“Bashar Al-Assad is a refined cannibal like Hannibal Lecter”

SOFIA LORENA IN GAZIANTEP | 03/11/2013 – 00:00

Below is a rough English translation made using Google. The Portuguese original can be found here: http://www.publico.pt/j1752052

Ammar Abdulhamid is a Syrian dissident living far away from Damascus since 2005. He says that no one anticipated how violent a response the Assad regime will employ against his opponents, and explains that “the first mistake was thinking that Bashar would not be allowed to go this far.” Continue reading

The “Founding Father” is broken, but still has everything to give Syria

SOFIA LORENA | 03/11/2013 – 00:00

Below is a rough English translation made using Google. The Portuguese original can be found here: http://www.publico.pt/j1752051

He is 47 years old and tired. No. He is broken. But he will endure. Ammar Abdulhamid is a leading Syrian dissident, a fact that means less now than when he became one of the most important Syrian dissidents. Now there are many dissenters, and though many of them will die or give up as this period of accelerated self-destruction continues, there will always be enough at the end of the road to start again. This was not the case back in 2001. Continue reading

Syria’s Delicate Transition: An Interview with Ammar Abdulhamid

On November 19, 2012, Sharnoff’s Global Views interviewed Ammar Abdulhamid. Ammar is a Syrian dissident and founder of the Tharwa Foundation. He is currently a fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

SGV: On your Website, the Syrian Revolutionary Digest, you are described as “a liberal Syrian pro-democracy activist.” How do you define liberal with respect to freedom, democracy, human rights, minority rights and women’s rights?

AA: I believe in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other international conventions on human rights, such as the Convention Eliminating All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Inspired by my liberal values I started my “career” as an activist by launching the Tharwa Project in Syria as an initiative meant to facilitate the processes of democratization in the country and the wider region by addressing the issue of minority rights and improving inter-communal relations in the country.

My liberalism also includes a belief in the free market system, albeit my faith is balanced by an equal commitment to union rights and universal healthcare among other checks on the system.  Continue reading

How the Rushdie affair has inspired some fine Arab writing

A mention in the Daily Telegraph:

As it happens, it was the Rushdie affair that inspired the book in the first place. The essay writing contest was the idea of the Ammar Abdulhamid, a US-educated Syrian who became disillusioned with radical Islam after the fatwa issued against Rushdie by Iran. He pointed out to the American Islamic Congress that while the Muslim world had vast, well-organised networks of people pushing extremist visions, nobody was doing the same thing for liberal ideas. “What we need is an essay contest on liberty with significant cash prizes,” he said.

I Am Syria! How About You?

On July 29, 2012, the “I am Syria” campaign was launched as “a neutral campaign, politically, religiously, and militarily, to express support and solidarity for the people of Syria and victims of the conflict in the area.” The campaign was launched as a joint effort between the the Summer Institute for Human Rights and Genocide Studies in Buffalo. Impunity Watch, and the Tharwa Foundation. You can follow the Campaign on Facebook and Twitter. Though I was chosen as the President of the Campaign, it is in fact the brainchild of my vice-president and friend, Professor David Crane, the founding Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (2002-05). Video below. Continue reading

Ammar Introduces President Bush!

On May 15, and as part of the program for launching the Freedom Collection in Washington, D.C., I was invited by the director of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, to introduce President Bush by way of highlighting the tragedy currently unfolding in Syria. This was my introduction: 

Continue reading

Ammar Videos on the Freedom Collection Page!

Official Freedom Collection Page
Interviews were conducted in July 2011, but the site came online only in March 2012. 

Introduction

Ammar Abdulhamid is a Syrian human rights activist who in 2003 founded the Tharwa Foundation, a grassroots organization that enlists local activists and citizen journalists to document conditions in Syria. In response to his activities, the Syrian government subjected Abdulhamid to repeat interrogation and threats. In September 2005, he and his family were forced into exile in the United States. From his home in Maryland, Abdulhamid remains one of the leading bloggers and commentators on events in Syria through the Syrian Revolution DigestContinue reading

First Step, Series Conclusion: A call for democratic change in Syria!

The following is the summary provided at the end of the 6th Episode of First Step, a reportage program produced by the Tharwa Foundation in 2009 to promote the cause of peaceful democratic change in Syria. I conceived the show after reviewing the YouTube videos prepared by our in-country activists showing the daily realities that people in Syria have to content with. the videos justified my faith in the possibility and necessity of the revolution, and that helped ut this summary together. The real heroes, of course, are the activists who risked their freedom and their lives to provide the videos.  Continue reading