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Stories from Hama: Memories of Painter Khaled Al-Khani. Part 3

Lest we forget-31 years (Introduction by OTW)

HAMA-31-MemoriumNearly a year ago, I posted my translation of several segments of the memoir of Khaled Al-Khani, a Syrian painter who lived as a six-year old child the horrors of Hama. Then, I hoped to post all of Khaled’s memoirs, which were originally written by him as eight letters sent to his friends in the early days of the Syrian Revolution, on three installments on 7ee6ab. Until today, i could not  finish translating the third installment because pain, sorrow, and grief, always struck me hard in nearly every sentence. Khaled and I have become good friends, and every time I started working on the last four letters of his, I could not  stop weeping as I  thought of my friend, living the massacre as a child and hearing the horror stories from his neighbors as he grew up, so I stopped.

Today, we enter the thirty-first anniversary of the Assads’ massacre of Hama. It was on this day, thirty-one years, when an abominable group of barbarians invaded a beautiful city on the Orontes river. What happened  next became suppressed in the memory of millions. It was suppressed in the memories of those who knew of the massacre, but remained silent for fear that the Assads may do to them what they have done to the city of Hama, to Khaled’s friends, to his larger than life father, and to our identity as Syrians. Others were merely ashamed of our own complicity in the crimes, whether that was in believing the lies and distortions of Hafez Al-Assad, or in failing to rise up in aid of our sister city, raped as she was.

In less than two months from now, we mark the beginning of the third year of the Syrian Revolution. Much has happened since I posted the second part of Khaled’s memoir. The horrors khaled describes are now common place, for what was done in 1983 in the secrecy of siege has been happening in the open, by the son of the murderous hafez, a foolish entity, that proved to many the existence of filthy genes.

Bashar’s barbarians are not far from his fathers’ and uncle’s. Their crimes are no less horrific as they have demonstrated through countless “leaked tapes”. Residents of the Baroudeyeh district of Hama, who fled to the undulation room in a destroyed mosque, are now joined by their children and relatives from countless Syrian cities and villages. Photos of murdered detainees, tortured to death, starved, burned, mutilated, are now part of our daily lives.

All of this does not belittle the pain that is Hama. And while we mourn her sisters joining her in tragedy at the hand of the murderous sons and nephews of the senior assad thugs, we must also continue to remember Hama. As I wrote in the previous post, what we see today was foretold thirty-one years ago. It is also a warning that this clan must not remain in Syria, should have no future or connection to Syria, and that its heads, its bullies, their partners, and loyalists a swell as their propagandists and publicity prostitutes must face up for their crimes.

Today, while Syrians die or become refugees on hourly basis, many of the perpetrator of Hama’s massacre remain free. Rifaat Al-Assad enjoys his billions all over Europe, Abdel-Halim Khaddam lives safely in the most expensive area of Paris, and many of the junior thugs, are now generals in the barbarian army, not counting the soldiers and petty-officers who have since them  retired. For Hama, then, and for what is happening now in Syria to pass without just punishment is a dishonor not only to Syria, but to humanity as well.

Again, I could not finish translating  all of Khaled’s Memoir. It is still very hard to do. There will be one more. But that is OK, for in having a task like this going incomplete, i continue to remember our dept to Hama, and  the fact that it can never be paid.

Stories from Hama: Memories of Painter Khaled Al-Khani. Part 3

Part 1,  Part 2

11. Life under shelling 150x150.acrylic on canvas

One of Khaled Al-Khani’s 2012 paintings titled: Life under shelling.

When my father slapped me and sent me to join my mother and my brothers and the rest of the residents of the Baroudeyeh neighborhood, it was like he knew that I would never forget the details of the tragedy for as long as I lived. I tell you now, and I swear; I see him today in every martyr among the detainees. I beg your forgiveness. You may find some confusion to this part of my testimony, and you have to excuse me, he is my father.

O’ father, how could you send us to the unknown? What a pain. What went through your heart and mind then?  when your sufferings began to grow.

He was captured in the shelter he went into with my aunt after the army, delayed by some brave young men, later arrived. I know one of these men very well, and he told me how much they suffered from bombardment, and how were they able to delay the savages’ invasion for few days.

