Saturday, February 7, 2015

Down with Assad

Glancing at the op-ed pages of the New York Times last Tuesday, I wasn't even interested in David Brooks discussing secularists.

Here's the opinion piece that caught my attention:

This woman was living a normal life in Syria until spring of 2011, when she and others started demonstrating to overthrow the dictatorship of Bashar ad-Assad.

Alise Mofrej was arrested for participating in a peaceful demonstration in July, 2011, beaten, and released twelve days later.

Then she was arrested in December, 2013, when she went to a passport office to apply for a visa to attend a UN women's conference.  She was confined for 40 days and witnessed terrible torture; she herself was abused to a lesser extent.

After her release, she and her children were allowed to leave the country.  They fled to Beirut, Lebanon, where they joined her husband.

Now that the Islamic State has stolen all the headlines, we don't read much about attempts to overthrow Bassar al-Assad.  In fact, our government and others overlook his atrocities to focus on their new enemy.

I am also moved by the death of an idealistic young American woman this past week or earlier in Syria.  Kayla Mueller had gone to Turkey to help Syrian refugees.

Here's a quotation from the article:

In an interview with The Daily Courier in Arizona, Ms. Mueller described how fulfilled she felt by her work with refugees, which included leading art classes for displaced Syrian children.

“For as long as I live, I will not let this suffering be normal,” she said.

These are two of many lives shattered by the brutal repression under Bassar al-Asad's government.

With all the attention on the Islamic State, let's not overlook the basic problem in Syria.  

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