Aggregator • Mideast Youth • ID=78316
The Syrian Revolution has gone on for one year, one month, and three weeks, approximately, and claimed about 11,729 lives, approximately. Then there are the injured bodies, destroyed homes, traumatized children, and refugee families to consider. All in approximates.
Faced with the Syrian government's extremely repressive tactics and unwillingness to cooperate with the outside world, the Syrian revolution has become at its core about revealing Truth, and Syrian activists have dedicated their lives to uncovering this truth. As important as documenting the regime's crimes against its own population, these activists also work to uncover the core truth about the Syrian people, about their drive towards freedom and justice, about their unity across racial and religious lines, and their creativity in their resistance to this brutal regime.
What has allowed the Syrian revolution to thrive thus far has been the intricate networks of support, resistance, and information set into place through the work of many activists on the ground. These networks, dominated by the Local Coordinating Committees and the Syrian Revolution General Commission, have become Syria's replacement for the civil society long suffocated by the regime. Before the literal and spiritual cracking that broke Syria's fear barrier for good, civil institutions where people were free to gather and nurture a political discourse were rare finds. Groups that were active before the revolution, such as the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression established in 2000, were always subject to harassment and censorship by the regime, and those involved were at risk of arrest. Despite the dangers, the Syrian Center for Media continued to operate after the revolution began by providing support to activists in Syria and information to the outside world.
Their bravery came at a cost when sixteen of their members were arrested on February 16th, including the president of the center, Mazen Darwish and well known blogger Razan Ghazzawi. Razan and six others were released upon condition that they report daily to intelligence agents. Seven activists and journalists were held by the regime, without any information about their whereabouts. On April 22nd, four of those who were conditionally released and three of those who had been detained indefinitely were charged with 'possessing illegal materials' by the regime. They are still in prison in Damascus. Five of those arrested in February, including Mazen Darwish, are still being held without any information provided to their families in a prison system known for its use of torture to silence dissidents.
The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression is an example of how the regime works to try to dismantle activist work from its core. Arrests, divisions, insecurity. There is a reason Razan was released, and a reason she and her comrades forced to march into security offices and wait for hours to be dismissed. There is a reason no one has heard a word from Mazen and his comrades since February, despite many efforts and inquiries. The Syrian regime manipulates power in the crudest way, thinking that in this manner, it will wrap its people in the cloak of fear that it had been so used to dressing us in.
The Syrian people could not have made it more clear that this cruel and crude mechanism of wielding force and manipulating power will not work to silence our revolution. Activists, organizers, journalists and protesters have all navigated around the predictable terrain of Assad's brutality, guided by their vision for a Free Syria. In order to survive, the Revolution has developed a number of tactics, outside of more traditional social justice methods. Secrecy and creativity keep people and the revolution alive. In this setting, no one face can define the revolution, no person can gain admiration for their actions, because doing so almost definitely puts that person at significant risk, and even more important, sacrifices the efficacy of their work.
Hence, we cloak ourselves in names, but not in fear. That is not to say no names come out of Syria. Only recently, a protest of red signs and flowers, demanding an end to the killing and a Syria for all Syrians, became famous because of its advocate, Rima Dali, a young woman whose energy and bravery shone off her face. But Rima Dali (along with many of the nameless young women and men standing beside her) are now in prison, lost in the same system of cells and abuse that attempt to break the source of a dream.
But one of the reasons that the Syrian revolution has lasted so long is that it has set into place a system of resistance rather than placed people to fight power. When one activist is taken, another ten are inspired to take her place. The work that goes into a single act against the regime is often the result of dozens of brave people, putting hours of planning and forethought, and considering every scenario. Rima Dali may have gone into the streets of Damascus having said goodbye to her family, but she is only one of many brave Syrians who did the same.
Most chances to participate in the revolution are much less public. A man might kiss his family good night, and in the cover of darkness, drive to an abandoned village, or to a hillside location. Under the utmost of secrecy, with supplies that are only there because of networks that involve thousands of people in multiple countries, these people might go about their tasks, of writing, emailing, skyping with the press. Driving the engine of the revolution.
In Syria, our revolution has turned into an art, perfected to combat the decades-long developed methods that the regime has of silencing dissent. Every act, from distributing revolutionary flowers to revolutionary sweets, to organizing protests in the right street to protect the most people, to filming and uploading and distributing dramatic videos of a country being reborn under the harshest circumstances, these small acts are what make up the Syrian revolution. All too often, we only hear about the heroes behind these acts after their arrest or their death, despite the fact that they should have been honored during their lives. All too often, we don't hear about these heroes at all.
A prayer should go out to Yahya Shurbaji, imprisoned despite his non violence stance. And for Noura Aljizawi, who distributed humanitarian aid. And Yara Shammas. And for Abdulaziz Durayd. Selena Ibaza. Sasha Ayoub. Ahmad Lababidi. Saba Melhem. Rami al-Nano. Mais Mubarak. Samer Mubarak. Semo Khanji. And all of these people's friends, families, loved ones, co-workers, or those people's families. Or those families' coworkers.
In short, the names of the brave and the imprisoned should stretch for pages. Not a single one of their efforts should be forgotten, and the beauty is that it will never be. Syria will never be the same, thanks to the dedication of these people and thousands upon thousands more.... more