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In the Name of God بسم الله
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Noura

The Tragedy Of Bab El Amr .

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By Amal Hanano

Another early morning in Baba Amr, another late night here. My plan is to write a simple post from a few reports on the day’s events in Homs, the fifth consecutive day of shelling in Baba Amr. Keeping an eye on Skype and Twitter and my ears tuned in to Omar Shakir’s livestream broadcast, I begin, intending to finish quickly with the goal of sleeping earlier than the last four nights. Omar’s livestream is calm. The quiet moments before dawn are punctuated by chirping birds and soon after by the crowing rooster of Baba Amr, whose crows have now been heard across the world. I hear a booming noise in the distance every now and then. They have become part of Baba Amr’s everyday soundtrack, as normal as the calls of the rooster.

People tweet that it seems more peaceful, that the sounds of shelling are less intense. Then I notice Omar’s latest tweets, in Arabic with no hashtags, just cries of pure desperation. I sense this is Omar the person speaking not the citizen journalist. I know something was terribly wrong. A few moments later, we find out what it was. A different livestream camera had been targeted with a missile. People watched as the screen turned gray with smoke then black. The feed is dead. So are the five people who were manning the camera, including two women. I realize that Omar had been tweeting about witnessing the explosion of his friends, “A street strewn with limbs. People have become limbs. We have no one but you, God.”

Five dead quickly become twenty-nine and another fifty-five wounded. My fresh reports from an hour ago are now obsolete. Baba Amr is under attack. Again.

Missiles rip apart residential areas in Baba Amr. 9 February 2011.

As I read Omar’s tweets and watch his videos, Jaafar, an activist in Daraa, messages me on Skype, “I need you to connect me to someone from the media to speak to a doctor in Homs.” I tweet, many kind people retweet, and we wait. He sends me another message, “I want television coverage not an article.” I wasn’t about to start arguing or tell him that beggars can’t be choosers. But truth is, no one is contacting me. So I call him and tell him I want to speak to the people in Baba Amr myself. He says reluctantly, “For an article?” “Yes, Jaafar,” I say, holding my tongue, “For an article.” He says, “Okay.” Moments later we’re on the call.

I speak to Yousef (whose name has been changed for his protection), an activist in Baba Amr who was assisting the doctor. The doctor was at another makeshift field hospital taking care of the wounded. Yousef recounts this morning’s events.

“The shelling started at 5 a.m. There are four families buried under the rubble of their homes. The rockets tear through one side of a house and penetrate through the walls into the next. At night, the shelling is less frequent but the snipers are everywhere, targeting every moving object. If people leave their homes to get food or anything, the snipers are ready. Almost fifty percent of the homes in Baba Amr are destroyed. Four days before the shelling, Baba Amr was cut off from the rest of the city. Cut off from bread and food. There is no food. When the Red Crescent entered, the army took all their supplies before letting them in. And they didn’t allow them to take any wounded out. What did we get out of the Red Crescent without supplies?” As we speak I can hear the pounding explosions in the background. Planes are circling over Baba Amr, launching missiles into buildings filled with people.

Journalists are responding now. I connect each one to Jaafar. He’s like a media traffic controller, efficient and precise. I listen to him typing while he talks, ordering activists to be ready to speak, in English and Arabic. Each time I send him a name of someone who is interested in an interview, he messages me within one second, “television or newspaper?” He says, “I want people to listen to the explosions, to see with their eyes, not just read about it. Reading about it is not good enough.” I smile to myself and respond dutifully: newspaper, newspaper, radio. The radio interview makes him happier, and for some reason that makes me as well.

I listened in to the calls with the journalists. I could tell Yousef was getting frustrated. When they ask for the number of dead, Yousef repeats, “Twenty-nine. No, not in the last twenty-four hours, the last four hours.” Later, a reporter asks, “What is the condition of the hospital?” He answers, “There are no hospitals. We’ve made our homes into hospitals. We are treating our wounded in the mosque.” She asks again, “Where is the hospital?” He replies in a clipped tone, “It’s not a hospital. It’s a mosque.”

Tour of mosque turned field hospital in Bab Amr.

