Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Syria: Truth will out

President should let foreign press in to hear the Syrian people speak for themselves

The Guardian
, Thursday 2 June 2011

"Every revolution has its face. In Iran, it was Neda Soltani, who was shot in the chest during a demonstration. In Tunisia, it was a fruit seller called Mohammed Bouazizi who set himself on fire. In Egypt, it was Khaled Said, who was beaten to death after posting online a video showing police officers sharing the spoils of a drug haul. And in Syria it has now become Hamza al-Khatib.....

We do not know the circumstances of his horrific death. But we do know more about the systematic killings and torture by Syrian security forces as they attempt to suppress demonstrations in the city of Deraa where the revolt started. Human Rights Watch has done an invaluable service in attempting to document such crimes as the attack on the al-Omari mosque, ambushes of unarmed demonstrators or the blockades in which they attempted to starve communities into submission. But this report should only be the start. At least 418 people have been killed in the Deraa governorate alone.....
...Bashar is proving to be his father's true son. As that crackdown continues into its third month, pressure is growing at the UN to hold Assad and key members of the security apparatus accountable for crimes against humanity. Syrian dissidents meeting in Turkey had no desire to form a government-in-exile or a transitional council, as Damascus had feared. They are pushing instead for a UN security council resolution, similar to the one passed on Libya, which would allow an investigation by the international criminal court.

For a president who put so much effort into burnishing his image as a reformer in western eyes, a solution lies at hand: let the foreign press in. Let the Syrian people speak for themselves about the conflict in their midst. What could a popular leader possibly have to fear?"

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