Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Syria’s cruel intentions

Originally published in
on February 11th, 2013 
by Don Juan Corzo

Nearly two years since the Syrian uprising started in March 2011, the conflict has escalated into an all out civil war. A year ago the ongoing slaughter of apparently peaceful demonstrators and civilians was shown to the world uncensored via traditional media and social media.
The massacre of tens of thousands of people back in 1982 by the Syrian regime in the city of Hama is well known, though almost forgotten internationally. Its media coverage domestically was “censored,” and what could have been officially labeled as crimes against humanity went unpunished.
It was been virtually impossible for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to repeat his father’s effective cover-up of genocide of Syrians 30 years ago. The access to the Internet with apps and web sites like Twitter and Facebook have shown the world the indiscriminate killing of his citizens despite the limited access of the press (and in some cases, even the recent murders of foreign journalists).
As a journalist, I intended to write a piece last year about Syrian people living in Houston who could tell the stories of relatives or friends who were able to communicate the atrocities they were facing back in their homeland.
There were many contacts I gathered especially in the southwest part of town or the suburbs where many of them reside. There were schools teachers, mechanics, small business owners and college students in my list. I called, emailed and spoke to a several of them, but basically they all refused to speak to me and neither replied emails nor called me back.
A few of them just referred me to web sites or Facebook pages that were put up decrying the violence against Syrians or in protest of the Syrian government. I sent messages trying to reach those hosting those sites or pages, but I never got a response.
I wondered why these people were unwilling to communicate with me and perhaps help further expose Al-Assad’s bloody crackdown on his citizens through family and friends living in the U.S.

The reason
“They’re all afraid of talking to you,” finally relented one of my contacts who asked to remain anonymous. “If you write about any Syrians in Houston speaking against the Al-Assads, and they reveal anything negative about the government, worse things can happen for their families and friends.”
“Sam” (not his real name) stated the government's goons could track down any family or friend of those speaking against Asad to the press in the U.S. and hurt them or kill them in retaliation. So writing a story on that angle had to be postponed indefinitely.
A year later, the ongoing conflict has turned literally into hell on earth for Syrians every single day. Because of the ruthless crackdown of a cruel dictator, the once peaceful demonstrators, who were labeled “terrorists,” and  attacked have morphed into the Free Syrian Army, made up of former soldiers and armed rebels who won’t stop until Assad is gone.
The scarce international support for Syria’s government by countries like China and Russia hopefully will wane slowly, and the end of a decades’ long oppressing regime will come to an end.

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