On Madiba’s Passing

Amarji Special

He was a great man. He had a difficult life, the last 23 years notwithstanding. It took much pain for him to get there: to freedom. Though he saw his dream fulfilled, I am sure he was aware of the toll of it all, on himself, on his nation, and I am sure he was weary near the end and ready for rest. I am also sure that he was whole and fulfilled. He was surrounded by loved-ones, and his legacy was undeniable. Very few people will ever have this chance: dying while whole and fulfilled. It needs to be earned, and Madiba definitely earned it. His memory will live on, his legacy will be remembered and humanity will be better because he had once lived. But the fuckups will continue, and many of them will be committed by those who claim to have appreciated and understood his legacy. But those who really appreciate act, they don’t grandstand. I, for one, am not sure where I fit. I am still trying to understand I guess. I haven’t had the chance to reflect about this yet: Madiba’s Legacy.

Why nonviolence failed in Syria

NOW Lebanon | A longer version is available here.

Many people in Syria and across the world continue to wonder why the Syrian uprising took such a violent turn, despite the bravery and selflessness of so many of the early protest leaders. Indeed, the development seems to have come as a result of a sophisticated strategy implemented by the Assad regime from the outset. Understanding this strategy, rather than lamenting the situation, as so many nonviolence advocates and theoreticians continue to do, might help prevent its replication elsewhere.    Continue reading

Text of speech introducing President Bush at Freedom Collection launch in D.C.

Good morning. My name is Ammar Abdulhamid. I am a Syrian dissident. In September 2005, I was forced to leave my country for criticizing President Bashar Al-Assad.

In exile I have lived in Washington with my loving family: my wife, Khawla, our daughter, Oula, and our son, Mouhanad. Together, with help from our friends here and in Syria, and with funding from the Middle East Partnership Initiative, a program established by President George W. Bush, we launched a foundation dedicated to supporting pro-democracy activists in Syria and across the Middle East. Continue reading

U.N.: Syria death toll tops 3,000

USA Today

“What we have unfolding in Syria now is a two-tiered revolution: an armed insurrection and nonviolent protest movement, and the champions of both are morally justified in their position and they need our support,” said Ammar Abdulhamid, a U.S.-based exiled Syrian dissident. He said external military intervention, including logistical and material support to the defectors, is a must to avoid a return to the status-quo. ”Yes, we should fear civil war, we should fear the bloodshed resulting from militaristic adventurism, but we should fear a return to the status quo even more,” he wrote in his blog Friday.

Should Obama call for Syria’s Assad to go?

The Christian Science Monitor wonders: “Should Obama call for Syria’s Assad to go? And would it matter?

…according to some experts, a call from the White House for Assad to go would hasten the disintegration of his government. In this view, Syrian elites view current US sanctions as an attempt to get Syria to distance itself from Iran as much as a tool intended to end their internal crackdown. Continue reading

Why Arab leaders are largely silent on Syria’s brutal crackdown

The silence of Arab leaders in the face of the brutal crackdown taking place in Syria is examined by Nicholas Blandford of the Christian Science Monitor I am quoted at the end:

“The important thing is to remain committed to the peaceful nature of the movement, despite ongoing provocation by the regime and the moral cowardice of the international leaders,” says Ammar Abdulhamid, a leading Syrian activist based in Washington. “Admittedly, this will get more difficult from now onward.”