To Friends of Syria
Editor's Note: This is a statement by Khaled Abu Salah, a revolutionary activist in Homs, Syria. Along with thousands of others he was injured by shell fire in February. He addresses this statement to the upcoming international meeting of "Friends of Syria." Our publication of this statement does not constitute an endorsement of the Syrian National Council or any other organizations. Only revolution in permanence can fulfill the humanist thoughts expressed here.
Ladies and gentlemen, despite our wounds, and the wounds of our city, we greet you.
At the beginning of the Syrian Revolution, we Syrians discussed amongst ourselves, with almost naive certainty that the year 2011 was not like the year 1982, when Assad the father was able to destroy the city of Hama without any international reaction to speak of. We thought that times had changed, and the technological revolution provided the Syrians the means of showing the world what was happening to them. We thought that the standard of ethics in international politics had been elevated and that it was not possible for Assad the son to repeat what his father did.
But today, after the destruction of many parts of our city, and especially Baba Amr, and the slaughter of our women and children we Syrians are convinced, and especially in Homs, that international ethics have unfortunately remained unchanged.
The world still has a lot of time until it reaches our dream of international politics. And it still requires a large dose of ethics in order to make a stand in the face of the crimes being committed on men, women and children in our injured city, a stand that is in line with our dream of the world we want to live in.
After a year--yes, a year--of our glorious Revolution, we can measure it by the thousands of martyrs and the thousands upon thousands of detained, imprisoned, missing or displaced people, and the thousands of torture and abuse cellars. Our schools have been converted to prisons, our stadiums and administrative buildings into detainment centers, and our hospitals into slaughterhouses.
We can count the numerous Arab, regional, and international conventions and meetings, the missions and diplomats, delegations and observers. Statements were made but action was scarce. All the while, our squares remain packed with people, our bare chests facing bullets. With every passing convention the situation worsened.
We saw bodies being crushed by tanks, and homes being demolished over the inhabitants' heads by rockets and artillery. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, our situation evolved from weapons on the ground to weapons in the sky. Our casualties were in the 10s, then they reached the 100s, until it reached the point of annihilation as it did in Zabadani, Baba Amr, Karm al-Zeitoun, and the towns and villages of Idlib, Homs, Hama, Damascus, Daraa, and Deir el-Zour.
After all this slaughter and these massacres, we ask, do the Syrian people not belong to your community, the human community?
Doesn't belonging to the human community entail responsibilities and obligations on the part of those who enjoy progress and freedom to help those who still suffer tyranny and occupation? Yes, we are under occupation, and our Revolution is one of national freedom, which requires every legitimate path and means to resist Assad, and get rid of him.
Overthrowing him is the first step necessary to mobilize our energies and direct it towards our aspired developments and necessary changes to establish a pluralistic, democratic nation. This is a long and difficult mission. However, this regime has persisted for too long. Its persistence drives us towards stifling any development, and redirects us towards a chaotic abyss, where the regime can continue to operate with its machinery of killing, destruction, and abuse.
We have reached a delicate and risky stage, distinguished by the high stakes involved in regional and international rivalries, charged with sectarian differences which can lead to sectarian polarization. But democracy needs an incubator, and its incubator first and foremost is a free and honorable nation.
We await your actions especially because this meeting represents a glimmer of hope amongst the obstructed efforts of the Arab League and the Russian/Chinese veto in the United Nations Security Council and the brutal and savage nature of this regime, and the danger of our situation.
Action requires making the decisions which are most effective to stop the regime's calculated, continual annihilation. And we require help overthrowing this regime as soon as possible, and with as little sacrifice as possible whether human lives or otherwise, with preservation of the solidarity and unity of society.
Dear Friends of Syria, the Syrian people are one people, standing in the face of a tyrant unique in his tyranny. A united people who have given their blood, and continue to give blood. A people that has survived the conditions of torture and subjugation, and the policy of looting the national wealth and the impoverishment of the people for the past five decades.
Yes, the Syrian people are united. This requires action towards unification, not fragmentation, for every effort and path that claims to be affiliated with this people. Our demands as revolutionaries inside Syria are the demands adopted by the Syrian National Council, which represents our glorious Revolution.
Yes, dear Friends of Syria, bread alone is not enough for humans to live. But there are people on this Earth who are still without bread. They are calling to you, inheritors of the Age of Enlightenment, in the name of the absolute value of human life.
Do we deserve to live on this Earth?
Published by News and Letters Committees