WASHINGTON—Ammar Abdulhamid’s views on modernizing Syria sound more like revolutionary solutions for most of the Arab world. Not surprisingly then, the activist, democracy spokesperson, and scholar hasn’t been allowed in his home country of Syria since 2005. Continue reading
On September 24, the Congressional Human Rights Caucus hosted an event entitled “Syrian Human Rights Policies in Syria and Toward Lebanese”. The event, moderated by Congressional Human Rights Caucus Executive Director Hans Hogrefe, featured testimony from Ali Abou Dehn, a Lebanese political detainee, Kamal El Batal, the Director of Human Rights for the World Council of the Cedars Revolution and Ammar Abdulhamid, Executive Director of the Tharwa Foundation. Continue reading
On July 24, I was invited to attend President George W. Bush speech on his Freedom Agenda, an event hosted by USAID. Prior to the speech, and alongside a number of colleagues from Belarus, Cuba, Burma, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Zimbabwe, we had a brief encounter with the President. One the most memorable aspect of the meeting was when the President whispered in my ear that he was sorry for not doing enough about Syria. Continue reading
On April 24, 2008, I became the first Syrian citizen to deliver a testimony in the U.S. Congress. My co-panelists included my colleagues from the Brookings Institution: Martin Indyk and Peter Rodman. In the testimony I try to set the record straight on the deteriorating internal situation in Syria focusing on Assad’s weakening grip and signs of growing popular discontent. The text of the testimony can be found below, and also on the House Foreign Affairs Committee website. Continue reading
Newsweek Jun 10, 2007 8:00 PM EDT
In the two years since he started writing political commentary on his Web site, Syrian blogger Ammar Abdulhamid has called President Bashar Assad a thug, a dictator, Mr. Bean, the village idiot and Fredo Corleone—the bumbling mob-family brother from “The Godfather.” A 41-year-old novelist and the son of Syria’s most-celebrated screen actress, Abdulhamid wants Assad’s regime replaced by an elected government. Like hundreds of other dissidents in the Arab world, he began blogging with bluntness during a brief window of liberalization that opened after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. But geography sets him apart: Abdulhamid writes from his home outside Washington, D.C., having been forced into exile by the Syrian government in 2005. In recent months, he has watched as regimes from Tunisia to Iran jailed bloggers and intimidated others into ditching their keyboards. Now he’s working with another Arab blogger to establish a group to protect the dissenters. “If the regimes are allowed to shut us out of the blogosphere, we have nothing left,” he tells NEWSWEEK. Continue reading
Today Dick talks with Ammar Abdulhamid and his family. Dick first talked to Ammar three years ago. At the time, Ammar was living in Damascus, running a small publishing house and writing and doing whatever he could to push along the process of reform in Syria. It was dangerous work. Now Ammar is living and writing in the United States. He moved his entire family here, and they all continue to write about Syria, even the teens. Each family member has a blog. They find blogging a way to communicate to the world, and each other.