Assad feigns innocence, Clinton meets Ghalioun & SNC leaders, Shell and Total suspend Syria operations, clashes take place along Turkish, Lebanese and even Jordanian borders with greater frequency, defections increase, so do the killings, the arrests, and the levels of impunity and defiance, as Syria descends slowly into Mayhem.
Tuesday 6, 2011
The Banality of Evil
The death toll in Homs is skyrocketing with 50 people killed on Monday December 5 alone, including 34 who were kidnapped and killed execution-style by pro-Assad militias. The average daily death toll in Homs has hovered around 20 for weeks now, but these spikes are becoming more frequent: on Sunday 40 were reported killed, and on Tuesday, the death toll in the city was put at 30. Killings are taking place outside Homs as well. Indeed, every day is now a lesson in the banality of evil, but the Assads and their supporters seem incapable of learning, just as the international community seems incapable of forming a coherent response, and the Syrian opposition a workable platform.
But the violence is not taking place in Homs alone, Idlib and Hama to the North, and the province of Deraa/Hauran to the South continue to be the scene of increasing daily clashes and crackdowns, and killings are a daily phenomenon there as well.
What Syrians Want
After dedicating one Friday for calling for the establishment of a no-fly zone, Syrian protesters held another calling for the establishment of safe havens along Syria’s borders. The message was not only addressed to the international community, but also to the leaders of the Syrian National Council, who continue to dither when it comes to calling for international intervention.
In this clip from Deir Baalbah Neighborhood in Homs City (Dec 2), the speaker addresses the crowds and tells them that there are leaders in the SNC who still oppose international intervention, including the establishment of a safe haven, but says that anyone in the SNC starting with Burhane Ghalioun who opposes this demand as well as the demands for a no-fly zone and support to the Free Syrian Army, will no longer represent the Revolution. Protesters then begin to chant “the people want a safe haven” http://youtu.be/D5CeYZF8Gn0
In this clip, protesters in Idlib City address SNC President Burhane Ghalioun directly saying “Burhane Ghalioun, can’t you hear, the people want a no-fly zone” (December 4) http://youtu.be/xIIB_0Kd6_U In Bab Al-Sibaa Neighborhood in Homs City protesters had had the honor to shout this slogan first on December 2 http://youtu.be/oKH6GgqJ6KY
In this clip from the neighborhood of Karm Al-Zeitun in Homs City, taken on December 5, the activist shows the remains car blown up by a tank leaving 5 people dead, and rails against the Arab League for giving continuous extensions to the Assads, and against SNC President Burhane Ghalioun for opposing international intervention http://youtu.be/oibBlRUHWJI
In addition to calling for international intervention, protesters have not forgotten the home front as well, and continue to cease the opportunity to assert their message of inclusion even as pro-Assad militias continue to incite sectarianism. For this reason, protesters dedicated Sunday December 4 to showing their solidarity with Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, the Jesuit monk who has lived in Syria for over 30 years focusing on interfaith dialog, and who recently called for real reforms in the country saying "The first step towards saving this country is real freedom of expression, press and opinion." Assad officials, naturally, disapproved of this line and have decided to expel Father Paolo, as he himself told Vatican Radio. The decision will become final once the Syriac Catholic Bishop of Homs approves it.