What are Syrian refugees telling those who assist them?

Posted: 05/02/2013 by editormary in Counter-terrorism, No thanks!, Middle East, People's Movements / Struggles, Refugees, Syria

Over 432,000 Syrians have sought refuge in Jordan. they often tell the same tales of horror.

We are posting the observations made by a person who has been assisting Iraqi refugees inside Jordan for the past six years. Since late last year, the organisation has also begun assisting Syrian refugees.

I had a long discussion today with a Syrian refugee family (extended). I asked many questions – about what they had experienced, witnessed, and wanted for their country. Some of the more interesting points are that they say that there are entire brigades of Alawites who are fighting with the FSA and that, as in Iraq, sectarianism does not exist at all to the degree the media is painting it as being. That this is propaganda being put out by Assad’s gov to negate the genuine revolution.

They told me of witnessing, themselves, a woman shot in the head by snipers as she prayed by government snipers, other women who were killed the same way while doing nothing other than walking down the street…about a man – a vegetable dealer – stopped at a military check point and asked what he was up to. He replied “As you can see, I am going to sell vegetables” and he was told to go ahead and then, when his back was turned, he was shot dead by them. Another witnessed an Imam driving to the mosque to speak at Friday prayers. His car stopped at the same checkpoint, he was told to step out of the car and was immediately shot and killed. The soldiers then filled his car trunk with weapons, photographed this and then claimed they had killed a “terrorist”.

These people told me that areas under FSA control have organized to provide medical care and financial support to the injured and help for the destitute. They told me that they are an educated intelligent people and fully capable of creating a government that will respect of the people – all of the people of Syria.

I asked about the claims that there are hordes of foreign fighters supposedly aligned with the FSA, who are carrying out brutalities. They said these claims are grossly exaggerated and that foreigners fighting against the government are a very, very small percentage of those fighting…that this is a revolution and it is the Syrian people who are fighting it.

I asked what, if any, help they wanted from the outside. They told me that the ONLY thing they ask is for a no-fly order to stop the missile attacks by the airforce. They said they do not want weapons, that what they have are enough and are being increased by confiscation from defeated Syrian troops. They said that if a no fly zone was created they could bring down the government within 10 days.

In our work with refugees here, every Syrian family I have interviewed have consistently told me these same things – and I believe them. Not because I had an opinion and they are validating it; I did not. I came in skeptical of both versions of the “truth” about this conflict. And, as we must scrutinize every case to make sure they are truly in need, over the years I have developed a pretty astute “bullshit meter” – these people are utterly sincere. across the board. I am now absolutely convinced that there is a genuine people’s revolution and on a massive scale. That this sincere and determined quest for freedom is a collective act of bravery beyond comprehension and that their determination and courage against the terrible odds they face is one to be not only applauded but to be supported.

There has been a very sophisticated – and largely successful – effort to deny the truth of this situation and this effort has and continues to result in mass murder of innocent civilians and the ancient and irreplaceable infrastructure of this nation. What is appalling is that it appears to me that it is pure laziness on the part of a large part of the international activist community that has bought into the propaganda that resulted in this ongoing unspeakable destruction and the support of Assad that has allowed it. We have become “conspiracy theorists” first, over champions for justice – we support a dictator whose crimes against his people should appall us and call us for action – and all only because we are so eager to see the dirty hands of the USA and NATO (and I do agree that they are filthy) “behind every bush”. We allow a genocide by Assad only to satisfy our own smug opinion of how astute we are in sussing out “another” USA-led imperialist adventure.

What a damned shame – and I hope that we who have erred so badly and with such disastrous consequences will someday (and soon) feel this shame to the degree it belongs to us and learn from it that our oh-so-smug egos are as dangerous on an international scale as they are in our personal lives – and that we are just as vulnerable to accepting propaganda as are those we ridicule, as long as the propaganda supports, in part, our own agendas and world views (whether those are accurate to a large degree or not).

Luckily, from what I have seen, the Syrian people do not need us to succeed. They aren’t motivated by wanting our approval but by a genuine compulsion for freedom from oppression and that ‘justice’ we all claim to be working for. Their determination will result in their success in overthrowing this brutal tyrant and, hopefully, end this reign of terror and mass murder.

Does this mean I support the USA/NATO and that I am ignorant of their malicious and deadly meddling? No. I am well aware that these entities certainly do provide support for whoever they feel will ultimately benefit their agendas. If they feel that removal of Assad is to their benefit, they will support his removal – by whoever they feel will be successful – whether they have the best interest of the people or not. Certainly there are factions inside this revolution who, if taking power after Assad falls, will only continue or even perhaps “improve on” Assad’s techniques and, if the USA/NATO feels that any of these entities will best serve their purposes, then they will be supported in their quest to take power. Let us hope that those, like these people I talked with today, those who support a free and cohesive new Syria will succeed and that they will not sell out due to any US/NATO influence. (à la Iraq). But, in the meantime, let’s recognize and support a people’s fight for freedom and that they are so determined for it that they are willing to face death for it.

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