Swedish-Lebanese Gothik Band Sing for #Syria Revolution

I received an email from the band Madness of the Night telling me about a song they made for the Syrian revolution, it’s called Stand Up. It’s awesome!
Check their Facebook page here.

Thank you Madness of the Night for your support and solidarity with Syria’s revolutionaries.

Advertisements

UPDATED: Syrian Authorities Arrest Red-Crescent Board Member Raed Al-Tawil

Raed Tawil with his child.

UPDATE: Today we’ve just learned that Raed Al-Tawil is being subjected to monstrous torture and that he is being held in Al-Khatib state security branch in Damascus.

——–

Syrian security forces have arrested Muhammad Raed Al-Tawil, a red-crescent volunteer, on Thursday noon 8-11-2012 from the headquarters of the Damascus branch of the Syrian Red Crescent where he works.  No reasons were known for such arrest.

36 year-old Al-Tawil is married with one child and has been volunteering for the Syrian Red Crescent for more than 18 years. He is a board member of Damascus branch and had contributed in the responsive process management to the Zinzun dam disaster 2002, the war on Iraq 2003 and the 2006 Lebanon War.

Before his arrest, Al-Tawil was managing the emergency service provided by the Syrian Red Crescent to all parties, committing by doing so to the principle of neutrality.

Al-Tawil suffers from a previous injury in the back due to a previous mission and hence he is in constant need of medical care and medications.

No information has yet come to light on Al-Tawil’s whereabouts or how he is being treated inside his detention cell which raises serious concerns about his safety and life, especially that the charges against him are still unknown.

We call on the Syrian authorities to disclose full information on the fate of Muhammad Raed Al-Tawil and to release him immediately and unconditionally along with all prisoners and detainees in Syria.

Freedom to Raed, freedom to all Syria detainees!

Support Raed’s freedom and share his page on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/RaedaltawilFirstaider

Please sign and share our petition calling for Raed’s freedom along with the rest of Syria’s paramedic.

Finally I want to thank the Gulf Center for Human Rights for supporting our call to free our beloved friend Raed Al-Tawil.

Lulu

I met her on Facebook, as another friend who used to “like” my statuses and links I shared on the public wall.

When Rabi’ died I sent her a message on Facebook, I had a breakdown and I had no idea why I sent her the message.

I met her at Rabi’ mourning ceremony the next day. It was the first time we meet. It was the first time I see her. I stared at her with admiration, looking at her choice of clothes, her undone hair, she was carrying her huge laptop that must be ages-old. “I am sticking with her,” I told myself.

She didn’t stick back. She left me alone in the ceremony, she left me because that’s the right thing to do at these situations. You leave people at times of need because there are more pressing issues in Syria.

Then Bassel died three days later. I don’t want to go there yet.

A month later I sent her another message on Facebook inviting her to drink Arak with me and a friend. She gladly accepted the invitation and that night a huge argument occurred between both of me and Lulu, and my friend, who for some reason thinks 14 March people in Lebanon are authentic in comparison to 8th March guys. I loved Lulu’s politics that night, I was proud of myself for assuming to have good judgment on people.

Then I started seeing Lulu in demonstrations for the coming two months. We held hands and shoulders. We sang and danced in the streets among tens of other protesters. She started to become part of my life and imagination.

Barzeh is under shelling.
The same Barzeh we used visit to demonstrate and carry our weird banners, whose activists and families protected us from regime raids, that Barzeh, the smiles and unexplainable feelings, are all under shelling.

I called Lulu on the phone: “Barzeh, Lulu! Barzeh!”

Continue reading

How Peaceful Revolutionaries Turned into Relief Activists in Damascus

My second article for Arab Revolutions blog is now up!

A group of Syrians fleeing violence in their country, walk towards the Turkish border, near Reyhanli. (AP)

“With the start of a new academic year the regime has been emptying the schools from forced migrants. Where will those migrants who lost their homes go after regime shelled their cities and neighborhoods? You constantly feel helpless before these events.

