Syrian-American community comes together for Freedom for Syria
By Patti (SETF staff)
Yesterday May 24th, about 350 Syrian-Americans came together in DC for Freedom for Syria Day to support their brothers and sisters protesting in Syria. The Syrian American Council (SAC) hosted a series of meetings, and protests to show solidarity with the democracy protesters. They started at the U.S. Capital to speak to their representatives in Congress about a possible resolution condemning the violence in Syria.
After visiting the capital they went to protest at the Syrian Embassy where protesters demanded an end to the violence and to hold the regime responsible for the killing and oppression. The Syrian Ambassador invited some of the SAC leaders inside but apparently repeated the regime line that there are no protests and that the only protesters were foreign agitators trying to overthrow the stability and security of Syria. He also told them that the videos being released by eyewitnesses were fabricated by foreign conspirators.
Later there was a rally in front of the White House to bring their message to the American people and government to ask for their continued support of the democratic protesters and to celebrate the sanctions on the worst criminals in the regime.
The meeting at the hotel Conference Room involved speeches and discussion among SAC and other Syrian American groups including the Syrian Emergency Task Force, Human Rights organizations, Arab-American and Muslim-American organizations and representatives from several different country’s diplomatic corps. There was even an alleged representative from the Syrian Embassy who berated the assembly for criticizing President Assad and the government.
The discussion brought to the forefront many important issues that plague Syria for example the treatment of minority groups, freedom of the press, freedom of expression, and the reactions of the international community but most of all to address the inexcusable violence and oppression in Syria.
Representing the U.S State Department, Jacob Walles outlined the reaction of the U.S. government to the atrocities and the actions the U.S. has taken so far. He described the situation saying that “by denying these people their right to assembly and free speech the Syrian government is losing its legitimacy.” and repeated the demands President Obama made in his speech last Thursday.
The Syrian Emergency Task Force discussed the legal action they are coordinating to bring some of the major players in the regime to justice. Their chief counsel Martin McMahon highlighted the case the Syrian regime just lost to the families of two Americans for wrongful death, awarding the family $413 Million. He was enthusiastic about the promising precedent this sets for them to proceed with their lawsuit. He also emphasized the importance of Title XVIII, sections 951, 953, and 956 in protecting their witnesses and all Americans, from the harassment, interference, or threats of foreign agents in the United States.
It was a beautiful day for Syrian-Americans from all over the United States to come together for freedom.
AlJazeera Arabic report on the demonstrations shows 2 Embassy employees coming out to invite the SAC leaders into the Embassy: