News reached us Sunday evening, 4 Dec 2011, that human rights activist Razan Ghazzawi was detained by Syrian security at the border with Jordan as she was on her way to participate in a workshop in Amman for defenders of freedom of the press in the Arab world.
We need to take action to demand the release of Razan and all political prisoners in Syria.
What can YOU do?
1. Write an email, send a fax or phone your local politician, Foreign Minister, embassy contact, members of parliament of congress. Use the internet to find their contact details or see this listof emails.
In faxes or phone calls, urge:
- that Razan Ghazzawi be released unconditionally;
- that she be protected from torture or ill-treatment while she remains in detention;
- that all political prisoners in Syria be released;
- that Syria end arbitrary arrests, torture and ill-treatment of detainees, and violence against protesters and opposition members.
2. Use your profile photo to draw attention to Razan’s arrest and the plight of all prisoners in Syria via Twibbon or you can use this image, or make your own
3. Use the Twitter tag #FreeRazan to share links, videos, news from #Syria – keep attention levels UP, don’t let this important news be overpowered by other stories and fade from view
4. Post news and links to FaceBook, blog, forums, and in comments on videos and news posts about Syria. If you write, please write about this issue. Check Global Voices post in English or these different languages:
|Malagasy||· Syria: Afaho i Razan Ghazzawi|
|Français||· Syrie : Libérez Razan Ghazzawi !|
|polski||· Syria: Wolność dla Razan Ghazzawi|
|Português||· Síria: Liberdade para Razan Ghazzawi|
|Español||· Siria: Liberen a Razan Ghazzawi|
|Magyar||· Szíria: Engedjétek szabadon Razan Ghazzawit!|
|Italiano||· Siria: libertà immediata per Razan Ghazzawi!|
|Svenska||· Syrien: Frige Razan Ghazzawi|
|Deutsch||· Syrien: Freiheit für Razan Ghazzawi|
|简体中文||· 叙利亚：释放Razan Ghazzawi|
|繁體中文||· 敘利亞：釋放Razan Ghazzawi|
6. Join the new Free Razan FaceBook page [Ar] and share the page with all your friends
7. Continue Red’s work! She fought for the rights and freedom of all detained Syrians, you can help by doing the same. Don’t let Razan’s arrest remove all those other victims from the spotlight, too. Check the #Syria tag on Twitter – but watch out for trolls! Look at @Mar15Syria timeline orwebsite for example, or see the latest Syria tweets here.
8. Learn from her example. Razan had a contingency plan shared with close trusted friends, of what to do in case of her arrest. They mobilizxed as soon as they heard the news, locking down her FaceBook page, securing her email, blog and Twitter, then posting messages explaining their actions. Should you or anyone you know do the same?
9. Organize peaceful vigils or demonstrations at Syrian embassies or consulates calling for the release of Razan Ghazzawi and all political prisoners in Syria.
10. If you have more ideas, please share them here!
Here’s a statement from supporters on FaceBook – they ask people to sign the note by adding a comment.
Statement by human rights activists and defenders:
Authorities in Syria arrested Syrian blogger, feminist, and activist for free expression Razan Ghazzawi on December 4, 2011 . She was at the Jordanian border, traveling to attend a conference on media freedom in the Arab world. She was representing the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), where she works as a coordinator.
Razan, a poet and critic as well as an activist, studied English literature at Damascus University and comparative literature at Balamand University in Lebanon. Since 20089, she has blogged on human rights, international solidarity, and Syrian politics at http://www.razanghazzawi.com. She is one of very few bloggers in Syria who writes under her own name; and she has consistently spoken out for women, for ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities, and for all victims of discrimination or abuse.
For many of us in Egypt, in the region, and around the world, Razan is a mentor, an ally, and a personal friend. Her principled commitment to human rights has been an example to us. Her courage and her willingness to face danger head-on have been an inspiration.