There are families in Douma, a suburb of Damascus, living on 20USD a month, 20USD! Assad speaks of concessions, fine, these are Syrian citizens who are now homeless, isn’t this the state’s responsibility? The Syrian government has resigned all its responsibilities towards its citizens. Instead, the government is waging war against them.”

Ruba*, a relief NGO employee in Syria, explains how the urgency of the growing tragedy of forced migrants has forced many peaceful revolutionaries to work as relief activists:

“The regime is purposely creating a humanitarian crisis and forcing activists to deal with it.”

“We, the middle class, flourished during Assad’s era. We enjoyed new services, and we knew that our economic situation has gotten better, but only at the expense of the working class. The very people who are now leading the revolution are the ones who were neglected by the state. They lost their jobs and homes are scattered in gardens and schools depending on our aid: middle class aid. Our role in this revolution is completely different from theirs, we have privileges and a lot to lose; they don’t. We’re bunch of hypocrites.” Ruba leans her head back against the sofa and stares as water drops from the air-conditioning on her living room floor.

Read rest of the article here. Check the French translation of the article available here  and German translation here.

Al-Tal City, and Beyond

Below is the article I wrote for Arab World in Revolutions’ blog on Monde Arabe Arte TV.

Text on Banner says: Dear Revolutionary, your actions reflect revolutionary morals, let’s act responsible.

“He was a 17 year-old activist from Daraa. He had a little motorcycle which he used to go from town to town. He carried his USB memory sticks with videos to be uploaded. He was one of my main sources before he was killed by a regime sniper.”

That is what my friend, Abu Abdalla, told me on Skype while I was having a fine evening in Damascus. I stopped drinking my tea; then he told me that his friends are trapped in his hometown Tal, just northwest of Damascus.

On August 8th the Syrian National Council announced Al-Tal, a suburb of Damascus, to be a disaster city. The regime army besieged the city and cut water, electricity and communication supplies, including the internet. They started shelling it on Thursday August 9th and continued for weeks, which left more than 160 people dead.

I asked Abu Abdulla if it is possible to set up a conference chat with his trapped friends inside Al-Tal, and so he did. I had the privilege to interview Qusai, Ashor, and “Renewed Hope” the following day.

“Our city has been destroyed,” types Ashor, a relief activist and owner of a grocery store which has just opened now to secure food distribution for the besieged people who remain in the city. “In July last year,” he continues, “we distributed dates and water on regime forces[1], we organized a “Dignity Strike” in collaboration with shop keepers[2], we launched anti-sectarianism campaigns[3], we worked hard and we did an excellent job.” Ashor gives proudly examples of revolutionaries in Al-Tal, but is helpless about what the situation is turning into.

Read the rest of the article here.

LCC: New FSA Battalions Sign the Code of Conduct

LCC initiates FSA Code of Conduct, which many great battalions signed in the past few days:

In light of recent events in Syria. FSA commanders got together and signed the new FSA code of conduct.

The document was initially published by the Local Coordination Committees (LCCs) and underlines the requirement to respect human rights and international humanitarian law including laws pertaining to the treatment of prisoners of war.

Code of Conduct of the Free Syrian Army

Article I
In the Free Syrian Army, as an independent, defected soldier, or civilian volunteer, my first responsibilities are to:
Defend Syrian revolutionaries in the face of tyranny and ensure the continuation of the revolution to oust the regime. I will direct my weapons exclusively against Assad aggressors. I will serve my nation, Syria, and the freedom of the Syrian people. I am a fighter in the battle to defend my people.
I will use my weapons to overthrow the criminal regime that has been imposed upon us.

Article II
I pledge to my people and my revolution that I will refrain from any behavior or practice that would undermine the principles of our revolution: the principles of freedom, citizenship, and dignity. I will respect human rights in accordance with our legal principles, our tolerant religious principles, and the international laws governing human rights – the very human rights for which we struggle today and which we intend to implement in the future Syria.

Article III
Any person who takes up arms in the name of the regime, regardless of their rank, should be arrested and remain in the custody of the Free Syrian Army.
In the event that an individual is arrested, and it is determined that the individual was working for the regime, voluntarily or for payment, to supply information about revolutionary activists, that individual shall be considered a prisoner and treated in accordance with laws governing prisoners of war.

