Saturday, 15 March 2014

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The revolution goes
on until Assad is out

"Even as the uprising turned into a popular revolution, and even as the brutality of the Assad regime increased exponentially, the Syrian people remained peaceful, waiting for the world to take action, for responsibility to protect to be applied by the international community. Syrians organized themselves into local committees, they established solidarity and aid networks, and they documented Assad’s savage repression by uploading thousands of documented films and photos on the Internet, waiting for help to come. But it never came.
It was inevitable that Syrians would reluctantly be pushed into self-defense months later, joining thousands of heroic Syrian soldiers who had defected rather than obey Assad’s shoot-to-kill orders. Even though their light weapons were never going to protect them against Assad’s tanks, helicopters, jets and even ballistic missiles, all aimed repeatedly at civilians populations all over Syria, the Free Syrian Army valiantly tried to protect their compatriots and to defeat this bloodthirsty regime.
Nothing could save them from Assad’s missiles and barrel bombs. Nothing could save them from barbaric torture until death in his dungeons. And nothing could save them from being gassed to death in their sleep when Assad unleashed his chemical weapons on them."

What's Going On?

 The demonstration on the third anniversary of the Revolution taking place in London on Saturday March 15th in solidarity with the Syrian people.

Friday, 14 March 2014

A Syrian refugee browses the aisles of the first supermarket to opened in Zaatari camp

Camp for Syrian refugees
starts to look more like home
' "We took to the streets peacefully, calling for freedom, but the Syrian government responded with bullets," says Mahmoud.
"We thought [the unrest] would last for a month or two, a year maximum, but it still continues until now," adds his friend, Jalaa.
Many believe that without international military intervention to help the rebels fighting Syrian government forces, they will not be able to go back.'

The Conscience of Syria

 An Interview with Activist and Intellectual Yassin al-Haj Saleh:

 "When an armed structure uses the supposedly national army, media organs, and resources to kill its own people when they oppose its tyrannical rule—this can hardly be considered a sectarian conflict. We’re not talking about just any structure—we’re talking about the repressive state apparatus of the Assad regime. It thus becomes absurd to explain the Syrian struggle in sectarian terms. To the best of my best knowledge, states are not sects, are they?"
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Syria Conflict: Who is in
control and what is life like?

The BBC ran a report last night on one of the kids whose torture for writing anti-government graffiti set off the revolution. He went to fight with the Free Syrian Army, and says there is no other option than the overthrow of Assad.
You don't hear that much from the BBC, or the rest of the media. Introducing the report last night, the presenter said that "Fighting between government and rebels has ripped the country apart", as if they were equally to blame. A previous anchor yesterday had said, "It is a sectarian war, with an Alawite supported government agaainst Sunni rebels," when it is Assad's narrative that his enemies are all Islamic radicals rather than people struggling for dignity and the end of a torturous monarchy.
There will be marches tomorrow on the third anniversary of the Syrian revolution. There was a debate in the British solidarity movement about whether to raise slogans of a No Fly Zone or against intervention. I think it's good that the latter in particular was defeated, as it has been one of the lies of this conflict that the danger was of the Americans reprising the Iraq invasion, rather than the real murder, chemical and otherwise, that Assad has inflicted with the help of Russia and Iran. I think the most important thing at the movement is unity in the fight against the dictatorship, and that we should avoid any split between those outside the organised left, who tend to reflect the enthusiasm for demanding the US do something of the majority of the refugees from Assad's terror, and the left now just getting involved, that from past experience feels like sticking in a demand that the West stay out as a precaution.
I saw some of the former group suggest that they might bring placards calling for a No Fly Zone on the march tomorrow anyway. I don't think it's the best demand, partly because expecting more direct intervention isn't going to produce results when the West has been trying so hard to stay out of the conflict. I am in general in favour of the demand being heard. But while I think it is more the responsibility of the Left to appreciate what Syrians think, it would be easy for the different supporters of the Syrian revolution to get arguing with each other, and would rather nobody provokes a split unnecessarily.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Olly Lambert

 Newsnight had on Olly Lambert, he who made an eye-opening film about the aftermath of a barrel bomb attack in Syria, film from Eastern Ukraine. A couple of people explained that the main feature of their dislike of the EU and love of the Soviet Union was, "Boys going with boys, girls going with girls, gays. I can't tolerate their sexual orientation." I was half expecting the bloke to say, "I'm not gay, but if I absolutely had to fuck a guy, I'd fuck Vladimir Putin."
Wendy Pearlman Headshot

On the Third Anniversary
of the Syrian Uprising

' "I was in a demonstration ... I started to whisper, freedom. Then I started to hear myself repeating, freedom, freedom, freedom. And then I started shouting freedom! I thought: This is the first time I have ever heard my own voice. I wanted to feel this freedom forever. And I told myself that I would never let anyone steal my voice again."
The Assad regime responded with bullets.'

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Syria's Assad: Russia restoring balance to world stage

 "SANA said the Russian delegation informed Assad he had been accepted into the Russian Academy of Sciences for having "strengthened Syrian-Russian relations."

The man from Martyrs Avenue who became a suicide bomber in Syria

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 'Back in Crawley, young people at the town's main mosque talk about Majeed's death. 

 "Previously, suicide bombings have been targeting innocent civilians, like 7/7," says one prayer-goer, Zeeshan Hussain. "But as far as I'm aware anyone, no innocents were targeted [by Majeed]. Although you could question what he was doing, I wouldn't say he was terrorising anyone. The people who say it was an act of terrorism, who are they saying he's terrorising?"

 Many British Muslims share Hussain's view that Syria's jihad has blurred lines. Al-Qaeda linked groups are involved - but many people believe that the conflict is closer in character to the civil war in Bosnia. Some compare it to the Spanish Civil War in which international brigades of young men fought against General Franco.

 "My brother was not a terrorist. My brother was a hero," says Hafeez Majeed.
"If I could put it like this, if my brother had been a British soldier and there were British people in that prison, I know he would have been awarded the posthumous Victoria Cross." '
A box outside of the Muslim Student Association’s 

cubicle in Hearst Gym takes donations for refugees.

Muslim student groups’ clothing drive aims to provide relief for Syrian refugees
 “(The drive) helps not only in the physical sense but helps psychologically uplift people because it shows other people in the world care.”


Students commemorate three-year anniversary of Syrian uprising with demonstration, solidarity week

"Also known as the Syrian Civil War, the revolution began in 2011 when a group of teens and children were imprisoned and tortured for spray-painting anti-government graffiti. These events sparked nationwide protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which led to government violence on civilians."

Manhal - Fuck You

 "Because the language of peace is the language of weak people, we will use the violent solution in order to reach our voice to the Government and the President who does not understand except in this way."
Inside a refugee camp in Jordan three years after the Syrian uprising began

Inside a refugee camp in Jordan three
years after the Syrian uprising began
"All the people in Daraa are against the regime … the Americans should have helped our country from the beginning because this is a bloody regime. Everybody is under the direction of the Americans, so nothing happens until America does something … We hope to God we shall return. We don't want to be in the same situation as the Palestinians."

Closer To The Heart

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Syria's unknown victims: the thousands missing or dead in regime custody

"This time, however, they poured acid on my feet while I was hanging from the wall. The pain was beyond all description. I felt my heart would blow up at that moment.
The third round of interrogation had a new method of torture, which was chaining my arms back to be lifted up. My arms were crushed together for 15 minutes. Breathing was almost impossible. My shoulders were dislocated.
After 23 days, I was moved to a solitary cell. It was 180cm by 130cm but there were 14 detainees with me. A detainee would stand up to allow another to sit. I was sealed up in that cell for 43 days.
Every 48 hours, we would have a piece of bread we couldn't even see. We were shut in, naked except for our underwear. It was January, freezing cold. We were sitting on a floor thickly covered with piss and dirt. I was interrogated only once within these 43 days but I would be beaten twice when I went to the loo.
We were allowed less than 20 seconds: if you took longer, your torture would be atrocious."

Monday, 10 March 2014

UN: Assad sarin used in attacks | The Left's response?
"I have not heard of one action organize by the Left to protest the gassing of civilians in Syria, so I don't think there have been very many. What I have heard from the Left, when it was not silent on the sarin question, has been a fantastic defense of Assad in which they present one crack-pot theory after another about how the rebels gassed their own people, just as many of these same "leftists" are now asking us to believe it was snipers from the protest movement that were shooting protesters in Ukraine.
The evidence of the Assad Regime's culpability for the use of chemical weapons was overwhelming even before this most recent UN report."

Civilian casualties

Sarin gas in attack on Syrian civilians
probably government's, says UN

Syria's road to hell: A hair-raising journey between Damascus and Tartous

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"Yabroud, which is held by Jabhat al-Nusra, but mysteriously still has a large population of Christians who have not fled."
Al-Nusra aren't a nice bunch, but the mystery is why Cockburn is claiming that they are killing all Christians when it is not true.

The nature of war has changed, which is bleak news for Syria’s minorities

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 Another pack of lies from Cockburn. [Also on Libya]. Isis are not dominating, they have just been thrown out of much of Northern Syria. They have much more in common with Assad than with those groups actually trying to overthrow him. They don't automatically kill non-Sunnis, they've been trying to collect taxes from Christians in their stronghold of Raqqa.

 "The jihadi groups that now dominate the armed opposition automatically kill non-Sunnis, who make up some 25 per cent of Syria’s population. In other words, at least five million Syrians have good reason to fear that they will be slaughtered if the rebels win the civil war."

 He finally seems to have acknowledged that the government is killing more people - for months he claimed that SOHR figures showed the opposite. This is also not true:
"The uprising of 2011 against President Bashar al-Assad was started by civil activists seeking an end to a cruel and corrupt authoritarian regime and the creation of a secular, legal and democratic society. But this option has long since disappeared, and for Western governments to pretend otherwise is to foster civil war rather than seeking to end it."

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Review: Return to Homs"He followed and documented everything: from lively protests, to civilians on the run from government grenades, to tanks annihilating rebel barricades...
The United Nations makes an appearance, but with only six representatives to canvas the entire city of Homs in less than a day, their presence only highlights the rest of the world’s blatant inaction...
Eventually, they dig underground tunnels, which take over three weeks to make, in order to avoid being shelled by Syrian forces. It goes without saying that such footage has seldom, if at all, made it to major media outlets..."
The government are barbarians, who shell civilians to drive them out. That is why there are millions of refugees, that is why the Syrian government tries to kill those who report from opposition areas. This is the reality; not a civil war between two approximately as vicious sides, but an ongoing massacre by a tyrant.