Letter to the Editor

Upon reading a recent article about the active Syrian community (as there are many who are not active) and Sawsan Habbal, [I’d like to make] several inferences. One of those is that the people of Syria don’t need freedom and democracy. Now, why would anyone not need freedom and democracy? The quotes used from Habbal are typical of those propagandists who have supported totalitarian regimes ruling their nations with an iron fist. They typically try to revise their own history, discounting violence as ‘mistakes,’ while demonizing those who are oppressed.

As objective reader[s], we[‘d] also [like to] infer that Habbal [is a nice person who was only doing her job, yet these hoodlums who are active in Vancouver in the name of democracy and freedom are harassing, threatening and attacking her.

This is the polar opposite of the truth. For example, the RCMP has investigated none of the activists. RCMP investigations must involve people, and typically require some type of interrogation to understand the full context of the alleged crime. We are in close contact with [the] RCMP informing them [of] our activities on [a] regular basis. Ms. Habbal must know that this is not Syria, and that our police do not exist to carry out the work of a stone-cold regime. Our police in Canada are civil servants who work with the public in order to prevent crime and enforce the law. Habbal, a lawyer, should know [that] our justice system is not run on unfounded accusations, and cheap shots through newspaper articles.

Also, our group has been the victim in numerous circumstances during our peaceful rallies. Just recently, two women – who have been seen spying on our activities before – verbally assaulted several participants in our rally. Like the regime they support, alongside Habbal,: once they were confronted, they automatically refuted that they had said or done anything. Now we are hyper-vigilant [of] these types of verbal attacks, but coupled with recent attacks in other parts of Canada, it makes us extremely afraid for our own safety. In Montreal and Calgary, peaceful protests have resulted in attacks by Bashar al-Assad’s supporters, the most severe being a young man who needed 18 stitches. Not only are Assad supporters attempting to make us weaker as a group by attacking our rallies, but also the more educated ones, like Habba,l are now using [the] media through La Source to attack our reputation and our honest efforts [to raise] awareness and to help the Syrian people.

We may not all be experts in the “art of conversation” like Habbal, as we are not all lawyers, but we are experts in humanity. When a child cries, we wish to dry his or her eyes and when we are able to do something to stop bloodshed, we do it.

La Source should retract [the] article and distance itself from the quotes [the] specific reporter made for your company’s reputation. This would be beneficial for one main reason: your article benefit[s] a tyrant. Not just any tyrant, but one that is responsible for, according to international human rights organizations, for over 9000 murders since March 2011. The worst moral act possible in the history of mankind is murder, to deprive another of their right to life. Those who condone, support, and cover-up murders are considered accomplices to murder.

The freedom of the Syrian people is near with or without articles and people in Canada.

Long live a free and peaceful Syria,
Vancouver Syrian Coordinate