Today In Syria: Torture vs Song

Dec 20 2011 @ 1:29pm

The UK's Channel Four aired last night an expose on torture in Syria (which you can watch here), including the verification and translation of some videos that have been aired on the Dish. Neil MacFarquhar chronicles [NYT] how ordinary Syrians resist a regime utterly immune to basic humanity – with song and mockery:

Singing and dancing are manifestations of what many Syrians describe as a much broader cultural flowering. Some of it gets expressed through the relative safety of the Web, and much of it involves humor and satire. In a country where people often considered themselves dour and habitually too cowed by an oppressive government to mock it, this is a major cultural shift.

“As a society, we were united by fear. We were never unified by mutual sentiment,” said Orwa Nyrabia, a film producer. “But there is a new patriotic sentiment that is much more grass roots. It is not something bestowed by the regime.”

The Gulf Cooperation Council, a group of Arab monarchies, demanded Assad "immediately halt its killing machine, put an end to bloodshed, lift all signs of armed conflict and release prisoners" as part of its commitment to the Arab League agreement. Walter Russell Mead and Al Jazeera spotlight Russia's resistance to international pressure on Assad. Othman Saleh al-Othman, a soldier, was killed in Aleppo today for refusing to fire on a student protest like this one:

Here's a protest in the working-class [NYT] Zahira neighborhood in Damascus spilling all over the streets:

Finally, this boy's entire lower body was blown apart in Homs today by an artillery shell: