Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Remembering Ghaith Matar

The recently released book, Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War by Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami mentions the killing of Ghaith Matar, a protester who believed in non-violence and who had courageously handed flowers to regime soldiers. He was later arrested and tortured to death in September 2011. He was one of many Syrians treated like that.

Here is a report from the BBC mentioning this courageous Syrian man.
One of the main leading pro-democracy figures there [in Darayya, Damascus] was Ghaith Matar, a 26-year-old tailor who inspired the youth across Syria with his style of non-violent protest.
When the army entered Darayya in the summer of 2011, Matar was the first to come up with the idea of giving a Damascene rose and a bottle of water to the soldiers. Many towns and cities across Syria followed his model. But their roses were met with bullets.
In early September, Matar was killed. His body was disfigured and his throat was cut out by his attackers. (BBC News, August 27, 2012.)
He was also mentioned in a Buzzfeed article.
[Ghaith] Matar, 25, was a peace activist, tailor, and father-to-be. He was killed in Daraya under torture, allegedly by Syrian security forces. [Ghaith] was famous for handing flowers and water bottles to regime forces at protests. His nickname was “Little Gandhi.” (Buzzfeed, March 12, 2014.)
What were Syrians to make of this? That giving flowers to soldiers deserves torture and death? Such acts of violence incited the Syrian opposition to take up arms against the Assad regime.

Tragically the Syrian people continue to suffer from the catastrophe imposed upon them by the Assad regime's campaign of violence and repression. A recent UN report noted that the Assad regime's treatment of prisoners may amount to extermination.

In recent days many Syrians have fled for their lives from Aleppo in the wake of severe bombardment and advances by the Assad regime. This will further contribute to the ongoing refugee crisis.

The Syrian people deserve to live in peace and safety. It is just so terrible.

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