"In August 2011, my older brother Yassein—a businessman who is in no way politically involved—was praying inside the Mustafa Mosque in Daraya, southwest of Damascus, while a protest was happening outside. Security forces moved in to disperse the demonstration, arresting Yassein, who had not been participating. After his arrest, he was taken to the headquarters of Syrian Airforce Security. (Airforce Security is known for brutally torturing dissidents; it was responsible for the mutilation and killing of 13-year-old Hamza al-Khateeb at the outset of the uprising last year.) My brother has been held incommunicado ever since.

That I have been spared Yassein’s fate—indeed, a fate perhaps even worse than his—is only because I left Syria years ago, after years of active political opposition. My current distance from my country has undoubtedly preserved my safety. But it has not at all changed my assessment of the Assad regime’s terrors: Instead, it has only made me more determined in my opposition to Assad’s rule, and more hopeful that its end is near. Indeed, I am confident that my difficult personal journey—from domestic political reformer to leader of a government-in-exile—will one day tell a tale of redemption.”

- Radwan Ziadeh, The Making of a Syrian Dissident: A Personal Journey

Photo of Yassein Ziadeh courtesy of Flickr

Will the United States intervene in Syria?

"It is important to note…that there are things more dire than civil war—the massacre of a population by a government, for example. If a civil war is taking place in Syria, then a substantial part of the Syrian population is opposed to the Syrian regime, and Assad’s interpretation of the freedom movement as a terrorist conspiracy hatched by Syria’s enemies is exposed as a lie. And if a civil war is taking place in Syria, it is recognized that there are types of violence against which non-violence will avail nothing. Their peaceful demonstrations were met by wanton force, and it is proper that they should defend themselves and their better conception of their country."

—Leon Wieseltier, “Damascus Calling