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Syrian Revolution

A Guide to the Syrian Revolution

Banah Gha

on 16 May 2018

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Transcript of Syrian Revolution

Syria has a 26% unemployment rate, 40% poverty
In the 2000s, Syria had was what was called “social market reform.”
Rami Makhlouf, the president’s cousin, drove smaller businesspeople into unemployment, expanded gap between rich and poor.
Ranked lowest on Global Integrity’s scale rating the reliability and anti-corruption conditions for business.
22.4 million
+ 16-23 million outside

Syria is a patchwork
quilt of ethnic groups
and religions:

Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians,
Armenians, Turkmen,

Sunni, Christian, Alawite,
Jewish Druze, Ismailia,
Twelver Shia,Yazidi
49 years of one-party rule since 1963
4,500 political prisoners before revolution began
17,000 Forced Disappearances before the current uprising began
1950's-1970's: Independence from colonialism in the Arab World
Heroes and military leaders of resistance movements
become presidents for life
Syrians forced into Exile
Historical context
Syrian Women and a Creative Revolution
Follow Hashtags:
#Syria #FreeSyria #SyriaBleeds

Facebook Pages:
Save the Children of Syria
Syrian Days of Rage-English

Read the Amnesty International Human Rights Report

How to help?
1970: General Hafez
Assad takes over Syria
Keeping you safe from imperialism
Keeping you safe from Islamists
Keeping you safe from Israel

Dissenters are kidnapped or slaughtered
Concentration camps for dissidents (Nasser)
Halabca massacre of 15,000, 1988 (Saddam)
Hama massacre, of 10-22,000, 1982 (Assad)
(cc) image by jantik on Flickr
The Seeds of Revolution in Syria
Who are the Martyrs?
Revolution Statistics. In 385 days:
Syrians killed: 12,195
Children killed: 948
Females killed: 761
Soldiers killed: 1,081
Missing: +65,000
Protestors killed under torture: 491
Protestors currently incarcerated: +212,000
Syrian refugees since March: +34,648
Hama Massacre
Corruption, Poverty, Police State in Syria
President's Brother,
Maher Assad:
Head of 17 Military Branches
Feb 2011:
Solidarity Vigils
Muslim Brotherhood Uprising:
Between 17,000 and 40,000 slaughtered
Government completely denies
Leftist political prisoners also detained by the thousands- Hizb al Shaghila (Worker's party)
The Revolution Begins
Schoolchildren of Dera'a,
Feb 27, 20’11
-Ages 9-14
-Imprisoned for revolution grafitti
-Parents’ appeals mocked

March 17 & 18 rallies: the masses move
Dara, & 4 other cities
March 15 rally: disenfranchised urban youth, Damascus
Damascus March 15th 2011: One of the first protests
Beatings on all parts of the body, involving punching, slapping and/or kicking,
administered with fists, feet, sticks, truncheons, braided cables, whips or butts of
Kalashnikov-type weapons
Hair being pulled or pulled out
Cigarettes stubbed out on the body
Flesh gouged by pincers
Dulab (tyre), whereby the victim is forced into a vehicle tyre which is often then hoisted
up and the individual is beaten
Falaqa, beating on the soles of the feet
Bisat al-rih (flying carpet), whereby the victim is strapped face-up onto a foldable
wooden board, the two ends of which are moved towards each other causing significant pain
to the lower back; during the process, the victim is beaten
Shabeh whereby the victim is hung by manacled wrists, or from a hook or over a door, or
occasionally by the feet, often for long periods and usually beaten; sometimes in a stress
position where the detainee must keep his toes on the floor
Crucifixion – another form of suspension torture where the victim is tied to a wall or
frame with the arms outstretched in a crucifixion position
Stress positions, such as being forced to stand for hours on tip-toe
Exposure to excessive cold, such as being kept outside often only in underwear overnight
or for other long periods
Being subjected to sexual violence
Being forced to watch the rape of another detainee
Torture in Syria
Why do dictatorships take over?
Statistics: English.AlJazeera.com, Strategic Centre for Research and Communications www.strescom.org, Ambiguities of Domination: Politics, Rhetoric, and Symbols in Contemporary Syria, Lisa Wedeen (1999)
Sources: Syria Center for Policy Research, www.scpr-syria.org, & Global Integrity Report, http://www.globalintegrity.org
2000: Druze Protests, 20 killed
2004: Kurdish Protests, 35 Killed
Kahf, Mohja. "Then and Now: The Syrian Revolution to Date." http://www.fnvw.org/vertical/Sites/%7B8182BD6D-7C3B-4C35-B7F8-F4FD486C7CBD%7D/uploads/Syria_Special_Report-web.pdf
Early 2000's
Guerilla Art
Live Street Theatre
Hijab & Niqaab as a Shield
Syrian Women and Creative Resistance
Ways to help

