What's going on in Syria right now is truly horrific. The government's response to a non-violent movement for change in leadership has been complete brutality. To date, in the 5 months since the protests began more than 20,000 protesters have been imprisoned, more than 1,400 killed and more than 80 of those have been children.
The latest that I'm seeing would suggest that the government - far from apologizing for involving children in its siege against its own people - has actually chosen to increase its persecution of minors in efforts to get the Syrian people to quiet down and admit defeat. Everyday I see more reports of 16 or 17 year olds being beaten or snatched off the street. The truth has to be seen to be believed (summary report on Syrian human rights abuses).
On July 30, 2011, 15 cities worldwide came together for the cause of Syrian Children who have gone dead or missing in the past months at the hands of Syria's security force. Hundreds came together in downtown Chicago at the intersection of Michigan and Congress under the banners of Amnesty International, UNICEF and many other organizations joining Syria's struggle.
“A lot of people are confused about what is going on in Syria. Some people think it's a civil war. What we need for the world to know is that hundreds of children are dead because of the killing spree of Bashar Assad against his own people," said Alaa Basatneh, a Syrian American the organizer of the Chicago event.
Blaine Mineman, Amnesty International USA's Illinois Area Coordinator spoke at the event and said afterward,
"The atrocities being committed are almost unfathomable; it's beyond barbaric. Syria has always been maybe the best armed of the Arab nations, even more so than Egypt, I think and they're just opening fire with tanks and artillery on towns. And if you're suspected or caught agitating against the government you and your family can just be disappeared. They're torturing people and Amnesty has evidence of this.
There is the 13 year old boy they tortured, & mutilated including cutting his penis off and cutting out his eyes before killing him and sending the body back to the family. It's just unbelievable what's going on. It's not just firing at protesters it's the government taking an aggressive stance. They've got the guns and the hardware to do it. "
I asked one of the organizers what she thought of Mark Kirk and other U.S. Senators seeking Iran-style sanctions against the Syrian regime. She responded that theirs is a movement of the rising generation of Syrian youth and they're not specifically seeking sanctions against the country or the regime but for the individuals in the regime committing these atrocities to be brought to justice in the International Criminal Court.
It's a long process. And, they'll need everyone's help.
One way to begin is to sign Amnesty's petition for U.N. Security Council nations to back actions against Syria's government.
The Syrian Youth in Chicago group that organized the July 30th event aren't done yet. On Friday, (August 12th) they'll be demonstrating in front of the Chinese Consulate (100 West Erie Street - Chicago, IL 60654) hoping to put pressure on the Chinese U.N. delegation to support actions against the Syrian government.
Then on September 3rd they'll be traveling to New York for a demonstration in front of the United Nations headquartered there.
Visit the Syrian Rising Generation Movement page on Facebook to learn more about the group in English and Arabic. Please support them, and all Syrians in their efforts to finally break free of the oppression they've endured for so long.
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