swung their great curved sabers in a fierce ballet. A spare, bearded mullah on the edge of the crowd intoned verses from the Koran. The peasants greeted each statement by Minister of Agrarian Reform Ahmed Abdel Karim with a rhythmic chant: "Down with feudalism! Down with imperialism! Down with dictatorship!...

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