My father was arrested with all of the men in the shelter and sent to the ceramic factory. Some of those who were with him told me later that after days of having been with no food and with only rain water to ease their thirst, a few soldiers would come once or twice and throw some bread around asking the people, at gunpoint, to race for the bread in order to amplify our disgrace. There were sheds and cellars in the factory, and as customary, the detainees shared the pain. The cellars were warmer than the sheds, which protected them from the wind, but in the factory yard, a place which became outside universe of humanity, laid killing, maiming, dragging, brutality, teeth pulling, ear and tongue cutting, eyes gouging, and breaking of limbs. Despite all of this, people shared the roles and the pain.

After days of existence in the detention camp, some people began calling my father “Doctor” as a sign of respect and to ease his pain having eased theirs many a time in the past. He repeatedly told them: ”Don’t call me Doctor” because as one of signatories to the city’s intellectuals’ statement sent to the regime calling for democracy and respect for freedom and other human rights, he knew that the regime would not allow any intellectual from our city to survive.  Today, we are calling for our rights again, and we will get them, god willing. One witness told me that my father once chided him for toasting a piece of bread on a makeshift stove and told him to eat it as it is. To date, I could not understand why. Was he concerned about the loss of nutritional value with toasting? or was it the smell, in consideration for the hunger of all of the detainees.

The presence of a physician among the detainees, of whom there were five thousands in this particular detention camp, leaked to the officer.  So, he gathered the detainees in the yard. Then, this senior officer said that they needed a physician, suggesting there was a medical emergency. My father and another doctor adhered to the Hippocratic Oath and answered the call of duty. Little they knew of the planned treachery.  My father and the other doctor were both dragged alive and tortured. They gouged one of my father’s eyes in the midst of his suffering and  one of those who were present told me that my father was on the ground writhing in pain when the soldiers were beating him with their weapons as if they were playing and before he died, the soldiers ganged up him as a pack of wolves. His tribulation and pain lasted for hours. Oh father, what did you feel…? After that, his body, which looked like mine, his face, resembling mine, and his soul, similar those of our today martyrs, was thrown in the yard and later handed to the national hospital, where he remained, with the other martyrs’ , laying at the hospital door. My father’s torture did not end then, for in there, they gouged his other eye, took his identity card and stapled it to his clothes.

One of our relatives was able to retrieve my father’s body. He was buried eyeless.

Today, I swear I never stopped asking for our full rights and for the murderers to receive just punishment. I never stopped, and will never stop until you return to me my father’s eyes to lay them to rest where he is.

I wrote the first few parts of my testimonial while under fear and anxiety from everything and I sent them to you to expose the crimes of this corrupt regime.  God knows, as I was writing, letters of the alphabet abandoned me, and my language did not save me. Sometimes I would search for a letter or a sentence and try to write it down but it would escape as a fugitive does from this tyrannical regime. You have no idea how many a prose I erased out of fear for the safety of people, and how many times I hesitated, stuttered, and cried until I fell down. I swear my crying never stops when I write, and what I write is always forcefully extracted from my memories, which constantly tries to escape into the far and deep corners of my brain.

My father’s corpse was dumped for days among other corpses at the door of the national hospital. Earlier, my father, a non-Baathist, was appointed as a director of the hospital and president of the city’s syndicate of physicians. This was an earlier attempt to signal the regime’s responsiveness to the intellectuals statement and to initiate a dialogue with members of the city’s civil society in the same treacherous tricks being used to out such people by the regime nowadays. We must exercise caution and read the regime’s movements well.

