Wondering when this unrelenting support of violent, vicious and genocidal dictators because they said something vaguely critical of imperialism or Israel trend in leftist circles will end. Its truly exhausting.
If President Assad is so crude for killing his own citizens and must be punished, when exactly is President Obama going to be punished for drone bombing innocence in a handful of countries? The double standards and double speak intertwined in the international community is absurd.
“Residents of a Syrian town a few dozen miles from the capital, Damascus, say they are dying of starvation as a result of a months-long siege by forces loyal to the government of Bashar al-Assad.
Families are eating leaves, grasses and water flavoured with spices in the town of Madaya, where rice is sold by the gram because a kilogram costs as much as $250 (£170). Some have killed and eaten their pets.
“People are dying in slow motion,” said Louay, a social worker from the town told the Guardian in a phone interview, his voice weakened by months of abject hunger. “We had some flowers growing in pots at home. Yesterday, we picked the petals and ate them, but they were bitter, awful.”
He sent pictures of emaciated bodies of several elderly men, recent casualties of the starvation. He had not taken the pictures himself, but said the men were well known in the town.
“We used to say nobody could ever die from hunger, but we have seen people actually die of hunger.”
The Syrian Foreign Minister says that as of August 25, 2013, the United States has killed 2,548 people in drone attacks since 2005, based on “clear and compelling evidence.” Syria says it is considering a “limited, narrow act” in the form of a punitive military strike against the US, stating that “failure to respond would put Syrian credibility at stake.”
Last December, a woman from the Syrian community in Toronto reached out to me for help after a Syrian opposition Facebook page, for which she was an administrator, was expunged from the internet. She told me that Facebook had deleted the page, called Likes for Syria, in mid December, by which time it had garnered more than 80,000 “likes." Several Syrian Canadians had organized the page shortly after the revolution in Syria began, back in 2011, and used it as a tool for posting news stories about the crisis, spreading messages of hope, and creating awareness in the Western world—something that many feel is desperately needed.
“We feel like our freedom of speech has been totally taken away,” said Faris Alshawaf, another administrator for Likes for Syria. “We have a right to talk about what is happening.” Facebook had removed the page once before but quickly republished it after administrators made an appeal. Just days later, Facebook deleted the page a second time.
Ala’a Basatneh: I decided to help first when I saw the group of children that decided to write “We want to topple the regime” on their school walls. Seeing that they were tortured, I believe one was killed… to me that was not an OK thing to learn about happening in the country where I was born. I decided to reach out for activists, and this is exactly what I told them: “I’m willing to help you with everything and anything I can do for you guys to keep going.”
Could you walk me through a typical day in the life of Ala’a Basatneh? The kind of things you do on social media, and how you balance college with your work as an activist?
Basatneh: It’s really not balanced. I’m on my phone 24/7, on my laptop whenever I can. In my classes, at work, at home, all the time because of the time difference and because of how important it is to keep in contact with the activists on the ground. It’s not that it’s six hours online and then the rest of the time I’m not; it’s that I’m constantly online. When the movie was shot, I would get Skype calls at 4 in the morning from activists in Syria, asking me to translate banners that they would be carrying in their protests, so it can end up on international media, on CNN and BBC.