Thursday, June 02, 2011

Syria and her children

The official number of children killed in the Syrian uprising has reached 30.

Outrage against the lack of human rights afforded to Syrian citizens during the recent demonstrations has been highlighted by the story of a 13 year old boy called Hamza al-Khateeb. Hamza died in police custody, after being abducted by local security forces whilst attending a protest in the southern town of Saida at the end of April. His battered and mutilated body (with bullet holes in his arms, sides and chest and a severed penis) was returned to his family four weeks later. The Syrian government, totally insensitive to this incident, alleged that he was shot during a demonstration. Dr Akram Shaar stated on state run television “the apparent torture marks were the result of natural decomposition”.

Rather than dampen the zeal of the protestors, Hamza’s death has reinvigorated protestors in Syria in defiance of the clampdown on them by the Assad government. Hamza has become a symbol for the continued uprising against Assad, just like Tunisian market seller Mohamed Bouazizi and Iranian pro-democracy protestor Neda Agha Soltan.

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