A nurse, who worked with my father when he was the director of the hospital told me that wounded people arrived  to the hospital in an non-slowing acceleration. An incident occurred when a wounded man was brought in  loudly crying out of pain. His cries were so loud to the point where everyone in the hospital heard. He was not the only one crying out of pain, but his voice was the loudest. People who brought him believed, as we all now do, that the cries of pain were the signal to the soldiers who camped at the hospital to finish off the wounded and to assure our complete annihilation.  It was not the treatment to ease the pain that was proportional the the pain of the wounded but the severity of torture awaiting them. The nurse told that the soldiers, accompanied by another nurse who adopted murder with them, opened up the man’s chest while he was writhing and shouting with pain, took out his heart, his blood covering their faces and their military uniforms; until they finally silenced him, forever, as they had thought then. But by god, I am his voice, his pain, and his body, until we honor him as befitting a human. They killed in a celebration of victory over humanity. This is their eternal war. The teller swore that the nurse who identified with the soldiers took out the man’s liver and chewed and spat pieces of it as if god didn’t exist in that place. The woman who told the story remained silent for years about it. Till today, she remains frozen in that place, unable to leave it as she relives repeatedly in her memories the scene. She said that they never asked for the man’s name. They don’t track names. The barbarians don’t know the language of children and women; our language. They know only the language of killing.

Bodies were defaced and disfigured in that hospital. On the walls, they drew with blood and wrote  phrases such as “no god but nation and no prophet but the ba’ath”.  The decapitated heads to express their fear of our mind, or may be so that people remain uncertain about the death of their disappeared beloved, or whether they are among the detainees in the gang’s jails.  This is merely a picture of our psychological torture, which they strove to make chronic up to the present. Until now, doubts remain, and people, heart broken, still yearn for the return of those who went to that place.

It was as if the barbarians were abstracting the Human on a painting dominated by red and adding from the darkness of their hearts to balance their inhuman art. This was their art of painting, sculpting, of cinema and theater, and perhaps of poetry and music, but the  task for narrating was left to me. They excelled over all of those who made contemporary art then, but they forgot that they were killing the human because these are the arts of killing among barbarians. They even performed their own scientific experiments:  intravenous introduction of water and alcohol into the blood of the wounded while they observed what happened. What scientists? They have surpassed the ages. They punctured eardrums, slashed veins and cut productive organs, fingers, and ears. They gouged eyes, and penetrated every orifice with their guns. They used Cyanide on us (I will tell more about it later). They desired god to create us with no ears and no hearts. They desired that god never created us to begin with.

A wounded woman meant more pleasure for them because they can practice more of their arts including the rape of a woman while she is dying or bleeding, or sometimes, being merciful, killing her and then raping her. If she had any jewelry on her, they would extract the jewelry in the most vicious way such as by cutting her hand, or slashing her ear, and more. As they are doing today, then and in that area of my city, they instructed all hospitals not to admit anyone but wounded soldiers, and when no one listened to them, the destroyed all private hospitals. No one escaped their savagery as they looted, ransacked, and destroyed all of the pharmacies in our area.

Hameedo-Pigeons

Commemorating Hameedo’s pigeons. For 31 years, Hameedo and hi pigeons remained part of the artists’ memories of resisting the culture of death of the regime. Hameedo’s insistence on making sure that his pigeons never land in defiance of the soldiers’ bullets was one of the few inspiring things to a six-year old boy living the horrors of the massacre.

Perhaps all of  the survivors from the Boaroudeyeh neighborhood know Hameedo, a mentally disabled young man, who surpassed the murders in intelligence and humanity. Hameedo was there when the massacre of Hama started, and he would never hesitate to declare himself defender of his sacked city. Everyone in the neighborhood knew Hameedo because like a clock, he would release his flocks of pigeons to the sky at sunrise. His voice transcendent,   Hameedo would wake everyone while sending his pigeons off. At sunset, he would sing the sun farewell with his loud voice calling on his flocks to return. A part of the homes and of the place, Hameedo would not stop doing that, even if everyone left. After the barbarians’ night attack on our city, and I don’t really know where he stayed at, but on that morning, while we were in our house, and when bullets flew from all direction,  Hameedo went up to his roof and released his flock and his voice to the sky. His voice mixed with the sound of bullets and the sound of his pigeons was not the usual. It was more like our own sounds. Hameedo’s birds were scared of the bullets as they circled the sky desperately trying to land. Some of them got lost. But not Hameedo, who defied the bullets as his mother was calling him, with his voice being the only voice heard at that moment. We may never understand his feelings, and I think that he did not realize what  he felt, but he stood with his sacked city and may have released his birds to make the barbarian understand his message. What a man? He grew grand in our eyes, freeing himself, and facing the murderers. Ever since that day, I have been trying to reach Hameedo’s heights and to tell you about his struggle, which is unlike any. The soldiers saw Hameedo’s birds and they started sniping them one after the other, but he kept shouting to tell us with his shouts that the barbarians would not refrain from any evil. He did not surrender, and would never allow his pigeons to land on the roof of his house. Some birds landed on other roofs, the rest were killed, but even then, Hameedo did not stop, he went looking for his birds from one roof to the other, enticing them to fly again. He faced the barbarians, and he didn’t hide or surrender to the sound of bullets for he kept that sound out until he was shot by the soldiers, who never understood what emotions are, and never knew what does humanity mean, and never favored it for other creatures.

