It comes as no surprise to me that the proponents of ‘Hands off Syria’ have been keeping their hands off Syria for almost three years now. While the under privileged and downtrodden citizens of Syria took to the streets peacefully chanting for change they were cut down with machine guns and you kept your hands off Syria. When the underclass realized that nobody would step up to protect them because it was in nobody’s favor they picked up small arms to defend themselves and you kept your hands off of Syria. As Assad began air raids and shelling campaigns on the civilians of Homs, pictures of women and children slaughtered surfaced everywhere and you kept your hands off Syria. After Assad’s killing squads entered the civilian, unarmed villages of Banias and slaughtered over a thousand people using knives you kept your hands off of Syria.
Early on in the revolution in Syria, Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s secretary general, voiced his support for the Assad regime. Many in Arab nations who were staunch Hezbollah supporters on the basis of its commitment to the idea of ‘resistance’ were shocked. Hezbollah: the same organization that was outraged by the Israeli murder of Muhammad Al Durrah in Palestine was now condoning the torture of children in Syria at the hands of the ‘resistance’. The hypocrisy was blatant; and Syrians began to see the true face (or one of the many faces) of Hezbollah.
Even as Assad’s military – funded by Iran and armed by Russia – unleashed itself upon unarmed, peaceful demonstrators all over Syria, Hezbollah was providing his regime with something money cannot buy: the illusion of legitimacy amongst would-be ‘resistance’-minded Arabs. This is Hassan Nasrallah’s gift to Assad. And it keeps on giving.
The strategy was simple, with Iran’s money, Assad’s could outlast the rebels and their more limited financial resources. With Russia’s weapons, the regime drastically outguns the Free Syrian Army. And finally, with the open support of Hezbollah, Assad could convince much of the Arab world that his war is waged in the spirit of the ‘resistance’ Hezbollah has represented historically. It is a strategy designed to win both hearts and minds by appealing to a narrative that is easy to fall into given it’s familiarity in the region.
The Assad regime has enjoyed complete authority over Syria for over forty years. Over the course of those forty years the regime has violated every human right imaginable. The arbitrary arrest and detention of political dissidents was common practice in Hafez’s Syria and still is today. Most prisoners are held incommunicado in dismal conditions, provided with little to no food, no toilet, and jammed into a cell made for 10 people but filled with 40. Besides the atrocious conditions, all prisoners are subject to the worst forms of physical, emotional, and psychological torture. This practice of torture was taken advantage of by the Bush administration who began sending people to Syria for ‘questioning’ through their rendition program.
Outside of prison Syria’s lack of freedom of expression is only second to North Korea. Human rights activists, bloggers, and suspected homosexuals are arrested without warrants. As a matter of fact, homosexuality in Syria carries a minimum sentence of 3 years in the aforementioned prisons. Television and the internet are both censored or monitored by the government. All press channels are state owned and operated. Continue reading
“MiG – ميغ”
“This movie is about the Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk in Damascus, Syria. On December 16th, it was attacked by the Assad regime’s MiGs, as a punishment for sheltering displaced Syrians & Palestinians whom lost their neighborhoods due to Assad’s attacks on civillians. It may seem the “MiGs” aimed to knock down the place, but the real goal was languishing the spirit of the Palestinians in Yarmouk.”
For almost a year now we have been hearing loud cries for a political solution in Syria. The goal, some would have you believe, is to end the conflict in a way that sheds the least amount of blood. It is really a simple premise, the Syrian people’s representatives will meet with the representatives of Assad’s government to come to an agreement that will end the loss of life in Syria and restore peace. While it sound’s great on paper I would like to demonstrate to you why a political solution will never truly materialize despite it’s good intentions.
Yabroud, Damascus is a small town North East of Damascus’ city center. During the last two years of revolution Yabroud has remained a bastion of non-violent resistance against the regime. Rallying against the regime and eventually succeeding in freeing themselves from Assad’s militants without shedding blood. The following video will demonstrate how beautifully Yabroud’s people have come together in order to improve their town and their country.
Can you think of a solution any more peaceful than this? Peaceful demonstrations succeeded in ousting Assad from this town and the people followed up by cleaning up their streets, organizing their society, and letting all know that whether you are with the regime or against it, let’s respect one another.
Yabroud remained peaceful, free, and flourishing for almost a year until the regime decided they wanted ‘their territory’ back.
This is a video from Yabroud today as Assad’s military attacks the peaceful town in order to reclaim it.
Now I ask you, do you believe a political solution is attainable with Assad?
First and foremost, the act of cannibalism depicted in that video featuring Abu Saqar is unacceptable in every way imaginable. I understand the bitterness that Abu Saqar felt when watching the videos of rape this dead enemy combatant had on his cell phone. However, this does not excuse his actions and it is unfortunate that Abu Saqar seems to have become the very monster that he is fighting against.
With that being said, this video has brought to light something that needs to be talked about. Where was all this outrage over the thousands of videos from Syria that have been posted online depicting horrible acts of mutilation? Some of them were uploaded by the very men who participated in the mutilation in an obvious show of pride. Besides that, as the opposition and its representative bodies scramble to condemn this act by a lone rebel why has the regime not condemned any of the atrocities their soldiers have committed and proudly put on display? More importantly, why are people demanding the opposition condemn these acts when almost nobody has demanded the regime condemn their’s? As a proud member of the opposition I will answer this question myself. This regime has proven itself over the last 40+ years to have an extremely low regard for human life and as the people who oppose that type of paradigm we must hold ourselves to a much higher standard. So I am proud that people demand we condemn these acts while not asking the regime to do the same because it means that people have come to expect this kind of filth from Assad’s party but they hold the opposition to much high standards.
One thing that is always important to note when comparing the mistakes of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to the atrocities of Assad’s military is its structure. The Free Syrian Army is an idea more than it is an actual military. There is no central command, there is no hand book, and there is no official training. The idea of the FSA is to use weapons in defense of yourself and your people and to retake the rights guaranteed to all human beings by default but have been taken away by this regime. The idea of the Free Syrian Army does not include the mutilation, torture, or cruel & unusual punishment of anybody alive or dead. Anybody can become a part of the Free Syrian Army by picking up arms and subscribing to this ideology. If one is to commit a crime that is not in alignment with the idea of the Free Syrian Army than they have left the realm of the FSA and moved into something different.
On the other hand, Assad’s forces are a ‘national’ military. They are trained the same, they wear uniforms, they have a central command, they have a command structure. Anything that is committed by these combatants is representative of the entire body. They are products of the system that they believe in and are willingly a part of. While the evidence of atrocities this military has committed are undeniable and plentiful we have not heard of many (if any) criminal cases against perpetrators of said atrocities. This in itself is a significant testament to why Assad and his government must be dismantled.
Now that we got that out of the way I present to you ’10 Things Worse Than Eating a Dead Guy’s Heart’:
- While beating a group of men to death you suddenly get an urge to ask “Which one is the religious scholar?” so you can make the beating extra unpleasant for him. Continue reading
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to put words down on paper. I am still absorbing and contemplating what I saw in Syria. I have decided to focus on one thing that struck me during my visit and to use pictures where words fail.
Often, supporters of the Assad regime recite ‘free education’ as a reason why the regime is good. Besides the obvious fact that free education is not an excuse to use torture against prisoners of conscience, I would like to show you where a ‘free education’ is received.
This ‘photo essay’ (if you can call it that) is called “Doorknobs” because what stuck out to me most is that none of the school’s doors had doorknobs. We are rarely conscious of door knobs, they’re just supposed to be on a door. It’s something so basic that if that was lacking, what else might be?
Free education should also mean a quality education in a quality environment.