I just got home from a rally organised by British Solidarity for Syria and Amnesty International.
I was asked to make a speech at the rally, and as everyone knows I’m absolutely terrible when it comes to speaking on stage. I’m inexperienced and therefore get extremely nervous when I have to speak in front of a crowd of people.
Anyway, several people have asked me for my speech. I’m unaware of any recorded clips yet.. and even if anyone has recorded anything, I won’t post it unless I look acceptable – I am VERY un-photogenic, sadly – so, I will post the written script of what I said here.
Upon finding out that I had a mini-speech to make today about the youth’s perspective on the Syrian revolution, I asked several of the youth inside Syria to tell me what message they wanted to me to convey to the rest of you here.
The first person I asked said: “we are risking our lives everyday, we’ve lost too many, too much, but we don’t regret anything, we will never look back”. Another person told me: “I have but one desire, I want to be free”.
As a Syrian Youth in Britain, I strive to reflect the voices of the youth on the streets of Syria, but as much as I try to think of words to express the pain and struggle they go through everyday, I find myself at loss. No words do them justice.
Everyday I speak to a guy in Hama who tells me how he risks his life going out to protest. Everyday I speak to a guy in Damascus who relays to me the horrible experiences he went through in prison, and the way his mother stands between him and the door every time he wants to go out, afraid that she’ll lose him again. Everyday I speak to my relative in Homs who has lost half of his friends, and he tells me that he is still waiting for his day to come. Everyday I speak to a guy in Aleppo who is fed up with the fear which has infested his city.
And I sit there speechless. It’s not the slightest bit possible to relate my struggles to theirs. Whilst I’ve been threatened and verbally abused by pro-regimes here, they are being physically abused by them everyday. Whilst I have the freedom of speaking up, tweeting and blogging in my real name, they risk their lives doing the same in a pseudo name. Whilst my parents encourage me to speak up, stand here, voice my views, demand my freedom – their parents silence them, in fear that they will be taken away from them. Forever.
I am a Syrian who has never been to Syria. Deprived of seeing my homeland since the day I was born for one reason: for having a father who spoke up and demanded his freedom.
My entire life has revolved around this word. Everything I do is affected by it, everything I can’t do comes back to it.
And now the people of Syria have finally risen and begun demanding their freedom, but risking their lives doing so.
The Youth of Syria are sacrificing their lives for their country, for their parents, for me to witness a free day in Syria, for freedom. And the least I can do is offer them my support and help them re-build a new free and democratic Syria.
Please can I ask you all to take a minute now and remember our martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for us to live.
Of course when making the speech I missed bits out, stumbled on words and messed up, but this is pretty much what I was meant to say.