My heart is torn between East and West. I live somewhere between the present and the past. I don't know who I am.


Just another human being biding their time on this earth. Passionate about current affairs, history, politics (particularly MENA region), religion, cute animals and food.

Disclaimer: All photographs on this blog do not belong to me but to their rightful owners unless otherwise stated. All efforts have been made to link the material back to its original source. Please drop me a message if you see any of your material and would like to have it removed!
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Posts tagged "Assad"

I want you to just take a look at this picture and reflect on it.

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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.
This was an e-mail recently sent to me by a dear friend, Razan, a dedicated Syrian activist and a brilliant writer who has been working tirelessly since the very beginning of the revolution to document and report what’s happening on the ground in Syria. You can follow Razan on her twitter and blog.

el-karameh:

Perfectly said.

You’ve got hundreds of people getting murdered every single day in Syria and the only thing that all these so-called intellectuals and world leaders can talk about is their fear of “Islamists” (whatever that means) taking over. Truly sickening.

(via sumaiyahspeaks-deactivated20131)

Graffiti in Saraqib, Syria marking two years since the Syrian uprising which began on March 15th, 2011. It reads:

"Two years, and we will keep going until victory"

عامان ونحن نردد ” الموت ولا المذلة:
لأن ” الشـعب الســوري ما بينــذل “
سنواصل حتى النصر

I made these cupcakes today for a bake sale they were holding at my school for Syria.

March 15th today marks two years since the start of the Syrian revolution, two years of uprisings and protests against one of the most barbaric regimes in history. I could go on about the number of people martyred since then, the plight of the refugees, the innocent civilians caught in the middle of it all etc. but I hate the feelings of helplessness and inadequacy that overcome you when you look at those statistics. I can’t even begin to put into words the amount of suffering that the Syrian people have gone through, the heartaches and the struggles. These struggles have all been documented, analysed, written about and commented on. What people often forget to document is the sheer perseverance and resilience of the Syrian people: the bravery of the protesters and their inspiring creativity, the dedication of citizen journalists and activists working tirelessly on the ground, the patience of the families who have to flee their homes and neighbourhoods, the refugees who left with nothing but the clothes on their backs and their faith in God. There’s nothing ‘romantic’ about this grim reality but too often we forget to look beyond it. The situation in Syria is not hopeless. How can we allow ourselves to give up on the Syrian cause when the Syrian people refuse to give in?

A beautiful reminder for those who feel hopeless:

This picture was taken in the Damascus Suburb of Douma, Syria by Bassam Al-Hakeem. The writing on the wall reads:  ‘You have killed nothing but our fear,  Douma will never kneel to anyone but Allah.’

This picture was taken in the Damascus Suburb of Douma, Syria by Bassam Al-Hakeem. The writing on the wall reads:

‘You have killed nothing but our fear,

Douma will never kneel to anyone but Allah.’

Childhood Under Fire - Syria’s children are paying the heaviest price.

Two million children trapped inside Syria are innocent victims of a bloody conflict that has already claimed 70,000 lives, UK-based charity Save the Children warned Wednesday saying that these children are under constant risk of malnutrition, disease, trauma and early marriage.

In a new report, “Childhood Under Fire,” launched to mark two years of violence in Syria, Save the Children details the impact of the conflict on children, showing that many are struggling to find enough to eat; are living in barns, parks and caves; are unable to go to school with teachers having fled and schools being attacked; and that damage to sanitation systems is forcing some children to defecate in the street.

Citing new research carried out amongst refugee children by Bahcesehir University in Turkey, the report also reveals the extent to which children have been directly targeted in the war, with one in three children reporting having been hit, kicked or shot at.

Combined with the breakdown of society in parts of the country and more than three million people displaced, the conflict has led to the collapse of childhood for millions of youngsters.

"Childhood under Fire" details how some young boys are being used by armed groups as porters, runners and human shields, bringing them close to the frontline, while some girls are being married off early to ‘protect’ them from a widely-perceived threat of sexual violence.

