Et nødskrik fra Syria

My friends, writers and journalists from all over the world, in China and Russia, I would like to inform you that my people is being subjected to a genocide.

A week ago the forces of the Syrian regime stepped up its attacks on the rebellious cities, especially in the cities of Homs, Zabadani, the suburbs of Damascus, Rastan, Madaya, Wadi Barada, Figeh, Idlib and villages of the Zawiya mountain. In the past week, up until the moment in which I am writing these lines, more than a thousand martyrs fell, many of them children, and hundreds of homes were destroyed on top of their inhabitants.

The world’s blindness encouraged the regime’s attempt to eliminate  the peaceful revolution in Syria, with an unrivaled repressive force. The support of Russia, China, Iran and the silence of the world in the face of the crimes committed in broad daylight, has allowed the regime’s killing of my people for the past eleven months. But in the last week, since February 2cd, the features of the massacre were made clear. The scene of hundreds of thousands of Syrians who took to the streets of their towns and villages on the night of the massacre of Khalidiya, the night of last Friday to Saturday, raising their hands in prayer and in tears, is heart breaking and puts the humanitarian tragedy of Syria in the center of the world. It is a clear expression of our feeling of orphanhood, resulting from our abandonment by the world, which is content by political and economic sanctions that do not stop murderers or restrain blood bathed tanks.

My people who faced death with bear chests and songs is being, in these very moments, subjected to a cleansing campaign. Our rebellious cities face sieges unprecedented in the history of world revolutions, preventing medical personnel to attend to the wounded, as field hospitals are being bombed in cold blood and destroyed. The entry of relief organizations is also prevented,  phone lines are cut, and food and medicine are blocked to the extent that the smuggling of blood bags or Satamol tablets into the affected areas is considered a crime worthy of imprisonment in detention camps, the details of which will shock you one day.

In its modern history, the world has not yet seen valor and courage such as those displayed by the revolutionary Syrians in all our towns and villages, as the world has not yet seen such a silence, that is now considered a complicity in the murder and extermination of my people.

My people is the people of peace, coffee and music, that I wish you will taste one day, roses the fragrances of which I hope you will breathe one day, so that you know that the center of the world is today exposed to a genocide, and that the whole world is an accomplice to the spilling of our blood.

I can not say more in these difficult moments, but I hope you will take action in solidarity with my people, through whatever means you deem appropriate. I know that writing stands helpless and naked in front of the Russian guns, tanks and missiles bombing cities and civilians, but I have no wish for your silence to be an accomplice of the killings as well.

Khaled Khalifa
DAMASCUS

A cry from Syria

My friends, writers and journalists from all over the world, in China and Russia, I would like to inform you that my people is being subjected to a genocide.

A week ago the forces of the Syrian regime stepped up its attacks on the rebellious cities, especially in the cities of Homs, Zabadani, the suburbs of Damascus, Rastan, Madaya, Wadi Barada, Figeh, Idlib and villages of the Zawiya mountain. In the past week, up until the moment in which I am writing these lines, more than a thousand martyrs fell, many of them children, and hundreds of homes were destroyed on top of their inhabitants.

The world’s blindness encouraged the regime’s attempt to eliminate  the peaceful revolution in Syria, with an unrivaled repressive force. The support of Russia, China, Iran and the silence of the world in the face of the crimes committed in broad daylight, has allowed the regime’s killing of my people for the past eleven months. But in the last week, since February 2cd, the features of the massacre were made clear. The scene of hundreds of thousands of Syrians who took to the streets of their towns and villages on the night of the massacre of Khalidiya, the night of last Friday to Saturday, raising their hands in prayer and in tears, is heart breaking and puts the humanitarian tragedy of Syria in the center of the world. It is a clear expression of our feeling of orphanhood, resulting from our abandonment by the world, which is content by political and economic sanctions that do not stop murderers or restrain blood bathed tanks.

My people who faced death with bear chests and songs is being, in these very moments, subjected to a cleansing campaign. Our rebellious cities face sieges unprecedented in the history of world revolutions, preventing medical personnel to attend to the wounded, as field hospitals are being bombed in cold blood and destroyed. The entry of relief organizations is also prevented,  phone lines are cut, and food and medicine are blocked to the extent that the smuggling of blood bags or Satamol tablets into the affected areas is considered a crime worthy of imprisonment in detention camps, the details of which will shock you one day.

In its modern history, the world has not yet seen valor and courage such as those displayed by the revolutionary Syrians in all our towns and villages, as the world has not yet seen such a silence, that is now considered a complicity in the murder and extermination of my people.

My people is the people of peace, coffee and music, that I wish you will taste one day, roses the fragrances of which I hope you will breathe one day, so that you know that the center of the world is today exposed to a genocide, and that the whole world is an accomplice to the spilling of our blood.

I can not say more in these difficult moments, but I hope you will take action in solidarity with my people, through whatever means you deem appropriate. I know that writing stands helpless and naked in front of the Russian guns, tanks and missiles bombing cities and civilians, but I have no wish for your silence to be an accomplice of the killings as well.

Khaled Khalifa
DAMASCUS

6. February 2012

2011: Syria: Najati Tayara

Bergen, 16 May 2011

His Excellency President Bashar al-Assad
President of the Republic
Presidential Palace
Abu Rummaneh, Al-Rashid Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: + 963 11 332 3410

His Excellency Brigadier Mohamed Shaar
Minister of Interior,
Merjeh Circle
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: + 963 11 222 3428
Email: admin@civilaffair-moi.gov.sy

 

Your Excellencies,
As a member of Writers in Prison Committee, Norwegian PEN, I am deeply concerned by the well-being and whereabouts of writer and editorNajati Tayara.

Najati Tayara was arrested on 12 May 2011 in the city of Homs after he gave a telephone interview for Aljazeera TV on the crackdown by Syrian forces on peaceful protesters in Homs. His whereabouts are unknown and he has no contact with his family or lawyers. We are concerned about Tayara’s safety, and seeking assurances that he is not being tortured
or ill-treated in detention which violates Article 5 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

I seek your assurance, Your Excellencies, for immediate and unconditional release of Tayara and of all those currently detained in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Syria is a state party

Confident that you, Your Excellencies, will take action accordingly, I remain

 

Yours sincerely,

Trine Kleven
Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee, Norwegian PEN

 

COPIES TO:
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo

The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Syria
Mezzeh, Eastern Villas, 2 Shafei Street
P.O. Box: 7703
Damascus, Syria

Stor bekymring for syriske kolleger

Styremedlem i Norsk PEN og forlagsredaktør i Aschehoug, Asbjørn Øverås, har nære forbindelser til syriske skribenter.  Han uttrykker nå sterk bekymring, blant annet for forfatteren, journalisten og dramatikerenSamar Yazbek.  Hun har fått publisert en dagbok fra opptøyene i Syria i arabiske medier.  Men etter et intervju hun ga til et italiensk magasin 24. april har det vært umulig å oppnå kontakt med henne.  Øverås er overbevist om at hun har fått utreisetillatelse, men er redd hun kan ha blitt arrestert.  Han forsøker nå å finne ut hva som kan ha skjedd henne gjennom hennes engelske oversetter i London.

I en forstad til Stockholm gjør den syriske poeten Faraj Bayrakdar alt han kan for å sørge for at beretninger og bilder fra revolusjonen i Syria når fram til internasjonale medier som er nektet adgang til landet.  «Jeg gråter med mitt folk, men gleder meg over det motet jeg ser», sier Bayrakdar i et intervju med Dagens Nyheter i dag (12.05).

Samtidig uttrykker PEN International stor bekymring og tar skarpt avstand fra drap, massearrestasjoner og forsvinninger blant sivile, blant dem mange journalister, bloggere og skribenter.  I en melding fra 11. mai ber PEN International om at alle borgere som har uttrykt sin mening om det syriske diktaturet gjennom fredelige demonstrasjoner, settes fri.  PEN Internationals etterforsker, Ghias Aljundi, er selv syrer og satt fenglset for sine meninger før han kom seg ut av landet.

Den engelske teksten følger her:

SYRIA: Journalists, bloggers and writers detained, fears for safety. 

PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) strongly condemns the killing, mass arrests and disappearances of civilians including several journalists, bloggers, writers and activists in the crackdown on peaceful anti-government protests which has been taking place across Syrian cities since mid-March 2011. PEN is seriously concerned for the welfare of at least five journalists and bloggers arrested for writing about the protests. All are held incommunicado and considered to be at risk of torture and ill-treatment. There are mounting concerns for their safety. PEN calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently detained in Syria for the peaceful exercise of their opinions, and urgently seeks guarantees of their safety. It reminds the Syrian authorities of their obligations to protect the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Syria is a signatory, and is alarmed at the apparent use of excessive force to suppress peaceful dissent.

According to PEN’s information, anti-government protests were sparked in mid- March 2011 and have since spread across the country. Mass arrests have been taking place and security officers have responded to the continuing protests with excessive force, using tear gas and live bullets to disperse demonstrators. Scores of civilians have reportedly been killed and many more wounded. The following journalists are amongst those believed to be currently detained:

Dorothy Parvaz: Aljazeera.net correspondent, arrested on 29 April 2011.
Mahmoud Issa: Journalist and writer, arrested on 19 April 2011.
Khaled Sid Mohand, freelance journalist for a number of news outlets including  Le Monde, arrested on 12 April 2011.
Zaid Mastu, Al-Arabiya net correspondent, arrested on 12 April 2011.
Mohamed Dibo: Journalist and writer, arrested on 12 April 2011.

With the internet and media already severely curtailed in recent years, the Syrian authorities have imposed even greater restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly in reaction to recent events. Foreign reporters and correspondents have been asked to leave the country and access to any independent media is denied.

Useful links:
Amnesty International statement (25 April 2011)
Amnesty International Statement (22 April 2011)
Latest BBC news report: Syrian army tanks ‘ moving towards Hama’ 

RECOMMENDED ACTION

Please send appeals immediately to the Syrian authorities:
Condemning the widespread arrest of journalists and bloggers for reporting on the recent protests, which the WiPC believes is a clear violation of their right to freedom of expression;
Calling on the Syrian authorities to investigate allegations of torture of detainees;
Calling for the release of all those currently detained in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Syria is a signatory.

