Large demonstrations have been taking place across Syria in recent weeks. While their scale has yet to reach the peaks seen in 2011, many are hopeful that the government will be brought down. To get a more detailed assessment of the movement and the situation it faces in Syria, Red Flag spoke to long-time Syrian leftist Jamal Chamma. Jamal is based in Melbourne and has been involved for years in organising demonstrations in solidarity with the Syrian revolution.
The murder of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini at the hands of Iran’s morality police last September sparked the largest revolt in Iran since the 1979 revolution. What began as a protest in Gina Mahsa Amini’s home town of Saqqez soon developed into a nationwide revolt against the Iranian state. Over the course of six months, hundreds of thousands of students, workers, the young and the old, took to the streets with the battle cry “Jin, Jiyan, Azadi!” (Women, life, freedom).
“We’re not asking for much, just the fall of the regime.”
“It looked like an earthquake had struck the Jenin camp. The roads were completely obliterated, ambulances could not get through, wounded people had to walk. People inside their homes were crouching down and peeking out from the windows. You could just see the top of people’s heads because they were trying to avoid being shot through the windows.”
Layan Kayed, a student activist at Birzeit University in the West Bank, was arrested in the early hours of 7 June by Israeli occupation forces. Kayed has previously spent sixteen months in Israeli prisons for her student activism in support of Palestinian liberation.
Palestinians have their backs against the wall. In Gaza, they are subject to a devastating economic blockade and regular Israeli air offensives. In the West Bank, they have every aspect of their lives controlled and regulated by humiliating and often violent restrictions. Within the 1948 borders of Israel, they are routinely harassed, denied basic democratic rights and hounded out of their homes and off their land. In every part of historic Palestine, there are escalating levels of brutality, intimidation and repression. Nevertheless, there are flickers of resistance.