By the next interview, Yousef no longer sounds eager to talk about what is happening, his voice is heavy with despair, “We have nothing. We need a way to get out of Baba Amr. We need a way to get the children out to protect them, to protect our women and our elderly. They are dying. Our children are dying. What are the sins of these children? Nothing. Just that they are from Baba Amr.”

I was hoping my mission was complete when I transferred the radio contact. But before I log off, I get a message. An American news network, Jaafar would be delighted. Glancing at my watch, I send the contact. When I tell Jaafar, I notice he is distracted. He tells me there was a loud explosion during the radio interview. The building was hit. All communication was lost.

Jafaar’s voice sounds distraught. With connections severed from Homs, he didn’t know what was happening—an unbearable feeling for an activist working on communication nonstop for eleven months. “Where’s the media?” he keeps asking, over and over. He says, “You know we’ve lost twelve people in the villages around Daraa today. The army is preparing Daraa for its tanks and shells, but we stopped working on everything except Homs. Baba Amr is finished. In five more days it will be completely gone. Where is the media?” At this point I’m depressed as well and completely exhausted, and I say, “Jaafar, It’s not going to change anything. The media can’t stop the planes from dropping bombs, it can’t stop the army from walking into Baba Amr to finish what they started. The media can’t do anything.” He’s silent and I feel guilty. I had said exactly what he was thinking, but by saying the words aloud, I had rendered us both obsolete.

The TV reporter calls. I tell her there is no longer a doctor nor a connection with Homs. So she speaks only to Jaafar, while I translate his words. In her last question, she asks him, “Is there anything more you want add?” He replies in a low voice, half to her and half to himself, “I just want to know what happened to him.” Yousef had messaged him right after the explosion, “You will never hear from me again.” I know what Jaafar was thinking: dead or imprisoned, those are the only scenarios for our activists.

Before we hang up, I tell him to be safe. I tell him that I’ll call him tomorrow. I go to bed only a couple of hours before morning. My head is pounding. Fifty percent of a neighborhood is destroyed, Omar is surrounded by human limbs, Jaafar is disconnected from his friends, Yousef is missing, the people of Baba Amr are asking for safe passage for the women and children before the army enters to round up the men. They are asking for mercy from a merciless regime. The number of dead are in the seventies now. It will be higher when I wake up. People will be dying in my sleep.

Jaafar is right. What you just read will not save lives. It will not stop the attacks on Baba Amr or Idleb or Zabadani or Palmyra or Daraa. It will not change what happened this morning or what will happen tomorrow. It’s just a story of what happened, in a place called Syria, while you were sleeping.

A tweet from Omar Shakir this evening: You can shell us with rockets, you can bomb us from airplanes, you can slaughter our children, but you should know Bashar, since we began, our chant was death before humiliation.

Aftermath of shelling in Baba Amr, 9 February 2012

Wounded child in makeshift clinic in Baba Amr, 9 February 2012.

Mother of seven children killed by shelling in Baba Amr, 9 February 2012

Edited by Noura

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I guess this is just another lie by the terrorists. I mean seriously these children must have been committing terrorist acts like firing RPGs and carrying an AK 74 or something and gov't forces had to kill the children in self defense.

I am sure south-lebanon and others can explain it better than me. So will y'all help me out?

Edited by satyaban

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I guess this is just another lie by the terrorists. I mean seriously these children must have been committing terrorist acts like firing RPGs and carrying an AK 74 or something and gov't forces had to kill the children in self defense.

I am sure south-lebanon and others can explain it better than me. So will y'all help me out?

Of course, the pro-Assad camp will justify any injustice commited by Assad's thugs.

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I guess this is just another lie by the terrorists. I mean seriously these children must have been committing terrorist acts like firing RPGs and carrying an AK 74 or something and gov't forces had to kill the children in self defense.

I am sure south-lebanon and others can explain it better than me. So will y'all help me out?

Let me go on a limb here and assume that President Assad is a human being- nothing more and nothing less. He has two eyes, one nose, two ears, and one mouth. He breaths in oxygen and breaths out co2. He eats food and drinks water.....and just like any other human beings and based on human psyche its safe to assume that he is not out there to kill his babies or shell cities just like you and i or any other human beings except the filth thats the salafists.

........but people are dying. Cities are getting destroyed etc. Emotionally one can point finger to Assad or others but realistically such horrible incidents are the ugly realities of war. Hence, dont blame President Assad. Blame War...sorta like dont blame the playa, blame the game.

Of course, the pro-Assad camp will justify any injustice commited by Assad's thugs.

maybe you should take your pills and start looking at your ceilings again.

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Let me go on a limb here and assume that President Assad is a human being- nothing more and nothing less. He has two eyes, one nose, two ears, and one mouth. He breaths in oxygen and breaths out co2. He eats food and drinks water.....and just like any other human beings and based on human psyche its safe to assume that he is not out there to kill his babies or shell cities just like you and i or any other human beings except the filth thats the salafists.

........but people are dying. Cities are getting destroyed etc. Emotionally one can point finger to Assad or others but realistically such horrible incidents are the ugly realities of war. Hence, dont blame President Assad. Blame War...sorta like dont blame the playa, blame the game.

maybe you should take your pills and start looking at your ceilings again.

LOL. :donno:

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Let me go on a limb here and assume that President Assad is a human being- nothing more and nothing less. He has two eyes, one nose, two ears, and one mouth. He breaths in oxygen and breaths out co2. He eats food and drinks water.....and just like any other human beings and based on human psyche its safe to assume that he is not out there to kill his babies or shell cities just like you and i or any other human beings except the filth thats the salafists.

Salafist as far as I know are human, and humans can do very bad things to other humans, Bashar is in hunger with power, if he wasen't and he truly cared about Syria and reform and its future then he would step down, and not shell and missle cities that are against him and opress them and make them hate him more.

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Salafist as far as I know are human, and humans can do very bad things to other humans, Bashar is in hunger with power, if he wasen't and he truly cared about Syria and reform and its future then he would step down, and not shell and missle cities that are against him and opress them and make them hate him more.

what sort of human beings strap explosives in their heads or blow up schools or mosques and kill innocent civilians as a matter of their religious principal? Those subhuman terrorists could hardly be called humans.

What would Cameron or Obama do if they capture 300 alqaida type foreign mercenaries fighting in their countries and wreaking havoc in their societies? I remember 19 did in 2001 in NY. What was American govt's response?

I think its prudent for Syrians to give dialogue with Bashar a chance and then decide to write him off if he doesnt comply. But using the current situation against him is neither just nor rational because he is not fighting for power but doing what every rational leader would do in case of an invasion of foreign mercenary terrorists in his country.

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what sort of human beings strap explosives in their heads or blow up schools or mosques and kill innocent civilians as a matter of their religious principal? Those subhuman terrorists could hardly be called humans.

And none of that has happened in Syria .

I think its prudent for Syrians to give dialogue with Bashar a chance and then decide to write him off if he doesnt comply. But using the current situation against him is neither just nor rational because he is not fighting for power but doing what every rational leader would do in case of an invasion of foreign mercenary terrorists in his country.

Bashar is a dictador his family has been in power since 71 I think their time is up, and again is the Baath and Syria depdent on one man or one family huh is it Allah Soriya Bashar O Bas as people who love bashar says, IS Syria only one man is the baath only one man, Again if he loves his country he would leave power ? I think Syria is bigger then one man and its fate should not be in the hands of one man or one family .

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'

Let me go on a limb here and assume that President Assad is a human being- nothing more and nothing less. He has two eyes, one nose, two ears, and one mouth. He breaths in oxygen and breaths out co2. He eats food and drinks water.....and just like any other human beings and based on human psyche its safe to assume that he is not out there to kill his babies or shell cities just like you and i or any other human beings except the filth thats the salafists.

........but people are dying. Cities are getting destroyed etc. Emotionally one can point finger to Assad or others but realistically such horrimayble incidents are the ugly realities of war. Hence, dont blame President Assad. Blame War...sorta like dont blame the playa, blame the game.

And yet the man is such a monster.

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Trust me. If he was as bad as you guys make him out to be, he'd be overthrown by now.

