Syrian Voices Book Project
"Freedom" June 2014 conversation with Homs resident who describes the sectarian and violent nature of the protesters from the very beginning of the crisis in Syria.
In early 2011, after years of covert US funding to instigate a Western-supported "opposition" in Syria ("Between 2006 to 2010, the US spent 12 million dollars in order to support and instigate demonstrations and propaganda against the Syrian government. WikiLeaks released over 7000 secret diplomatic cables that document that funding." source ), the corporate media began telling the fairytale of "revolution" in Syria and of "unarmed protesters" being killed by the Syrian government.
Initially, there was confusion about the events that took place in Syria in early 2011. But since then, it has been well established that these events were an integral part of the NATO alliance’s attempt to impose a puppet government on Syria.
Various journalists, reporters, and analysts have documented the violence and sectarianism of the so-called unarmed protesters, including the many massacres that they and the many terrorist factions have committed. I referenced many of these journalists, reporters, and analysts in my own analysis, Deconstructing the NATO Narrative on Syria
Journalists, reporters, and analysts, be they Syrians on the ground or non-Syrians who travel to witness events and listen to Syrian voices, have clearly and consistently outlined how the global war on Syria came about. They have also documented the ongoing atrocities being perpetrated by Western/Turkish/Gulf and Zionist-backed terrorists in Syria.
Nonetheless, false narratives and blatant lies continue to be put forth by the corporate media and lying "Human Rights" groups with ties to the CIA, US State Department and/or colour-revolution schemer George Soros.
In recent years, many books have been written on Syria, and with the exception of a few, they have been war-promoting books based on false allegations; unnamed activists; the fraudulent one-man Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, located in Coventry in the UK—who himself gleans his data from “unnamed activists”; and the above-mentioned human rights groups complex.
What has been sorely missing, aside from a few honest books on Syria like this detailed and insightful one by Professor Tim Anderson, are accounts of Syrians living in Syria.
I propose to fill the gap with my own book project, Syrian Voices.
· I will be using information and accounts gathered during my previous four trips to Syria over the last two years.
· It is essential for me to return to Syria to obtain more material, in order to write a book that prioritizes Syrian voices from Syria: truths from some of the most highly-misrepresented, lied about or simply ignored areas of the country.
· This book will give Syrian voices a platform to address readers who want to understand what is really happening in Syria.
· Having made multiple visits to Homs—the liberated Old City, the entrance to al-Waer where terrorists remain, al-Zahra'a car-bombed neighbourhood—as
well as Lattakia, liberated ancient Ma'loula , Sweida, the Yarmouk district & centres for displaced persons from Yarmouk , and the Old City of Damascus, I have already collected many Syrian stories—voices and realities which contradict the corporate media's account of events.
· This book will also include stories and information obtained specifically from:
-Syrians living in areas subjected to terrorist bombs, missiles, and mortars— attacks that I experienced repeatedly while in Damascus in 2014, and
-Syrians in areas which have been liberated from foreign-backed terrorists.
· In addition to highlighting the sordid realities Syrians have been facing over the past five plus years, I also wish to highlight other realities, and indeed, the positives:
-Victories and liberation of terrorist-occupied areas.
-Syrian resilience: After over five years of the global war on Syria, as well as criminal sanctions that have devastated the Syrian people, Syrians, miraculously, remain resilient. They have bravely adjusted to the continuous hardship, stress and anxiety of the war on their country and cherish their dignity and their resolve. They are devoted to peace and security for their country and proudly wait and work for full peace and security to return. In spite of the war, they continue to celebrate, to marry, to study, to participate in everyday human life to the fullest extent possible. For this alone, but not only for this, they deserve our greatest respect.
-Support for internally-displaced persons (IDPs), by both civil society and the government, in Lattakia, Tartous, Damascus and Sweida—to name the main centres that have absorbed millions of IDPs, although there are others as well.
-Volunteerism: Many groups have been established within Syrian civil society to assist their compatriots during this horrific crisis—groups to provide food and meals for Syrians impoverished by the war, groups to visit and feed Syrian soldiers on the front lines, and so many more.
-Syrian culture: Syrians have a rich cultural heritage--music, dance, theatre, painting, sculpture, writing, handicrafts and more. Even in times of war, cultural activities continue. Syrians defiantly refuse to be cowed by war and choose to partake in, enjoy and nurture the many aspects of their deep cultural lives.
