13 Syrians Killed Rescuing British Journalist

This sounds like something out of an Action and Adventure movie – but it is real life. In an effort to save foreign journalists targeted by government forces, the Syrian rebels lost 13 of their own. The Revolution will not be televised…

Wounded British journalist smuggled safely out of besieged Syrian city of Homs

A wounded British photographer who had been trapped in the besieged Syrian city of Homs has been spirited safely into Lebanon in a risky journey that killed 13 rebels who helped him escape the relentless shelling and gunfire.

Also Tuesday, a Syrian diplomat stormed out of an emergency U.N. meeting amid renewed calls for a cease-fire to deliver humanitarian aid. A top human rights official said a U.N. panel’s report concluded that members of the Damascus regime were responsible for “crimes against humanity.”

The United Nations said the death toll in the 11-month uprising against authoritarian President Bashar Assad was well over 7,500, and activists reported more than 250 dead in the past two days alone _ mostly from government shelling in Homs and Hama province.

Tunisia’s president _ the first since the country’s own Arab Spring uprising toppled his predecessor _ offered the Syrian leader asylum as part of a negotiated peace, an offer Assad will almost surely refuse.

The harrowing ordeal of British photographer Paul Conroy, who was wounded with a French colleague last week by government rockets that killed two others, has drawn focus to the siege of Homs, which has emerged as the center of the anti-Assad uprising.

Hundreds have been killed in the city, parts of which the army has surrounded and shelled daily for more than three weeks. Many have died while venturing outside to forage for food, and activists have posted videos online of homes reduced to rubble and alleyways rendered no-go zones by snipers.

Conroy’s escape was the first sign of relief for a group of Western journalists who sneaked into Syria illegally and reached the embattled Homs neighborhood of Baba Amr only to find themselves trapped. Government rockets bombarded the makeshift media center they shared with activists last week, killing two of them and injuring Conroy and French reporter Edith Bouvier. Conroy and Bouvier later appeared in activist videos lying on makeshift hospital beds, pleading for help.

Conroy crossed the border into neighboring Lebanon after leaving Homs on Sunday evening, according to the global activist group Avaaz, which said it organized the evacuation with local activists.

The group said 35 Syrians volunteered to help get the journalists out and 13 were killed in the operation.

Karl Rove on Egyptians Are White Folks!

That racial identity thing rears it’s ugly head again… They pass the paper bag test, huh, Karl?

Courage…

This took a bucketfull of courage. This is Asmaa Mahfouz, one of the many Egyptian folks who took a stand in Egypt on her vlog back on January 18th…

From Tracy Chapman -

The Comic Book Which Rocked the World

Apparently the hottest reading in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East right now is a comic book

Only instead of phantasmal “super-heroes” with otherworldly super-powers, this book is about normal folks, a real “super-hero” who inspired with words and faith, and a key event in American Civil Rights – The Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story (Visit this site to read the books in English, Arabic, or Farsi)

HAMSA, in conjunction with our parent organization AIC, is proud to announce the release of a groundbreaking Arabic edition of a 50-year-old comic book on Martin Luther King and the power of nonviolence. Several thousand copies were printed in Cairo, as part of an effort spearheaded by AIC-Egypt Director Dalia Ziada (right). They are being distributed across the Middle East.

Called “The Montgomery Story,” the comic book was published in 1958 and helped inspire the American civil-rights movement in the 1960s. In 2008, it was translated and designed by young reformers in the Mideast. It features full-color panels depicting the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a campaign to end segregation on buses in the capitol of Alabama. The comic book ends with a section on “how the Montgomery Method works,” outlining essential techniques of nonviolence.

After an initial run of just 2,500 books – the Montgomery Story and King’s message has caught on like wildfire throughout the Middle East. Copies are available online, and are being actively distributed electronically by bloggers across the Internet.