Hameedo went silent on the roof of his house, but has never been silent in my memories. It is as if he is sending into my soul again what he felt in the wide skies. By god, today, we all feel like Hameedo, who released his weapon of simple humanity to stop the murder. Foretelling before anyone could that the barbarian were here to exterminate all birds,  he departed with his birds to where he desired and left me to carry to your what he wanted for all of you. Where are you now Hameedo? To declare freedom in your own way, you are now eternal in the memories of those surviving residents of the Baroudeyeh. Everyone knew then that Hameedo was flying with his birds towards the sky. He was one of the first martyrs of our neighborhood.

Horses-of-Hama

The residents of Hama’s Baroudeyeh district adored their Arabian Horses. Bestowing their own names on their horses to signify the unique relationship with their Noble horses. The above painting by the artist illustrates the centrality of these horses in their lives.

In the Baroudeyeh, we had horse stables within arabian-styled our homes. All families in our neighborhood had horses and these horses were part of our pride and honor. We never classified our horses as animals, for they carried our names, and in that there was and remains an infinitely clear expression of the nature of the relationship we had with our horses. During  our great escape from the neighborhood, some people remained, but most left. Those who remained told us later what happened to our horses. Before leaving, some men released their horses wanting for them exactly what Hameedo wanted his birds, and that was to stay away from the place, or to fight weapons with his beautiful birds. Many of the fine Arabian bloodstock horses were forced out, in manners we have never done in hundreds of year, a manner that does not at all represent our feelings towards our horses.

Yet, many horses remained, and the barley stores were left opened for them in hope that they can survive. Some believed that they will see their horses again upon their return, but these people did not know that barbarians don’t leave anything behind, and they would not leave our cultural heritage, the habits of our grandfathers, and they knew the symbolism of horses to us.

They did not kill the horses because they knew of their cultural values, and they knew that the loss of our horses will be forever painful to us, which is what they want. None of the survivors tell that they have seen horses among the corpses, because the barbarians have carried the horses to another place. I swear that after the end of the massacre, and the return of those who survived it to the city, the people of my city went looking for their horses as if they were looking for their own children. If any one mentioned that a beautiful horse or mare was seen in another governorate, they would go to investigate whether it was one of our beautiful horses. We never saw any, and did not found an answer until the golden horseman showed up, and then the people of Hama knew to where the horses disappeared. His father was never a horseman, nor was his grandfather. While he may have learned riding with our horses, not everyone understands the language of horses, because it teaches ethics, and it only befits us. Bassel al-assad, you never were a horseman, and this is not how horsemanship is.

To be continued

Part 1

Part 2

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.

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.

Olives, Ironies, and civil war

On Jan, 5, 2011, Subhi Hadidi, a journalist termed by many in the opposition, including myself, as a moral compass for being fiercely independent in his criticism of the Syrian regime, published an article in the London based Pan Arab newspaper Alquds Alarabi about the cornerstone of the Syrian regime and its evolution during the past 10 month. The article’s introduction describes the intent of Adanan Alsukhbi, the regime’s governor of the Raqqa governorate of Syria to uproot the 15 years old olive trees planted on the private farm of activist lawyer Abduallah Al-Khalil after Assad’s militias destruction of the the lawyer’s house.  One of two trees mentioned in the Quran (fig and olive), and a universal symbol of peace, olive trees are both mystical and semi-sacred.  And uprooting olive trees, next to home demolition, has been a constant presence in Arab memory ever since it has been practiced by Israeli settlers and IDF soldiers be it as collective and individual punishment of Palestinians, pre-confiscation action, or part of the controversial and illegal price-tag policy exacted by extremist settlers against both the Palestinians and Israeli security forces.