In order to include in my book Syrian voices from areas of the country that I have not yet been able to visit, such as Aleppo, where there is immense suffering under terrorist bombs, or have not visited since they were liberated, such as Nubl, Zahra’a, and Palmyra, I need to return to Syria very soon.
To be able to meet costs associated with overseas flights as well as travel and related expenses in Syria, it is necessary for me to fund-raise because much of my current work as a writer and related advocacy work is either non-paid or paid very little.
If this book project, as well as my ability to write and publicize new articles from Syria, is something that interests you and that you are able to support financially, I would gratefully appreciate any and all contributions.
If you would like to support my work, but are not in a position to do so financially, I would be grateful if you would share details of this fundraising effort with your friends, family and general contacts on social media and via email. This gesture would give my fundraising efforts a tremendous boost.
In the media war on Syria, Syrian voices need and deserve to be heard widely. This is absolutely essential in order to bring greater understanding about the war on Syria and the will of the Syrian people themselves to people around the world, especially people living in the West. I am committed to making a solid contribution to opening minds and hearts to the realities on the ground. Of course my greatest hope is that the assault on the Syrian nation will end soon.
For samples of my previous writings on Syria, please see here: SYRIA: my published articles
For some of my short interviews with Syrians, see here: short video/audio clips from/on Syria and Syrians
For recent photos and information from my last visit to Syria, including to Homs (Old City, al-Waer entrance, al-Zahra'a car and suicide bombing victims), Sweida, Damascus, see here: Glimpses from Syria (December 2015)
*Homs residents speak about car bombings , April 2014
BACKGROUND INFO ON ME:
I am a Canadian justice activist and writer, and for many years I have been involved in solidarity work with oppressed peoples. From November 2008 until March 2013, I lived off and on in the besieged Gaza Strip for three years cumulatively. I first entered Gaza on the Free Gaza movement's third sailing , from Cyprus, in November 2008 . I remained there for the next year and a half, returning many times subsequently via Eygpt and the Rafah crossing.
*with a Palestinian farmer from southeastern Gaza , whose home and farm were ravaged by Zionist attacks.
During my years in Gaza, I documented, on the ground, two Zionist massacres (2008/09 massacre , November 2012 massacre ) and the illegal weapons they used (white phosphorous , flechette bombs on civilians ), as well as took testimonies of survivors, abductees, and families whose loved ones had been assassinated. I documented and experienced personally on numerous occasions the heavy firing by Zionist soldiers on unarmed Palestinian women, children, the elderly and men farming and working in the border regions, as well as Palestinian fishers being attacked by the Zionist navy. I wrote extensively for various publications about the criminal siege and starvation policies the Zionists systematically employed, and continue to employ to this day, to oppress and kill Palestinians.
*With a farmer on farmland in southeastern Gaza that was repeatedly razed by Zionist bulldozers.
I have done numerous speaking events, sharing what I saw and experienced in Gaza—sharing what Palestinians endured and what they, themselves, requested that the world be made aware of.
*lecturing in Dublin, Republic of Ireland, 2014.
Feedback from my speaking tours throughout Canada, the USA and the Republic of Ireland has been positive.
*Interviewing a close friend of Dutch priest, Father Frans van der Lugt, who was assassinated point-blank by western-backed terrorists in Old Homs, on April 7, 2014 (see: Liberated Homs Residents Challenge Notion of “Revolution” )
After the NATO/Turkish/Gulf/Zionist war on Syria began in early 2011, I was among a group of anti-war, pro-justice activists who founded the nonprofit Syria Solidarity Movement (.org ), which advocates for Syrian sovereignty and the Syrian people's right to choose their own destiny, and is against foreign intervention by parties that are not invited by the Syrian people themselves.
In April 2014, I was able to visit Syria for the first time, as a member of an international peace delegation. During our one-week stay, we visited a Lattakia IDP centre, where we met internally-displaced people from northern Syria, including a man from Harem who provided horrific testimonies of terrorist abductions and decapitations.
We also visited a church housing IDPs from the village of Kassab that had been attacked by Turkish forces and western-backed terrorists in March 2014. As well, we visited Homs and Damascus.
