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I have a parallel blog in French at http://anniebannie.net

Date

February 9, 2012

Syria : Homs el Rastan

[youtube http://youtu.be/ntJG8qcGjDM?]

An SOS Call – Baba Amro: people are dying here! please help us!! + English subtitles!!!

[youtube http://youtu.be/BiHDQVUITpc?]

Smuggle hope into Syria

Dear friends,
The Assad regime is slaughtering its citizens and tearing cities apart. The UN has failed to stop the killing, and Avaaz has the only network that is both smuggling medical equipment and journalists in and images and information out. Click to watch this video appeal from Danny, a brave Syrian democracy activist calling on Avaaz for help and chip in now to save lives:

This urgent video appeal just came in from one of Avaaz’s brave citizen journalists in Syria — our community may be the only one that can help Danny and his friends before the next massacre.

Right now, the regime is murdering men, women and children and tearing cities apart. China and Russia just handcuffed international action at the UN and gave Assad license to unleash his murder machine to crush the Syrian Spring once and for all. But Danny and the democracy movement are more determined than ever and are urgently asking for our continued international solidarity and support.

Let’s be clear — as embassies close, medical agencies withdraw and journalists pull out, Avaaz has the only network that is both smuggling medical equipment and journalists in and images and information out. The UN has failed, but we can help peaceful democracy heroes like Danny loosen the dictator’s grip on their country. Click here to see Danny’s appeal and chip in now so we can continue our Arab spring campaigning and support for citizen journalists — if 20,000 of us donate now, we can get aid to the most besieged cities and towns before the next attack:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/smuggle_hope_into_syria_q/?vl

Activists like Danny are risking their lives for freedom and counting on our global support. On Saturday, Syria’s brutal forces killed another one of Avaaz’s citizen journalists, a 23-year-old named Omar who was a leader of our 400-strong network of activists as he pulled people from the rubble after a deadly massacre in Homs. Omar died as he lived, photographing the regime’s crimes, helping others and sacrificing for freedom. After the regime kicked the international media out, brave civilians like Danny and Omar have risked their lives to break the news blackout and help 18 of the world’s leading journalists from foreign news outlets into the locked-down country. It’s likely that the images you have seen on your TV or photographs in your newspaper came from this courageous team.

But that is just a part of what the Avaaz project has done. Thanks to the generous support of members across the world, Avaaz is providing a rare lifeline of critical support to the democracy movement in Syria. When activists told us medicines were running out, we set up a smuggling network to deliver over $1.8 million worth of medical equipment into the country, saving thousands of lives. When the Syrian National Council was struggling to present a credible leadership alternative to the world, we organized meetings in the UN, Russia and across Europe to support their work.

Day after day, Danny and Omar and hundreds of other heroes have turned out to film and protest, facing down tanks with no support from international governments. But what happens in the next two weeks will be decisive. This is the pinnacle of the Arab Spring and the global struggle against brutal despots. Together we can secure a lifeblood to the resistance and walk with the brave Syrian people on their journey to freedom. Click to watch Danny’s desperate appeal and make a life-saving donation now:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/smuggle_hope_into_syria_q/?vl

This year people power in the Middle East has taught the world an important lesson — together we are stronger than the fiercest dictator, and fiercer than the most ruthless army. On the streets of Syria, Avaaz is a beloved partner in the struggle for freedom. As one opposition leader put it, “the Syrian people have gained strength from knowing that the world, through the Avaaz community, stands with them.” Together, we have made the impossible possible and with our help Assad’s regime will come to end.

With hope and determination,

Alice, Ian, Antonia, Emma, Ricken, Mouhamad, Morgan, Wissam, Sam, Bissan, Will and the entire Avaaz team

More information:

A Doctor’s Cry for Help as Homs Victims Pour In to a Medical Center [Warning: This is a graphic video not suitable for sensitive viewers]
http://www.overstream.net/view.php?oid=r3tmevemrqn0

At Least 200 Reported Killed in Syrian City of Homs (Washington Post)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/protesters-turn-out-across-syria-but-capital-is-quiet/2012/02/03/gIQAQOqNnQ_story.html

Homs: Bloody Winter in Syria’s Revolution Capital (CNN)
http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/16/world/meast/syria-homs-profile/index.html

Anger After Russia, China Block UN Action on Syria (Reuters)
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/05/us-syria-idUSTRE80S08620120205?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&rpc=71

Syria Crackdown: Homs Bombarded, Dozens Killed (Huffington Post/Reuters)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/06/syria-crackdown-homs_n_1256699.html

Open Letter from Syrian Author Khaled Khalifa

Posted on February 8, 2012 by | 2 Comments

Syrian author Khaled Khalifa, author of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction-shortlisted In Praise of Hate, is circulating an open letter that has been translated into English, French, Spanish, Albanian, Norwegian (available on his Facebook page). 

My friends, writers and journalists from all over the world, in China and Russia, I would like to inform you that my people is being subjected to a genocide.

A week ago the forces of the Syrian regime stepped up its attacks on the rebellious cities, especially in the cities of Homs, Zabadani, the suburbs of Damascus, Rastan, Madaya, Wadi Barada, Figeh, Idlib and villages of the Zawiya mountain. In the past week, up until the moment in which I am writing these lines, more than a thousand martyrs fell, many of them children, and hundreds of homes were destroyed on top of their inhabitants.

The world’s blindness encouraged the regime’s attempt to eliminate the peaceful revolution in Syria, with an unrivaled repressive force. The support of Russia, China, Iran and the silence of the world in the face of the crimes committed in broad daylight, has allowed the regime’s killing of my people for the past eleven months. But in the last week, since February 2nd, the features of the massacre were made clear. The scene of hundreds of thousands of Syrians who took to the streets of their towns and villages on the night of the massacre of Khalidiya, the night of last Friday to Saturday, raising their hands in prayer and in tears, is heart breaking and puts the humanitarian tragedy of Syria in the center of the world. It is a clear expression of our feeling of orphanhood, resulting from our abandonment by the world, which is content by political and economic sanctions that do not stop murderers or restrain blood bathed tanks.

My people who faced death with bear chests and songs is being, in these very moments, subjected to a cleansing campaign. Our rebellious cities face sieges unprecedented in the history of world revolutions, preventing medical personnel to attend to the wounded, as field hospitals are being bombed in cold blood and destroyed. The entry of relief organizations is also prevented, phone lines are cut, and food and medicine are blocked to the extent that the smuggling of blood bags or Satamol tablets into the affected areas is considered a crime worthy of imprisonment in detention camps, the details of which will shock you one day.

In its modern history, the world has not yet seen valor and courage such as those displayed by the revolutionary Syrians in all our towns and villages, as the world has not yet seen such a silence, that is now considered a complicity in the murder and extermination of my people.

My people is the people of peace, coffee and music, that I wish you will taste one day, roses the fragrances of which I hope you will breathe one day, so that you know that the center of the world is today exposed to a genocide, and that the whole world is an accomplice to the spilling of our blood.

I can not say more in these difficult moments, but I hope you will take action in solidarity with my people, through whatever means you deem appropriate. I know that writing stands helpless and naked in front of the Russian guns, tanks and missiles bombing cities and civilians, but I have no wish for your silence to be an accomplice of the killings as well.

Khaled Khalifa

DAMASCUS

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