Protesting for Egypt in Syria: A political activist’s harrowing story

Attached is Suhair Atassi’s story. She is a Syrian political activist. She managed to communicate it to Iyas Maleh on Feb 2, 2011, the night she was beaten by Syrian authorities.  She was beaten for protesting in solidarity with Egypt. It is illegal in Syria to have a demonstration not organized by the government.

Iyas Maleh sent this transcription to Hamzeh Ghadban through email, which in turn was translated by Dr. Mohja Kahf.

“Those who jumped us in the street identified [themselves] as “baltajiyeh.” [This is an Egyptian term for “hired thugs.”]

And he says that “Bashar Asaad is our president and you’re in big trouble with him.” And he adds, “If you  don’t get out of here; go  to Egypt!”

Then they lunge and start beating.  I was videotaping. And one of them was about to break my camera.   There were two of them with him, and they start cursing us using obscene words. One of them takes off her belt and commences beating with her belt. Police just watched.  Because it is known that these are security agents.

We then go to the police station and I say, “We want to file a complaint because Security sent out thugs to attack people and the police stood and watched in silence.”

They commence disappearing [behind the desk], going out and coming back in.  Then they say that all those who came with me have to leave. So-called because they want to hear from me alone.

I was isolated in a room by myself.  Half an hour later, a male security agent comes in and starts beating me.   He comes in with two others, and locks the door.  Then he starts cursing me, using phrases so obscene that I have never even heard them before.  And he’s [said that] I’m arming people and I’m working for Israel’s interests. And that I’m an insect and a germ and I’m arming people against the country, and then obscene words.

I begin answering each charge and he lunges at me.  I didn’t shut up. I spring and hit his hand that he had struck me with on my face.  And then he strikes me [with] a gigantic face-slap and …then the end of it is a threat to kill me. He says I should expect to be killed any minute from this moment on, and that he’d kill me even while I was standing out in the street. He says, so as to rid the nation of this germ that I am.

So after the beating and the curses— and they had confiscated my i.d. and my camera, which they erased the recordings from—he threatens to kill me, and then he leaves.

Then, they open up the door and say, “Right this way,” and give me my stuff back.

I say, “What kind of police is this, serving the people—you come in to report being beaten up out in the street, and you get beaten up inside the police station, by the security man?  And he assaults me physically and assaults me with threats to kill me?”

Original Arabic Text:


يللي هجموا علينا بالشارع عرّف عن حاله أنه بلطجي وقال أنه بشار الأسد رئيسنا وهو ويللي معه قال إذا ما بتنقلعوا من هون روحوا على مصر…

بعدين هجموا وبلّشوا الضرب..

كنت عم صوّر.. وكان واحد رح يكسر الكاميرا

كان معهم اثنتين.. صاروا يسبّونا بكلمات رذيلة..

ووحدة خلعت قشاطها وبلّشت ضرب بالقشاط..

الشرطة عم تتفرج.. لأنه معروف أنه هيدول أمن..

رحنا عالأمن وقلتلهم بدنا نقدّم شكوى أنه الأمن أرسل زعرانه للتعرّض على المعتصمين وأنه الشرطة صمتت ووقفت تتفرّج..

صاروا يغيبوا ويرجعوا… وبعدين طلبوا من البقية يللي معي يطلعوا.. أنه قال بدهم يسمعوا مني بس..

عزلوني في غرفة وحدي..

في مخفر الشرطة تعرّضت للضرب من رجل أمن جاء بعد نصف ساعة…..

إجا رجل الأمن مع اتنين وأغلق الباب..

وبلّش شتائم شي بعمري ما سمعته…

وأنه أنا عم جيّش الناس وأنا عم أشتغل لصالح إسرائيل.. وأنه أنا حشرة وجرثومة وعم جيّش الناس ضد البلد وكلمات أخرى رذيلة…

هجم علي لأني عم جاوبه على كل كلمة.. ما سكتت.. قمت ضربت إيده يللي هجم فيها على وجهي قام ضربني كف رهيب على وجهي..

وآخرها كان تهديد بالقتل.. أنه أتوقع من هاللحظة بأي وقت وأنا واقفة بالشارع يجي حتى يقتلني قال حتى يريح الوطن من هيدي الجرثومة يللي هي أنا…

بعد الضرب والشتم ومصادرة الهوية والموبايل والكاميرا (يللي مسحوا منها الصور) هدد بالقتل وراح..

بعدين فتحوا الباب.. وقالولي تفضلي واعطوني أغراضي..

قلتلهم شو هالشرطة يللي بخدمة الشعب يللي بيدخل الواحد ليشتكي على اعتداء صار بالشارع بيقوم بيُعتدى عليه من رجل أمن داخل مخفر الشرطة.. وبيُعتدى عليه بالضرب والتهديد بالقتل….



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