Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Ali & His Sons!

The case of Ali Abdallah and his two sons Muhammad and Omar is probably the only case of a missing family of activists to emerge in Syria since the early eighties. The trio has gone missing for over two weeks and still there is no words as to their whereabouts or what security branch was responsible for their “napping.”

Activists are getting arrested left and right these days, but the silence surrounding the disappearance of these fellows is quite inexplicable. I have a very bad feeling about this.

There are calls now for an international campaign to ascertain the fate of Ali and his two sons, and though the Syrian regime may not be exactly very responsive to international pressures at this stage, I see no other way to proceed. We need to know where Ali and his sons are and we need to send a clear message to the Syrian President that the international community will hold him personally responsible should anything untoward befall them.

The international silence surrounding the continuing crackdown against political activists in the country should come to an end now. Crackdown is no longer a matter of internal policy, a regime that seeks to be internationally recognized should be expected to abide by the international norms regarding basic human rights, else it should be stripped of this recognition.

All those officials and experts in Europe and the US who believe that the Assads of Syria still deserve another chance should show us that they have some backbone by at least demanding that the Assads respect the basic rights of dissidents in exchange for the support that these officials and experts are offering the Assads in the international scene. But to let the Assads crackdown at will against all dissidents while demanding international support for their position vis-à-vis pressures emanating from their disastrous involvement in Lebanon is simply reprehensible.

Some of the people who still contend that Bashar is a reformer are friends of mine, and for this reason I think they should be in the forefront of any campaign critical of Bashar’s dismal record on human rights. Their support of his voodoo reform agenda should have a price, namely: a greater respect for the basic human rights of Syria’s citizens. If they can’t get that concession, then frankly either their support of Bashar or our existing friendship needs to be seriously reconsidered.