Revolution Journal – July 2011
After spending 2 weeks in Istanbul, I returned back to Syria hoping I would go to Hama and take part in a demonstration there. However, my mother had to be in Damascus for another chemo round, which forced me to spend more time in Damascus.
July was hectic with more demonstrations in Damascus taking place almost everywhere. I took part in some even though my mother was at my place in Damascus for most of July. I started my fights with my uncles in July after they found out somehow that I had been taking part in demos in Damascus, and that I had been working with children in several areas in Damascus.
A friend of ours was arrested in Qaimariyeh in the old city in Damascus. Her father was a high ranked security agency Alawite. He broke both her legs – we had eventually to kidnap her from her place and hide her for a while. When she recovered, she fled to UAE.
Damascus university students started a wide range of protests in July. Major arrests and even kills took place on campus.
8 July 2011, US and France ambassadors in Syria visited the city of Hama, which led the Syrian regime to ask its “thugs” to demonstrate out of the US embassy in Damascus. Mr. Ford, the US ambassador in Damascus released a note on Facebookcommenting on the protest.
Assad regime had already started a vicious crackdown in Hama before, the crackdown continued despite the call for a “national dialogue” between the regime and the opposition in Damascus. Various demonstrations broke out rejecting the “dialogue charade”. Here is a video shows what kind of a dialogue it was. In the video, Mr. Majed Radwan Salha is saying: “if the participants want to remain true to the Street, they should adopt its demands, most of all, the demand for toppling the regime”, people begin shouting “Allah, Syria, Bashar” and they begin shoving him out.
Syrian actors and intellectuals called for a demonstration in Midan, Damascus on Wednesday 13 July 2011. Many were arrested including May Skaf, Fares al-Helou, Yam Mashhadi, Basel Shehada, the Malas twins, Rima Flihan and others. When they were released they were attacked by regime’s thugs outside the police department in Bab Mosalla in Damascus. Moreover, those thugs followed them and attacked a café they tried to hide in. The police didn’t even try to protect them.
Into mid-July, we decided to direct our journalistic efforts towards people in the country. Various underground newspapers were started, and we worked on issuing one. The Syrian National Council was announced in Istanbul when Hillary Clinton stated for the first time that “Assad regime lost its legitimacy”.
Near the end of July, Syrian TV announced that the army and security forces managed to arrest the head of the Salafi Emirate in Qatana in Damascus suburbs. News about the “brave operation” in Syrian media was hilarious as usual. In this post, they say that the Salafi Emir “swaggered” in the town riding a horse. When I first heard about the arrests, I found out that two Christian friends of mine were among the detainees, moreover, one of them was a woman. A great Salafi secular group, isn’t it?
Before the end of July, lawyers demonstrated across Syria in the cities of Damascus, Hama, Aleppo and Raqqa. The regime had issued a new law allowing new political parties to be formed hoping that this might help calming the political opposition – it didn’t.
On a funny note, Ali Shueibi continued his sexual innuendos on TV. In this video, he claims that his flash drive has scandalous videos of high Arab officials’ and Syrian oppositions’ wives.
Ramadan was getting closer forcing the regime to strike more violently in a hope that they could end the revolution before Ramadan. In the months before, the Syrian media claimed that al-Jazeera had been distributing addictive pills responsible for the protests. Just before Ramadan, authorities started to spread rumors that the “conspiracy” will take a stronger and wider form in Ramadan. The “conspirators” will add different substances to food that would make people angrier and cause more “disturbance” to the national “peace and order”. Unfortunately, most of the online posts were removed, but the screenshots we took of Facebook comments are still available.
Gay wise, some private gay parties were taking place in Damascus. My gay Alwite son hooked up with a Hama native and visited Hama several times. However, cruising in Damascus was highly risky and people started to post publicly the names or profile handles of anti-regime gay people in Syria. An inter-gay crack started and Syrian gay people started to divide into pro-regime and anti-regime.
On the 31st of July, the regime launched a wide vicious military attacks on Hama and other cities. I lost contact with my family for a week. You can read older posts here and here.