But the fact of the matter is millions of Syrians are aware that without him, chaos will ensue thanks to violent forces who want to abandon relations with Hezbollah, Lebanon, and Iran, and make a ridiculous alliance with Israel and the U.S.

Even if you don't like him for whatever ideological, political, religious, personal differences, the fact of the matter is the country's stability is contingent on his position as President of Syria

Who cares if he's not Muslim. As long as Syria maintains good relations with its people, its neighbors, and ensures peace in the Middle East. That's all that matters.

What's so hard to understand? Even a couple of these idiotic opposition members say they want to abandon relations with Iran, Hezbollah, Lebanon, and flat out make a 180 degree turn and establish strong relations with Israel. Is this not a danger sign?

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But the fact of the matter is millions of Syrians are aware that without him, chaos will ensue thanks to violent forces who want to abandon relations with Hezbollah, Lebanon, and Iran, and make a ridiculous alliance with Israel and the U.S.

Syrians should decide not a dictador .

Even if you don't like him for whatever ideological, political, religious, personal differences, the fact of the matter is the country's stability is contingent on his position as President of Syria

So I guess Khalifa should not leave, or mubarak, or ben ali or kassafi or anyone because that is the same argument that every dictador says .

What's so hard to understand? Even a couple of these idiotic opposition members say they want to abandon relations with Iran, Hezbollah, Lebanon, and flat out make a 180 degree turn and establish strong relations with Israel. Is this not a danger sign?

Who says that ?

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Trust me. If he was as bad as you guys make him out to be, he'd be overthrown by now.

But the fact of the matter is millions of Syrians are aware that without him, chaos will ensue thanks to violent forces who want to abandon relations with Hezbollah, Lebanon, and Iran, and make a ridiculous alliance with Israel and the U.S.

Even if you don't like him for whatever ideological, political, religious, personal differences, the fact of the matter is the country's stability is contingent on his position as President of Syria

Who cares if he's not Muslim. As long as Syria maintains good relations with its people, its neighbors, and ensures peace in the Middle East. That's all that matters.

What's so hard to understand? Even a couple of these idiotic opposition members say they want to abandon relations with Iran, Hezbollah, Lebanon, and flat out make a 180 degree turn and establish strong relations with Israel. Is this not a danger sign?

"But the fact of the matter is millions of Syrians are aware that without him, chaos will ensue thanks to violent forces who want to abandon relations with Hezbollah, Lebanon, and Iran, and make a ridiculous alliance with Israel and the U.S."

So your point is you don't care about Syria, only the effect it has on Hezbollah, Lebanon, and Iran. Ronald MacDonald or the Hamburglar could run Syria as long as YOUR preferred relations are maintained.

"Even a couple of these idiotic opposition members say they want to abandon relations with Iran, Hezbollah, Lebanon, and flat out make a 180 degree turn and establish strong relations with Israel. Is this not a danger sign?

I don't know if that is what the opposition desires besides the replacement of your favorite butcherous regime but it would be a step towards peace in that region. But that is something your blind hatred won't allow you to consider.

You are so anti-American I don't understand why you continue to live here, have you renounced your citizenship?

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This was the NATO media milking the last propaganda from Bab Amr, it's now nearly entirely back in control of the sovereign government from these gangsters who brainwashed poor people for their jihads.

.

Edited by bolbol

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More and more terrorists dead. Great to hear.

Saying that immediately after videos of children who have been killed. You are a dispicable human being indeed. This is a poor attempt at trolling if you ask me.

Why do you bother even post these useless one-liners? Do they form the bulk of your 2000+ posts?

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More and more terrorists dead. Great to hear.

Those pictures of the dead children are particularly cheerful aren't they. Being dead they won't get the chance to produce any more of them, right.

[EDITED]

Saying that immediately after videos of children who have been killed. You are a dispicable human being indeed. This is a poor attempt at trolling if you ask me.

Why do you bother even post these useless one-liners? Do they form the bulk of your 2000+ posts?

He should be banned!

