Massive protests today in Syria are again being violently suppressed as Syrians appeal to the international community for protection. And today, a startling video is circulating, a video that is going viral in the Arab world.
In the video (which is graphic and hard to watch – hence my not embedding it), a Syrian man who has been shot in the leg tells the camera the following:
"We just want freedom. We just want freedom. Israel won't attack us like this!"
The words – as well as the fact they are becoming viral in the Arab world – may surprise some given that such distinctions between Israel and oppressive regimes (however obvious) do not often find prominent articulations in Syria and beyond. However, this utterance, and the viral nature of the video, is significant in that it represents not only the extreme desperation of Syrians, but a recognition of the distinct brutality of Assad's regime, brutality which has no current equal in the Middle East or, possibly, the world for that matter.
And the reasons for desperation today are being painfully reported...
Human Rights Watch(HRW) has reported that 18 injured protestors were forced out of hospital in Homs by Syrian security forces this week.
"They [HRW] are saying that Syrian security forces have raided a hospital last week," Al Jazeera's Omar Al Saleh reported from the Jordan-Syria border.
"Homs witnessed a major injured protestors takeno the hospital. Syrian security forces literally took them out their bed. they prevented doctors from treating them and even started beating them.
Activists said up to five people were killed by security forces on Friday, including a teenage boy.
"A 15-year-old boy was martyred when soldiers manning a checkpoint opened fire in the village of al-Rama, in Jabal al-Zawiyah," in the northwest, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement.
And this, a protest entitled "Save us from the jaws of a lion" -
Syrian opposition official said Friday that the prospects of dialogue with Syria's authorities are bleak and the situation in the country has reached a dead-end.
Ammar Qurabi, head of the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria, said the opposition has expressed willingness to sit at the negotiating table.
"Unfortunately, Syrian authorities answer only with bloodshed, and the situation has reached a dead-end,'' Qurabi said after meeting with Mikhail Margelov, the Russian presidential envoy to the Middle East.
As Syrians call on the international community for help, and as journalists continue to be blocked from reporting on what's occurring within the country, Syrians are doing everything they can to show what is happening. To articulate their desperation.
To yell: we just want freedom!