Saturday, May 21, 2011

Back to the Beginning!

As Assad forces continue to seek salvation through bloodletting, protesters rely on sheer defiance and continued commitment to nonviolence, managing to reenergize their 9-weeks long movement.

Friday 20, 2011

44 dead and dozens wounded in the largest day of protest yet, with death toll expected to rise as more communities send their reports.

Damascus & Suburbs, Hama & Suburbs, Homs & Suburbs, Idlib & Suburbs, Deraa & Suburbs, Alboukamal, Deir Ezzor, Raqqah, Qamishly, Amudeh, Kobani Banyas and Jableh among others, all took part in the protests.

Links
The lack of any obvious opposition alternative to Assad limits what Western governments, including the U.S, can do, says Ammar Abdulhamid, a prominent U.S-based Syrian dissident. "We do want [Obama] to call on Assad to step down at one point soon, but that's not going to happen until Syrian opposition and activists get together and formulate a viable alternative to manage the transitional period. Only then can we expect world leaders to be more forthcoming in their calls on Assad to step down."
A day after President Obama pressed Syria to end brutal attacks on pro-democracy demonstrators, Bashar Assad's forces continue their violent crackdown. Activists work to broaden the movement by bringing in Kurds.
The resilience of the protests seemed to surprise even the activists themselves. The message delivered at many of the demonstrations, from Damascus, the capital, to the distant east, to towns that had been the target of ferocious repression, was that the killing of hundreds and detention of thousands would not stifle opposition to four decades of authoritarian rule.

 With so many dead today despite all international pressures and sanctions, it’s clear that the Assads won’t go gently into that good night, but since the protesters are foolhardy enough to keep taking to the streets to die for the  cause, the choice facing world leaders is how much bloodshed will be enough before they act. 

We might call it the Obama Effect: those who felt the American President’s speech as being too light on Assad felt angered and expressed their frustration by taking to the streets, and those who felt it was just right for now, having raised the possibility of Assad’s departure, have also taken to the streets feeling that the momentum is back on their side.

 

This is at least one explanation for the mass turnout today. But even if true, the Obama Effect is just one factor here, a marginal one even. The reality is: the protesters were reacting to repeated assertions by Syrian officials over the last two weeks that their movement has lost steam and that the authorities have regained the upper-hand. They were also reacting to the statements by Bashar Al-Assad’s cousin, Rami Makhlouf that struck a raw nerve with Syrians by stressing the family-based nature of the regime and the willingness of the Assads to do whatever it takes to hang on to power.

 

Now it’s all about the Assads. The masks are off.  Rami’s statements about Israeli security rendered all talk about resistance ideology rather meaningless. Even security officers are now order to chant for “Abu Hafiz” during their clashes with protesters. Abu Hafiz is Bashar’s traditional nickname and refers to the name of both his late father and his eldest son. The point is to say that Bashar will rule until his death and will be followed by son. A pro-regime graffiti left on the walls of a Homs community by security officers even state “Bashar is our King.”

 

Forget about reforms then: the choice this is about Assad forever or Assad never. Whatever “reforms” Assad will be willing to entertain can never challenge his or his family’s hold on power, which is a complete anathema to the protesters. The resulting stalemate means more violence will continue to take place on a daily basis throughout the country, for the foreseeable future and until such time that army leadership begins cracking under pressure, with some changing their loyalties to the side of the protesters. Naturally, sectarian faultiness will figure highly in this. The ability of Syrian opposition forces to project an alternative that can be embraced by grassroots protest leaders and the international community will facilitate the adoption of a more proactive response by the international community, pushing leaders like President Obama into making clear-cut calls on Assad to leave or face certain dire consequences.  