Continue reading

Syrian Revolution Bookmarks #2

1- Foreign Policy publishes a number of Kafranbel banners, a city in Idleb that’s considered to draw and write the revolution’s most creative posters:

A town in northwestern Syria has become the creative center of the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad. Since the beginning of the uprising, the residents of Kafr Anbel have drawn signs that skewer the Assad regime and express outrage that the world has not done more to stop the killing in Syria.

The signs come in two basic varieties. Some are cartoons, often drawing their inspiration from Western movies or TV shows, which lampoon the Syrian government and its allies, notably Russian President Vladimir Putin. Others are straightforward, text-only banners that call for NATO intervention in Syria or arming the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA). Many of the signs are written in English.

Raed Fares, an activist in Kafr Anbel, explained to FP that the town’s residents chose to draw in English, rather than Arabic, explicitly to reach an international audience. “It’s very important to send our message to all the world,” he said. “And English is the public language.”

Continue reading

Libya and Syria: When anti-imperialism goes wrong | Pham Binh

Below is Pham Binh’s article on anti-interventionists’ unethical and imperious stances towards the Libyan and Syrian revolutions. I share here his comments with regards to Syria:

The Main Enemy In Syria

The anti-interventionists are repeating their mistakes over the Libyan revolution blunder-for-blunder over the Syria revolution. In place of their attacks on the Libyan NTC, they denounce the Syrian Nation Council (SNC); they dwell on the Free Syrian Army’s (FSA) U.S. backing, just as they painted Libya’s rebels as tools of the CIA; instead of “hands off Libya,” they put forward the slogan “hands off Syria,” as if Syria’s death squads were Uncle Sam’s handiwork and not Assad’s.

Hyperbolic condemnations of the FSA, SNC, or the coordinating committees do nothing for Syrians whose lives do not depend on the anti-imperialist credentials of these groups but on whatever assistance they can provide. Similarly, criticisms that the Syrian revolution should rely less on armed struggle and more on strikes by workers have a questionable relationship to reality at best. Since when has a strike ever stopped a death squad from breaking down a door and murdering a sleeping family or prevented a civilian neighborhood from being shelled by artillery? Does anyone seriously believe that the Syrian struggle is being led astray by trigger-happy gunmen (most of whom are working for Assad, not against him)?

Our first duty in the West is to do whatever we can to aid, abet, and provide material support for our Syrian brothers’ and sisters’ fight against the Assad regime. Our main enemy is at home in the West, but theirs is not. Washington, D.C. is not sending death squads door-to-door to execute women and children, the regime in Damascus is; the Pentagon is not shelling civilian targets and killing journalists in Homs, the regime in Damascus is. Their main enemy is at home, just as ours is.

Banner from Daraa reads: Breaking: World’s humanity fails at the Syrian test.

This grim reality must be our starting point in any discussion about Syria, not a hypothetical U.S. military action down the road, the contours of which cannot be known in advance. We cannot have the same attitude towards U.S. airstrikes on Assad’s forces and a full-scale ground invasion of Syria because their impact on and implications for the revolution would be completely different. The contours of imperialist intervention must shape our attitude towards it. Sending the FSA small arms and anti-tank missiles or video cameras is not the same as sending American marines into the streets of Damascus, although they are all forms of U.S. intervention.

Syrian revolutionaries know damn well what atrocities Uncle Sam is capable of – Iraq is right next door – and the Arab world knows better than we in the West ever will what the colonial boot feels like. To lecture them of perils and pitfalls they know better than we do is to insult their intelligence. To pretend that we know the dangers of dealing with imperialist devils better than Third World revolutionaries do is a kind of white anti-imperialist’s burden, and its arrogant paternalism is just as misguided as its colonialist antipode.

We have no business criticizing the SNC, FSA, or the coordinating committees unless and until we have fulfilled our first duty by matching our words of solidarity with deeds and acts that can make a difference in the revolution’s outcome, however small they might seem.

Continue reading