The report’s key findings are:

  • Thousands of children are facing malnutrition as food production is wiped out and severe shortages take hold. "Why did we leave? Hunger. Food. There was none. No bread. If I stayed my children would have died from hunger," — Rami, father of three.
  • Millions of children have been forced from their homes and tens of thousands are living in parks, barns and caves. "There were 13 of us in total, crammed into one room. We did not leave that room for two weeks."- Yasmine, 12.
  • Girls are being married off early in an effort to protect them from perceived threat of sexual violence. "My daughter is 16 and she loved school. She is innocent and very pretty. I know that men are hurting women. We could not protect her, so we had to marry her. We needed her to have a protector." — Um Ali, mother of two.
  • Families have been left without heating in winter as fuel prices have risen by up to 500 percent. "In one area of Syria where Save the Children is responding, during the bitter winter, school benches were stolen for firewood; desperate, understandable measures to stay warm, but further erosion of children"s opportunities to learn and play."- Childhood Under Fire.

"For millions of Syrian children, the innocence of childhood has been replaced by the cruel realities of trying to survive this vicious war," said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children. "Many are now living out in the open, struggling to find enough to eat, without the right medicine if they become sick or injured. As society has broken down, in the worst cases, hunger, homelessness and terror have replaced school for some of these young people. We cannot allow this to continue unchecked; the lives of too many children are at stake. "

The research by the Bahcesehir University also reveals the extent to which children have been affected by war, with nearly one third of children surveyed saying that they had been separated from members of their families due to the conflict. Three quarters of those surveyed had experienced the death of a close friend or family member. Many are showing signs of emotional difficulties as they struggle to come to terms with their experiences.

Save the Children, which is providing humanitarian relief in Syria and neighboring countries, is calling for all parties to the conflict to allow unfettered, safe access to populations in need and to ensure that everything is done to bring the fighting to an end.

It welcomes pledges to fund the $1.5 billion humanitarian appeal for Syria, and calls on governments to urgently deliver the money, which is designed to target aid both inside the stricken country and to refugees living on Syria”s borders.

To shine a light of solidarity for the children of Syria, Save the Children is planning a series of vigils in 21 countries around the world on Thursday, March 14th to mark two years of conflict in Syria. The real-life vigils will be complemented by a virtual vigil amplified by a “thunderclap" — a single, coordinated message that will synchronize social media with a united voice of support for the #SyriaCrisis. Virtual supporters can simply sign up to synchronize their own messages on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow Save the Children on Twitter and Facebook.

_______________________________________________

About the girl in the photo: Sana* is three years old and fled Syria with her mother and three sisters. An increasingly brutal civil war is tearing Syria apart. One million people have now fled Syria and are sheltering in neighbouring countries. Read her story.

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Happy valentines day to the man who lost his wife as his home was bombed.

Happy valentines day to the man who watched his sister get raped before his eyes.

Happy valentines day to the man who had his skin burnt with acid and his eyes pulled out in Assad’s prisons.

Happy valentines day to the man who was pushed out of his home to become a refugee.

Happy valentines day to the man who held onto the left over finger and toe of his baby under the rubble.

Happy valentines day to the man who kissed his mothers head and went out to protest and never returned.

Happy valentines day to the man speaking to media every day risking his life.

Happy valentines day to the man running under sniper shots to get bread for his family.

Happy valentines day to the man run over by a tank.

Happy valentines day to the man now left mentally ill after suffering rape by Assad’s forces.

Happy valentines to the man who ran to save a child from the shooting only to end up dead as well.

Happy valentines day to the men who have stolen my heart, the men of Syria in prison, at home, in the street, in a mass grave, in a fridge or in a tent…

The greatest and bravest men of all times.

[Photo taken in Baba Amr, Homs, on the 10th Feb 2012. More photos here http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.303998612971814.71099.303981849640157&type=3 ]

By RoseAlhomsi. Follow Rose on Twitter.

(via fattysaid)

This is actually horrific! The bodies of at least 80 young men and boys, all executed with a single gunshot to the head or neck, have been found in a river in the Syrian city of Aleppo, a watchdog and rebels said.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 65 bodies were found in the Quweiq River, which separates the Bustan al-Qasr district from Ansari in the southwest of the city, but that the toll could rise significantly.

A Free Syrian Army fighter at the scene said the death toll is higher, pointing out that many more bodies were still being dragged from the water, in a rebel-held area.

"Until now we have recovered 68 bodies, some of them just teens," said Captain Abu Sada, adding that all of them had been "executed by the regime."

Read more here…

This heartbreaking Christmas card was written by a 6-year-old daughter for her father, Zaidoun al-Zoabi, a Syrian activist who is spending this Christmas behind bars in Assad’s torture chambers:

Dear Papa, I miss you so much, tomorrow it’s Christmas, but we’ll not celebrate. I want a Christmas tree, daddy, where are you now? Mama told us that you are travelling from one place to another, I will tell you three important things:

1) I am the second [best] in my class now

2) Julia did miss you 

3) Tayma is better than Julia but she will be better

p.s. we miss you so much and Merry Christmas

On December 15, 2012, Professor Zaidoun al-Zoabi and his brother, Souhaib al-Zoabi were arrested by the Syrian police in the center of the the capital of Damascus. Dr. Zoabi is a respected Dean at the European College in Damascus, and Sohaib is a medical student at the University of Damascus. Dr. Zoabi was a recogniSed voice in the media, frequently calling into Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN to provide updates on the dire situation on the ground in Syria. Dr. Zoabi always insisted that CNN use his real name rather than a pseudonym. “When I chant ‘I want freedom’ I can hear my voice for the first time in my life. How can I give up this? Even if it costs me my life,” Dr. Zaidoun Al-Zoabi told Anderson Cooper on CNN in November 2011.

Dr. Zaidoun Zoabi and Souhaib Al-Zoabi are being held in the notorious “Building #215” in Damascus, a facility that is well known for its torture and abuse of detainees. There are serious concerns for the life and safety of Dr. Zaidoun Al-Zoabi and Sohaib Al-Zoabi in detention.

Zaidoun told Anderson Cooper that “Nobody cares about us [the Syrian people.]” Zaidoun and many other detainess like him are spending this Christmas behind bars in Syria. They have all risked their lives to speak the truth but they feel no one cares about Syria. Let Zaidoun, his family and Syria know that WE DO CARE. Demand his release by signing and sharing this petition. Let the Syrian people, especially the children, know they are not forgotten. We are praying for their safety.

With a new Syria emerging, Zaidoun’s voice needs to be heard! Please don’t let it be silenced. Please take a moment to sign this important document and help save them.

Sources: [Facebook page in support of Zaidoun (AR)] [SEO] [@tweets4peace] [AVAAZ] [Facebook page in support of Zaidoun (ENG)

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)

Follow @tweets4peace for more updates on this story.

syrianfreedomls:

12/23/2012 - #Syria - Picture: It’s cheaper to kill us than feed us. #Helfayamassacre (via @RazanSpeaks)

Response to the Helfaya massacre which took place today in Hama, Syria. While the residents of Helfaya town were lining up at the “Baladi Bakery” in Helfaya city for bread, Bashar Al-Assad’s warplanes shelled the bakery with MiG warplanes which resulted in the death of more than 300 people thus far as well as many injuries. Rescue workers have been trying to collect the martyr’s body parts scattered around the bakery as a result of the blast.

A state of chaos overwhelmed the city whose population is about 3000 persons. Today was the first day Helfaya had flour in 7 days, hence the reason so many people were crowded around the bakery.

Source: [video of aftermath of massacre] - WARNING! GRAPHIC 18+++

Disturbing and heartbreaking. Where is the world?

The forgotten mental patients on Syria’s front line.

Photo credit: Manu Brabo/AP

AFP - A psychiatric hospital on the front line in Syria’s war-ravaged second city of Aleppo, home to some 60 patients, has suffered from chronic shortages since fighting first broke out in July.