It was an epic irony that, in his forth speech since the uprising started, and while the issue of uprooting olive trees in Raqqa, being fresh, and with Bashar Al-Assad being dubbed by many Syrians as having presided over the killing of more Syrians than double the number of Lebanese and Palestinians killed through the two most recent actions of Israel’s forces, and right after berating “certain” Arab countries and the Arab League as betrayers of Arabism (Urooba), chose, with pride, Syria’s rank as the fifth country in producing olives and olive-oil as one of the fundamental strengths of Syria that he hoped will get Syria through the isolation his regime has put the country through. It goes without saying that farmers and refugees from Jabal Alzzaweyah and Idlib region, have also described Assad’s forces scorched earth policy of uprooting and burning ancient olive trees in this region, which is responsible for a majority of Syria’s high quality olives and olive oil. Needless to say, Syrians have been talking loudly about the fact that the number of victims of the Assads’ forty one year reign of terror already exceeds the numbers of Syrians who lost their lives in the multiple wars with the enemy the regime is supposed to protect Syria from. Read the rest of this entry

Of Bombs and Fake web sites

I tend to agree with Maysaloon (the boy who cried wolf) , Robin Yassin Qassab (Now the Bombs) ,  and few others who were very rational in withholding judgement  about who was behind the recent explosions in Damascus. I find both posts to be well thought and encourage reading them both. Many have also posted and wrote about the possibility that it was the Syrian regime, using arguments that the names of the victims have not been announced (i have seen some names on FB discussions), the hurrid way of pinning the crime on Al-Qaida, the timing and the whole atmosphere of celebration of death accompanying the regime’s “see, this vindicates us”  unethical use of the dead. Notable, off course is the absence of the “it is not my army” head of the regime in the whole thing.

While I withhold judgement, I share with some 7ee6anis the notion that it is naive to exclude the possibility of an orchestrated act by the Syrian regime. It was very interesting to see that both SHEILA and I had similar responses to Joshua Landis’s article (Suicide Bombing Changes Nature of the Syrian Revolution). SHEILA writes

Dear Dr. Landis,
You said: ”I was asked by journalists today what I thought about the notion that the Syrian government planned the car bombs to provide a pretext for their increasingly violent crackdown on the opposition. It reminds me of the notion that Washington was behind the World Trade Center bombing to provide a pretext for invading Iraq. I don’t give either much credibility”.

I am a little shocked at this statement. Comparing the 9/11 conspiracy theory to the bombings in Syria is not something that an “expert” in Syria would do. The 9/11 conspiracy is very far fetched. For the US government to plan an attack on the scale of 9/11 and keep it as a secret is very near to impossible. The way the US government works makes it so. However, the way the Syrian regime works make it very plausible for it to do such things and never be exposed. The Syrian regime works and thinks like a Mafia. A group of criminals that are capable of doing anything. The regime today is under immense pressure, do you really put something like this beyond them? I am not saying it is a certainty that the regime did it, but not to give any credibility to such a claim is naïve at best. (no disrespect intended).

On 7ee6an, i wrote

 I really did not want to chime in on the explosions story. But i think that my dear friend Joshua has it wrong. To begin with the US politics, despite of all the deal making remains deliberative politics and the system works with a pile of checks and balances that would eliminate any chance of a conspiracy such as the one required for Sept 11 to be a US government made disaster.

On the other hand, the Syrian thuggish regime is a conspiratorial regime by its nature. Any one who watches the official media and its dirty sisters will recognize the cheep and stupid conspiratorial nature of this regime. The regime, being so, also views and perpetuates a conspiracy explanation of event. Equating the two is a nativity i had not expected from Joshua. I think that rationality has limits, and those limits are not dictated by how rational the person analyzing the events but by the irrationality of those making the events.

