The Marie Colvin Convoy made a stop in Fayetteville on Saturday night. The convoy is comprised of two vans, full of U.S. Syrian American activists, that are making a stop in every state in a trip from Los Angeles to New York City. The primary destination is the Marie Colvin home in East Norwich, N.Y., to show support and give a hero medal of honor to Colvin’s family.
These activists are among hundreds of American Syrians making their way across the U.S. to a rally this Saturday in Washington D.C. Their goal is to encourage American Syrians to speak out for the Syrians who are rising up against the authoritarian, military-dominated Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party.
Alex, a Syrian American professional from Seattle and one of the members of the Colvin Convoy, says that even Syrians living in the U.S. are afraid to show support for the protesters in Syria.
They fear their sentiments aired on Facebook could incriminate a relative who lives in Syria. “But we must speak out, we can no longer live in this fear. Bashar al-Assad, the head of the regime, with his iron-handed response to the Syrian people, is actually helping the Syrian people to finally know each other.”
The unquestionable slaughter in Syria being perpetrated by the government on its own people is beyond imagination for the average American.
Marie Colvin, the U.S. Sunday Times journalist who was killed in Syria last month, reported on the shelling on civilians in Homs. The shelling ultimately hit the house in which Colvin stayed. In a CNN report, Colvin described the bloodshed as “absolutely sickening.”
“I watched a little baby die today,” the award-winning reporter said. “There is just shells, rockets and tank fire pouring into civilian areas of this city and it is just unrelenting.”
In a report published in the Sunday Times, Colvin wrote of the citizens of Homs “waiting for a massacre. The scale of human tragedy in the city is immense. The inhabitants are living in terror. Almost every family seems to have suffered the death or injury of a loved one.”
For more than 40 years the Syrian people have lived in a regime that denies their people the right to freedom of assembly and speech, among many other basic rights that we Americans take for granted.
In Syria, for every 153 people there is a national security agent. If you say something or act in a fashion that could be construed as anti-government, you could be hauled in, tortured, jailed and killed.
And this was the precedent in so-called peaceful times. Now the situation is far worse. Assad’s army strikes fiercely and seemingly indiscriminately, particularly in the City of Homs which is the heart of the 11-month anti-government uprising. The crisis worsens as dozens are killed daily with the overall death toll reaching into the thousands.
Opposition activists say there are not enough doctors to help the wounded.
Just last week the Red Cross was not allowed to enter the country by order of the existing government. In CNN Opinion published May 13, 2011, Syrian-born Mohja Kahf, professor of English at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, wrote, “Missing from mainstream coverage of Syria’s uprising: love, hope and the gleam in the eyes of Syrian people awake as never before. Easily dismissed as quixotic by the jaded, this incredible florescence will see the revolution through.”
Alex corroborated this sentiment.
“We are finally reawakening to the incredible love and pride we have as Syrians. All of us, Sunnis, Alawites, Muslims, Christians, all of us are Syrians first.”