Fast on Fridays, in solidarity with Friday protests
Give to UNICEF Syrian refugee children's fund
http://www.unicef.org/, or the Syrian Sunrise Foundation
Plan fundraisers for refugee relief
Join local rallies- Walk for the Children of Syria
Tweet, facebook, instagram, tumble, youtube and blog about it with hashtags #FreeSyria
Organize a flash mob in solidarity on your campus
Sept. 22: Syrian Women Strike Internationally "Hungry for Peace"
Facebook Pages References
Justice for Detainees in Syria
Freedom Days
Stop the Killing, We Want to Build a Country for All Syrians
The uprisings of women in the Arab World
The Syrian Days of Rage-English
Syrian Nonviolence Movement
Behind Bars But Free

Local Coordinating Committee:

Women Under Siege- Rape Crisis Documentation Project

Strategic Research and Communications Centre (for up to date information on the Syrian crisis)

The Creative Memory of the Syrian Revolution

Violations Documentation Centre

Artists and Activists
Amjad Rasmi
Wissam al Jazairy
Orwa Nyrabia
Dina Naser
Rima Dali
Razan Zeitouneh
Suheir al Atassi
Afra Jalabi
Mariam Jalabi
Razzan Ghazzawi
Loubna Mrie

Damascus Spring: 2000-2001
Damascus Declaration 2005
Reading List
The Shell
by Mustafa Khalifa
"The Syrian Revolution Then and Now," by Mohja Kahf
Impossible Revolution
by Yassin Hajj Saleh
The Burning Country
--Robin Yassin Kassab
A Woman in the Crossfire
The Crossing
--Samar Yazbek
Demanding Dignity--Maytha al Hassan
Dancing in Damascus and Dissident Syria
--Miriam Cooke
Razan Ghazzawi's blog
: https://razanghazzawi.org/

“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories.

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

Arundhati Roy

It is our dreams that point the way to freedom. They are made realizable through our poems and our art. That's what gives us the strength and courage to see, to feel, to speak, and to dare. If what we need to dream, to move our spirits most deeply and directly toward and through promise, is considered a luxury, then we have given up the core foundation of our power, our womanness, we have given up the future of the worlds. Dreams reveal our new possibilities and strength. Within structures defined by profit, by linear power, by institutional dehumanization, our feelings were not meant to survive.

In order to change each other, and to really transform the ways we live, we need to give names to the nameless so it can be thought. We need to ask, "am I altering your aura, your ideas, your dreams, or am I merely moving you to temporary action?

--Audre Lorde, Poetry is Not a Luxury
Picture: March 2011, Freedom Days Syria Facebook Page
Group Exercise: visit creativememory.org
1. Choose a work of art from the archives. What is the name and who is the creator? What do we know about the artist?

2. What are the feelings this piece evokes? Sketch out the first thing that comes to mind

3. What is the story the painting is trying to tell? Draw it out

4. What about the piece is familiar to you? What is difficult to understand or ambiguous?

5 How can we use everyday aesthetic practices to express our everyday struggles, stories, and pain?
Syrian woman artist Randa Maddah after the chemical attacks in Ghouta
Syrian woman Artist Dima Nashawi
The Results
Katrina-Level destruction in all major cities
400,000 massacred (Syria Violations Documentation Centre 2015)
20.5 million internally and externally displaced refugees
Infrastructure collapses
Suad Nofal and the one woman banners
When I Heard my Voice, Estayqazat
Graphic Art and Political Posters
Everyday Protest Art
Full transcript