For Syrians, a Sense of Collective Identity Emerges Amid Battle for Reform

PBS News Hour

The U.S. called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stop the use of violence after government forces attacked protesters with live ammunition. Judy Woodruff discusses protesters’ demands and the government’s crackdowns with the International Crisis Group’s Robert Malley and democracy activist and blogger Ammar Abdulhamid.

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Repression or reform?

“Deadly protests may force Syria’s Assad to choose,” says the Christian Science Monitor, with a quote from me among others:

“After Friday and Saturday we can now say that what the Assad regime is facing is a grass-roots uprising for democracy,” says Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian democracy activist based in the United States. “Momentum has spread.”

Syria’s Assad willing to lift emergency law

The Christian Science Monitor thinks I might be going too far for many Syrians by insisting on Assad’s departure. Admittedly such a call might be too early for some, but, knowing Assad and the nature of his regime, I am reading ahead:

But for many Syrians, any compromise that keeps Assad in power is not enough. Exiled Syrian dissident and activist Ammar Abdulhamid said that after numerous human rights abuses, the current Syrian regime has lost all legitimacy, and it has failed to deliver on its promises of reform for more than a decade. Continue reading

Syrians have broken the fear barrier

February’s ‘day of anger’ fizzled out, but protests in Deraa show Syria’s revolutionary spirit is now gathering pace.

, guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 22 March 2011 11.36 GMT

What a difference six weeks make. Back in early February I was asked whether Syria would be next on the growing list of countries to witness a popular revolution. My answer, which came in the form of an article published on Comment is free, was, in essence, “not yet”. Continue reading

Protests in Egypt continue despite government shut down of Internet

Quoted in Deutsche-Welle:

The ramifications outside of Egypt are troubling as activists and journalists struggled to understand the situation there, as Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian dissident and human rights activist in the United States, told Deutsche Welle.

“The Internet, and the Tunisian precedent made the world take notice of events in Egypt from day one, whereas it took months for them to notice the importance of developments in Tunisia, but even there, the Internet played a crucial factor,” he said. Continue reading