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Is the World Deaf and Blind to Syria?

14 February 2013 6 Comments

Ghada Ghazal

Ghada Ghazal
Hama, Syria

“People are no longer afraid; when a man is shot in a demonstration, his friends will carry him on their shoulders and continue their demonstration.”


I grew up with the image of my father taken violently by the Syrian soldiers, and with the image of my uncle who was killed under torture. It was 1982 when the great Hama massacre took place and no one in the world knows about that. I was five years old. My father, mother, and brother and I were obliged to leave our home with nowhere to go. We were walking when one soldier stopped us and arrested my father, leaving my mother with her two little kids, helpless. We had to walk and walk for hours and then a truck drove us to a village where a lovely family hosted us. They shared their house, food, clothes, everything.

Throughout my life I have been brought up far away from the field of religion and politics. My family knew about the brutality of the regime and they were afraid if I were active in religion or politics I would bring problems for myself and for the family as well. Politics is not allowed to be discussed in any place, and all the time we have to say “We love the President.” All my life was asking myself: “Why should I love him?”  I know he killed about 50,000 people, a massacre.

When the uprisings started in other Arab countries, I was deeply sure from my heart that the time had come. After ages of suppression and oppression people wake up. But the wakening was by teenagers who had not tasted the torture. Those innocent teenagers who were calling for freedom did not know the brutality of the regime and did not imagine that incredible torture and death would be the punishment.

The peaceful Friday demonstration on the 3rd of June 2011, named “The Children of Freedom,” left more than 150 dead and countless wounded in Hama. The regime thinks that using such brutal violence will keep the mouths silent and bring people back to their homes. But people are no longer afraid; when a man is shot in a demonstration, his friends will carry him on their shoulders and continue their demonstration.

Peaceful Demonstration in Hama, Syria

When you find yourself within such circumstances you cannot stand and look. I and my friends started to help secretly, because if the regime found out about us, we and our families and relatives would be in danger. We started to visit the wounded to see what they need. Wounded people cannot be taken to hospitals, as they will be arrested and tortured to death. We try to keep our homes provided with emergency medicine and equipment and to have some antibiotics and cotton.

Many women lost their husbands and became alone with their orphans without financial support. There are no job opportunities, and children cannot be left alone at home in these dangerous circumstances. I tried to travel to many countries to collect donations, and I contacted my friends abroad so that they could send some donations. My friends would go around and see what basic items the families needed and buy them. We used to buy crutches  for the disabled and for children blankets, clothes, food, bread and medicine.

The more you buy, the more people are in need. As the situation is getting worse and worse,  every day more and more needy people are being added to the list. I do not understand this world. Is it deaf and blind?

Many women, girls, and babies need clothes and other basic daily necessities. There are many pregnant women whose husbands have passed away, and they need more support than other women during their pregnancy and after. Women all over the world can help their sisters in Syria, who have been left, jobless, homeless, hopeless, and frustrated.

Ghada Ghazal is a native of Syria, currently living in Doha, Qatar. Before the conflict in Syria, she was a lecturer at Al-Baath University in Homs, Syria.


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6 Comments to “Is the World Deaf and Blind to Syria?”
  1. Daniel S. Moskowitz says:

    Thank you for posting this Critical Article on this Crucial Subject. I have already sent it off to friends in Syria and Iran. I think this Horror needs to come to a Close.

    • Sahar Taman says:

      Dear Daniel,

      Thank you for your kind words and for sending the article on. I know Ghada personally and know what the situation is for her and how she helpless she feels at this point. But with God’s will, something will change.

  2. Stan Penner says:

    Syrians killing Syrians; why do they do this? They should help each other, not hurt each other.


    Sometime ago I read where a British TV station was going to show, briefly, graphic footage of two British soldiers killed in Iraq. Such scenes are extremely unpleasant but I daresay that if people would much more often see the human butchery we call war, in all its bloody gruesomeness, they would literally scream at their leaders to stop it. Scenes of mutilated bodies don’t sit well with any glamourized notion of war and so such photos are seldom published. During the Vietnam War, when one magazine ran a picture of a decapitated soldier, people got sick to the stomach. I hate to say this, but maybe we should start showing shattered limbs, faces shot off, bowels protruding, torsos torn open, and brains oozing out. I “hear” you shout, “Stop already,” but I’ve not even started on the psychological and emotional damage, and, then, too, these are only words, not photos or TV clips, and a far cry from the moans, the gore, the stench, and the utter agony of the battlefield itself.

    Anyone who thinks that soldiers give their lives for their country is badly mistaken; those precious lives are brutally wrested from them. People who clamour and push for war, manufacturers and dealers of arms who help create war, politicians who are ever ready to send young people to war, or even those who simply accept war as inevitable, seldom have seen the horror of it. They need to see it at its worst.


    Stan Penner

    P.S. # 2. Below are some quotes. Maybe you can use them, or some of them.

    “I….call to everyone, Christians and the followers of other religions, to work together to build a world without violence, a world that loves life and grows in justice and solidarity.” Pope John Paul II, Kazakhstan, Sept. 2001

    “War is the only game in which both sides lose.” Walter Scott

    “War is the blackest villainy of which human nature is capable.” Erasmus

    “If you had seen one day of war, you would pray to God that you would never see another.” The Duke of Wellington

    “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.” Ghandi

    “… I had finally become anti any kind of war for whatever reason.” Giles- much beloved (especially by the common soldiers) World War II British cartoonist

    “If you want to take revenge on somebody, you better dig two graves.” Chinese proverb

    “It is a conviction that war is not an answer to human conflict any more than cannibalism is to human hunger.” Bruce Kent International Peace Bureau President at centenary reception, Berne, 1991

    “The time has now come for man’s intellect to win out over the brutality, the insanity of war.” Linus Pauling, Nobel Peace Prize recipient in his book No More War

    “The more I study the history of the world the more I am convinced of the inability of brute force to create anything durable.” Napolean, on St. Helena

    “I have known war as few men now living know it. Its very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a means of settling international disputes.” General Douglas MacArthur

    “Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.” President John F. Kennedy

    Herman Goering, at the Nuremburg Trials: Why, of course people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don’t want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

    “Today every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or madness.” John F. Kennedy

  3. Daniel S. Moskowitz says:

    Dear Sahar, I just sent a letter off to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and all Citizens of the United States can feel free to do the Same. I keep an eye on my friend, Mariam, in Damascus, who I know through Facebook. So, I am monitoring the Situation and am trying to respond a bit more Proactively. I know that many of the Divergent Factions are involved in Human Rights Violations. So, only through COOPERATION between the U.S.A. AND Russia can this Horror come to a Close.

    Thanks for responding Sahar. I will look you up on Facebook. Otherwise, if you want you can request my email from Yasmina Mrabet. I have spoken to some Syrians here in Denver, and they also appear to be “Broken Up” emotionally. Yes, it might be Impossible to COMPLETELY Prevent Genocide, but I tell people that we shouldn’t watch such Horrors like a Sporting Event. This is for Real.


  4. Ibrahim Karir says:

    Assalaamu alaikum Ghada

    I remember discussing with you at Warwick University, some 9 years ago regarding the Arab / Muslim World and the type of political change that is required to bring prosperity to the region.

    I remember you discussing the fear that people had of the dictatorial regimes supported by colonialists. Change seemed a long distance away. Yet now, in our very lifetime, we are seeing political change, particularly in Syria, where the demands of the street is very pure, clear and uncompromising.

    We all pray for the people of bilad ash-shaam, that they may be able to fulfil their destiny and rewrite the pages of history.



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