Syria’s authoritarian regime has been quick to lock up bloggers who tweak it even slightly, but it seems to have turned the other cheek as a flame war over masturbation has erupted. One blogger’s call for a crackdown on the evidently widespread “secret habit” elicited a push for an “unprecedented Syrian Orgasm against absurdity, hypocrisy, and sanctimony,” while a third Web critic wants an entire week devoted to moral decay.
“Whenever you have a high degree of authoritarianism, the things that are tolerated will rise to the surface quite forcefully,” one unsurprised Syria expert tells Newsweek. Indeed, adds the blogger whose anti-morality festivities would include pornography, drug use, and eating during Ramadan, “you’re only in danger when discussing sensitive political issues. The presidency, for example.”