Saturday, August 10, 2013

Writers and the War in Syria, by Cecilia Brainard

by Cecilia Brainard
This Saturday morning, I am thinking of what Gandhi said:

"God is Truth, but God is many other things also. That is why I say Truth is God…. Only remember that Truth is not one of the many qualities that we name. It is the living embodiment of God..."

I recall the many writers and journalists who were killed during the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines.They held up the Truth for the world to see. In time, the Marcos government did fall, and this writing of the Truth played a large part in the end of the repressive Marcos regime.

Right now, journalists and writers in Syria are endangered because they are holding up the Truth about the War in Syria for the world to witness.

 Remi Ochlik, Photographer who died during Syrian Civil War

According to The New York Times, "Abductions of journalists inside Syria have increased this year as the ravages of the conflict have worsened and the insurgency has turned more jihadist and chaotic, making the country one of the most hostile conflict zones for news gatherers in recent memory, according to new media advocacy organizations, rights workers and veteran correspondents."

PEN International, which has a Writers in Prison Committee has likewise reported that writers and journalists in Syria need protection. PEN's July 2013 report says:

"We should also not forget those who are still in Syria, in the dungeons of the state, exposed to forms of torture which chill the blood when you read about them -- human rights organizations have documented the names of well over 1,000 individuals who have died in Syrian prisons since the start of the protests in March 2011, compared to an annual average of 5-10 previously. Many are subjected to enforced disappearance -- their families are unable to find out any information about their loved ones whereabouts and don't know if they are alive or dead."

PEN lists the names of Syrian writers: Shaaban al-Hassan, Shibal Ibrahim, Husein Ghareer, Hani Zetani, Kahlil Ma'touq, Suhaib Dib, Naji Asad, as those who have been killed or imprisoned in Syria.

A Syrian-American blogger, Razan Ghazzawi, was arrested at the Syrian-Jordanian border on November 30, 2011. She was released in December 2011, then arrested once again on February  16, 2012, freed a couple of days later, but she is not allowed to leave Syria and must report to the police on a daily basis. Ghazzawi reportedly said, "If anything happens to me, know that the regime does not fear the prisoners but those who do not forget them."

Other casualties include; Mika Yamamoto, award-winning Japanese journalist who was killed on August 20, 2012 in Aleppo; Shukti Ratib Abu Burhold who was shot and died in early 2012 in Damascus; Basid Al-Sayed who was killed in Homs in late 2011. Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik were killed in Homs in February 2012. Also killed in Homs in 2012 was French journalist Gilles Jacquier along with nine other people. Syrian journalits Musab Mohamed Said Al-Oudaallah was killed in Damascus in August 2012.

The Syrian Journalists' Association lists 153 journalists who have been killed since the beginning of the uprising to March 15, 2013.  Despite the danger, many journalists, writers, media workers continue to risk their lives as they do their part in informing the world about the Syrian War.

Anthony Shadid, a journalist who died during Syrian Civil War

There is much going on in Syria and I'm including links of current news or other sites that may be of interest to you, dear Readers.

Rather than dwell on how dire the news is in Syria, I want to hang on to Gandhi's thought that Truth is God, and so holding up the Truth is tantamount to holding up God, who is greater than any Evil.

Journalists in Syria face dangers of war and rising risk of abduction (click New York Times article below)

Syria: As refugee numbers rise inexorably, writers and journalists need protection  (click on link to read PEN International article)

New satellite images of Aleppo provide the most recent evidence of how the protracted conflict in Syria is resulting in massive human rights violations against the civilian population which is bearing the brunt of the spiralling violence, displacement, and humanitarian crisis. (read more by clicking on link below)
Aleppo satellite images show devastation, mass displacement

List of heritage sites damaged during Syrian Civil War (click below)

Syrian city of Aleppo "utterly devastated" Amnesty International satellite images reveal (read the article by clicking on link below)

Assad prays after assassination claims (click on link to read The Telegraph article)

News now Syria - this one lists all the stories related to Syria (click on link)

 Syria crisis: Eid al-Fitr in war-torn Homs (click on BBC news  link to read article)

Syria's Crisis and the Global Response, by Council on Foreign Relations

Read also my other blog entries about Syria:
All for now,

tags: Syria, Syrian, War, Civil War, Revolution, Middle East, Conflict, Aleppo, Damascus, Homs, Assad, al-Assad, writers, journalists, media, Amnesty International, PEN, massacre, genocide


Cecilia Brainard said...

One more casualty - Bassel Shehadeh, Syrian filmmaker who left Syracuse University to return to Syria; killed in Homs.

Cecilia Manguerra Brainard said...

Another young film maker died in Aleppo, Tamer Awam. Further, Orwa Nairabiya, a film producer remains missing after disappearing in the Damascus airport.