My heart is torn between East and West. I live somewhere between the present and the past. I don't know who I am.
I want you to just take a look at this picture and reflect on it.
This is Ali Watfa. He’s 33 years old and he has been a prisoner in Assad’s merciless prison cells for the past year.
Ali is disabled, he has a medical condition, yet despite this Assad’s forces showed no sympathy and accused him of being a ‘terrorist’ working against the regime, without any evidence to back their accusations.
Over the past 2 years many of us - living far away from Syria - have somehow reduced the importance of the popular Syrian Revolution, by branding it as a ‘civil war’ where both sides are apparently equal, or a ‘proxy war’ - or even just a ‘humanitarian crisis’ - or whatever other names people have come up with.
I just wanted to remind you all, that what’s happening in Syria is a revolution and remains a revolution. Our people rose up for freedom and dignity against an oppressive regime which denied them both rights.
The first words they chanted were for freedom and dignity. And the first chant to be said was for dignity - الشعب السوري ما بينذل (‘the Syrian people will not be demeaned/humiliated’.)
They did not rise for bread. They rose for dignity. And often, without realising, we dismiss this. We get too caught up with the developments of the revolution, that we forget the essence of it all. A call for dignity.
This man here, Ali Watfa, he deserves his dignity. He deserves to live as every single human should live, with dignity and universal human rights. Him, his family and friends. His entire nation.
So I ask of you, please. To forget all the other countries and players involved in the outer core of this struggle, and just focus on the main stakeholders, their demands and their needs for once. To remember how the revolution started and why. And to respect the Syrian people’s calls for dignity, without attaching any extra strings to them.
Seven people so far have died in Homs after they inhaled a “poisonous gas” used by government forces in a rebel-held neighbourhood, activists said.
Activists also told Al Jazeera on Sunday night that scores of others were affected in al-Bayyada neighbourhood. Side effects reported include nausea, relaxed muscles, blurred vision, and breathing difficulties.
Residents said they did not know the nature of the gas used.
"The situation is very difficult. We do not have enough facemasks. We don’t know what this gas is but medics are saying it’s something similar to Sarin gas," Raji Rahmet Rabbou, an activist in Homs, told Al Jazeera.
A doctor treating patients subsequently said the gas seemed to be a concentrated form of tear gas that has not been used in Homs before. Inhaling large amounts can lead to suffocation and death, he said.
The gas appears to have been used during a battle with rebel fighters.
We received the following videos from a field clinic in the city: (WARNING - some viewers may find scenes in these videos to be disturbing or upsetting)
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