Feature: Middle East News

Business as Usual for the Assad Regime

Author: Liz Harrison
Published: August 20, 2011 at 5:53 am

As I type this, my Tweetdeck is calmly running through posts tagged with #Syria. People are posting about death, attacks, snipers, blackouts - insanity. That innocuous little "beep" is letting me know that some new posts have appeared, and the little pink bar warning that I've exceeded API limits pops up regularly. The goal tonight is to get #Homs, #HomsBleeds, #Syria and #Sy2011 on the Twitter trending topics list. They are addressing their tweets to media, government agencies, and politicians around the world, in the hope that they will be heard.

President Obama demanded that Bashar al-Assad step down, and Assad's reply appears to have been given in blood. Initial reports put the death toll at twenty, but another source put it at twenty-two.

But protesters continue to take to the streets, like the ones chanting above, comparing Assad to their shoes - a significant insult for Arabs. They all sit down when one calls out that Assad supporters should remain standing. And when it was posted to Twitter, it was described as a video depicting Syrian youth giving their respects to Assad.

Syrians continue to beg those around the world to stop believing promises made by Assad. While he tells Western powers that he will remove soldiers and tanks from the streets, the people post videos showing that is a lie. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has stated that they are finalizing plans to visit prisons in Syria. While the ICRC is confident that their organization will get to the bottom of the situation on the ground in Syria, given the course of events so far, that may be an idealistic assumption.

Syrian activists already distributed a video showing what happens to prisoners on the way to detention centers. It is unlikely that the Assad regime will let ICRC representatives see prisoners being beaten by soldiers like in the video above. Putting these atrocities out on YouTube is one thing - there is the possibility of denying that they are true and accurate. Eyewitness accounts by ICRC personnel could not be denied. In the case of the unfortunate men above, at least one was pleading innocence saying, "Sir-please look up the protests video. You will then believe me that I wasn't there, and if you see that I was there, you can chop me into pieces and kill me. I swear I didn't protest."

Translations - Ali Atm from New York


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Article Author: Liz Harrison

Liz is a mostly-retired veteran political campaign worker, wife, mom, opinionated gal, fiscal conservative, anti-social-conservative, atheist, and foreign affairs/Mid-East politics junkie.

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