DAY 9 - MARCH 19, 2011


In Damascus and Daraa Assad's crowd control uses live rounds on peaceful demonstrators. Today there is a funeral in Daraa for those killed. There are 10,000 people marching in defiance against Bashar Al Assad's regime. Some chant "the blood of our Martyrs will not be forgotten!" In reaction, security forces use tear gas and live ammunition on the protesters. By midday one person in Daraa has already been killed...

You cough on the tear gas that starts to waft towards the balcony. You are leaning over, trying to bend your head in the direction of the birdshot and shotgun cracks that echo throughout Daraa's alleyways. You desperately wish you didn't encourage Ali to take to the square. You know that there are 9,999 other people marching as well, but after yesterday's brutal crackdown, you had an eerie feeling about today. That feeling turned out to be warranted. You should trust your instinct more often. Emad comes out onto the balcony with you and immediately starts rubbing his eyes with his palms because of the burn from the tear gas that is now immediately near you. It isn't long before thick wet streams of tears start coming down his cheeks and you have to bring him inside, closing the balcony door behind you. You wash out Emad's eyes with a bottle of water for several minutes. When Emad, your son, asks you where his father is, you can't think of the words fast enough. The only thing that comes out is "trying to make everything better."