(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
A Syrian child has been barbarically tortured and murdered by Assad’s security forces. He’s now a symbol of Syrian resistance. With a thousand civilians killed, ten thousand arrested, and many tortured, Assad and his
merry murderous band of Alawites must go!
CAIRO – Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, a round-faced 13-year-old boy, was arrested at a protest in Jiza, a southern Syrian village near Dara’a, on April 29. Nothing was known of him for a month before his mutilated corpse was returned to his family on the condition, according to activists, that they never speak of his brutal end.
But the remains themselves testify all too clearly to ghastly torture. Video posted online shows his battered, purple face. His skin is scrawled with cuts, gashes, deep burns and bullet wounds that would probably have injured but not killed. His jaw and kneecaps are shattered, according to an unidentified narrator, and his penis chopped off.
“These are the reforms of the treacherous Bashar,” the narrator says. “Where are human rights? Where are the international criminal tribunals?”
In Syria and beyond, the youth’s battered body has cast into shocking relief the terrors wielded by the Syrian state against its people.
Circulating in various versions, the video has injected new life into a six-week uprising against President Bashar al-Assad that has appeared to settle into a bloody stalemate of protests and violent government responses. In the days since news of the death spread, more than 58,000 people have visited and expressed support for a Facebook page memorializing the boy, Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, as a “child martyr.”
Demonstrators in several Syrian cities protested the boy’s death last weekend, weaving chants and banners dedicated to him into the mix of anti-government slogans that have become staples of the uprisings shaking the Arab world.
In a revolutionary season that has seen countless “Fridays of Rage” in half a dozen countries, Syrian activists marched on a day that some dubbed “the Saturday of Hamza.”
“People are very upset about the death of the young boy Hamza,” said one man active in protests in Homs, who asked not to be named for fear of the security forces. He was just a child. It is a crime, a serious crime.
In the Damascus suburb of Douma, protesters marched through the night chanting “Leave! Leave!” to Mr. Assad while holding signs declaring, “We are all Hamza al-Khateeb,” according to a video posted on YouTube. Video from another suburb, Dereya, showed women and children demonstrating, with a chorus of young voices shouting, “The people want the overthrow of the regime.” They held aloft signs that read, “Did Hamza scare you that much?”
Hamza has become a symbol of the Syrian revolution,” said Radwan Ziadeh, an exiled Syrian human rights activist and a visiting scholar at George Washington University. His death, he said, “is a sign of the sadism of the Assad regime and its security forces.
The video pans slowly over the boy’s swollen and disfigured corpse as it lies on a plastic sheet. The narrator’s somber voice intones in formal Arabic that he is “the latest martyr of freedom” and recounts his wounds one by one.