The Arabic comic book has now been distributed in print and on-line to a network of young activists and bloggers throughout the Middle East, including Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Yemen. Feedback has been enthusiastic. At a book fair in the Egyptian industrial city of Mahalla, one woman grabbed the comic book with passion and scanned the cover, asking, “Is this Gamal Abdel Nasser?”

Farsi version of the comic was rushed into production in June of 2009 as post-election protests were erupting. Translators in Iran helped put it together in a week, and the comic was soon being distributed digitally. The Montgomery Bus Boycott had resonance in Iran with the 2005 Tehran bus protests, which made headlines when one trade unionist, Mansour Osanloo, had his tongue cut by members of the Islamic Republic for seeking improved working conditions for his fellow bus drivers.

As with the violence in Iran, “Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story” cautioned that brutality often accompanies steps towards peace. Scenes of a Ku Klux Klan parade, a cross burning, and the bombings of Negro churches and homes were vividly depicted within its pages. An impassioned King is seen imploring an angry crowd:

“Please be peaceful. We believe in law and order. We are not advocating violence. I want you to love our enemies, for what we are doing is right, what we are doing is just – and God is with us.”

The Revolution may not be televised… But it will cover the world.

BTW kiddies, this has also been translated into Vietnamese and Spanish…

Street Battles Between Pro and Anti Mubarek Supporters. Anderson Cooper News Crew Attacked

Egypt appears to be descending into Civil War. Pro and anti Government groups have been battling in the streets, with reports of over 400 injured in Cairo and 1 dead in the violence. This report from Anderson Cooper whose News Crew was caught and attacked by pro-Mubarek forces…

So far, the Army does not appear to be taking sides.

At one point riders on horeseback and camel charged the crowd swinging whips -

This situation is increasingly touch and go.

President Obama apparently has directly told President Mubarek that he needs to leave now.

Egypt Demonstrations… Saudi Arabia Next?

First Tunisia…Now Egypt…

Is Saudi next?

Saudi King Abdullah expressed support for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

King Abdullah

The wave sweeping the Islamic world may or may not result in less repressive regimes in the Middle East. One hopes the demonstrators would have learned from Iran’s mistake. Indeed, Iran’s religious dictatorship is every bit as nasty as the worst of the Middle Eastern dictatorships.

Egypt protests draw mixed reaction in region

Saudi Arabia slammed protesters in Egypt as “infiltrators” who seek to destabilize their country Saturday while an Iranian official called on Egypt to “abide by the rightful demands of the nation” and avoid violent reactions.

Saudi King Abdullah called Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and “was reassured” about the situation in Egypt, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.

“During the call, the king said, ‘Egypt is a country of Arabism and Islam. No Arab and Muslim human being can bear that some infiltrators, in the name of freedom of expression, have infiltrated into the brotherly people of Egypt, to destabilize its security and stability and they have been exploited to spew out their hatred in destruction, intimidation, burning, looting and inciting a malicious sedition,’” the news agency said.

Saudi Arabia “strongly condemns” the protest, it said.

Mubarak assured the Saudi king “that the situation is stable” and that the protests “are merely attempts of groups who do not want stability and security for the people of Egypt, but rather they seek to achieve strange and suspicious objectives.”

Mubarak added that Egypt will “deter anyone who tries to exploit the freedom of (the) Egyptian people and will not allow anyone to lure those groups or use them to achieve suspicious and strange agendas,” the news agency said.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called Mubarak and “affirmed his solidarity with Egypt and and his commitment to is its security and stability,” according to the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa.

In the wake of protests in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, and Yemen, analysts say other Arab governments in the region are wary of demonstrations spreading to their countries.

In Iran, meanwhile, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Egyptian authorities should respect the demonstrators.

“Iran expects Egyptian officials to listen to the voice of their Muslim people, respond to their rightful demands and refrain from exerting violence by security forces and police against an Islamic wave of awareness that has spread through the country in form of a popular movement,”the state-run Press TV quoted Mehmanparast as saying.

 

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