Syrians and Syrian Americans gathered in the hundreds in the front of the White House to protest the atrocities committed by President Bashar al-Bassad on those who oppose his regime.
A year after the tentative first stirrings of what is becoming the Arab world’s bloodiest and most far-reaching revolt, whole cities are under siege. Residential neighborhoods lie in ruins. More than 8,000 people are dead, tens of thousands have been detained, untold numbers have been tortured, others are missing, and nearly a quarter-million have been displaced from their homes, according to the United Nations.
A sea of green, white and black flags with red stars filled Lafayette Park as protestors sang songs in Syrian. They also chanted, “There is only one solution–Revolution, revolution!” and “Russia, China, you will fail!” Russia and China have resisted efforts in the UN Security Council to condemn the violent crackdown against the opposition forces.
Many people came from distant places specifically to be at the protest. Lynn, 14, from Seattle, WA, said she was there “for Syria to be free.”
Ranya, Noorah and Rama, all young Syrian American women from Michigan, also came to Washington, DC to oppose the regime’s killing of civilians. Noorah said that while no family members had been killed, some had fled the country and others felt threatened by the situation. Ranya called the current regime “beyond evil,” and she was “shocked that the international community could remain silent and inactive.”
One of the worst affected cities is Homs, which was besieged for 27 days until government forces overran the opposition stronghold Bab Amr earlier this month. Protestor Fadiakarh, originally from Homs but who now lives in Chicago, said the regime’s actions are “genocide at many levels,” and that it is unacceptable that “only 12% of the population are in charge.” He was referring to the Alawites, the branch of Shia Muslims which includes President al-Bassad.
(Image by coolrevolution.net)