 

 

Damascus Videos

 

Bab Sreejeh (Old Damascus): “the people want to topple the regime”

http://youtu.be/2JxY3de-zAU

Saqba: the whole town was out chanting “We are going to Paradise as millions of martyrs” “the people want to topple the regime” “Bye, bye, Bashar, sweet dreams”

http://youtu.be/0Rf4Sp620AE

Saqba: army troops pour into the streets

http://youtu.be/bMyvshDUEh0

http://youtu.be/L5JCk6Dl0jA

Saqba: security officers chant “Abu Hafiz” “We sacrifice our blood and soul for you Bashar”

http://youtu.be/2eYmOqyBzXs

Harasta: security checkpoints all over town prior to Friday prayers

http://youtu.be/CnRyVc8PqUw

Darayyah: “Raise your voice, it’s a revolution until death”

http://youtu.be/qO64c4gTlBc

Darayyah: protesters come under fire as they chant “the people want to topple the regime”

http://youtu.be/RIYuuVlftrY

Darayyah: security forces take the streets and begin arresting protesters

http://youtu.be/Xp78Q0a9Zek

Darayyah: Back and forth between Darayyah protesters (armed with rocks) and security officers (armed with guns)

http://youtu.be/JF-jSCopaO0

Darayyah: protesters return to the streets in the evening, chanting: “We’re going to Paradise, as millions of martyrs”

http://youtu.be/a4jFii72YWs

http://youtu.be/JPjB8nBmD2E

Darayyah: nightly protest. Protesters chant “our revolution is quite fine”

http://youtu.be/hFInQLVWHII

Darayyah: nighttime funeral. Chant: “the people want to topple the regime”

http://youtu.be/UC0lQD0VILo

Qaboun: “leave, leave” “the people want to topple the regime”

http://youtu.be/LKjsvIZeCNI

Qaboun: “security forces pour into the streets chanting Abou Hafiz (Bashar’s nickname) and “Where are the traitors”

http://youtu.be/hgOSTi50XfY

Qaboun: army troops arresting and beating protesters

http://youtu.be/kwxmhkaKRz8

Qaboun: security troops pouring into the streets

http://youtu.be/Bki4Xa_fs0I

Qaboun: despite the daytime crackdown, people pour into the streets at night chanting “we will write on our flag that Bashar has betrayed the homeland”

http://youtu.be/aI9WSlhzhcc

Jdeidat Artouz: “Leave us and take your party with you”

http://youtu.be/QWIvrzYILmE

Qatana: “O informant leave Syria, leave Qatana”

http://youtu.be/gwdpPdPH-tc

http://youtu.be/poRJI_7mS0c

Qatana: “Freedom is at the Gate” “We’re now focused on you Bashar” “the people want to topple the regime”

http://youtu.be/XQK3b3_Gk88

Qatana: “the people want a new president” “Bashar you coward, send your dogs to the Golan”

http://youtu.be/mKES4qt0rE4

Abou Ayyoub Al-Ansari Mosque: “Freedom, Freedom” “the Syrian people ware one”

http://youtu.be/sQSQnFyy1uo

Al-Dhaibeh Mosque (Old Damascus): despite the small size of the demonstration, protesters still chant: “the people want to topple the regime,” after all, “God is greater than the oppressor.”

http://youtu.be/wMo8BUmcfVI

Barzeh Al-Balad: army troops pour into the streets

http://youtu.be/4F0cpV9LIa0

Kisweh: “Leave us and take your party with you” “the people want to topple the regime”

http://youtu.be/aORb4P6TN4I

Zabadani:a nightly demonstration:  “the people want to topple the regime”

http://youtu.be/Zm0FQPc9xVw

Ruknaddine: protesters chant “Azadi, Azadi”

http://youtu.be/E9vxbXbFcPI

 

Idlib Videos

 

Idlib City

http://youtu.be/uG-q1_coVxY

Jarjanaz

http://youtu.be/kSKNBQtjH-U

Bench: “the people want to topple the regime”

http://youtu.be/TvOnbNwSZTc

Bench: a martyr

http://youtu.be/mozxdUdh2tY

Kafar Nabol: Protesters carry signs in Arabic and English, and chant “Syria, Syria”

http://youtu.be/q8VxJw1DUO8

Kafar Nabol: “the people want to topple the regime”

http://youtu.be/06bO-Ij7XZc

Jisr Ashoughour: “We will support you until death, o Deraa (Talbisseh, etc.)”

