An essay, titled "No Shame in Apologizing," written by Lebanese columnist Hussam Itani, caught my attention a few months ago. I was reminded of it last Sunday, when I read another lengthy essay in the Sunday New York Times by Iraqi-American scholar and intellectual Kanan Makiya.
It is hard to imagine what happened to Fatima,* and it is hard to describe the silence that engulfed the witnesses of her death. I think the artistic works on Facebook that restored her head and depicted a rose garden or the moon or the sun have tried to compensate for that terrible silence and ease the pain of Fatima and her loved ones and all of us together.
On Sunday, February 24, 2013 Yassin Bakoush, one of Syria’s most talented and adored comedians, was killed as he drove through a rebel-held check-point in the Assali neighborhood. He was on his way home to the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in southern Damascus, an area that has witnessed unyielding combat between the regime and rebels.
At first glance, our city seems serene, as if protected by God‘s blessed hands... as if spared from the fate of those other tortured cities… cities that have been flattened by invading tanks… tanks that shoot bullets and hatred… tanks that mow down people, homes, and trees.
Over the years, we have devoted generous space to covering dissent by Arab intellectuals, especially the Syrians. We believed that most of them who were arrested and imprisoned for long periods of time (poet Farag Bayrakdar, 14 years; Riadh al-Turk, 17 years; Yassin al-Haj Saleh, 16 years) had been seen as members of different leftist and communist parties, thus posing threats to a repressive regime. But after reading Michel Kilo's stories from his time in Al Maza Military Prison (the article to follow is based on one of Kilo's stories), it is clear that even ordinary Syrians, who hardly harbor any hostile feelings toward the regime have spent similar periods of imprisonment.
It's okay to cry a little for Syria and her people.And it's also okay to believe freedom is near.
The tsunami of Tunisian revolution toppled Arab dictatorships. Although Husni Mubarak believed Egypt would be immune to the fate of Ben Ali’s Tunisia, he soon was overthrown. Gaddhafi, Africa’s self-proclaimed “King of Kings,” said Libya would be different, as well.