DAY 155 - AUGUST 23, 2011
Syrian dissidents in Turkey have announced the formation of the Syrian National Council which seeks to unite different factions of the Free Syrian Army and other opposition groups against President Bashar Al Assad. In reaction to the violent crackdown on protests, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia have broken off diplomatic relations with Syria, recalling their ambassadors from the country. Ali Farzat, a famed Syrian political cartoonist, is attacked and jailed by pro-Assad security forces. Farzat is the most recent incident by the Syrian military in a surmounting string of violent harassments against journalists and activists.
You and Khalil have been contacted by an inordinate amount of strangers in the last several weeks. You are now, along with Khalil, one of the forerunners of internet activism for the Syrian Revolution. Your opinions online are becoming more confident and ardent and you connect with thousands of people regularly, most of whom you've never met in person but seem to know everything about online. It's eerie, however, that you are so well-informed about these people, yet still do not and may not ever know the sound of their voice. Among those strangers that contact you via direct messages and emails are inquiries from different political ideologies. One is from a radical Salafist group that purports to be forming a small militant outfit. They tell you they are ready to take up arms against Assad's security forces. Another is from a teenager from Latakia who wants to Skype with you about a story that is "bigger than the Hamza Al Khatib murder." And the last is from a representative of the Syrian National Council asking for your help in streamlining their "rally flag." You open all three of the messages on your laptop and show them to Khalil, who looks at them in silence as you patiently plot your next move.
- Respond to the Salafist group. The opposition needs to evolve to the next stage if there will be significant change. Additionally, a part of you feels guilty about leaving home and abandoning your religion. If you can help the Sunni movement perhaps your father will eventually forgive you.
- Respond to the teenager from Latakia. You remember the response that Hamza's story received. Another one like it would not only demand more attention on Syria from the international community but it would also bring your importance in the revolution to a strikingly new height.
- Respond to the Syrian National Council. There is still a chance diplomacy will bring an end to the conflict. If you stop believing in that, then all hope will be lost.