'Burning Country- Syrians in Revolution & War' book launch
“Syria was once known as the ‘Kingdom of silence’. In 2011 it burst into speech – not in one voice but in millions…For a few brief moments the people changed everything. Then the counter-revolutions ground them down.” (Leila al-Shami and Robin Yassin-Kassab, 2015)
On January 20 2016, Amnesty International UK were proud to launch a phenomenal new book on Syria – ‘Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution & War’. It eloquently explores the horrific and complicated reality of life in present-day Syria, and has been praised as “indispensable for those who wish to know the truth about Syria” by Syrian writer and former political prisoner, Yassin al-Haj Saleh.
The event at Amnesty explored the history of the five-year descent of Syria’s uprising into bloody conflict, as well as the rise of ISIS, the present refugee crisis and the failures of the so called international community to genuinely protect Syria’s bombed, besieged and starved civilians.
We also explored the multiple failures and mocking arrogance of many western leftists and self-described progressives who’ve failed to show any real solidarity with Syrian activists and underground civil society seeking to build a Syria based on human rights, democracy and equality. As Yassin al-Haj Saleh says, “they simply do not see us..Syria is only an additional occasion for their old anti-Imperialist tirades, never the living subject of the debate….We, rank-and-file Syrians, refugees, women, students, intellectuals, human rights activists, political prisoners….do not exist..”.
Well of course, Syria’s alternative to Assad, ISIS and other conservative and counter-revolutionary forces do exist – many in Syria but lots more outside. ‘Burning Country’ not only details the past five years of horror in Syria but also details the numerous activists and civil society organisations who are the best hope of a brighter future for Syria and the greatest threat to counter revolutionaries - Amnesty will continue to work in solidarity with them.
'Burning Country - Syrians in Revolution & War' is available to buy from Pluto Press here
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.