Cry ‘Free Syria!’

From the November-December 2016 issue of News & Letters

Chicago demonstrators rally to stop genocide in Syria on Oct. 1, 2016. Photo: David A Turpin Jr.

Chicago demonstrators rally to stop genocide in Syria on Oct. 1, 2016. Photo: David A Turpin Jr.

Chicago—On Oct. 1, on the International Day of Solidarity with Aleppo, Chicago held a vigil in solidarity with Syrians suffering and dying under air attacks on civilian targets. Our picket line, arrayed opposite Trump Tower, raised demands to end the bombing by Russian forces and those of Bashar Assad’s regime that were targeting hospitals and schools, and to stop blocking and bombing relief convoys of food and medicine.

We displayed banners proclaiming: “Save Aleppo” and “Obama, Putin drop food not bombs” and passed out leaflets detailing—in the face of genocidal atrocities—the depth of resistance to the Assad regime and its scorched earth use of barrel bombs and chemical weapons. Speeches from Syrian participants and others underlined the parallel to Bosnia’s fight for self-determination in the 1990s.

Our demonstration was not as large as those in other cities across the U.S., Europe and around the world which brought as many as thousands; but it was larger than the so-called anti-war demonstration supporting Russian President Valdimire Putin and Assad on Oct. 7.

There, a dozen Free Syria activists carrying “Listen to Syrians” signs confronted the 40 or so marking 15 years of the war in Afghanistan who shouted that a no-fly zone meant nuclear war with Russia. Some tried seizing our signs and leaflets and then ran away from confrontation.

The same counter-revolutionary position that supported Russian tanks crushing the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 and Chinese tanks bloodily clearing Tiananmen Square in 1989 wants to bury the ongoing Syrian Revolution.

Loyola University on Oct. 3 gave a forum for Joe Jamison, returning from lunch with Assad. He too had to face activists who came to puncture his lies.

—Bob McGuire

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *