Smuggle Hope Into Syria

Posted: 8 February 2012

http://tinyurl.com/7pgvjtd

On Saturday, Syria’s brutal forces killed one of Avaaz’s brave citizen journalists as he pulled people from the rubble of a deadly massacre in Homs.

Omar was just 23 and he died as he lived, photographing the regime’s crimes, helping others and sacrificing for freedom.

Right now, the regime is murdering men, women and children and tearing cities apart. China and Russia just handcuffed international action at the UN and gave Assad license to unleash his murder machine to crush the Syrian Spring once and for all.

Omar’s friend just wrote to us — his community is determined, but they are urgently asking for our help: “We’re heartbroken, but his death will not be in vain, we will carry on the fight, but we need your support.”

Let’s be clear — as embassies close, medical agencies withdraw and journalists pull out, Avaaz has the only network that is both smuggling medical equipment and journalists in and images and information out. Avaaz just received a list of urgent needs: medical equipment for doctors in makeshift hospitals; more cameras and computers to keep informing the world; money for power and transport; safe houses for people to take refuge; and continued international action in support. Click here to chip in now so we can continue our Arab spring campaigning and support for citizen journalists — if 20,000 of us donate now, we can get help to the besieged towns before the next attack:

For months, Omar, a civil engineering student, photographed Syrian forces brutally killing peaceful protesters and sent the images out to the global media through Avaaz. After the regime kicked the international media out, Omar was one of more than 400 activists who risked their lives to work with Avaaz to break the news blackout and help 18 of the world’s leading journalists from foreign news outlets into the locked-down country. It’s likely that the images you have seen on your TV or photographs in your newspaper came from this courageous team.

But that is just a part of what the Avaaz project has done. Thanks to the generous support of members across the world, Avaaz is providing a rare lifeline of strategic and critical support to the democracy movement in Syria. When activists told us medicines were running out, we set up a smuggling network to deliver over $1.8 million worth of medical equipment into the country, saving thousands of lives. When the Syrian National Council was struggling to present a credible leadership alternative to the world, we organized meetings in the UN, Russia and across Europe to support their efforts.

Day after day, these heroes have turned out to protest, facing down tanks with no support from international governments. But what happens in the next two weeks will be decisive. This is the pinnacle of the Arab Spring and the global struggle against brutal despots. Together we can secure a lifeblood to the resistance and walk with the brave Syrian people on their journey to freedom.

This year people power in the Middle East has taught the world an important lesson — together we are stronger than the fiercest dictator, and stronger than the most ruthless army. On the streets of Syria, Avaaz is a beloved partner in the struggle for freedom. As one opposition leader put it, “the Syrian people have gained strength from knowing that the world, through the Avaaz community, stands with them.” Together, we have made the impossible, possible and with our help Assad’s regime will come to end.

With hope and determination,

Alice, Ian, Antonia, Emma, Ricken, Morgan, Wissam, Sam, Bissan, Will and the entire Avaaz team

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