The Risks of Virtual and Other Forms of Activism!

In Syria, we have several cases where people were arrested, tried in a security court and jailed for having an illegal content on their pcs, or in their emails. Still, software to circumvent the government firewall is available everywhere at a cost of less than one USD. Everybody uses this software to access forbidden sites, such as those of various opposition groups abroad. No one has so far been jailed for accessing an actual opposition site, but there was a recent arrest against a well-known dissident who read a statement from the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood in a public forum. He had received the statement via email. 

Some of those currently rotting in Syrian jails for having illegal contents on their pcs are not even dissidents or politically active. Others are. Some made the choice to have certain “forbidden” contacts and content, others didn’t. Yet, none deserve to be jailed. But, we live in an authoritarian country, and this is part of our lot.

I guess what I am trying to say is this: people are now increasingly making the choice whether to take certain electronic risks or not, the more we can expand this sphere of choice, the better. Very few people stumble blindly unto activism and dissent, even if it is virtual.

So, if I should get jailed one day for these blog entries, for my newspaper articles or for my activities with the Tharwa Project, among other things, there should be no doubt that I will have earned it. Whether I deserve it or not, in the moral sense, is a different matter. I am sure there will be people who would think so, but who really cares about them? I know that most will not.

Tomorrow I will be venturing out of the country again to attend a conference in Europe. I don’t expect that the country will have changed by the time I come back on Sunday.

But to be honest with you, there is something ominous in the air, I am not really sure what to make of it, I mean there is nothing really concrete, just a vague feeling that something bad is about to happen…

It could be my sinuses though. They usually act up this time of year.


10 thoughts on “The Risks of Virtual and Other Forms of Activism!

  1. mr ammar je vous tire mon chapaux pour votre ponséle monde ça va changez mais pas le dimanchej esper que le dimache ont se réviels sue une bonne miracle et cette miracle c et la changemant du monde comme ont sohaites amis il faut toujour gardez l éspoir bon voiyage

  2. Enjoy your trip.Your country will change when people decide it will change. It may be loud and sudden or fairly quiet and gradual.The main thing is awareness. Are Syrian really on average in denial or do they just pretend to be in denial. If they are aware of what going on then they will change.

  3. Kurds are getting fed up and their brethren in Iraq are going to come to their aid shortly.Syria is about to find out that turnaround is fair play.How will Bashir feel when Iraqi troops come across the border to instill law and order like Syria did in Lebanon 30 years ago.The Army on the other hand has another decision to make. Do they defect and join the masses who will no longer be subjugated or do they ramble eastward in their tanks and die unceremoniously at the hands of Apache’s, Blackhawks and A-10 Wharthogs as some Iraqi’s had done twice in the last decade?General Dashing and his folks will have some difficult decisions to make in the next few months. None of them are happy ones.US and UK have been ominously quiet on this issue for good reason. They have been talking seriously to the French about their former colony and it appears the French are ready to take their collective heads out of their asses and do something to help the people for a change.The US State Department has yet to reply about getting emergency visa’a for some deserving people near and dear to my heart but I will not give up.As long as you are posting there is still hope. Karfan from “Syria Exposed” on the other hand I fear is already in jail or dead.Being a Martyr does absolutely no good to your people. Don’t be one.Keep the faith my brother, you will not be hung out to dry. You have far too many friends for that to happen.

  4. Hi Ammar,Have a good trip. If it is to France that youre going, and if you don’t mind meeting a Syrian fellow who would like to know more about Syrian blogging and even participate in it, then could you please drop me an e-mail at: ?Cheers

  5. bryan;that’s terrible news about Karfan. The Syrian regime still looks to me like a dead man walking. The sooner it falls into its grave the better.

  6. Ammar,The Syrian people will need you after their Gov’t falls. They will need someone who can, will, and DOES speak the truth and cares about the populace as a whole, not just a small clique gathered around them.Stay strong, stay alive, and stay true to your cause.We look forward to reading you everyday. Have a good trip, and enjoy your moments until you return to Syria.

  7. Bryan, your posts are quite hilarious. Earlier this year you predicted the US would invade Syria in June, now you’re predicting Iraq will invade Syria. I recommend you go back to your redneck life in America and stop making your idiotic predictions.

  8. Yuber:See this this this this this countless others I could send.Iraq is taking longer than anticipated but once the Constitution is ratified, Syria will be paid a visit by the US if the Iraqi Kurds don’t get there first. We will of course supply air support to eliminate all 5 tank divisions Syria has and that will be all she wrote for Bashir & Co.Perhaps if you posted your E-mail address on your blog I would debate the issue with you more vigorously, however, as this is Ammar’s blog and your statements have nothing to do with HIS topic, I will refrain from further comment unless it is on the topic posted by Ammar. Courtesy would suggest you do the same.

  9. Ammar, have a safe trip and come back.Bryan you are a hoot :”I will refrain from further comment unless it is on the topic posted by Ammar.” You are the digressor in residence here.

  10. I had assumed that there were ways of getting around a government’s attempt to limit access to certain sites on the web. Your confirmation is heartening. This means that dissidents can more safely meet in virtual groups to coordinate as long as the government doesn’t suspect who you are and pull your computer. I’ve always found Ammar’s openness incredible courageous, stay safe my friend. If you are arrested allot of bloggers will make sure it’s not done quietly.

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