Thursday, February 28, 2013

Translation: Moaz Al Khatib's Press Conference 2/28/2013



Moaz Al Khatib represents me. The more I listen to him to more I like the man. He has the right mix of passion, compassion, moral indignation and the ability to stand his ground. Unlike most politicians, you know that he believes every word he says.

“I would like to thank the Italian government, the foreign minister, Mr. Kerry and the other foreign ministers who joined us in this meeting to discuss the pain and suffering of the Syrian people at the hands of the mafia that is ruling it. First I want to say that we are now talking two years after the slaughter of our steadfast people started and the destruction of the country’s infrastructure in a frightening manner. The Syrian revolution is a peaceful revolution and I reiterate that it is the regime alone that has forced the people to take up arms to defend themselves.  The proof of that fact is the savagery perpetrated by the regime today. There is no regime in the world that has bombed its people with fighter jets and Scud missiles. The diameter of the crater caused by the scud missile that landed in Raqqa two days ago was 115 meters.  It is hard for human beings to see the even see these images, so how must it be for the people living under this bombardment when their children, their infants and their women are killed?  There is an important point that the regime tries to exploit by talking about the presence of terrorism.  I told the foreign ministers that there are three questions that we Syrians have gotten fed up with, and I myself, as an official, have gotten fed up with.  The first is the talk about terrorism. None of the terrorists around the world have demonstrated the type of savagery that the Syrian regime demonstrated. The subject of chemical weapons; what the regime has achieved as far as destruction and the use of all forms of weapons in its possession has had a more devastating effect than all the chemical weapons. The third is the subject of the minorities. For a long time and to this day, the regime pretends to be the protector of the minorities. I have one thing to tell you.  Go to Lebanon and see what the Syrian occupation did to the leaders of every religious sect there; I have no other response to this subject.  There is also the issue regarding the rebel fighters.  Many, especially in the media seem more concerned about the length of the beards of the fighters than the volume of blood that flows from the children. A month ago, the regime planes bombed 86 bakeries, kneading the flesh of children into the bread. Please pay attention to that fact before you obsess over the length of fighters’ beards.  The vast majority of our brothers fighting on the inside are peaceful individuals who were forced to take up arms. We do not deny that there some people who have their own strange ideas that are foreign to our society.  We reject such ideas with frankness and we have said before and repeat again, we are against any takfiri ideologies and against those who want to impose their way of thinking by force.  We are against all those who want to destroy the social fabric of Syria. The person who best personifies the ideals of the revolution is the martyr, Colonel Abu Furat, one of the heroes of Aleppo. This man said, "it saddens me whenever a human being from the other side is killed because this man has a family and children and he is, after all, a human being. We are after all human beings not monsters.  I am also sad whenever I destroy a tank but I have to defend the people standing behind be against a savage, destructive military machine." Abu Furat was killed minutes later by a sniper.  This is the spirit of our fighters in Syria. I want to also say that we are not shy to say that we are Muslim fighters. The Islam that we know is an Islam that is inclusive, that respects everyone, that lives side by side with everyone, that wishes good for all and that says to all of humanity that we are all from Adam and that Adam was made from clay. We are born into this life to help each other and not to devour each other. Now, there are several topics that we discussed with the ministers and we frankly asked for several things.  The first is to force the regime to create safe corridors for humanitarian assistance especially for the city of Homs which is under siege for the past 250 days.  Also for the city of Daraya, the cradle of the peaceful revolution, the home of the martyr Gyath Matar who carried in his hands flowers and cold water to offer to the members of the security forces until he was arrested and died in custody, under torture. His throat, with which he called for freedom, freedom, was sent to his family in a plastic bag.  Daraya has been surrounded and bombarded savagely for the last 100 days.  We demand the establishments of safe passages to protect civilians. Second, we consider the unity of Syria, a red line with all the associated international guarantees, to counter rumors, true or false, about attempts to divide up Syria. We will not accept this and all Syrian citizens will fight any such attempts. The call for negotiations is one of the subjects that the Syrian coalition has agreed upon during its last meeting that includes frankly, the departure of the regime and the dismantling of the oppressive security apparatus that rules the country. And here I say from this forum, and probably for the last time, “O Bashar, can you for once behave like a human being. The people have had enough killing, enough massacres, enough arbitrary arrests and torture that have not even spared the children. Make one wise decision in your life for the sake of the future of this country.” Fourth, give the Syrian people and the revolutionaries the full right to defend themselves.  There is one other topic that I want to discuss with all frankness, there are decisions or indications from the international community against arming the opposition fighters for various reasons.  I say, if this is what you want, then work to stop the ongoing flow of weapons that the regime continues to get under the pretext that they are old contracts. Fifth, we ask all friendly countries to facilitate the residency paperwork for Syrians.  We have noticed some countries have started to clamp down on Syrians who show sympathy for the revolution and some have been arrested.  We ask for such actions to stop.  We also ask for help with Syrian students abroad in the form of scholarships and to make hospital beds available for Syrians in need of urgent medical care. Finally, we ask for support for the neighboring countries because of the significant pressure that are under because of the Syrian crisis. I would finally like to say that the international community can no longer tolerate the criminality that is happening in Syria.  Syrians are now in an unprecedented crisis. I close by saying that our great Syrian cities, the mother of history, are being destroyed.  Throwing a stone at Syria is akin to throwing a stone at ones own mother. Syria is the mother of all as from within it all civilizations have arisen. I thank you all.”

1 comment:

tasteofbeirut said...

I feel so much sadness and distress at what has befallen our Syrian neighbors and brothers and sisters that the only thing I am praying for these days is that this tragedy ends, as soon as possible.