APPEALS TO:
His Excellency President Bashar al-Assad
President of the Republic
Presidential Palace
Abu Rummaneh, Al-Rashid Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax:                 + 963 11 332 3410

His Excellency Said Sammour
Minister of Interior, Ministry of Interior
Merjeh Circle
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax:                 + 963 11 222 3428
Email:                admin@civilaffair-moi.gov.sy

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Syria in your country if possible.

For further information please contact Ghias Aljundi  at PEN International Writers in Prison Committee, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email: Ghias.Aljundi@pen-international.org

2011: Syria: Ali Abdullah

His Excellency President Bashar al-Assad
President of the Republic
Presidential Palace
Abu Rummaneh, Al-Rashid Street
Damascus
Syrian Arab Republic

His Excellency General Ghazi Kan’an
Minister of Interior, Ministry of Interior
Merjeh Circle
Damascus
Syrian Arab Republic

21st February 2011

Your excellencies,

The non-political association of writers, PEN International, is protesting the new charges against writer and journalist Ali Abdullah.

PEN International is calling for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Syria is a signatory.

Furthermore, we are seeking assurances of his well-being in detention, and urging that he is allowed full access to his family and lawyer.

Thanking you in advance.

Yours sincerely,

Fredrik Giertsen
member Writers in Prison Committee
Norwegian PEN

Copy to:
Embassy of Syrian Arab Republic
P.O. Box 4
SE-182 11 Danderyd
Sweden

2010: Syria: Tal Al-Mallouhi

Bashar al-Assad
Presidential Palace
al-Rashid Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Major Sa’id Mohamed Samour
Ministry of Interior
‘Abd al-Rahman Shahbandar Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
His Excellency Walid al-Mua’llim
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Abu Rummaneh
al-Rashid Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic

16. October

 

Your Excellencies,

Blogger charged; fears for safety.

The Writers in Prison Committee of Norwegian PEN is seriously concerned about the detention of Tal Al-Mallouhi a 19 year-old blogger, poet and high school student, who is said to be facing charges of espionage. She has been held incommunicado in Damascus since 27 December 2009, although her detention was not publicised until late August 2010. She is considered to be at risk of torture and ill-treatment, and there are concerns for her well-being in detention. No reason has been made known for the charges against her, although it is feared that Al-Mallouhi could be targeted for her online writings and poems which reportedly discuss political and social issues. International PEN seeks further details of the charges against her, and assurances of her well-being in detention. It urges the Syrian authorities to abide by their obligations under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Yours sincerely

Annaguli Yildam,
Member of Norwegian PEN, WiPC

2010: Syria: Raghdah Sa’id Hassan

April 7th 2010

President Bashar al-Asad
Presidential Palace
Damascus

Your Excellency, President Bashar al-Assad

Re: Raghdah Sa’id Hassan

PEN International expresses serious concern for writer Raghdah Sa’id Hassan.
She was arrested on February 10th of this year, apparently for wanting to publish a novel, The New Prophets. The novel, her first one, is said to discuss the political situation in the country in the 1990, as told through a love story.

Her home has been ransacked and she has been held incommunicado at the Political Security Branch in Tartus. There is serious worries for her well-being, whether she is being badly treated, perhaps even tortured and also that she is deprived of the medicines she needs for her recurrent renal colic, which causes her great pain.

PEN International seek information regarding the actual reason for the arrest. We also seek assurances that she is not being tortured or ill-treated in detention. We would also like to express our sincere concern that she may be held in violation of her right to freedom of expression, and we urge Syrian authorities to abide by their obligations under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, securing all citizens the right to peacefully express their political opinions.

Your Excellency, I urge you to look into this case immediately and make sure that Raghdah Sa’id Hassan is released from detention as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

Aase Gjerdrum
Member of thew Writers in Prison Committee of Norwegian PEN

2006: Syria: Habib Saleh

August 28th 2006

His Excellency President Bashar al-Assad
Presidential Palace
Damascus

Your Excellency

From the non-political association PEN International we learn with dismay and alarm about the imprisonment of cyber-dissident Habib Saleh. He was convicted on August 16th following a trial which reportedly lacked due process.

International PEN condemns the imprisonment of Habib Saleh and calls for his immediate release. PEN is extremely concerned by the Syrian government’s continued imprisonment of writers who have exercised their right to freedom of expression.

We call for Habib Saleh’s immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Syria is a signatory. We also protest the detention of all writers currently detained in Syria for expressing their views, including Mohammad Ghanem, Michel Kilo, Ali al-Abdullah and  Fateh Jamous, and call for their release. We are alarmed by reports that they are kept incommunicado and are at risk of ill-treatment. We demand that whilst detained they are granted access to their families, lawyers and any necessary medical treatment.

Your Excellency, we urge you to look into Habib Salah’s case, and also the cases of the other persons here mentioned, and we trust that you will see to it that they are given fair and just treatment, according to internationally accepted standards.

Yours sincerely

Aase Gjerdrum
Translator, member of Norwegian PEN’s WiPC