We met with Syrian civilians displaced from these areas, as well as with religious leaders and members of Syria’s internal opposition.
We visited a Damascus hospital where children who had been injured by terrorist mortars were being treated. A BBC journalist was also present, a lying journalist as it turned out, because in her later report, she did not report honestly about the terrorist mortars.
As well, we visited centres for displaced Syrians and Palestinians from Yarmouk district, whose testimonies ran contrary to corporate media claims about Yarmouk.
Highlights from this visit can be read here .
In May 2014, while waiting in Lebanon for a journalist's visa to enter Syria, I witnessed a flood of Syrians going to their embassy—they were determined to vote in the Syrian Presidential elections. The embassy extended its hours, opened a second day and yet still could not accommodate the deluge of voters.
In June 2014, I returned independently to Syria on a journalist's visa, visiting recently-liberated Ma'loula, recently-secured Homs and Damascus.
In February 2015 I was part of a small delegation to Damascus led by former US Attorney-General Ramsey Clark, former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney , and long time anti-imperialist Sara Flounders . In addition to our meetings with various religious and political officials , we also visited the University Hospital , where victims (primarily young children and women) of terrorist mortars and rockets were being treated for various degrees of injuries, including critical.
*Three Year Old Girl Critically Injured by Terrorist Shelling, February 2015
I returned to Syria on a journalist’s visa in December 2015, during which time I re-visited Homs' Old City (which had improved since my visit 1.5 years prior); the last secure checkpoint at al-Waer, a Homs neighbourhood where some 2,200 terrorists still remained; and the bread factory at the entrance, which provides bread to the population within the terrorist-held area, with the wheat being provided by the government. There I met a Palestinian resident of al-Waer who, of his life in Syria, told me: "The Syrian government treats me as well as a Syrian."
*Homes opposite the December 12 terrorist car bombing blast in al-Zahra'a, Homs.
I also visited al-Zahra'a, the terrorist car and suicide bombing ravaged district of Homs to hear from the Syrians living there about the terrorist attacks they had suffered just days prior, as well as earlier attacks.
During the December 2015 visit, I travelled to Sweida:
"In Sweida, a Druze area southeast of Damascus which has largely fought off the attacks of militants since the beginning of the crisis in 2011, residents told me they had, from very early on, recognized the 'revolution' as a foreign plot against Syria. Druze leader, Sheikh Hammoud al-Hanawi (known as Sheikh al-Aqel) reiterated what residents had said about this plot and spoke of how Sweida's men, young and old, have protected the region and stand with the Syrian Arab Army.
In Sweida, many residents who had been living abroad returned to open new restaurants, hotels and businesses, in order to support their sanctions-shattered economy. As with Latakia, Tartous, and Damascus, Sweida has also absorbed large numbers of IDPs from other southern areas, including Sunnis from Dara'a.
In spite of the security within Sweida, on the drive back to Damascus, the driver noted that, just 30 km to the east, Da'esh were present, but unable to break into Sweida. The Sweida-Damascus road was formerly perilous due to land mines, snipings and kidnappings, but now is highly-secured by the Syrian army. The driver, whose own friends disappeared in kidnappings, added, "but here we all support the army."" --from my overview:"Syria Dispatch: Most Syrians Support Assad, Reject Phony Foreign 'Revolution'" .
In a meeting with Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, political advisor to Syrian President al-Assad, she told me :
“The first thing the West should do in this battle against terrorism is to lift the sanctions from the Syrian people. The sanctions are helping terrorists against the Syrian people, who are suffering doubly from the terrorists and from Western measures against the Syrian people.” [more on that here ]
In addition to my visits to Syria, I have also met with the Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Bashar al-Ja'afari, at his UN Headquarters in New York, USA. Articles based on that meeting include:
- Scoundrels & Gangsters at UN: Silencing the Syrian Narrative, February 4, 2015, Russia Today
- Interview: Syrian Ambassador to the UN, Dr. Bashar al-Ja’afari on Sovereignty, Terrorism, and the Failure of the UN, January 17, 2015, Al-Akhbar (in Arabic here )
More samples of my writing and accounts of what Syrians have told me during my visits to Syria can be found here .
