15 School Children
On 6th March 2011, 15 school children, between the ages of 10 and 15, from the town of Deraa were arrested, and tortured, for writing anti-government graffiti on a wall. They were reported to have been copying what they had seen on television news reports from Cairo and Tunis.
“As-Shaab / Yoreed / Eskaat el nizam!” “The people / want / to topple the regime!”
Locals took to the streets in peaceful protest, calling for the release of the children, democracy and greater freedom for the people of Syria.
On 18th March, President Assad’s army opened fire on the protesters and killed four people. The army went on to fire at the mourners at the victims’ funerals, killing another person. The Syrian people were shocked and angry and unrest spread through the country. This was the start of the Syrian uprising.
One 13 Year Old Boy
On 29th April 2011, 13 year old Hamza el-Khatib was arrested during a further protest in Daraa. He was asking for a future where he would be able to live as a free man. Whilst in custody, Hamza was tortured and killed. On May 25, 2011, his body was delivered to his family, having been badly bruised, along with burn marks, gunshots and other horrifying signs of torture.
49 Babies, Toddlers and Children
Last week, men in military fatigues and carrying guns moved into the neighbourhoods in Houla where families were hiding in their homes. Some say the men were from the Syrian army, others say they were members of the Shabiha, the pro-Assad militia. The men carried out a massacre in the homes of these families, leaving around 100 people dead. 49 of them were babies, toddlers and children.
When the gunmen began to systematically slaughter his family, 11 year old Ali e-Sayed covered himself in his brother’s blood and pretended he was dead. He is alive, an orphan who no longer has any brothers of sisters.
Too Many Children
In March of this year, the United Nations estimated that some 500 children have been among the 7,500 people killed since anti-government protests began in Syria in March 2011. Human rights organizations estimate both figures to be twice that. Two months on and the figure is higher still.
Everyone Is Someone’s Child
Though there is rightly a very strong outcry against the killing of children, it is important to remember that everyone of us on this earth is the child of someone. No-one should have to go through what the people of Syria are going through at the moment. We are hugely lucky in the UK. Though the servicemen and families of servicemen are constantly touched by war around the world, war has not come to our shores in over 60 years.
It is easy to watch the news, listen to the radio reports, read the papers and say, “oh that’s shocking, awful, how tragic”. But that isn’t enough. Each and everyone of us has a voice and today is the day for us to use our voices and say to Syria, “The writing’s on the wall, stop the killing!”
What Can We Do?
Today, 1 June 2012, the UK parent blogging community is uniting to call for action in Syria.
Sign the Save the Children petition calling on world leaders to put in place an immediate and legally binding “Resolution to Protect Children”
Sign the Amnesty International petition, calling on Russia to stop supplying the Syrian Government with arms.
Join the protest at the Syrian Embassy in London on Sunday 10th June from 12-2pm.
Write a post, tweet and RT, shout about it on Facebook. Use the hashtags #tippingpoint #syria #stopthekilling
The Writing’s On The Wall: Stop The Killing