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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Syrian activist Qusai Zakarya speech in Los Angeles

Syrian activist Qusai Zakarya spoke at USC, Taper Hall in Los Angeles on Friday evening, 25 April, 2014. The talk was organized by a Muslim student group working with representatives of the Syrian National Coalition and the Syrian American Council.

Qusia has personally witnessed children and other townspeople in Moadamiya starve to death. He is an Engish-fluent eyewitness to the chemical attacks of August 21, 2013 and to the suffering of Moadamiya from the regime’s starvation siege. His nonviolent action of hunger strike from Nov 26-Dec 28 inspired an International Solidarity Hunger Strike that includes highly credible world luminaries. In the video below, he talks about these and other things happening in Syria and how he was forced to leave.

See also, from the Huffington Post:
Syrian Activist Forced From Hometown Pledges To Keep Publicizing Atrocities

8 March 2014
By Max J. Rosenthal
BEIRUT -- The rockets came in the early morning, shattering both the peace and the buildings as the residents of Moadamiyeh were barely standing up from their prayer rugs.

There were five of them, Qusai Zakarya recalls. He had yet to go to bed, having moved straight from a laptop to a late-night dinner to the fajr, the first of the day's five prayers. As he finally prepared for bed, he heard a distant air raid siren. Then the rockets landed and sarin gas erupted from their warheads.

It was around 4:45 a.m. on Aug. 21, 2013, in a suburb to the southwest of Damascus, the last of several neighborhoods to be struck that morning by chemical weapons. In the days that followed, the attacks would become an international scandal, as the United States accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of launching the rockets and prepared for potential military retaliation.

Zakarya himself, a 27-year-old former hotel worker raised in Moadamiyeh, would soon emerge as one of the most powerful voices within the ranks of Syrian media activists, who provided the world with a glimpse into the most devastating acts of the Syrian civil war.

"I wish I had one of him in every major city in Syria," says Bayan Khatib, a member of the Syrian opposition's media office, who helped Zakarya contact journalists worldwide reporting on the war. While other towns suffered as much as Moadamiyeh, she says, none had an advocate as influential as Zakarya, who does not use his given name out of safety concerns for his family.

The rocket strikes marked the start of Zakarya's evolution from just another Syrian nursing grievances against Assad into a tireless public opponent of the regime. He lived through the signature events of the war, from chemical attacks to forced starvation to complicated efforts to halt the violence. And like millions of others, the conflict would eventually force him into exile. More...

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

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