Incoherence!

Coherence of thoughts is illusive. It lies behind the scenery of death, now so common as to fade into the background of long-threatened destruction that has become us.  The hearts of our cities, those precious sculptures, carefully crafted over millenniums, with layers spanning centuries next to those that only lived less than a decade, now lie torn by the mad man and his minions.  And the madness just would not subside.

For more than forty years, the seeds of destruction were being planted with the zeal of the obsessed. It is a story of madness played one slap at a time, of insults compounded by the ignorance of the bullies, of thefts aggravated by the infinite depravity of the thieves  soul, of rapes, of torture, murders, disappearances, and of a foretold signs of the coming catastrophe, ignored as the beautiful and ancient city of Nourias was laid to waste by the barbarians. The silence was deafening even as the bleeding continued for as long as the madman lived.

The barbarians raped the souls of our cities with their demented cheap tasteless portraits. First, it was the madman, then he was joined by his vicious brother, only for the brother to be replaced by the sons, including the fake hero, who was killed by the characteristic recklessness of arrogance, but was nonetheless, declared a martyr and a demi-god. A worst fraud then replaced the fake martyr, it was a pretender to humanity, and the nightmare we now are fighting. The sons may have been legitimate to their unholy parents, but by all means, are illegitimate in time and place.

Fools were those among us who feigned knowledge. The wise ones said the devil is dead.  But its essence never died. The crowning of his successor should have been another sign of the impending catastrophe.  The essence of the devil never died. It remained active and never dormant, but vibrant in every military post, in torture dungeons around our land, in the secret mass graves scattered in our ancient desert.   And the barbarians became more vulgar and evermore greedy as they continued their insults for eleven more years on our civility, our senses, our culture, and our intellects, individually and collectively. Under the series of promises, never made to be kept, lied the constant hum of the catastrophe. Many among us heard it very clearly, but we pretended to believe, perhaps fearing the hum, that the vulgar music of the barbarians will one day become a bit more refined only if we listen longer.

We listened, and the vulgar music turned into blasts that destroyed our homes and killed many of us with deliberate malice when we asked that this half century assault be stopped. What they did to us from that point on will be told in the future for centuries to come. It will be a story of betrayal, of savagery, as well as of heroism that we never knew had existed in us. But the story of our heroic death will be worthy to hear only if told as the conclusion to the story of our cowardliness. Without that, there is no lesson learned, and our death, and the death of our children and grandchildren who are paying the price of our cowardliness will be pointless and in vain.

I stopped counting days. The post-massacre pain of anguish which started very acute ad sharp, then turned into a dull pain as our cities and villages turned into killing fields, had finally settled into a continuous throb of sharp, maddening pain as the massacres became daily and hourly happenstance. A short while ago, it was my University. The place which has more personal connection to my life than it does to most of its graduates.  The mayhem outraged us, but our outrage became  worst when the thugs tried to appropriate our martyrs. I don’t think they really cared to say that our side was the side who murdered our own children, but more to continue their assault and theft, even of our death at their hands.

Today, it was the river. Residents in  in the liberated Bustan Al-Qaser area of Aleppo, pulled more than sixty bodies from the  narrow, highly polluted River Quaiq .  All were males between the age of 20-40, with a few children, and all were tied and shot in the head execution style.  At first, as they did with the University, the thugs hyped that this is a liberated area and therefore, these are victims of the FSA. But early identification, in addition to the close-proximity of the area to regime territory point that at least some of the victims were reported to have been kidnapped by the notorious murderous  air-force intelligence.

Others are probably more able to describe the scene of death. But to me, every time I see the photograph of victim, tied and shot, all I can think of is the horrors the barbarians have inflicted on their victims before killing them.  You see, their smuggled tapes have finally paid off, but not in the way they thought for I am not horrified any longer, I am beyond that.

Like many Syrians, I am now beyond many other feelings. Nowadays, I no longer get angry at a relative or a former friend when they support the filth called Assad regime, I just accept the fact that they are part of the filth.  What I don’t tell them is that anger used to build up and then subside, hate was accumulating in a crescendo parallel to the atrocities of the barbarians, but now, we are beyond both anger and hate, we are even beyond vengeance. We are now obsessed with swearing “Never Again”.  Let the world know, Never again. I know it really threatens the barbarians, because it is even sweeter than revenge.

A Bread Prayer

Before the down of history, early Levantines domesticated wild cereal plants launching with that the Neolithic revolution and putting humanity on its long road to history itself and to civilization as we know it. The most important of these plants was the predecessor of our today’s wheat, the main ingredient of bread.

p20019ad4g94001

Map of the Near East indicating the Fertile Crescent [according to Breasted (1916)]. Shaded areas indicate the approximate areas of domestication of pig, cattle, sheep, and goats with dates of initial domestication in calibrated years b.p. [after Zeder (2008)]. Lines enclose the wild ranges of einkorn wheat, emmer wheat, and barley [after Smith, (1995)]. Shaded area in southern Levant indicates the region where all 3 grains were first domesticated 12,000 years B.P.
Source: The National Academies Press

Syrians have always revered bread. Anyone walking the streets of Syria would notice a peculiar habit. People would bend, pick up a hardened bread crumb from the sidewalk, kiss it, lift it to touch their forehead and then place it on the nearby wall. This places bread with the hands of parents, and the Holly Book of Quran, both are kissed and then touched by forehead as a sign of appreciation and reverence of these blessings of god. As the most important staple in the Levantine diet, reverence for the golden loaf, in one variety or another is deep in our social norms. It was a reverence for the gift of the goddesses of fertility, and as destined, later became the flesh of a god, also revered by all Syrians in both his divine and human manifestations.

Twelve millennium later, thousands years after the launching of history, an anti-historic force, brutal as no barbarians have ever been, malicious more than humanely possible appears intent on ending history as its own demise appears inevitable. This subhuman force wages a war on bread. The first bakery bombed was in Al-Sakhour neighborhood of Aleppo. This was followed by a string of bakeries being bombed during rush hours in the city and its countryside. The horror of hunger brought by the Assad caused shortage of bread, of water, fuel, and electricity are not enough to satisfy Assad’s lust for death and humiliation of Syrians. Yet, Syrians remain defiant of this criminal. Tremendous efforts are made every day by many to provide bread to their hunger stricken people. But these efforts are sometimes hindered by betrayal, manipulation, attempts at profiteering, and by plain carelessness of others. They are also efforts full of heroism from volunteers, bakers, and from ordinary people waiting in very long lines at bakeries for the day’s loaf. All betrayal and greed, however, do pale in comparison with the malice and vicious malevolence of the sub-human Bashar al-Assad, whose iron birds of death continued to wage a war on the livelihood of Syrians. Yesterday it was the massacre at Helfaya, with more than 140 confirmed dead children, women, and men, killed for no other reason than defying the murderer’s lust for their humiliation by standing in line for bread after three weeks of hunger. Today, this subhuman struck again and fourteen people, including ten children, are no longer among us for the same reason. They dared defy this sectarian bastard.

The carnage was real, as real as the slave minded supporters of the regime. A misguided fool wanted to stage a dramatic picture by dipping a loaf of bread in the blood of Assad victims, and with that, the fool murdered the humanity of assad’s victims once more a few minutes after assad’s pack of hyenas aimed  the barrel of death at the gathering bread line. The sub-human wanted to send message to the world before Syrians. A message nodding his understanding of the world’s cynical silence about his crime, and affirming his intention to murder all Syrians who dare defy him and to  benefit to the maximum possible extent from the treacherous deal making among regional and global powers.

It cost Syrians billions of dollars to acquire Russian military jets. It also cost them hundreds of millions to train pilots for these sub-standard jets. Now they are realizing the pay-back from the assadist ideological army built by Hafez Assad as a personal sectarian militia. Air force pilots, once respected and considered a symbol of Syrian pride have become not only complicit with the criminal bashar assad in his genocide against Syrians, but the most despised of executioners of this genocide.

Today is Christmas eve, I will follow the good example set by Syrians in the town of Saraqeb, who put up  a Christmas tree in defiance of all thugs who want sectarian war in my Syria. I will go with my family to meet some Syrian friends. We have become brothers and sisters through this long ordeal. We will eat bread with more reverence than ever. It will not be a jovial evening, there will be no bells, no Christmas Carroll, not even the Grinch. I will pray:

… dear lord, I have become one with you through your flesh, I have become one with you through your blood, and I pray to you,… don’t come back now, for the monster of Damascus lies awaiting you to crucify you again, while humanity looks, as it did before, with cynicism. A cynicism brought about by fear of monsters that aren’t there, which makes them turn their faces and blind themselves to the crimes of the most despicable monster and of his goons and dastardly loyalist.

Thy lord, forgive me for I will sin, forgive me for the monsters that are have left hate in my heart. Forgive me for I am asking you never to forgive them. Never to forgive anyone who still supports them, lie on their behalf, and use your name with sinful disregard for your beloved, the children, who are murdered daily by this monster and by the words of his defenders. May your curse befall them all as mine will, for eternity.

Eat your bread, cherish it as it gives you life, for it has become death where it was born.

Bashar Is bombing us.

I am not good at that. I mean, I don’t know how to collate news round-ups despite of  all helpful modern blogging tools  that make such task easier. May be I don’t like to do so, or perhaps, it has become  harder as my main source of news ceased being news-papers and blogs and became fast tweets, rapid shots of RSS-feeds, and Facebook posts coming from all over Syria telling me and a cynical world where a mortar shell has just fallen and where the most recent massacre-by-barrel has taken place decimating a neighborhood block and absurdly ending many potentials of greatness, mediocrity, and just plain normal living.

It is also harder to be opinionated nowadays, especially regarding the rapidly unfolding events in Syria. Although they occure in rapid succession, these events nonetheless betray a slow steadily flowing lava-like wall of brutality, suffering, and unimaginable misery. Friends are wounded with no well-organized medical relief to take care of them, and when relief is available, it is mostly controlled by a single group with a viciously selfish and opportunistic political agenda whereby aid is dispensed only to those who belong in their allegiance to the group or to its battalions. In many cases, these battalions  consist of fighters and leaders who are neither indoctrinated, nor deeply religious, but are pragmatic in meeting the needs of the moment, be it a case of ammunition, a few gallons of fuel, or some food to sustain their fighters.

Aleppo-Destruction

Destruction in Aleppo due to Assad regime criminal bombardment of civilian areas

What permeate the atmosphere in Aleppo are the genetic prints of the culture of despotism, nurtured and fed through corruption and terror by two generations of Assads. Despotism is evident among some armed groups, more evidently in the north than elsewhere around the country. In Aleppo, stories of abuse, theft, corruption, lack of coordination, greed, vengeance, betrayal, and selfishness continue to surface every day. A majority of these stories can be attributed to the hordes of Shabeeha (regime thugs). Abandoned by Assad when they could not hold off FSA progress in some of the older neighborhoods, they decided to form their own armed groups or to join other groups under the banner of the free Syrian Army. But other stories can be attributed to young men, now carrying weapons, and are entrusted with maintaining peace and order in liberated areas. The young men   fail to remember that this revolution is all about ending abuse and behave the only way they have seen men with arms and authority behave, which is being abusive with a sense of entitlement. As expected, the regime, continues its deliberate and vengeful “burn the country” madness as its forces bomb infrastructure including power stations, bakeries, hospitals as well as civilian neighborhoods, being high on its check list of mayhem. Power outages, water cuts, and full deterioration of basic services have made life unbearable in a city used to abundance, and during forty years, was  devoid through premeditated malice by the Assads and their goons of civil society institutions with the capacity to maintain social cohesion in times of disasters. Aleppo is a city plagued, like all of Syria, with a state that is indistinguishable from the brutal regime,  described by Yassin Haj-Salih, as having used the state to cement its brutal sectarian rule, and gradually eradicated it and turned it into a mere extension of itself. Clearly, the regime  shed the state at the moment the it became a liability to the small gang of bloody Assads and their sectarian criminal circle.

Naval-Mine

Naval mines dropped as highly destructive cheap killing and destruction instruments In Damascus country side, where Assad has been bombarding civilians for the past few days in hope to slow down the revolutionary forces’ progress toward Damascus.

It is natural, therefore, that some residents of the liberated areas in Aleppo’s would complain about the presence FSA in their midst. Lack of basic services, severe bread crisis, weeks’ long black-outs,  and water outages, all under constant bombardment will eventually get to you. But is that a sign that FSA is losing public support? Or that the regime is gaining more supporters? Frankly, I believe that only a fool, who is completely detached from the facts on the ground would think that the regime can gain any public support at this stage. Same fool, of course, may even think that this criminal gang of thugs care about gaining public support.  The Assads and their henchmen have combined brutality, corruption, despotism, fatalism, and sectarianism to create a witch’s brew of absurdity of  an inhuman scale and qualities. Within such severely deformed prism, facts don’t matter, and it is irrelevant whether one believes his own lies or not for suspension of disbelief is no longer a requirement. What matters is only fear and spiteful vengeance. And both are hallmarks of the inhuman horde that had ruled my Syria for most of my lifetime.

In the midst of suffering and in contrast to the lack of coordination among FSA groups in the north emerge groups of highly disciplined fighters. The origins of these Jihadist groups is  unclear, but they are now coalescing under the banner of Jabhat Alnusra (Support Front). I have argued in the past that Alnusra is highly suspect of being a regime’s creation. But recenty, the front and its smaller sisters seem to have taken an increasingly more visible role as the most effective of the anti-regime armed groups. Moreover, there are visible campaigns to bestow a legendary stature on the front as its fighters seem to be present in almost all recent victories of the the FSA against the regime. With each victory, the group gains control over much of the spoils of captured weapons and ammunition. Other groups, not directly affiliated with the front, but wanting to get access to the same source of support the front has, are starting to copy-cat the front’s behavior, contrary to what a majority of Syrians expect and want from this revolution. This is exemplified by those fools who declared the establishment of the virtue brigades calling for  cleansing  Syria of Alawite as well as the small band battalion leaders war-lords wannabe who declared an Islamic Emirate in the north in a desperate effort to oppose the newly formed political coalition, which they feared will centralize funds and leave them out to dry if they don’t shape up.

Arguably, the presence and ascendancy of Jihadi groups has been a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they have made it easier to wipe out the regime’s brutal security apparatus in the upcoming post-assad era as they have managed to close many of its branches, scare its informants into hiding, and intimidate its collaborators, sometimes through outright execution style assassinations especially at the local level. At the same time, they have made defection of much-needed officer corps harder than it would have been without their rigid “I am a Jihadist” attitude and their arrogant calls to force a Taliban model state  of future Syria. In fact, and as expected, the have pushed their luck too far and have now scared the US and some other nations to the edge of declaring them terrorist organizations. Such declaration, even if right, further complicates the ongoing liberation of Syria. It hinders much-needed relief efforts and  jeopardizes the immediate post-assad political process.

I have not commented on the forming of the new Coalition. Many have argued that the coalition suffers the same ailments of its largest component (SNC), which is controlled by the  opportunistic and cynical Muslim Brothers. In my opinion, the coalition, for now at least, presents a reasonable platform. It seems to be successfully led by a charismatic and respected leader, who still needs to do much more to stem the monopoly the Muslim Brothers have over much of the aid resources available. This monopoly continues to place honest people, who are willing to work within SNC in bad situations. Today, the Kurdish National Council decided to join the coalition, which is bound to reduce the influence of the MBs. Hopefully, with more opposition groups joining as a result of the coalition becoming recognized as the legitimate interim representative of the Syrian people, there may be a chance for some marked improvements on the political front. Power plays are bound to affect it, like any ad hoc political coalition formed in response to external pressure while facing a brutal regime that has succeeded, through this brutality in making relief work the primary measure of performance for the opposition instead of their political or even military successes.

Likewise, militarily, also under external pressure, there seem to be a trend for coordination. A meeting was held recently in Antalya, Turkey between representatives of many of the armed revolutionary groups. Once more a new central command was announced, albeit in complete isolation from the political coalition, at least for the time being.

Criticism of the FSA is coming from several sides. I will of course dismiss that emanating from loyalists and regime propagandists. But I will not discount any criticism voiced from revolutionary quarters. Some of the criticism is fair and some is not, but in all, it is a very healthy sign that has thrown some of the personnel and leaders of FSA off balance and has caused them to try to ameliorate some of the problems, albeit through Sharia Courts, and vice and virtue brigade, which on many occasions have add fuel to the fire instead of calming things down. I would further argue that once the regime air force and artillery are silenced, hopefully soon, civil society will emerge and will thrive in short order. It is the regime’s murderous campaign of destruction  that continues to hinder the establishment of effective local councils. The evidence of the inherent and capacity to produce healthy community governance was well articulated earlier on NPR

Overall, the picture is grim. Syrians are now recalling what their great grandparents have once told their parents about the great years of famine and misery. That  was the time of Safar Barlek when the Ottomans forcibly drafted most  men of all ages for then war efforts and confiscated most agricultural products. This left the women, the children, and the elderly to fend for themselves during one of the harshest cold spells in the elders’ memory. The Syrian tragedy resembles no other, for never in recent and past history have rulers shown such contempt to their own people. The misery of Syrians have spread throughout the region. Children have died in the cold of most inhumane refugee camps in Jordan. I was recently told that the Jordanian authorities tax every single aid shipment intended for the camps or for wounded Syrians in Jordanian hospitals by confiscating a third of the shipment. This is notwithstanding that on several occasions, what was left after confiscation, never really made it to the camps or to those who need it. There is no worst story to tell of the horror than that of children’s horror. Even the lucky ones, who made it through the help of family members into the safety of homes in Egypt or in one of the gulf states continue to suffer.  A Facebook post illustrated this most vividly by telling the story of a little girl,  who was brought to safety in the United Arab Emirates by her uncle. The girl went for an outing with her family during the celebrations of the UAE national day.  When she heard the sound of celebratory fireworks, the little girl pressed her small hands over her ears and started shouting hysterically, Bashar is bombing us, Bahsar is bombing us.

It is for this child, it is for Hamza’s memory, for Qashoush, for nearly fifty thousand Syrians young and old, murdered in cold blood by Assad gangs, with fanfare from ugly and cruel herds of mindless loyalists accompanying the slaughter, it is for the victims, for Syria, and above all for humanity that Syrians can’t lose hope. We can’t afford to lose it, even knowing that this regime might and can easily resort to the weapons of mass murder in its arsenal. There is nothing that the regime has done to demonstrate that it amassed the arsenals of weapons  for anything but for its survival even if that meant the utter destruction of a beautiful country, and the death of all of its inhabitants. Anyone who thinks that there is a shred of humanity or of rationalism in the Assad gang is a fool who has blinded himself to forty years of history leading to two years of anti-historical nightmare. No one is responsible but the regime, and anyone claiming otherwise is complicit in the great Syrian Genocide. The list of regime crimes include, in addition to the evil murder of tens of thousands of Syrians, the torture of hundreds of thousands. But the most evil of this contemptible gang’s crimes is the attempted murder of the souls of Syrians and of their humanity.  To the scared child I say, sweet child, they have been bombarding us for forty-two years. Little by little, they destroyed our heritage of civility. But my sweet child, we will get that back. Granted, we may lose some of our innocence, but from you dear child, we will learn it again.

Revised- Saturday: December 15, 2012

Note: Dear 7ee6anis. I think by now, most of you already know of SYRIA DEEPLY. It is an outstanding new site on Syria that combines smart commentary, intelligent design, and for the tech-freak mundass some incredible tools such as defection tracker, regime relation mapping, and an updated map of incident on the ground. The site also feather Syrian Stories, with two so far written by the wonderful Amal Hanano.  You may want to read this article about Syria Deeply describing how the site Outsmarts The News, Redefines Conflict Coverage.

Conversation on Statehood

Introduction from OTW

While the Syrian Revolution goes on, the regime blocks communications, loses ground, and the future outlook for Syria, from political point of view keep getting fuzzier by the day, Yesterday’s vote at the UN General Assembly should not go unnoticed. After the vote, I spoke to a friend who has served few years as a UN Diplomat, and below is the essence of our conversation. I decided to write this post after the conversation, and since I was neither taping, nor taking notes, it would be hard for me to separate where my friend stands, and where I do. Overall we shared most of what is being said. I must also state that my friend, while sympathetic to Palestinians, bares no obvious hostility to Israel. Also, and beforehand, I must apologize in advance for the fact that I will not be able to respond to comments as much as I want, but I will try my best to check on frequently enough to respond when I can.

 Now you are a State, what’s next

Statehood vote UNGA

Vote count at the UNGA about Palestinian Statehood

First, it was the United Nations Scientific, Cultural and Education Organization (UNESCO) where Palestine’s statehood was recognized with full membership and now art the UN General Assembly, where Palestine’s statehood is recognized but with an observer status.

UNESCO continues to feel the financial burden due to the US refusing to pay its dues following the historic decision using a law passed from the days of Ronald Reagan as Arab States failed to fill in the budget gaps resulting from the US’s decision. It is unlikely that the US will do any such drastic act with respect to the UN despite of the identical outcome of the vote in the two organizations, which is the recognition of Palestinian statehood.  But it has not stopped some senators from introducing an amendment to the defense act in  an attempt to punish both Palestine and the UN. Republican Senators Barrasso (R-WY), Lee (R-UT), and Inhofe (R-OK) introduced an amendment that will cut 50%  of the total U.S. funds to the Palestinian Authority and  to any U.N. entity that grants the Palestinians a status change and reduces by 20%  U.S. foreign assistance to any country voting for the status change. Judging by the results of the cut of funds for UNESCO, this will not help, but will make it harder for the US to implement most of its aid program, which has historically been far more effective in spreading American values than the US army. If this amendment passes, it will further erode the US’s own capacity for diplomacy. In the end, it will perhaps be a loss for Israel more than for the US because Israel needs the world’s goodwill towards the US and the US’s ability to rightfully use its aid program to influence political decisions at the world’s stage, which is being eroded by such bills.  The world has long ago recognized the right of the Palestinians to have their own state. It is now recognizing that it is time that such happens and that the state is not threatened with the continuing expansion of settlements, which is frowned upon by most of the world including some in Israel. Time for Israel’s friends in the US to act like friends of Israel and not friends of a minority of Israelis.