*Interview with co-creater of Guinness Record Breaking wall mural in Damascus, and his words of love and peace.
*Vanig Konjian, Armenian journalist: "I'm a Syrian and I have never felt that I have been oppressed in my whole life", April 2014.
Posted by Eva Bartlett
When I visited the restaurant yesterday, it had been mostly cleaned up of debris, but still stank of blood. While the media reports I've seen have varied (some saying 5 have been murdered and others saying 8 victims) the employees said 11 were killed, including the 7 year old son of one of the restaurant managers, and an infant and his mother. They said the infant's body was found an hour after the attack, inside a small room off the main room :'(
At a nearby hospital, I met three young women (a 23 year old and two teens) who were being treated for shrapnel injuries, including to the stomach, chest, shoulder, face, arms, and in one case (Hiya, 17) shrapnel into the bone of the teen's shin, splitting the bone. The mother is hopeful that her daughter will be able to walk again. The mother is the head of a secondary school, and said she had gone to the restaurant with her daughter and husband. "We'd only just received our meals and the shelling occurred."
The 23 year old, Nancy, was there with friends she hadn't seen for a while, drinking coffee and smoking argila. Her mother explained that normally at that time of day the young woman would have been working in a shop in that district, but because of meeting with her friends, she was in the restaurant.
The 16 year old, Mary, was likewise with friends. Her 15 year old sister (with her at the restaurant) seems to have been more severely injured as she is being treated at a different hospital.
There are many more wounded being treated in other hospitals, including severely-injured. Based on visiting the University Hospital last year and seeing numerous critically-injured victims of terrorist mortars and rockets, I can imagine that those injured in the attack on the restaurant will have such severe injuries as amputations and more. (photos of injured in University Hospital, Feb 2015: https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/university-hospital-damascus-meeting-victims-of-western-backed-mortar-and-rocket-terrorism/ )
Also in Old Damascus, not far from the Qamar al-Sham restaurant, yesterday around 1 pm, according to residents, homes were hit by further terrorist shelling. Thankfully, according to those I spoke with at the site of the attacks, no one was killed this time, but many were injured, including children.
In the hospital, parents of the injured teens implored me to tell the truth. Syrians know that the corporate media is lying about terrorist attacks on civilians, and on the situation in Syria in general. Imploring passionately that their truths be told, one mother lambasted the terrorists--"They are monsters, they have no humanity and no respect for children." She reiterated calls I've heard in Damascus, Aleppo, and re Foua/Kafraya under terrorists' siege and bombardment, among elsewhere, to "eliminate the terrorists." This can't come soon enough.
Syrians are a peaceful people, and have been subjected to terrorism since the war on Syria began in early 2011. These tragic deaths are utterly preventable, if the west and NATO-GCC-Turkish-Zionist alliance stopped funding/arming/supporting terrorists and terrorism in Syria, if the world complied to UN Resolutions against this arming of terrorists, if Turkey sealed its border instead of flooding Syria with more terrorists whenever mercenaries inside of Syria re losing, and if the world listened to Syrian voices and their calls for an end of this bloody war on Syria and for Syria to return to how it was prior to 2011.
Sincere condolences to the families of martyrs and injured.
My prior article on terror mortar and rocket attacks on civilians.
1. Old city lane leading to the Qamar al-Sham restaurant.
2. Site of impact, amidst tables of Syrian civilians.
3. Room in which the body of infant Riyadh was found.
4. Blood stains from another victim who worked in the restaurant.
5. Fragments of the shell which struck the restaurant.
6 & 7. Damage to the restaurant.
8, 9, 10. Victims of the terrorist shelling.
11 and on: Damage and injured from terrorist shelling on July 25.
Posted by Eva Bartlett
-Aleppo:5 days, during which I met with Aleppo doctors and clergy to hear about the situation in the 1.5 million + population of government-secured Aleppo, under a bombardment of terrorists' mortars, rockets, gas canister bombs and explosive bullets--the latter of which I experienced within 10 metres. Also met many residents and saw the pulse of life in Aleppo in spite of being under terrorist attacks and siege off and on for years.
-Nubl/Zahra'a: north of Aleppo, the villages were besieged by terrorists for 3.5 years. The lifting of the siege, by the Syrian Arab Army and allies, went largely-unnoticed in corporate media.
-Latakia: Met with internally displaced people (IDPs) who fled terrorists in areas like Aleppo (and elsewhere) for safety in a government-secured region. Personal stories of such IDPs fleeing and leaving everything behind (homes, factories, businesses) to re-start anew in Latakia. Also met with survivors of a terrorist massacre in Idlib countryside in 2015, as well as getting a sense of the support by Syrians for the Russian presence in Syria. Finally, I spent a lot of time with a brave Captain who has been many times severely wounded in fighting terrorists; the last serious injury resulted in his left leg being amputated and he in constant pain. He is an example of a son of Syria who is fighting for his family and country.
-Jableh: site of a series of horrific terror attacks on May 23 which killed unknown hundreds (the death toll not confirmed, reports range from 250+ to over 500 or 600). Attacks began with a car bomb in a busy transportation hub, followed by a number of strategic suicide bombers outside the station and along the street, designed to maim and kill those fleeing the bus terminal. The last attack was on the Jableh hospital, killing and maiming survivors brought to the hospital after the initial attacks. Horrific testimonies from the doctors and nurses at the hospital. Following is an update I posted after visiting Jableh:
Yesterday I visited the various sites in Jableh, outside of Latakia, which were hit by a series of savage terrorist bombings on May 23. By accounts from witnesses at the various sites, the coordinated terror attacks on the public transport station (100s of minivans [servis], also city buses and taxis), outside the electricity building down the main street, at a corner across from a private hospital, and at Jableh's state hospital occurred within the span of about 30 minutes, one after another, from 9:15 am on. The main street (off of which is the transport terminal) was jammed with panicked people fleeing the first explosions at the transport terminal, meaning the narrow street was filled with cars and pedestrians when the terrorist mercenary outside the electricity building just down the street exploded his bomb, grabbing a random young woman nearby while doing so to ensure she was murdered.
Just down the street, another terrorist exploded his bomb across from a private hospital.
The sadism of these attacks is incomprehensible. The wounded from the transport terminal were brought to Jableh's main hospital, and as they streamed through the gates into the hospital, so did another suicide bomber, who calmly walked into the ER level of the hospital and detonated his explosive amidst those already injured in the first attacks, and the nurses and doctors trying to save their lives.
The numbers of dead are yet unclear, but in the hundreds. These were civilians, this was a savage attack that the west ignored as they trumpet "moderate" terrorists in Syria.
As the doctor walked me through the now largely-rehabilitated ER area, he and a nurse who was on site recounted the minutes before and after the hospital bombing, showing me photos of walls splattered with blood, flesh, and worse.
The floors were covered with injured and dead.
"While saving people who were alive, we were stepping on bodies," the nurse and doctor showing me the ER level said.
I will write more in depth on this, but want to note that this is an area where people were living in safety, including displaced people from areas like Aleppo who had sought safe haven in Jableh.
-Tartous: On the same day (May 23), in Tartous, at the same time, another series of coordinated car and suicide bombings targeted that transportation terminal. Visited the terminal as well as the hospital treating severely wounded patients. Tartous streets and walls are lined with photos of soldiers martyred while fighting terrorism in Syria.
-Maloula: I'd visited this ancient village in June 2014 and was interested in seeing what rebuilding and return to life had occurred since then. Much of the old city had been rebuilt, as well as the St. Sergius Monastery (where I slept for the night). I also met a woman who gave her testimony of the initial attacks, her own injury and the murder of three of her family members in front of her, by western-backed terrorists.
-Sweida: invited to a family wedding. Also met with representative of the Governor who answered my questions on the situation in general in Sweida, as well as the numbers of IDPs (including people from Deir ezZor, Hassaka, Daraa, and more).
Damascus: meetings with Grand Mufti Hassoun and Syrian representatives, with Syrian volunteer groups, daily encounters with Syrians wherever I walk or travel.
This is a summary and I will work on providing more details articles on the above subjects and more. For now, I will include an article I wrote recently on volunteerism in Syria.
Not in a hurry, I sat and watched life. Many couples with their young children approached the pigeon corner and bought small packages of wheat from a seated older man with a kind face with years of stories written on it. The pigeon man has an old film camera, older than any film camera I've known. Every so often, he'd call his elderly wheat-mate for another film cartridge. Amongst the cell-phone selfiers, the film camera still has a market.
