Thoughts: 1982 in Hama, 2012 in Homs

Thirty years ago, for virtually the entire month of February, Syrian regime forces ruthlessly killed upwards of 40,000 civilians in Hama. Today, to commemorate the Hama Massacre, Syrian forces embarked on another murderous campaign, this time killing more than 300 civilians in Homs in just a matter of hours. How is it possible, as a community of conscience, to stand idly by as history repeats itself, savagery and all?

Though this is by no means the fault of the Syrian people bravely standing up to Bashar Al-Assad and his tyrannical regime, it is an unfortunate circumstance that the revolution in Syria drew the shorter end of the stick in terms of global media coverage. What’s more unfortunate is that Al-Assad’s self-imposed media blackout serves the international community well: we have gone on ignoring Syria’s daily tragedies since the first day, insincerely absolving ourselves of any responsibility since, after all, the media coverage is thin and oftentimes unreliable.

That changes today. Our inaction merits absolutely no praise and our blissful ignorance cannot be justified by Syria’s relative absence in the mainstream media. If we are to prevent a repeat of the Hama Massacre, it is up to us to put the lens on the regime, to point our fingers and our fists towards Al-Assad and his armed lackies, to educate and reeducate the masses, and to collectively slam the Syrian regime with trial after trial after trial at The Hague.

According to various eyewitness accounts, in the first wave of attacks which began at around 8 pm on Friday, Syrian forces launched mortar shells at various residential districts in Homs. In minutes, 36 homes fell to the ground, pulverizing entire families with falling slabs of concrete. The artillery fire continued and the death count steadily increased. The assault, one of Al-Assad’s many operations to quell the glorious Syrian call for the collapse of a totalitarian regime, has yet to end.

We might not all be Syrian but that is not, and never was, an excuse. Our brothers live in Homs, our sisters in Hama. Our fathers and their fathers come from Damascus and our mothers from Daraa. Our aunts and uncles breathe the sweet Aleppo air and the rest of us reach as far north as Al-Hasakah. These are our loved ones, the ones who would defend us in a heartbeat if even a fraction of oppression befell upon us.

It’s no surprise that #10thingsaboutmyself is trending on Twitter while mortar shells literally fall on Syrian children sleeping in their warm and now bloody beds. But there is no room for narcissism. Here are ten things about myself, and all ten of them are the same: Today, tomorrow, and the day after, I stand with my Syrian people.

Sami Kishawi, a non-Syrian Syrian


There are 3 comments

  1. --

    Beautifully written and powerfully driven article. Mashallah, I admire the work you do. Inshallah we will live to see the day Syrian, Palestine, and all the struggling nations are free and peaceful.

  2. Sam Holloway

    Well said as always, Sami. Regarding what action should be taken, my response is tempered by caution born of the U.S./NATO hijacking of the Libyan uprising. Much of Libya and its infrastructure (physical and social) was leveled, and the motives of the West had nothing to do with liberty. It’s difficult to say at this point– especially since media coverage has once again gone virtually silent, not that much of it was accurate to begin with– but the near and middle future for Libya looks bleak. The gangs of thieves propped up by U.S./NATO to ‘govern’ Libya don’t seem to be doing much governing, and I’m sure Western business interests already have their hooks in the country’s finances.

    As to Syria, it appears in the best interests of those same Western powers to just sit and wait this one out for now. Perhaps if the body count rises enough there will be sufficient outcry for another intervention, and once again the West will step in and install a ‘revolutionary’ interim government of its choosing. Perhaps the U.S./NATO are waiting for Al-Assad to commit himself more deeply and place himself in a weaker bargaining position; he has sometimes been a useful partner in the West’s power games in the region, and they may be loathe to depose and replace him.

    Ideally, of course, it would be best if the other Arab League states united with one voice against the slaughter and demanded that Al-Assad cease fire and come to the bargaining table. Would that that could influence things.

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