What the two decisions say, especially the UNGA decision, which  passed with overwhelming majority (138 to 9), as well as a sizable abstention (41), is that the world no longer accepts excuses to delay the full independence and sovereignty of Palestine and the final status negotiation. The Israeli Ambassador at the UN was far more diplomatic and cultured than his counterpart at UNESCO, who nearly two years ago was impolite, lecturing, and arrogant. In his Yesterday’s speech, he attempted a last line of defense appeal, using an argument many countries have already sympathized with (the right of the Jewish People to their own state), but failing to present a strong argument as to how that right would be threatened by recognition of Palestinian statehood. The other argument, which states that such recognition will derail the peace process sounded insincere coming from the representative of a government that bears the primary responsibility for the painful prolonging of  a seemingly endless peace process, followed, and nearly equaled in responsibility, as we now know, by those calling themselves the resistance camp who now stand to lose a lot as the Palestinians no longer need said camp’s political support having discovered, once more that the majority of the world countries stands with their right, and that the world is far more supportive of their mature political approach to their cause. The speech by the US Ambassador was noteworthy in its attempts to show compassion with the Palestinians, and yet hinder their ability to stand as equal party in the negotiation regarding permanent status. The world disagreed with the US, and that is the end of it. However, there remains one correction to be mentioned, yesterday’s action was not a unilateral one as the US ambassador said, it was a near-global action telling the US, sorry, but we don’t see it that way. That said, the US Ambassador, once more reaffirmed the US Administration’s conviction of the right of Palestinians to have their own state, and to live secure in their state, and the intent of the US to work towards that goal, albeit from a perspective that is more beholden to Israel’s security than to the rights of the Palestinians. Anyone denying that would not be objective.

UNESCO’s charter emphasizes peace and cooperation, admitting Palestine to UNESCO means that the state adheres to these principles and that fellow member states have enough reasons to believe that the state’s application is sincere in doing so. The more significant UN charter emphasizes the rights of citizens of states to live secure within their border.  Palestine’s application to observer status affirms acceptance of that Charter, which is an important global diplomatic gain. Granted, states have violated that charter numerous times. Every car bomb that went off in Iraq, sponsored by Damascus thugs was violation, every rocket lobbed at Israel was a violation, and every air-raid on Lebanon or Gaza, bus explosion in Israeli towns, and predator assassination of Palestinian leaders, are also violations of that. But there is a difference between state and non-state actors. Now that Palestine’s statehood is no longer a question, both sides will have to deal with this issue, and attempts to sponsor non state actor in Palestine can easily be viewed by the world community as violation of Palestinian sovereignty and not as affirmation of their rights to resistance. There is a silver lining in the decision for Israel if the Israeli government was not so obsessed with the expansionist greed of a minority of the country’s citizens and the remnants of the long standing policy of denying Palestine and Palestinians. Both Israel and Palestine are now obliged to deal with each other as states, at least theoretically.

OTW’s own conclusion

Yesterday’s vote pulled the rug from under the feet of the Israeli government and the expansionist settlers. Yet, what is far more significant to me is that it did pull the rug from under the feet of those in the defunct resistance camp. The Palestinians can now tell their story, on their own, and even as observers, they may not have the right to vote, but they do have the right to make interventions, submit resolution, with the support of full member states, many of whom proved that they can be friends to both Palestine and Israel and become closer than ever to ending tyrannical regime’s cynical attempts to use them as passive tools in suppressing their own people. In that regard, the vote was victory for both Palestine and for free Syrians. Congratulation Palestine, congratulations free Syria, you are no longer burdened with attempting to use Palestinians, and now you can really support them by finishing off yet another obstacle to peace, and one of their most vicious abusers, the tyrannical Assad regime.

Superior!?… my a…..

The latest selections of posts by Professor Landis betray what seems to be an affinity to the privileged. We first have a post presenting one of the most privileged people within the regime and who is a zero entity among the fractious opposition circles as the uniquely qualified person to hold Syria together.

Then comes a classical “Assad-the-enigmatic” style apologist post. Combining the professor’s reading of a Syria-experts, and that of Nir Rosen who, like many well-connected Syria specialists and insiders, continue to play the old bad melody of Assad the a reluctant murderer doing what he does because his sect wants him to stay in power in fear of losing privilege. The post, of course, attempts to inform us, in no uncertain term that all will be hell if this murderer and his gang lose power, and that Assad is viewed as the “superior” alternative to chaos.

Notwithstanding the very bad taste and choice the word “superior”, both posts prominently feature a declaration by general Tlass Jr.,   which received near zero second of attention by any of the many circles forming the real opposition to the mafia militia and is being hyped as a declaration of road-map and assurances through the traditional “I know-Syria” analysts in the US academia and press.

Both posts attempt to engineer opinion and both posts do display a lack of understanding, intentional or otherwise, about the seemingly stagnant, yet evolving situation in Syria. They also expose a lack of understanding of human nature. This is not because of missing facts, but for the machination of the facts in the interest of preserving the privileged status of those who ruled Syria by blood and gore for nearly fifty years.

Most tellingly, what the latter post ignores, which seems also to be a common deficiency among most US based analyses, usually written in favor of presenting those supporting Assad as future victims, is that there are no more privileges to have. The foundation of regime supporters enjoying special status, independent of their sect, was not power itself, military or otherwise, but the fear induced by the threat of exercising such power. In that sense, a thug can enjoy his privilege only in docile times when the hostility of the bereaved and oppressed is suppressed by this fear. This was only possible given that measures of violence remain personal and where examples are made through a limited, albeit, relatively huge number of people being brutalized by worst of the violence. The rest of the population has to be given a sense of deformed normalcy where accepting corruption, suppression, and despotism seem to be the safer option. It helps to throw in a bone of a central, larger than individuals cause to present the petty thief and murderer as a strong charismatic leader. These conditions would provide a wide margin for the privileged to use fear in relative safety and protection with minimal cost to themselves.

Fear is no longer. It has been replaced with open and courageous hostility, deep contempt, outright rejection, and tit-for-tat, albeit asymmetric violence directed against the regime’s privileged and their symbols. The current asymmetric military power and the wanton destruction and murder by the “Assad or we burn the country” has not helped in returning the clocks backward. On the contrary, the inhuman scale of the catastrophe wreaked solely by the ugly sectarian Assad-gang and their defenders has done exactly the opposite. It has exposed the limitation of the mindless violence in intimidating the will of the people once they have risen against the cheap and foolish ignoramus and his militia.

 “Khelset” (crisis is over), Assad worshippers shouted more than a year ago. Today, they murdered 343 Syrians, many of whom were murdered in cold blood massacres. Everyone who still support this regime is accountable for their death.

To my niece with love: A letter from a Syrian Aunt

I received the following letter sent from a dear  expat friend of mine to her niece in Syria with a request to share it. In fact, this letter could have been sent  from me to some of my own relatives by simply replacing   “your aunt” with “your uncle, or you cousin

To my niece with love

Dear niece.

You are my niece and I love you and will always do.  I am going to explain to you my view point.  Syria has been ruled by the Assads for over 40 years.  I lived under their rule as a little girl all the way up to starting a business and working at the university and for Syrian TV, thus, I really do not need anyone to explain to me what the Syrian regime is all about.  I left the country 20 years ago and went back almost every year to visit.  I watched Syria falling slowly into the abyss.  I could see it very clearly coming from outside the country, while people inside the country were completely oblivious.  They genuinely believed that Syria was getting better and moving forward, while in reality it was inching backwards.  They thought that having the Internet and being allowed on limited web sites was the ultimate achievement.  They figured that having some private schools meant progress in education, but they truly had no clue what progress meant or required.  As time went by, the few institutions that we had in Syria were slowly disappearing under the pressure of corruption and nepotism.  Syria was no longer ruled by a government, it was ruled by a mafia.  You could get anything and everything done if you knew the right person, businesses could only operate if they partnered up with the right people and law and order was completely based on fear and torture.  This type of government was not sustainable.  The people in Syria were either becoming filthy rich or dirt poor, the middle class slowly, but surly disappeared and young people could neither find jobs nor hope for a better future.  In summary, the Assads could write the book on how to destroy a nation.  Today, the people said enough is enough.  They watched other Arab countries get rid of their dictators and decided that it is now or never.  I was not born yesterday; I know that the FSA is committing some atrocities.  I know that the CIA and the MI 5 and others are roaming free in Syria.  I realize that some Jihadi elements are there too, but this, to me, is the natural result of what the Assad regime did and continues to do.  Forty years of persecution of free thought and speech.  Forty years of the outlawing of free assembly.  With that in mind, I do not understand how anyone can expect a unified opposition of any sort.  We have literally not talked to each other in forty some years.  How are we going to immediately make the connection and understand each other?.  This is beyond normal human abilities.  The demonstrations started as purely peaceful demonstrations.  The regime opened fire on them killing droves of people.  Yet they continued and persevered.  Giath Matar, from Daraya, organized residents to meet the army with roses and bottles of water.  He was arrested and tortured to death.  The regime said that they are open to talk to the opposition.  Every single person who showed up to those meetings was either arrested, killed or fled the country after continuous molestation.  I can go on and on, but you get the picture.  I spent 5 days with your father when he came to visit me.  I know exactly how he feels about this whole thing.  He was one of the lucky ones who had a good life that is now destroyed.  He is worried about the future and rightly so.  We are all worried and are under no illusions that this will take many years to stabilize.  From his perspective: he was doing well and living well and he did not need this disruption at this stage in his life.  I do not blame him.  I would have probably felt the same way, had I been through the same experience, but the life of a nation and 23 million people cannot be decided by individual interests.  It has to be decided by the will of the majority.  I am an ardent supporter of this revolution and of the Free Syrian Army.  I cannot wait for the bastard-in-chief to go.  I want Syria to have a chance in becoming a nation of institutions.  A nation where people can thrive because of their abilities, not their connections.  Please remember that this regime that you are supporting is bombing Halab with planes that we, the people, paid for.  They do not really care about anyone except themselves.  He wants to keep his power period.  They hit hospitals by tanks with straight aims.  Wake up and open your eyes.  This is no longer a plain and simple “difference of opinion”.  At this point, you are either with the murderer or with the victim you cannot even choose to be in-between.

Your loving aunt….

My City, my Friends

My city, the ancient place which has grown beyond reasonable limits in the years I have been away from its distinctively colored buildings is now thirsty, hungry, and bloodied. My mother, who in her eighty years never witnessed such atrocities, refuses to leave. So does my sister, who has been, along with her children hostages in the basement of their building for a month now not knowing when to expect the next of Assad murderous bombs.

Yesterday, the banality of evil was on full display with the regime intentionally targeted with its bombs the main water supply line to the city. Streets were, and to this hour continue to be flooded, and more than a million and a half people in the city, including regime supporters, are now threatened with dying of thirst. The price of bread is now 20 folds what it was two months ago after the regime has intentionally and systematically targeted bakeries during heavy demand hours, and after regime snipers, who continue to be present in several pockets around the city have made movement, especially if one is carrying a bag of bread, a capital offence. Medical relief continues to be a hazardous undertaking. And living is now the most hazardous thing to do for the act of living and remaining in Aleppo is in itself the strongest defiance of the Assads and their supporters.

Some may be familiar with the Millennium Development Goals, which are internationally agreed on targets of development adopted by governments worldwide and by the UN system. One of these targets called for significantly increasing the number of people with access to safe drinking water and sanitation by the year 2015.  I have seen governments of many developing countries strive, rather diligently to achieve this target despite of incredible odds including water scarcity, and not concluding with little or no financial means. I am yet to see anyone, other than the assads, and in one single act, increase the burden on the world by adding more than a million people to those with no access to safe drinking water. Every single act of this regime is a war crime. There is no doubt, no relativity, and no bullshit that will let me think otherwise.

As I write, my very active Facebook page blinks with yet another post conveying the all familiar obituary of yet one more brilliant Syrian, whose life, cut short by bashar assad’s war crimes, was worth in every one of its seconds the entire history of the catastrophic assads and the cumulative value of the lives of the herds of hyenas supporting them. This time it is one of my own new friends whom I met in my travels across Europe. A young Syrian film maker, Tamer Al-Awwam, who left his safe residence in Germany to document the revolution in northern Syria including Idlib and Aleppo, has died earlier today as a result of shrapnel wounds  he received during Assad’s bombing pogrom of the city while accompanying FSA fighters and documenting their fight for the freedom of Syria from the tyrant and his henchmen.  On August 6, Tamer wrote on his face book

بين القذيفة والقذيفة تسألني المصورة النمساوية ما هو سبب القصف من مسافات بعيدة على المدينة ألم تتدربوا في الجيش السوري على آلية حرب الشوارع كونكم بموقع حرب مع الاسرائيليين….؟!
تسقط قذيفة جديدة وتقتل الاجابة

Between one shell and another, the Austrian camerawoman asks me: what is the reason for shelling the city from far distances, haven’t you in the Syrian army been trained on the techniques of street warfare being at war with the Israelis….?!
A new shell falls and kills the answer..

I spent two evenings with Tamer a few months back, we talked about the revolution, we talked about the need to galvanize the efforts and touched on the concerns regarding SNC, FSA, and we both held our after dinner sweet and dark tea cups high in salute of the Syrian awakening spirit. One thing I vividly recall, this younger man, touching my elbow to get my attention as I was expressing concerns about rising sectarianism, and saying: don’t be concerned, sectarianism will not win this round, nor any other round from now on. Tamer, you have left a long-lasting impression, and now you leave a void. Tamer never mentioned in either time his plans to go to Syria….But he went, nonetheless, and below is a recent production from him, from this young man, who graced and honored my life with his short, yet memorable presence, making those moments worth a lifetime of intellectual discourse. Please watch his work, it is titled: memories at the check point.

Tamer joins more than 30,000 documented victims of the foolishness of the vain, narcissist, incoherent, hereditary butcher. He also joins a rapidly growing list of journalists murdered by this regime. And yet, there are those who still covertly and overtly support such an abomination.  Curse them… and curse their filthy cowardly minds.

Defeating my own tears, I will try to get back to the issue. I will not analyze the situation in Aleppo, nor will I discuss the violations being committed in the name of the FSA for I have been involved, rather heavily and directly, in  relevant activities aiming first to halt these violations and second to pressure the various armed groups in Aleppo to either unify under one national banner or be considered outlaws and servants of the regime’s policy, and finally to stop the nonsensical broadcasting of the movement and locations of FSA fighters during operations by Facebook activists, especially those who are immature teens.

Yes there may be more foreign fighters in Aleppo than in other cities, but that can’t be used as an excuse to belittle the revolution, to stamp it as a jihadist enterprise as covert regime supporters do.  It further gives no excuse to the wanton murderous destruction assad gangs are inflicting on Syria as their barbarian regime finishes its transformation from a brutal dictatorial mafia regime into a sectarian mafia militia, equipped with the most lethal instruments of murder and ready to use them against innocent civilians for no strategic goal other than burning the country.

The battle with this regime is not about me, it is not about you, it is about humanity. My dear friends, i can now tell you why it has  been very hard to write. Over the past few months, my closeness to some of the young and brilliant people of Syria has enriched my life, but it has also made the tragedy, and the mess closer than ever.

I will not forget, nor will I forgive. I will not seek revenge, but rest assured, I will seek justice. And defending this regime, even covertly, makes one part and parcel in the murder of the friends I have lost. My cursing the regime  and its supporters is only an impotent response, but I, with the help of countless Syrians, lack no potency in following them through this planet and in making them pay by all legal means for their collusion with this abomination called assad and for their disgustingly inhumane efforts to cover the stench with slogans of resistance and nationalism. They will pay for the murder of my city, and all other cities in my Syria, for killing my friends and for making my mother, brave as she is, cry.

Lost Pleasure and Other Ramblings (by SYRIAN HAMSTER)

I was told in argument on SC that it is no longer pleasurable to read my posts. As if I care,… this is not a competition for the most pleasant piece of literature. It is a battle forced on Syrians by a regime being defended, hyped, and constantly propped up by a bunch of people with primitive fears trying to hide innate sectarianism, believe of entitlement, and a maddening cocktail of inferiority-insecurity-superiority complexes.

How dare those trying to play both sides claim that the people of Syria want to burn their country?  None of the revolutionaries, the FSA, or even Jihadists who may have entered the line here and there is flying Migs aircraft, driving tanks, and positioning mid-range artillery guns to prepare areas for the hordes of Assad barbarians by bombarding Syria’s cities one after another. It is the criminal regime, empowered by the cowardice of the shifty “against the regime but not with the revolution”, by the subhuman ethics of its defenders, by a primitive fear-based cult, and a group of anti-something fools, who never managed to join the 21st century and still reach orgasm imagining yet one more totalitarian system’s victory against forces of progress and civility. Zakraria Tamer is right, it is a regime empowered by Ignorance, arrogance, audacity, pettiness, stupidity and foolishness. It is the Assad hyenas who keep saying Assad or we burn the country, and have been burning the country, and some people have the audacity to blame those whose homes and cities are being burned, those whose families are being murdered, and those whose brothers and sisters are being killed under torture for the catastrophe befalling the country, so that these cowards can feel superior to the masses and rest comfortable with a malformed conscious grown out of their elitism.

Anyone who points the finger at the citizen who takes up arm to defend his neighborhood from the hyena packs instead of pointing the finger at the head hyena is a participant in the murder, an enabler of the sub-human regime, and is a part of the problem.

The most common theme in the writing of this class of cowards is their disingenuous declaration of sadness for the people of the country being massacred because “some people” want the toppling of the regime at all costs. Now it is us who are being rigid, and not the bastards of Damascus and their packs of hyenas hell-bent on burning the country and their enablers in Syria and elsewhere who propagate false stories, perform intellectual prostitution through shady articles accusing everyone of being on the pay of someone, whilst they refuse to declare the names of their financial and academic backers.  So let us look at some of the fatal logical flaws in their set of arguments. Take the above argument, for example. It is mostly directed at SNC. Here are some of the statements

SNC is causing the mayhem by tricking people into fighting the regime for their own political agenda (aiming to deny the people on the street the legitimacy of free will to fight back… they are tricked)….

and

SNC is incompetent, it has no legitimacy, nor the backing of Syrians, its members are greedy,…. And so on. .

Does anyone see the contradiction of the two statements, most of the time present within a single regime-propagandist (or indirect apologist) paragraph. I will not try to pontificate like the foolish assad, so you pick it yourself.

However, there is an important undertone of the first statement, not only as an attempt to deny the popular character of the revolution,  but also as a disgusting cowardly attempt to normalize the regime’s criminal violence, by implicitly accepting such non-human violence as the only possible, expected, must live with response. This also takes a more sinister form by blaming Qatar, KSA, Israel, US, and others for the follies of the stupid Syrians, who brought on themselves the wrath of this regime, rather deservingly because they have collaborated, directly or indirectly with the west. How deceitful and sinister.  These are the same people who instead of accusing the Assad hyena gangs of burning the country, look at those striving for dignity and freedom and blame them for destroying the country.  Sadly, these same bunch of ethically and morally challenged characters would drive themselves and others into fits of indignation if anyone suggested that hizbullah had any responsibility in instigating the murderous Israeli campaign against Lebanon or Gaza. I believe that they are somehow angry that Israel was successful in neutralizing Hizbullah and Hamas, at least militarily after a significantly shorter period of murderous bombardment and with less damage and lives lost than the damage their regime has wrought and lives lost to protect their cult master, while on the other hand, their beloved fool still can’t do the same in Syria. It is also the same people who are now advertising the regime as the best protection Israel has against the “islamist” monster, but fail to reconcile with their own rhetoric, when cornered by the persistent, no prisoner taken style of someone like AIG. I refused Israel’s defenders logic then, and I refuse Assad’s apologists logic now.  

What they miss, really miss, is that toppling this regime is no longer a political quest, it is now a human and civilization necessity. And Syrians are paying the price to join civilization and civility again. There is no question in my mind that when speaking of regime apologists, cover and overt,  their humanity did not fail them, the failed and continue to fail humanity with every word they utter.

I happen to believe that the demise of the Syrian Regime and its bosom body in Iran would be the first condition for stability in this region.  Sustainable peace will come after stability…. Any fool knows that. And if these liars try to accuse me of being an Israel friendly, all I have to do is to remind them that in their narrow sectarian mindset, it was them who tried to sell the regime to Israel as its guarantor starting with Rami Makhlouf and not ending with the characters on SC.

I am not bitter, … I am repulsed and disgusted.

Who are SNC:

I also encounter so much hype from both sides about SNC members and how they spend their time in five stars hotels. For many members of SNC, especially the younger, ground active members, this could not be further from the truth. A few have lost their jobs because of the demand of their work. Others barely have enough to survive and they are living in far worst conditions than those using the broadest of brushes to paint SNC in bad picture. As a political organization, SNC’s record is mixed, with more negative than positive. But please do not belittle the sacrifices of many of its members, who could have continued t o live comfortable lives, with reasonably paying professional jobs, but chose otherwise for the sake of Free Syria.

On Asef, Ikhtiar, and the rest of the Gang

I Don’t believe in hell and heaven, so my word is Good riddance.

On the West

Unlike the regime, who is has surrendered Syrian Sovereignty to Iran and Russia at the pleasure of a few Russian agents pretending to be journalists, researches, and commentators, the revolution is beholden to no one.  We will bring down the regime, punish those who ordered and committed atrocities and crimes against humanity (even if they defect from this point on), and build a new Syria. Syrians may not have many friends willing to fight on their behalf, but they will have plenty of friend as they embark on rebuilding their country.  Mark my words. We just have to think in long terms and recognize that it is not easy to deprogram an adult elephant of its thin rope. It may take the next generation for freely roaming elephants.

Someone Else’s FB Rambling

I leave you with a FB status written a while a go by one of my friends, It is written in Arabic and it is far more concise than my writing above.

القتل فرضه النظام وليس المجلس الوطني أو الجيش السوري الحر رغم مساويء كل منهما
توصيف وضع المعارضه الان واتهام أطرافها الرئيسة بالسعي نحو السلطه وبأنها شهود زور على حرق البلد وبان من وقف مع الثورة من المثقفين يريد التغيير فقط للتغيير يخدم دعاية النظام وشبيحته الذين يتهمون الثورة بأنها وراء خراب البلد محاولين التغطيه على الشعار المقيت “الاسد أو نحرق البلد” …
كفاكم تباكيا واستخفافا بعقولنا ولو كان ذلك عن حسن نيه … لاتريدون الانضمام الى الثورة لخوفكم من الطاغية .. أنتم أحرار.. ولكن لا تلعبوا دور الغربان في وقت حرج كهذا … نحن لا نحتاج تعففكم عن الدماء … فأنتم طاهرون ومثاليون … أما نحن الرعاع فقد فرض علينا الدم …

لا يا سادتي … لستم انسانيون أكثر منا .. ولستم حضاريون أكثر
تذكروا أن من فرض الدم هو النظام الذي لازلتم تتخوفون من فوضى زواله …

Translation:

Murder and death were forced by the regime and not by the SNC or the FSA despite of their deficiencies. Over-analyzing the state of the opposition, and accusing its various components of running after power and of being false witnesses to the burning of the country and accusing intellectuals who side with the revolution of being after change for mere change only serves the regime’s propaganda and its thugs who are accusing the revolution of being behind the destruction of the country in their attempt to cover for the contemptible slogan “Assad or we Burn the Country” .

Stop decrying and stop your disregard and insult on our intelligence, even if you mean well. If you don’t want to join the revolution for fear of the tyrant, then don’t, you are Free. But don’t become craws at a critical time like this.  We don’t need your prudery of blood for you are the pure idealists. As for us, the mob, blood was forced upon us.

No sirs,   you are not more humane than us, nor are you more civilized.  And remember, blood was forced on us by the regime, whose demise you are so afraid of .

Status of Humanitarian aid to the Syrian People (By Souria AlKarama)

Intro from OTW

On the day their murderous gangs of paramilitia and hijacked regular army murdered 55 Syrians to keep  the thug in  power, the thug Bashar Assad and his co-conspirator and partner in crimes Asma, played humanitarias. A clip  Syrian TV shows the two criminals and their cohort seemingly packaging food supplies to the “victims of terrorism” in Homs. Of course, this has to be accompanied by one of the “Baathist” propaganda empty phrases, (see right corner of the image capture”. The phrase says لبينا النداء ، (we answered the call).

April 18, 2012, the repulsive criminal couple playing humanitarians on the day their gangs murdered 55 Syrians .

The repulsive cynicism of the Assad mafia gang knows no limit. Their forces routinely kill doctors and aid workers with all the telltale signs of an utter contempt for Syria and Syrians as demonstrated by the vengeful sniping of the best of Syrian youth who dare to defy this criminal gang’s intent on the murder and impoverishment of more and more Syrians . And yet, the two criminals go on a vogue photoshoot in a “releif centre” set in  a stadium after they have turned most of  Syria’s  staduims and sport-centers into collective punishment, humiliation and torture facilities.  Their  shamelessness knows no limit.

I have argued in my previous post that the regime, with its murderous “burn the country” campaign has succeeded in occupying a large number of activists with humanitarian relief, which reduces their ability to participate in the political and even military aspects of this revolution. At the same time, the scale of mayhem, and the hate and contempt to Syria  and Syrians shown by this mafia gang and their supporters has made even the slightest of humanitarian relief a heroic political and resistance act*.

I have asked my new friend, Souria Alkarama, who is heavily engaged in relief work in Syria to summarize the status of relief activities. My friend has kindly written the following post, which is being transmitted, un-edited, as I have received it. It is worth noting that many like my friend are working silently on this issue. You may not find them boasting about it, or writing with strong language as we do, but they are in fact among  the real silent, gravely endangered heroes of Syria. The tugs are after them in every corner. I salute them, and ask those who pray to pray for their safety and well being.

Status of Humanitarian aid to the Syrian People
(by Souria AlKarama)

When the Syrian uprising erupted some fifteen months ago, it was called the dignity revolution. Civilians marched to the streets in many parts of the country demanding freedom, dignity and reform. Unlike the other Arab countries that witnessed the so called “Arab Spring”, the Syrian revolution seems to be the bloodiest. The Syrian Regime showed, and still is showing, its ugliest face while cracking down on the protestors using unimaginable ways and tactics. These despicable tactics against the Syrian citizens led some activists to rename the revolution “The Bread Revolution”.

The one tactic this article is going to shed light on is what is called “collective punishment”. The Syrian Authority has continuously used this tactic against the Syrian civilians in those areas of revolts prohibiting medical supplies to many areas of the country such as in Daraa, Hama, Idleb and Homs. It was confirmed that the Syrian ministry of health offices in those cities have stopped distributing renal failure, diabetic, hypertension and asthma medications to those in need. They were turned away and told straight to their face, “let your freedom get your medication” referring to the number one demand of the activists in the street. In the same fashion the Syrian authority stopped supplying many cities and most villages with water, heating oil, cooking gas, and electricity. They went further in selected areas and stopped supplying the flour to make bread. Even garbage collection was put on halt in many areas which will deepen the humanitarian crisis especially in the heat of the summer season.

According to the International Red Cross statement issued last April, “more than 1.5 million Syrians are struggling to meet basic needs like food, water, and shelter. Tens of thousands of civilians are living in public buildings and the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent is feeding about 100,000 so called “vulnerable Syrians”. Add to it more than five million unemployed Syrians. The worst of all this is the confirmed number of orphaned children. In the city of Homs alone after 6 months of military attacks and 6 weeks of random heavy shelling to various neighborhoods, at least 2000 children were confirmed orphaned. The reports coming out of Idleb in the north show that the number of orphaned children is even larger.

Under the ethical and moral pressure of all this suffering, many well-known international charities were able to help with limited capacities inside Syria. Due to the restricted regulations the Syrian Regime imposed on them, they turned to help the Syrian refugees who fled the country to Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. In addition, few Syrian non-governmental organizations were established by expatriate Syrians. These newly formed charity foundations were able to build an underground network of brave and dedicated men and women inside the country to coordinate the smuggling and the distribution of the funds, medical supplies and the humanitarian supplies to those in need.

The cash smuggled is used in several different ways. Part of the money was used to buy the food supply to arrange for what is now called “the food basket”. The food basket contains non perishable items like rice, sugar, pasta, cooking oil, canned food….etc. A detailed list of those families in need is compiled by the activists and then just before dawn the baskets are distributed to the families, one by one. Distribution of such items (food) is very dangerous and can carry unimaginable consequences should the Syrian security forces find out. Many activists lost their lives distributing bread and other kinds of food. These heroes paid the ultimate price so their fellow Syrians could survive. One activist, who distributes food baskets in Duma just outside Damascus, once, said “it is by far much better for a person to be caught demonstrating in the street rather than getting caught distributing food to the people. They (referring to the Security forces) want to starve our people”. Many brave activists lost their lives to a sniper or a bomb shell while distributing humanitarian aids. A physician from the city of Aleppo was shot dead at a check point near the town of Rastan, just north of Homs, because he was caught smuggling medical supplies in his car. A young man from Homs whose job was to distribute bread bags to couple neighborhood was shot dead by the Syrian security as he was attempting to smuggle the bread bags.

