Sunday, May 22, 2011

Syria Watch


Compiled by Dick Bennett for Culture of Peace 5-22-11

READER SUPPORTED NEWS offers a daily report on the Middle East

 RSN Special Coverage: Rocking the Cradle

As the wave of pro-democracy, self-determination protests spread across the cradle of civilization, Reader Supported News will bring you the latest updates with uncensored and uncompromising coverage.


Here are examples from the 20th and 21st.

Syrian Protests Draw Deadly Fire

By Al Jazeera and Agencies
21 May 11
Syrian security forces have killed at least 34 people, including an 11-year-old boy, according to witnesses, in the latest crackdown on anti-government protests. Twelve people were killed in the central city of Homs, while 15 died in the town of Maaret al-Naaman, located near the western city of Idlib, activists said.
Two protesters were shot in the southern region of Deraa, one person was shot in the Damascus suburb of Daraya and one in the port city of Latakia. Two more died in the eastern town of Deir Ezzor and one person killed in the central town of Hama. The dead in Homs included two boys, named as Aiham al-Ahmad, 11, and 16-year-old Ahmad Bakr, witnesses said.
The attack took place after officers drove police cars into a crowd of about 2,000 demonstrators in an attempt to disperse them, a second witness said. After hitting several protesters, one of the cars crashed into a wall, prompting the officers to jump out and open fire. Four other protesters were also killed, while at least seven others were wounded. READ MORE

Dorothy Parvaz: Inside Syria's Secret Prisons

By Al Jazeera
20 May 11
I was standing in two fist-sized pools of smeared, sticky blood, trying to sort out why there were seven angry Syrians yelling at me. Only one of them - who I came to know as Mr Shut Up during my three days in a detention center, where so many Syrians 'disappeared' are being kept - spoke English.
Watching them searching my bags, and observing the set of handcuffs hanging from the bunk bed wedged behind the desk in the middle of the room, I guessed that I was being arrested - or, at the very least, processed for detention. "Why are you doing this?" I asked. "Shut up! SHUT UP!" said Mr Shut Up.
I'd arrived there moments before, dragged by a handful of hair from a car where I'd been wedged between two armed men. They'd tried to convince me that they were taking me to my hotel, but, of course, I knew that there was no way plain-clothed security personnel would be kind enough to escort me to my accommodation. READ MORE

Medea Benjamin | Obama, Follow Your Own Advice on Non-Violence

By Medea Benjamin and Charles Davis, Reader Supported News
20 May 11
Given that President Obama daily authorizes the firing of hellfire missiles and the dropping of cluster bombs in places such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, it was awful odd seeing him wax eloquent this week about the "moral force of non-violence" in places like Egypt and Tunisia. But there he was, the commander-in-chief of the largest empire in history, praising the power of peaceful protest in countries with repressive leaders backed by his own administration.
Were we unfamiliar with his actual policies - more than doubling the troops in Afghanistan, dramatically escalating a deadly drone war in Pakistan and unilaterally bombing for peace in Libya - it might have been inspiring to hear a major head of state reject violence as a means to political ends. Instead, we almost choked on the hypocrisy.
Cast beforehand as a major address on the Middle East, what President Obama offered with his speech on Thursday was nothing more than a reprisal of his 2009 address in Cairo: a lot of rhetoric about US support for peace and freedom in the region contradicted by the actual - and bipartisan - US policy over the past half-century of supporting ruthless authoritarian regimes. Yet even for all his talk of human rights and how he "will not tolerate aggression across borders" - yes, a US president said this - Obama didn't even feign concern about Saudi Arabia's repressive regime invading neighboring Bahrain to put down a pro-democracy movement there. In fact, the words "Saudi Arabia" were never uttered. READ MORE

From: Amnesty International USA []
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011 3:47 PM  To: Sue Skidmore
Subject: Mobilize for Syria

Syrian authorities have sent a deadly message to human rights activists in their country – stop the protests or we will kill.
Defend the right to peaceful protest with your gift to Amnesty International.

The death toll in Syria since mid-March is 580 and rising. Hundreds more have been arrested, many held incommunicado and at serious risk of torture.

Despite promises of reform, the Syrian government continues to engage in acts of violence and other abuses against its people, including shooting live bullets directly into protests and funeral processions.

Defend the right to free speech in Syria and the world over with a gift to Amnesty International.

The Syrian people have shown incredible resolve and remarkable bravery. They continue to speak out despite grave risks to their lives and liberty.
During a March protest, prominent pro-reform demonstrator Suheir al-Atassi was violently dragged away by her hair and arrested. Upon her April 3 release, she continued to demand reform. She is now in hiding.

Haytham al-Maleh, a veteran human rights lawyer and former prisoner of conscience, received death threats on his Facebook page, yet he spoke out recently on Al Jazeera television. He has been forced underground.

Human rights activists Hind al-Labwani, age 23, and Omar al-Labwani, age 19, both went into hiding after security forces threatened to arrest them. Their father, Kamal al-Labwani, is a prisoner of conscience who is currently serving a 12-year prison term.

Join Amnesty in calling for an end to the siege against the Syrian people - sign our petition to stop the bloodshed, then make a donation to Amnesty.

Protestors must be allowed to voice their opinions in safety.


Noam Chomsky, Democracy Now!
"Speaking at the 25th anniversary celebration of the national media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, world-renowned political dissident and linguist Noam Chomsky analyzes the US response to the popular uprisings sweeping the Middle East and North Africa. 'Across the [Middle East], an overwhelming majority of the population regards the United States as the main threat to their interests,' Chomsky says. 'The reason is very simple ... Plainly, the US and its allies are not going to want governments which are responsive to the will of the people. If that happens, not only will the US not control the region, but it will be thrown out.'"

No comments: