bandannie: the speakers do not mention BDS of which there was less talk two years ago and which reveals itself as a more efficient weapon than bombs[vimeo vimeo.com/5888492]
My guest this week is recognised throughout the world of academia as a man with one of the best minds of our time. He is Lord Bhikhu Parekh. He has held many academic posts and is currently the President of the Academy of Social Sciences.
His academic interests include political philosophy, the history of political thought, social theory, ancient and modern Indian political thought, and the philosophy of ethnic relations, which includes consideration of what determines whether peoples can or cannot live together.
Today, the Syrian revolution has spread far across the country, but one city stands out from amongst the rest. The besieged city of Homs is not only central to the Syrian uprising, but as one who calls Homs home, it is central to my life.
The Homs I knew was the safest place you could visit. A city I would spend my summers eating shawarmas late into the night, going from wedding to wedding, and walking up and down share’ al-mal’ab. Life was sweet but simple. The only fear we ever had growing up on our holidays in Syria was if we slipped up and spoke Assad’s name. We dared not speak of, or about him. It was simple. To live freely you had to play by the rules, conform and act as though you worshipped the president.
But is that really living in freedom? The fear of Assad’s regime is not something that came about eight months ago when the revolution began; rather it is something that has been instilled in every single Syrian since infancy. It is only now that the world is witnessing the brutality of Assad’s regime, as he massacres and tortures before our very eyes. We see brave men risking their lives, risking everything, to march through the streets; their voices and demands for freedom echoing and resonating through the city. Syrian men are shielded with an armour of bravery, forged by a trust in God. That is all they have. A faith in God, with hope and determination that this revolution will continue until it sees the only way out – a free Syria.
So what can we say about the thousands that claim to support Assad? I could fit any Assad supporter into one of four categories.
The first is personal benefit, because the success of many Syrians, if not all, is in some way or other tied down to the government. The rule in this sick game is that you cannot succeed without Assad and his cronies. These people support Assad because they believe that going against him means losing everything they own.
The second is fear and pressure. Having seen what Assad and his thugs have done, having heard of and witnessed the barbaric torture being implemented, it is only reasonable to expect that many will fear for themselves. For such reasons, many act as though they love Mr. President, to remain as far and safe as possible from any torment coming their way. Furthermore, many people are coerced and pressured by security forces to attend pro-government protests, threatened with torture, losing their jobs, or even their lives if they do not attend – they have little choice but to comply.
The third is ignorance. When I was in Damascus a few months ago, I met so many people who went on these marches, blinded by the propaganda. I recall a lady telling me not to believe the lies I saw in the news, that it was all a façade and that the blood we see dripping from people on-screen is actually ketchup. It was the most absurd thing I had ever heard but some Syrians, despite seeing such footage of torture, were adamant that this was all some kind of minority plot against Assad to cause trouble. Denial is what these people were so engrossed in, but I guarantee today, four months on, their views will have drastically changed.
And finally, the fourth reason is a lack of conscience. I include this because I would personally question the moral conscience of anyone that decides to side with a murderer; a cold-blooded murderer, responsible for the death of thousands and carrying the blood of every Syrian martyr. My cousin in Homs once said, “we are carving the word ‘freedom’ with our blood” – and as sickening and heart breaking as this is, it is so very true.
Today, my family and any Homsi will tell you that they are living in a prison. I was on the phone to one of my cousins recently and her entire family was huddled together in their parents’ bedroom. They took shelter away from their windows to avoid stray bullets. I wept as she reassured me that this had become the norm; the image of my relatives hiding in their own home haunts me to this day. I write this article for my family, for those abducted and tortured, for those who continue to fight and, most importantly, to remember the thousands that have lost their lives: Hakam Draak Al-Sibai, Hadee Al-Jendi, Rami Fakhouri, Hamza Al-Khateeb, to name but a few.
As I sit here, observing the brutality and destruction being wreaked upon the innocent citizens of Syria, I am positive and hopeful that these lives have not been lost in vain. I am a British Syrian woman, and I firmly stand against Assad and his regime. Anything corrupt is destined to crumble. It is only a matter of time before Syria joins Tunisia and Libya, in freedom.
An interesting parallel between Palestine and the Civil Rights struggle in the US
On the 15th of November, six Palestinian activists: Nadeem Al-Sharbate, Huwaida Arraf, Dr.Mazin Qumsieyeh, Fadi Qura’an, Basel Al-Araj, and Badee’ Dwaik, boarded a segregated Israeli bus used by Israeli settlers to Jerusalem in an attempt to highlight the regime of discrimination on freedom of movement in place in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the fact that Palestinians cannot access Jerusalem freely. After boarding the bus without incidents, the bus was stopped at the Hizme checkpoint, where all the activists were arrested and violently forcibly removed from the bus.
More videos (thank you Mazin Qumsiyeh firstname.lastname@example.org) and his web site
http://www.youtube.com/user/PalReportsRamallah (Filmed by ISMers in 4 parts)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuPY7ymVOng (from Ann Paq of Activestills)
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2E7wzXTEYos&feature=youtu.be> (collage of
videos from Jewish Voices for Peace)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2RE7ziKdQU (part 1 ogf four videos from an
More stories and commentary on the Freedom Rides
Nov 20, 2011 10:12 pm | Philip Weiss
U.S.-made teargas canisters, Tahrir Square, Nov. 20, by Maggie Osama
Tahrir, Nov. 20, KuwaitNews
Egyptian forces have used U.S.-made teargas against peaceful protesters–CSI gas, made by Combined Systems Inc., in the U.S. These photos show as much, and Salon reports: “Egypt uses U.S. teargas on pro-democracy crowds…By Avi Asher-Schapiro”:
This is not the first time CSI ‘s products have been used against Egyptian citizens. During Egypt’s January revolution, CSI tear gas was employed by the Mubarak regime against demonstrators in Tahrir Square.
Once again, a mainstream reporter fails to connect repression in one part of the Middle East w/repression of Palestinians.
Adalah-NY documented Israel’s use of CSI gas in Palestine against peaceful protesters, specifically in Bil’in, with lethal consequences. And it showed that CSI’s HQ in Jamestown, PA flies an Israeli flag. Adalah also connected its use in Palestine to Egypt and Tunisia, in this op-ed piece and in this press release.