World Book Day April 23.: Read a text for Syria

Appeal for a global reading against the Assad regime and for freedom and democracy in Syria 

The international literature festival berlin (ilb) calls upon intellectuals, writers, artists, cultural institutions, schools, universities, radio and TV stations, to participate in a global reading on 23 April 2012, the World Book Day. Excerpts from the diary of the Syrian author Samar Yazbek will be read – also in front of Syrian embassies. Yazbek has documented in her diary the events in Syria since the beginning of the rebellion last year. She is also the author of the attached appeal. The texts from her diary will be made available to be read in Arabic, English, French and German.

The reading and a commemorative minute of silence will be dedicated to the victims of the revolt. They are meant as a manifestation of our solidarity with the opponents of the Assad regime, and an expression of our hope for a free, democratic and secular country.

In view of the peaceful demonstrations early last year, the Syrian government responded with the militarization of cities, with terror and murder. This, in turn, triggered rebellion in the communities and caused the divide in society and in the army. Soldiers who refused to obey and to kill civilians had to desert. They founded the Free Army of Syria, whose goal is the protection and the defence of the citizens of the country.

Security forces have been using heavy artillery for months to kill and destroy. Cities are under siege and are being pillaged; women are being raped, their dead bodies thrown into the night. Young people are being sent to jail, where they are tortured and murdered. According to human rights activists, about 10,000 people have lost their lives since the beginning of the protests. While Syria’s civilization and the unique history of the country are about to die, the world limits its commitment to the mere observation of Assad’s military undertakings. The events hosted at the World Book Day are meant to overcome the silence by demanding Assad’s resignation and issuing a plea for freedom and democracy in a secular state of Syria.

Please let us know, if you want to join us with a reading on 23 April 2012 an write to: worldwidereading@literaturfestival.com

Appeal to the intellectuals, writers and artists of the world

Today, while we are writing these lines, Syrian children are being silenced, Syrian women are being raped, and their dead bodies are thrown into the night. Cities are under siege and being pillaged, while young people are being imprisoned, tortured, and killed. The Syrian regime has its security services and the army use heavy artillery for major extermination strikes against human beings, their homes, and nature.
The revolt of the great citizens of Syria started a year ago. The protesters carried olive twigs and shouted peaceful slogans. The government answered with murder, terror and with the occupation of cities. This, in turn, encouraged the communities and citizens in the country, who started a rebellion, and it produced a divide between society and the army, and moved soldiers to desert, this being the only choice when they refused to obey commands to kill civilians. These soldiers formed the Syrian Free Army, in order to protect the peaceful civilians of Syria.
There are no members of Al Qaida, no Salafists, nor armed gangs in Syria. The only armed gang committing murder, spreading terror and sectarianism in the country, is Bashar al-Assad’s gang, his family and his clique.
The first banner of universal civilization was raised in Syria, the nation that many consider “the second home of all civilized men and women in the world.” However, Syria, the land of culture and history, the melting pot of urbanism and philosophy, is dying today, before the very eyes of the world, which merely watches the dictator who is about to extinguish the Syrian civilization and its people.
The Syrian people stand alone, and their blood flows like a river. Yet, they refuse to give up their demands of freedom, dignity, and justice. There is still hope that the rule of law can be established. Dear friends, when will you speak up in view of this barbarism, in view of these crimes? When

will you cease to be mere observers of the tragedy that our people suffer today? This is our cry to the world: We implore you! Without you the Apartheid regime in South Africa

would not have been abolished. Please exert pressure and call upon your governments, so that they act quickly in order to save our people and our beautiful country, where the arts, creativity, and life are at stake today!
Dear friends, writers, artists, and intellectuals of the world: Stand up, and save the Syrian people from death. Please join the most courageous, the noblest and the most difficult revolution, the least possible revolution in modern history.
Because to join our revolution means to share the values of freedom, truth, justice and civilization.
Samar Yazbek