As I sat taking it in, the call to prayer rang out from one of the incredibly ornate minarets of the Umayyad mosque. I listened, watching the children, watching life in the square, ancient and living history intermixed, and thinking of the remarkable resilience of Syrians who've faced over five years of a savage global war against their country and still defiantly radiate love, culture, and much more.
Walking past my friend's post, he was not yet back. After a call from one of his colleagues, he quickly arrived by motorcycle. We talked for a bit and I apologized for having to leave for my next meeting, not wanting to be late. A motorcycle ride to Bab Touma solved that :)
Following meetings included an interesting conversation with Sam Bitar (see photos https://goo.gl/CMyoxb and https://goo.gl/JGpxg4 ), as well as a meeting with a friend living near Bab Touma. Visiting he and his wife a few days ago, the day I arrived in Damascus, he had pointed out shrapnel holes on their balcony, front door, and blown out glass in the stairwell, from the many terrorist mortars which plague Damascus, and had spoken of the tragedies he'd witnessed from such deadly mortars, the different times people, including children, had bled to death or had limbs blown off by terrorist mortars.
He had spoken of the importance of wearing “dog tags”. “Get one with your name and blood type on it, any medical info, a contact number...” Having one's blood type listed could make the difference between life and death. “It could take 10 minutes just to do a test and find the blood type. By then it could be too late.”
The last meeting of the evening was with Wasseem, a remarkable young man who has been for nearly a decade actively volunteering--now doing so in 25 different associations, among which provide: shelters for IDPs, various social services, education for impoverished and for street children, programs for children of martyrs, food distribution to the poor, community-building programs, and more. His tireless dedication is a glimpse into the volunteerism that has developed and flourished in Syria and which reflects what he (and others have) said is Syrian society's concern (and action) for others less fortunate. He spoke at length and on so many subjects that, in the near future, I'll write solely on his activities.
The meeting was in a wonderful old Damascus cafe, where I ran into a couple of other friends who are active in the arts. Interestingly, Wasseem mentioned that prior to the war on Syria, this cafe was a popular tourist destination. These days, he said, it is mainly Bab Touma locals and university youths renting a room in Bab Touma or nearby. He pointed out that while the Bab Touma area is known to be a primarily Christian area, the Old City is home to Sunnis, Shias, Jews, and that people of all faiths frequent the Abu Joseph cafe.
We got sidetracked talking about the various bars and cafes which have opened in recent months, including on rooftops... something unthinkable last year when any night life was primarily inside, marginally safer from terrorist mortars. Although by many accounts here, in recent months there has thankfully been a lull in the mortars which came from Jobar, Ahrar al-Sham, Failaq al-Sham, the so-called FSA and Jaysh al-Islam terrorists still infest the district half a kilometer from where we sat. And beyond, Da'esh. “Imagine, ISIS is about 4 km away from here, and people in the Old City are opening now bars. This is the Syrian people.”
Another highlight from the evening was meeting a young man from Aleppo who had a lot to say about realities in Aleppo (vs. MSM lies) and that the "White Helmets" (aka Al Qaeda With a Facelift: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aAaReVn2I4) not only don't represent Syrians, but also that he was aware of their foreign-instigated nature and that they worked in terrorist-occupied areas, not government secured districts. More on this soon.
Ending this brief summary for now with some words which my incredibly busy (seemingly non-sleeping) volunteer friend emphasized, with respect to the fight for Syria:
"We trust in our army. Many of my relatives (about 10) have been defending Syria since 5 years ago, and in areas like Aleppo, Deir ezZor. We aren't fighting for any one person, we are fighting for us, our families, our cities, for Syria. We don't (only) stand with Bashar; (President) Bashar al-Assad stands with us."
Additionally, thank you so much for the comments you have been leaving regarding the book project itself. It is rewarding and inspiring to get your feedback!
More to come very soon!
With much gratitude, Eva
your work we appreciate not only much needed but in keeping true news filtering because news through normal channel are filtered and perverted by biases and agendas as well as parochial sectarian divide you are an angel for such desperate unfortunate cursed and devasted people for no fault of there for which the super powers are olely responsible for continued impasse