In one of her last blog posts before she was arrested, Razan wrote: “I do not believe in a ‘national consciousness,’ I don’t believe in nationality …Once we drop hyphenations, we become as one.” In that spirit, we say: Razan’s struggle is our struggle. The Syrian people’s battle for freedom is our battle. Now we ask you for your solidarity and support.
Below you will find statements (translated from the Arabic) a) by Syrian bloggers and friends of Razan, and b) by the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression.
This statement is signed by:
- Ahmad Ragheb - Human rights activist-Executive director (Hisham Mubarak Law Center)
- Dalia Abd El Hameed - Human rights activist – Gender officer (Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights)
- Mona Seif - Human rights activist (No to Military Trials)
- Mozn Hassan - Feminist, human rights activist- Executive director (Nazra for Feminist Studies)
- Scott Long - Human rights activist (Human Rights Program, Harvard Law School)
- Tarek Moustafa - Feminist, human rights activist (Nazra for Feminist Studies)
- Yara Sallam - Feminist, human rights activist (Nazra for Feminist Studies)
The statement is also supported by:
Mohammed Abd El Salam: Journalist-blogger
Seba Maz: Blogger
Ghaith Helal: Human rights activist
Habiba Mohsen: Political Researcher and project Coordinator, Arab Forum for Alternatives
Shereen Talaat: Human rights activist and filmmaker
Shakir Lakhlifi: Filmmaker
fatma Emam: Research associate, Nazra for feminist studies
STATEMENT BY RAZAN’S FELLOW SYRIAN BLOGGERS AND FRIENDS: “FREE RAZAN GHAZZAWI”
We hardly had time to breathe a sigh of relief after our friend Hussein Ghreir was set free, before the choke of rage and sadness reminded our hearts once more of our reality: oppression, suppression, and worshiping the silence that we live within. This took place when we learned that our friend Razan Ghazzawi was arrested. Razan is a devoted Syrian blogger. She is a Syrian by her passionate work for the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian refugees in social media in both Arabic and English. Razan is a Syrian by her commitment to the causes of progress, social justice, and equality. She is a Syrian by standing for all free souls in their struggles for freedom and dignity.
Razan’s is a voice that only the enemies of rights, dignity,justice, and freedom want to silence.
We demand that the Syrian authorities set Razan free immediately, along with all prisoners of conscience and dignity. We also hold them responsible for any harm to which she may be exposed. We also demand that the Syrian authorities stop the policy of terrorist oppression that they are practicing against the Syrian people.
We ask all those who support justice and freedom to show solidarity with Razan Ghazzawi, with us, and with Syria.
We hope that all our friends will help publishing this statement on blogs, pages and social media platforms.
Syrian blogger and activist Razan Ghazzawi has been arrested this afternoon at the Syrian-Jordanian border, where she was heading to Amman to attend a conference for defenders of media freedom in the Arab world. There, Razan was scheduled to represent our organization.
Razan works as a media coordinator in the Center : she is a graduate of the English literature department of Damascus University, and also holds a Master’s degree in comparative literature from Lebanon. Razan’s Master’s thesis focused on the short stories of Shamoun Ballas, an author living in Paris and Palestine; she discussed how colonial occupation affects the process of creating an identity in the post-independence modern state. Razan has published many articles on literature. She also started her own blog. Razaniyat, in 2009.
Razan was a member of the cultural committee “A Place for Everyone,” 2005-2007. She also won second prize in a poetry contest at a Lebanese university.
The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression gravely denounces the detention of our friend, blogger Razan Ghazzawi. Arresting her is another way to restrict and eliminate civil society in Syria—and a desperate attempt to stifle freedom of expression in Syria.
The Center also urges Syrian authorities to stop the systematic crackdown on Syrian bloggers and journalists, and to free Razan unconditionally— along with all other dissidents detained and arrested in Syria. Syria should respect its international commitments, based on the international agreements Syria has signed. The Center also warns the Syrian authorities that they will be held responsible for any physical or psychological harm that the blogger Razan Ghazzawi may endure.