"They’ve had no medication for months, and it gets worse each day. There’s no light, no heating, not even running water — and the patients have hardly anything to eat," said nurse Abu Abdo, who helps to run Dar al-Ajaza hospital.

"If residents of the area hadn’t given them food they would have died of starvation ages ago," he added.

During the summer, Aleppo became the focus of the battle between the army and rebels opposing President Bashar al-Assad, in a conflict that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says has killed more than 44,000 people.

"Most staff stopped coming to work when the battle for Aleppo began, abandoning their patients. I’ve been working here for five years: this is my family, and I couldn’t leave them and let them die of cold and hunger," Abu Abdo said.

"I fight for them each day."

He offered a cigarette to Omar Sattut, an elderly patient dressed in military fatigues, who believed himself to be an army officer and said he wanted to go and fight against Israel.

Abu Abdo then introduced the youngest patient, Mohammed Matar, bare-footed and wearing a polo shirt, teeth chattering from the cold.

"Eight patients have died in the last few months," Abu Abdo said. "We try to look after them as best we can. It’s a wonder they’re still alive."

He and two other staff still come to the asylum every day, despite no longer receiving their salaries.

The imposing hospital, built in Aleppo’s once bustling historic old town, contains around 30 rooms overlooking the splendid mediaeval city centre.

It has been hit by artillery fire from Assad’s army since the uprising to bring down the regime, initially a peaceful protest movement in March 2011, descended rapidly into civil war.

"When the bombs hit, we put all the patients in the same room to try and calm them down," said Abu Abdo, pointing to a massive shell hole in the wall.

He said that medical staff are now too afraid to come because of the bombardments. Even the hospital’s director only passes by at most two or three times a week.

Patient Walid Assiad ambled in the courtyard, walking without shoes in puddles of ice-cold water. In one bedroom, Matar huddled up under a thin blanket, shivering against the biting cold.

"The worst of winter is yet to come," said Abu Abdo. "When there’s snow and ice it’ll be terrible. I’m scared that many of them won’t survive. Without heating they’ll die of cold."

Dar al-Ajaza does not exclusively house mentally disabled patients — there are also elderly people who have lost all their family, and people suffering from physical disabilities.

The worst part of the hospital is the second building, where those not allowed to be left alone are housed.

A room bolted with a padlock, measuring about 10 square metres (110 square feet), contained the 12 most mentally disturbed patients, all prone to violent behaviour.

The patients shared three yellowed mattresses, and the stench of urine, vomit and faeces was nauseating.

One patient, able only to move his head and arms, lay under a soiled blanket, covered in cuts and bruises.

"We wash them every day, since most of them aren’t able to go to the toilet by themselves," said Abu Abdo.

Without any medication, “there’s nothing we can do for them when they have violent outbursts, apart from locking them in a room until they stop lashing out,” he said, bolting the door again behind him.

The children of Syria today.

Via: Imranovi

Jenan Moussa reporting from Syria - this is a compilation of some of the tweets on her timeline. She was offline for sometime after fleeing the area she was in due to heavy shelling. Thankfully she is safe. Her tweets give us a small insight into the daily lives of many Syrians struggling to survive under the severe bombardment of Assad’s forces. Pray for Syria </3

They died in front of our eyes - families blown to pieces in Aleppo…The face of ten-year-old Kausa al-Kayali was still pretty, a large bundle of thick black hair matted with dust falling over a snub-nosed face, patched red and black by the blast that killed her. Her head was attached to a torso that ended at her stomach. There was nothing else.

The Daily Telegraph’s Richard Spencer reports from Aleppo where he was just yards from the scene of the latest tragedy in Syria after missiles fired by Bashar al-Assad’s air force wiped out 11 women and children.

Cartoon of Assad by Osama Hajjaj: the writing on the arms reads “Russia” and “China”.

كاريكاتير اسامه حجاج - الاسد