They also use the cash smuggled to subsidize the families who lost their breadwinner and to the families of arrested fathers, husbands or brothers. Detailed tables that show the martyrs first and last name, the number of dependents and their ages was created. Also the list include any distant family that maybe living in the same household. In many instances the ID number is used to identify the individuals in each family. Cash is given monthly to the family through an underground and well trusted network.

In addition, cash is used to buy medical equipment which is usually bought from a vendor inside the country. This medical equipment is used to furnish the field hospitals, (another underground network that consist of medical personal who can’t treat the injured in hospitals fearing the death squad who are roaming all hospitals especially in the cities with tense fighting like Homs and Idleb). The violation of medical neutrality and the targeting of doctors, hospitals, medics and ambulances is well documented and verified by many independent organizations such as ‘Physicians for Human Rights’ and ‘Doctors without Borders’. The main question is how much those newly formed “NGO” can do to minimize the magnitude of the crisis and suffering? The answer cannot be answered by simply saying: they can help or they can’t!

The magnitude of the humanitarian catastrophe is tremendous and requires well-funded international organizations backed by the international community to make a measurable difference. At the same time it’s very easy for a beginner humanitarian worker to feel very pessimistic of the outcome. A person needs to put things in perspective. If some things are not done perfectly, that doesn’t mean that we should be discouraged from helping.

On June 5th, 2012 there has been a breakthrough. The Syrian government has said it will let the United Nations enter the country and deliver humanitarian aid to people in need, a U.N. official said Tuesday. “After a long time of very intense negotiations, we now have an agreement in writing with the Syrian government on the scale, scope and modality of humanitarian action in Syria,” John Ging, director of operations at the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said in Geneva, Switzerland.

The sacrifice I witnessed in my brief time working with coordinating humanitarian aids to Syria is phenomenal. I bow with humility and pride to the brave Syrian men and women who dedicated their life to help their fellow citizens. These people cannot be defeated. I have witnessed courage equal only to that seen in movies and fairy tales.

By Souria AlKarama
June,  2012

______________________________________________________________

Note from OTW: * Herein, I am reclaiming the word resistance from the Assad mafia and from their partners  such as Hizbullah and other bankrupt defunct nationalist, communist, and fascist parties throughout the region. I am determined on doing so as part of rehabilitating our political language.

Damascus, here we come…..

Dear beloved friends

I am sorry for having not posted for more than a month and a half and for causing my friends to worry. I am in the middle of a major career move with what it entails of relocation, packing, moving, finding a new home and attending intensive and advanced training after training (don’t tell SC men7ebbakjis, they will immediately claim that it is some notorious subversive training). For a while, things got so intense and messed up that I forgot my multiple conspiratorial passwords and it took a while to find in what “safe” electronic place i had hidden them.

Ali Ferzat Cartoon

Writing next to the rope says “security solution”, writing on the water “the regime”.

Over the past fifty days, I also traveled through three continents, mostly for work related travel, made new revolutionary friends on the way, and reconnected with old friends. Not surprisingly,  those whom I thought had something kicking in them, proved the gems they  always were, and those who were always pretentious “resisters, rejectionists, or obstructionists” turned to be what they were: “pretentious”. I have seen many of those drive themselves up into fits of fake anger at the revolution, and watched them and read them as they pathetically tried to shine the bloody soiled image of the foolish buffoon, only to make themselves look and sound more vulgar, especially when they resort to using refined words and obnoxiously flawed and misleading “research“.  I also met some  of the icons of Syria’s new and real art and literary community. Some of whom I met during their tours, some during demonstrations, and some I  visited in their humble refuges scattered over the three continents I traveled through. I met revolutionary hackers who now focus on the security of activists’ communication instead of rejoicing at hacking one of the regime’s propaganda toilets (not to say that they don’t have fun doing the latter), I met members of LCCs who were forced to leave Syria, spent many evenings with them, participated in their online meetings, and was elated to see that their spirit remains high, whether Asef Shawkat and his cohort have met their creator or whether they are now hiding in some dungeon echoing the foolish buffoon’s orders  to murder and torture yet more Syrians and to scorch more of Syria in hope of turning history back. Non of that  matters, the revolution goes on.

I constantly and persistently tried to write. I sat in front of the empty screen trying to collect my thoughts, to compose coherent essays or even paragraphs and found myself drawn to my private facebook page where I made some serious, but very short commentaries but still could not write an essay. And while the experiential intensity by which my life is being transformed on several fronts was thrilling, the situation in Syria was becoming steadily numbing to me as to most around me in the “external” opposition. As things settled into a chronic pain, everywhere I went I noticed that relief work has become the dominant topic, and for many an LCC, both outside and inside, it is now the primary and perhaps the only type of activity they are undertaking. True, it is a noble work, but the scale of scorching the criminal gang has accomplished in their fool’s errand to preserve the buffoon seems to have been calculated to preoccupy the  revolution with relief work instead of political and revolutionary organizational work, which was one of the keys to the success of the Egyptian revolution. The regime continues to make  humanitarian work dangerous as it goes on assassinating and jailing relief workers. A young hero, whose primary crime was smuggling  bread to Assad-made disaster zones in Homs, was assassinated by one of the foolish buffoon’s snipers just a couple of days ago. There were many heated arguments about focusing on relief and the need to refocus also on the political and revolutionary organizational components,  and there will continue to be as long as the murderous regime continues it wanton scorch earth mad dash.

More recently, I lost a member of my extended but closely knit family to a hail of bullets from the buffoon’s thugs. We now have a martyr in the family. My family has shown a great restrain, only attainable by those with an infinite reservoir of faith. I myself don’t have that faith, but I and the rest of the extended family were being comforted by the martyr’s mother, his sisters, and his brothers. I never knew that such incredible humanity existed in Syria. How can we, when artists and poets and for more than four decades have cowed to a state of intellectual atrophy, and more importantly into a state of domesticated house-pets. We had solace that the Martyr’s father has passed peacefully of old age, less than forty days before his son’s murder and that this proud man did not have to be broken by the regime’s message of hate that the thugs and their defenders have been spewing as they are scorching our beloved cities an hamlets. I watched and cried silently as none of  my family members acted like the angry bullies one would encounter reading the comment section on Syria Comment, or like the semi-retarded regime-made opposition who protest the loss of lives but do all they can to prolong the misery as they extend one lifeline after another to this inhuman regime. My family was silent, tearful, and yet solidly cognizant that we finally are no different from most families in Syria,………….. one of our sons was murdered by the foolish buffoon.

I come back.  I will write less than before due to my intense work schedule and other engagements. I come back exhausted, yet tireless, enraged, yet calm, pained, yet full of hope, and like one of my favorite Syrian poets said, I trust in Syria. Not Syria the mystic amorphous nationalistic and chauvinist concept they have been drilling into our psych for half a century, but Syria the people. How can i not, peaceful protests continue, …. the University of Aleppo shouted embarrassing the fossil aleppine intellectuals, lawyers are starting to act as they should, and the regime is more powerless than ever to stop history. Scorching Syria will not save them…. maligning our common folks will not make them look smart, and murdering our sons will not break us. Damascus, ….here we come.

Damascus, ….here we come.

Damascus, ….here we come.

Damascus, ….here we come.

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