http://youtu.be/y8aNUtUgmOc

Jisr Ashoughour: members of the Baath resign publicly

http://youtu.be/DRdAGP9QeR0

Mouarrat Al-Nouman: protesters hold funerals for two of their colleagues, and chant “the people want to topple the regime”

http://youtu.be/WX7tcj_fH68

Mouarrat Al-Nouman: Security forces in action

http://youtu.be/h4zf-zsYcuE

Mouarrat Al-Nouman: Security forces fire on the protesters, wounding many.

http://youtu.be/hnZ2CpE12SY

 

Qamishly & Kurdish Areas Videos

 

Qamishly: Security forces raid the headquarters of the Assyrian Democratic Organization, a local Christian organization that has been part of the Syrian opposition movement for over a decade and who took part in organizing the protests in Qamishly, confiscating all files and electronic equipment

http://youtu.be/cKpCrzRIyyo

Qamishly: “the people want to topple the regime”  “the Syrian people are one”

http://youtu.be/znVbgacIcrA

http://youtu.be/D43UlwFWd1g

http://youtu.be/j87fzweixtI

http://youtu.be/G-nxjDdKqSw

Amudeh: Kurdish protesters chant Azadi while carrying signs saying “No Dialog with Tanks”

http://youtu.be/dPhR9RT5d_w

http://youtu.be/7PjYI0tU6b0

Kobani / Ain Al-Arab: “One Hand” “God, Syria, Freedom”

http://youtu.be/ExmqCeU0NW8

 

Homs Videos

 

Bab Al-Sibaa & Karam Al-Shami: protesters from two neighborhoods converge, and immediately begin chanting: “the people want to topple the regime” “Long live Syria, Down with Bashar Al-Assad”

http://youtu.be/f8DuxX4zYX0

Bab Al-Sibaa: protesters come under fire but they keep chanting “the people want to topple the regime”

http://youtu.be/VBpqFjNmb3o

Madrasat Khadijah: “No rule lasts forever, O Bashar Al-Assad” “the people want to topple the regime”

http://youtu.be/-YVneMi3I2k

Protesters carry banner declaring the “demise” of the Arab League

http://youtu.be/inJescMDN_0

Suq Al-Hasheesh: “the people want to topple the regime” “Leave, leave”

http://youtu.be/GLQkCM1U1zA

Bab Amr: “He who kills his own people is a traitor” “We will be victorious”

http://youtu.be/4U4pgVOgHf4

Bab Amr: protesters come under fire as they chant “the people want to topple the regime,” one of them gets wounded and is rushed to the hospital.

http://youtu.be/MjdFP3UQGfw

Homs / Bayadah Neighborhood

http://youtu.be/4wRj-DJNUPQ

http://youtu.be/YEmDjrQ9d8w

Homs: the aftermath of a security “intervention” – destroyed cars and pro-Assad graffiti: “this your last Friday, you traitors” “The leader of Syria forever: Bashar Al-Assad” “Assad our King and our President.” There were also slogan calling for the execution of Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, Saad Al-Hariri of Lebanon and former VP, Abdulhaleem Khaddam, the alleged sponsors of the revolution, according to official propaganda. “The soldiers of Bashar will pursue all the dogs, the dogs of Banda, Khaddam and Hariri” “Al-Assad Or La Ahad (no one)”

http://youtu.be/301Q75kzMdI

http://youtu.be/Zl87bXDL8aI

Inshaat: “the people want to topple the regime”

http://youtu.be/vf-HCPCkz7I

Al-Qarabees: “the people want to topple the regime”

http://youtu.be/O4a7z_yuZAg

Al-Wa’er: protesters call on bystanders to join them chanting: “Why are you afraid, God is with us”

http://youtu.be/jcfD06JToUE

Hola: a protesters carries a note in Russian saying: “Mr. Medvedev, I beg your pardon, but the Syrian people want freedom”

http://youtu.be/JtvfT_zApuI

Hola: “God Almighty smite Bashar and Maher” “We don’t want dialog, we want you to leave, o Bashar”

http://youtu.be/QJMR2NABi1g

Al-Qseir: “Long live Syria, down with Bashar Al-Assad” “God is Greater than the oppressor” “the people want to topple the regime”

http://youtu.be/rtrXVWjGj5Y

Al-Qseir: the protest carried into the night, as men and women chant “Murderer son of a murderer”

http://youtu.be/eOyDr0Tgsy4

Rastan

http://youtu.be/UK1vQHG209A

http://youtu.be/1kQFRy9RKYI

Rastan: protests carries into the night

http://youtu.be/YXRmlUIQ34o

http://youtu.be/7dEcW5kCh-s

Talbisseh: tens of thousands of protesters in the streets chanting “the people want to topple the regime”

http://youtu.be/l3-36DAtXis

http://youtu.be/80W0-XqNkc0

Talbisseh: protesters burn sim cards of the Mobile company, Syriatel, owned by Rami Makhlouf, Bashar’s cousin.

http://youtu.be/_tLOouv3frU

 

Hama Videos

 

Security reinforcements arrive into the city and begin firing at protesters

http://youtu.be/PN9P9wLg6f8

Security loot and destroy shops and stands, fire tear gas at tock-wielding protesters

http://youtu.be/PuI3rWxeU5k

Security forces fire live rounds straight into the crowd. The sudden stop at the end of the video is due to an attempt at arresting the cameraman. Eyewitnesses say he managed to escape.

http://youtu.be/YORrq2SXWb4

Protesters taunt security officers challenging them to shoot, as they throw rocks at them.

http://youtu.be/VP4cMOO-50k

Before the crackdown

http://youtu.be/B2gPEXwe6K0

http://youtu.be/qOv9Hyvkf9s

http://youtu.be/fKEtxqHT3q8

Protesters burning the flags of China, Russia and Iran

http://youtu.be/ecFSgSfrlK8

“The people want to topple the regime”

http://youtu.be/Q_jKzHQao1I

http://youtu.be/wQE0e9jWBwY

A martyr

http://youtu.be/AlIbbl4mMyE

Protesters wrote on the wall: “we demand the dissolution of the traitorous army and the establishment of a patriotic one”

http://youtu.be/_i56mxqEXBA

Al-Hadir: protesters come under tear gas attack

http://youtu.be/IU7G1YHb1h0

Qalaat Al-Madeeq: “the people want to topple the regime”

http://youtu.be/WENRTNkVjKg

Sauran: “the people want to topple the regime”

http://youtu.be/JvvmkVfxFlM

 

Deraa Videos

 

Abtaa: “O God Almighty save us from Bashar” “Maher you coward, send your troops to the Golan [if you can]” “the people want to topple the regime”

http://youtu.be/6tDXYvN60Sc

Nahteh: Banner: “no backing down or surrender until the regime is toppled”

http://youtu.be/jhbIIciUlOg

Nahteh: protests carry into the night with people chanting: “the people want to topple the regime” “We take death but never humiliation” “Bashar listen, the people of Deraa will not bow down” “he who kills his own people is a traitor, so Bashar you are a traitor”

http://youtu.be/pvl5PA79brs

Bosra

http://youtu.be/OYd9A05RymM

 

Miscellaneous Videos

 

Alboukamal: security forces fire straight into rock throwing crowd of protesters

http://youtu.be/E6VyI_a1k6M

Lattakia: despite heavy security presence, protesters take to the streets chanting “we will be victorious”

http://youtu.be/6RpME8S9OfE

Lattakia / Tabiyyat: small crowds gather chant in support of Deraa despite heavy security presence

http://youtu.be/RvY5003Q7i0

Lattakia / Ramel: “the people want to topple the regime.” Banner says: “If you want to stay in power, you have to kill 20 million Syrians”

http://youtu.be/9yx83ePq1p4

Lattakia: protesters carry a dead colleague who’s just been shot

http://youtu.be/Y51Gk-MFi5A

Aleppo / Seif Al-Dawlah Neighborhood: “The Syrian people are one”

http://youtu.be/j-8GaFL0w9o