[EDITED]

Edited by Nocturne
inappropriate

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Yes exactly. You guys felt hurt by my comments? And you guys are disgusting human beings for condoning the atrocities committed to the Shiite, Christian, Alawites, and other Syrians by this "Free Syrian Army" and their protesting brethren, just because they refused to come out of their homes and join these terrorists.

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Yes exactly. You guys felt hurt by my comments? And you guys are disgusting human beings for condoning the atrocities committed to the Shiite, Christian, Alawites, and other Syrians by this "Free Syrian Army" and their protesting brethren, just because they refused to come out of their homes and join these terrorists.

First of all, I speak for myself at least, in that I haven't condoned any atrocities committed against any non-combatant, as that just isn't my style.

Second of all, this childish behaviour of "well you said this" or "you said that", does not for a second justify your sickening comment, and total disregard and lack of human empathy.

You really need to do some soul-searching if you think you are following the way of ahlul bayt, by finding comfort in the loss of any civilian life, especially children. But then, it's also no coincidence that you're primary concern on this website is to focus on supporting anything to do with Iranian foreign policy and very little to do with discussing Shia Islam per se and other theological/spiritual topics.

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I don't know what you are even talking about.

I made a sarcastic remark just to get the reaction of you 4 Syrian obsessed trolls, and you guys took the bait!

It's amazing how idiots like you four take the internet ridiculously seriously.

Well you guys gave me good laughs.

Have a good night now :)

P.S. the Ahlul Bayt does not support sectarianism, you guys unfortunately, do! As indicative of your stance on Syria and the disintegration of the Middle East just in order to establish a Western backed democracy.

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Can't you for one second ignore the power politics, armed fighters on both sides and the outside states who have their vested interests in this conflict, and just once think about the oppressed innocent people caught up in the middle? Or are they not even human's just pawns in your clouded perspective?

I don't know what you are even talking about.

I made a sarcastic remark just to get the reaction of you 4 Syrian obsessed trolls, and you guys took the bait!

It's amazing how idiots like you four take the internet ridiculously seriously.

Well you guys gave me good laughs.

Have a good night now :)

P.S. the Ahlul Bayt does not support sectarianism, you guys unfortunately, do! As indicative of your stance on Syria and the disintegration of the Middle East just in order to establish a Western backed democracy.

As I said it was a poor attempt at trolling, so please do not act as if it was all part of your grand master plan to get a reaction for people who are "Syrian obsessed trolls"

And really, is that the only time you are going to refer back to the Ahlul Bait for your own political opinions, how disgusting. As I said you need to do some inward thinking.

Making jokes or troll-baiting, at the expense of human lives is as low as it gets.

You are yet again, also mistaken if you think I am somehow Pro-West or Pro-Saudi because I do not share your one-sided bias.

Seeing as you are off to bed, let's hope you contemplate on what it means to be a Shia and not blinded by power politics of a nation-state or collective group.

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I think he deffinetly had it comeing

If I went round chanting death to Obama and down with America, then I would have no problems if I got banned

Is that all he did?

What's wrong with chanting death to an oppressor? Can even those who don't want him removed deny that Assad is an oppressor?

Edited by Haydar Husayn

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No, Bashar is a loved leader, and this is confirmed by the fact a popular revolution failed and scum had to take up arms. Unelected Rebel thugs are the oppressors, they are mercenaries.

Many of us despise secularism and Westernization, but recognize the fact that when people desire it from their leader, we must be humble.

.

Edited by bolbol

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No, Bashar is a loved leader, and this is confirmed by the fact a popular revolution failed and scum had to take up arms. Unelected Rebel thugs are the oppressors, they are mercenaries.

Many of us despise secularism and Westernization, but recognize the fact that when people desire it from their leader, we must be humble.

It's funny how we are always told that if Assad falls, then the Salafis, who despise Assad, will take power. But if there are so many Salafis, and they have enough support that they could gain power, then how at the same time can Assad be a loved leader?

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It's funny how we are always told that if Assad falls, then the Salafis, who despise Assad, will take power. But if there are so many Salafis, and they have enough support that they could gain power, then how at the same time can Assad be a loved leader?

Syria doesn't have a Salafist majority. But they are likely to have a president like Mubarak that's not a Salafist, however, chooses to endorse such movements.

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