Yet, a pathetic attempt to pin the explosion of the Muslim Brothers of Syria, and by extension on the entire Syria National Council was made, exposed, and is now in tatter along, perhaps, with the sanity of a young man who worked for the regime’s propaganda.

Mr. Email K. Nasrallah, the man accused of faking the fake Ikhwan wab-site was quick to purchase privacy service for his web sites after the exposure of his relationship t the fake site (Ikhwan-sy.com) which was reported on 7ee6an first by hazrid, and then by Syrian Hamster.  All of his sites were taken off-line and the privacy shield was activated within a very short time after the story was found.  Soon afterward, regime propagandists, one them is an SC commentator, tried to peddle a technically sounding story, which links the owner of the privacy name server providing the privacy service just activated by Mr. Emile K. Nasrallah as the culprit. Hamster confronted the new fake, made a mistake in numbering the relevant SC comment, corrected it, but provided no technical details except for his usual hit and run savage attacks on the SC hypocrites as once described by our dear friend WSS.

Meanwhile, a young IT specialist, who is not connected in any way to the Ikhwan was working on the story, discovering one trace after the other and following Mr. Emile K. Nasrallah foray in the world of Syrian regime lies and deceptions. Below is the results of his work.

Why is this story extremely important. While I am no friend of MBs, but in the 1980s a series of events rocked Syria, these consisted of assassinations of Alawite intellectuals, a massacre in the military academy in Aleppo, and several explosions that resulted in many deaths and injuries. Some of these, especially the assassinations do have typical signature of the then active Ikhwan’s military wing, but some of the crucial events, such as a major explosion and the Azbakyya district of Damascus, paved the way for the regime of Hafez Assad to enact law 49, which punishes membership in Ikhawn with death, and has initiated much of the torture, executions, and very long jail terms of thousands of Syrians as described in the Novel Shell recently brought to the attention of  7ee6anis by Sheila. Many have argued that that particular explosion was in fact a Hafez’s regime false flag operation, but lacking investigative resources, and the fact that his regime continued in the regime of his criminal son, made it hard for anyone to identify truth from lies in the decades long regime’s propaganda against islamists in general, and more particularly, the Muslim Brotherhood of Syria. Then, a declaration of responsibility was issued, and most people, despite of the protestation of the Ikhwan’s leadership, believed it. Twafiq Hallaq, a well known TV anchor, who recently defected, alluded to the incident in a very sharp post on his own FB page.

Today, and 30+ years afterward, two explosions rock Damascus. Within minutes, the regime declares AlQaida as the perpetrator. This was stupid because while it may give the impression of lending credence to the regime’s story of militant groups operating in the country, the series of events leading to this accusation included a very recent lie, orchestrated with the help from the Lebanese defense minister (a HA guy) declaring that Al-Qaida has been active, moving between Lebanon and Syria in the rough terrain area of Ersal. The Syrian foreign ministry spokesman claimed that there was a formal warning from Lebanon regarding the plans of Al-Qaida to start operating in Syria, which was belied later by the Lebanese Foreign Minister. Immediately, regime propagandists had an explanation that it was Iran who has warned Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq of the upcoming wave of Al-Qaida massacres.

Notwithstanding the holes in the regime’s earlier story, it also had a fatal tactical mistake, and that was the implicit recognition that if Al-Qaida was moving into Syria, such move was inaugurated with the security buildings explosions, which fails to pin the numerous numbers of deaths that have occurred until now as being the results of militant groups and in linking the explosion to the current groups participating in the Syrian opposition . There was a need for immediate recovery and linkage to Syrian opposition. And there comes the alleged involvement of Mr. Emil K. Nasrallah.

Recently, a web site surfaced that claimed to represent Al-Ikhwan Almuslimoon of Syria (Muslim Brothers of Syria). The site (Ikhwan-sy.com) had made several claims that hinted to Ikhwan’s semi-control of the FSA and claimed Ikhwan’s responsibility for recent operations resulting in killing many soldiers and regime sympathizers. The language and tone of these declarations were modeled on printed pamphlets in the eighties, but a good examinations by experts points to inconsistencies and errors that are unlikely to be made by someone who reads Quran and Islamic texts as would someone in charge of Ikhwan’s media operations.

Lo and behold, the site described above was fast in claiming responsibility for the explosions. Off course the Ikhwan denied it, and the story told above unraveled to expose a fake site, fake media operation, and cheep lies of a murderous regime.

While a definite proof will require far more serious investigation before convicting young Mr. Nasrallah of being responsible for the Massacre, which is unlikely, but his role in the fake site is as tight as possible. All circumstantial evidence point to his role in creating the site. What is left is to discern whether he was doing it on his own initiative or by dictate from the propaganda team of the Assad regime. This will be left to those in Aleppo, but more importantly, the physical safety of this young man, whose father is an advisor to the regime’s grand mufti of  (Hassoun) and a well recognized and respected figure in Aleppo, must be assured at all costs. Needless to say, no one is accusing Mr. Emil’s father of wrong doing in this matter and no one should.

Syrian Regime Signs with Bullets, 150 Day 1, 220 Day 2


1:00 AM Damascus Time

For Prompt Release and Distribution

الأن تحصل مجزرة

حصري_إدلب _كنصفرة: استشهاد أكثر من150مدني في كنصفرة نتيجة قصف مركز على تجمعات النازحين المدنيين في المزارع بين الزيتون ..كانوا هاربين من مداهمات الامن و الشبيحة و هم من القرى التالية كنصفرة, كفرعويد, المزره 13 شهيد منهم من عائلة واحدة من بيت الحاج علي 4 شهداء أخوة

… القرى الان مكلومة و تدفن شهداءها تحت القصف و العدد مرشح للزيادة..أغلب الجثث وصلت متفحمة..

للعمل على إيقاف هذه المجزرة الآن: انشر هذا الخبر أيها القارئ الكريم في كل جروب أنت مشترك فيه، وفي صفحات الأخبار كلها

A massacre is ongoing right now.

Idlib, Kensafra, More than 150 civilians were murdered in Kensafra as a result of the targeted bombing of the gathering of refugees in between olive orchards. in several villages (Kensafra, Kafar-oueyd, Mazra). There are 13 martyrs from one family 4 brothres.

Villages are in mourning now and they are burying he martyrs. The number is increasing and most corpses arrived burned like charcoal.

Please distribute this on Facebook and in every news site.

بيان من برهان غليون

استغل النظام السوري التوقيع على بروتوكول المراقبين العرب في اطار المبادرة العربية للقيام بهجوم وحشي لا سابق له على المدن والاحياء السورية الثائرة.لقد بلغ عدد الشهداء في اليوم الاول لهذا التوقيع مئة وعشرين شهيدا وهو يتجاوز اليوم الثلاثاء المئتين وعشرين شهيدا اضافة الى مئات الجرحى والمفقودين.

ادعو الامين العام للجامعة العربية السيد نبيل العربي والامين العام للامم المتحدة بان كي مون للتدخل فورا لوقف المجازر التي يرتكبها النظام السوري بحق المدنيين العزل متسترا بتوقيعه على بروتوكول المراقبين كما ادعو الراي العام والمجتمع الدوليين للتظاهر والاحتجاج وعمل كل ما بوسعهما لاعلان تضامنهما مع الئعب السوري والعمل بجميع الوسائل لوضع حد لمجازر النظام السوري وفضح اعماله الوحشية.

A Press Release From Burhan Ghalyoun

The Syrian regime is using its signing on the observers’ protocol within the AL initiative to conduct a barbaric vicious attack on dissident villages and towns. The number of martyrs reach 120 on the first day, and today it is exceeding 220 martyrs in addition to hundreds of wounded and missing.

I call on the Secretary General of the Arab League, Mr. Nabil Al-Arabi and the Secretary General of the UN to interfere immediately to put a halt to the massacres being commited by the Syrian regime against unarmed civilians hiding under its signature of the observers’ protocol. I also call on the international community and the international public opinion to demonstrate and protest and do everything they could to declare solidarity with the Peoples of Syria and to spare to method to halt the massacres committed by the Syrian regime and to expose its barbaric actions.

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