Razan Khatib's commentary on life on/off the web

Archive for the 'Politics' Category

Small victories, a positive narrative 0

This past week has been nothing less than the usual political roller coaster we’ve been through ever since Arab spring came along.

I want to stress on the highs along that ride because for anything we focus on the lows too much.

I was part of a group who said a big NO to the news of an attempt to censor the Internet in Jordan for porn. And once this became almost a reality to censor news websites (a duh moment there), I was privy to swatch how a small group was able to do A WHOLE LOT within a week, see their enthusiasm, drive and see them deliver on their goal, since we believe masturbation is as healthy as other habits, like exercises or take supplements, for anyone interested they could find out where to buy kratom capsules online here. Today we hear about Mashrou’ Layla turning down a big gig to open the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert in Beirut -because the latter group is planning a concert in Tel aviv shortly after- was definitely not the easy popular thing to do. But they did it and we celebrate another small victory. Lebanon’s Mashrou’ Leila cancels on Chili Peppers after latter refuses Israel boycott call. 7orynet did a super great job. hats off. The success of #BlackOutJo of overflowing social media that day was nothing less than a should-be-celebrated small victory.

Small victories are big in their effect, they give us hope when hope is almost a no reality thought or idea.

Small victories bring a new exciting narrative to a region so swamped with a defeatism attitude, a conspiracy theory culture and a life once lived in dignity to dream of a different future and a more progressive attitude to change its discourse.

#FreeRazan Ghazzawi الحرية لرزان غزّاوي 0

My dear friend and respected human rights activist Razan Ghazzawi got arrested on Sunday Dec 4th as she was traveling through the Syrian Jordanian border. As our hears are holding her, we want to create as much noise to make her release sooner.

I am copying the exact post her friend Alia Gh posted on her Facebook account to help the situation.


Action Alert! FREE Razan Ghazzawi رزان الحرة

by Alia Gh


اللغة العربية في نهاية البريد الإلكتروني


A friend of mine and an endless advocate for human rights, Razan Ghazzawi, was arrested on Sunday, December 4th at the Syrian/Jordanian border – on her way to a conference for media activism in A’mman.  She is one of the many courageous bloggers and activists of Syria who risk their lives to get information out about the revolution and other prisoners of conscience.  Razan is an amazing person, a brilliant thinker, and one of the bravest, most steadfast people I know. No one can judge those who choose to hide behind koffiyeh’s and masks – but Razan did everything under her full family name – in pure defiance of this Oppressive Regime!  Her courage is an example to us all at this time of social revolutions.


You can read past writings at her blog:  http://razanghazzawi.com/


Please like this support page and share with you friends on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/freerazan


If you could all take 10 minutes to make some calls, write some emails, or tweet some information adding appropriate hashtags – please do so!  We have heard from other prisoners in Syria that phone calls really do help turn out information about where people are being held, and often times can aide them in getting released.  So, please, help spread the word and take some time to help our friend and comrade Razan.


Below are other steps you can take to help, and below that are phone numbers to call, email addresses to write, and appropriate scripts for each.  Arabic articles and a statement from Syrian Bloggers is at the end.


Thank you!



PS There is a rumor happening today (Monday the 5th) that Razan will be released tonight – but let’s keep the pressure on – as we can anticipate the lies of the Regime!



The most important thing : Keep Razan in your thoughts and prayers!


1. Write an email or send a fax to your local politician, Foreign Minister, members of parliament of congress. Use the internet to find their contact details or see this list of emails. Razan is an American Citizen – See here for a list of US Embassies to contact demanding they take urgent action.  (I have compiled important numbers and put them at the bottom of the email!)

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 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. Here’s some US Twitter users that you could message: @AlecJRoss @RobatState @KrisAtState @AnnatState @State_DRL @SlaughterAM @USEmbassySyria @USEmbassyJordan @StateDept

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. Search FaceBook for other pages or groups where you can post messages or links to raise awareness.

5. Schedule tweets for when you can’t be online – use Dlvr IT for feeds or Buffer for individual tweets

6. Join the new Free Razan FaceBook page and share the page with all your friend

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 or website 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?



Contact the State Department!


US State Department : Eastern Affiars Richard Soler 571 345 3005

Office of Middle East Director Helene Kessler 202 776 8404

Middle East Team Leader Adam Bloomquist 202 776 8559


Contact Syrian Consulates!



Dr. Hazem Chehabi    Tel: (949) 640-9888 Fax: (949) 640 9292



Mr. Ayman Midani Tel: (713) 622-8860 Fax: (713) 622-8872




Dr. Naji Arwashan Tel: (248) 519-2496 Fax: (248) 519-2399


Embassy of Syria

(202) 232-6316


Phone Talking Points

  • That US-born Syrian blogger Razan Ghazzawi was arrested, and you urge she have immediate access to her family, legal counsel, medical care and that her whereabouts be known
  • She is a human rights advocate and a part of the brave people that practice Freedom of Media and Expression in a world that punishes those who dare to tell the Truth
  • It is known that the Syrian Regime regularly practices torture and that many people never come to trial, or are killed in detention
  • We need to build pressure for the release of all prisoners of conscience!


Email/Call the US Embassies in the Arab World


Telephone: (961) 4 542600 – 543600

Fax: (961) 4 544136




Telephone: 962-6-590-6000

Fax: 962-6-592-0163





Main switchboard:  +216 71 107 000

Fax:  +216 71 963 263




Telephone: 9661-4883800

Fax: 9661-4887360




Istanbul / Turkey

Phone: (90) 212-335 90 00




Email Script (make sure to change wording if you are emailing a Syrian Consulate representative or a US State Department rep)

To Whom it May Concern:


I am writing to you in order to express my concern over the arrest of Razan Ghazzawi.


On Sunday, December 4th, 2011, Razan Ghazzawi was arrested by border officers at the Jordon-Syrian border on her way to attend a conference on Freedom of Media in the Arab World, as a representative for the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression.


Razan Ghazzawi, a human rights activist and blogger, has not been charged with any crime and is thus a prisoner of conscience according to international law. Credible and internationally respected human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, have voiced concerns about the use of torture and the abuse of human rights occurring in Syrian prisons and detention centres. These reports have prompted serious concerns for the safety of Razan and other Syrian prisoners of conscience.


I am calling on the (United States government to pressure the) Syrian government to order the immediate and unconditional release of Razan Ghazzawi.


I demand the Syrian government immediately clarify the reason, legal basis and place of detention of Razan Ghazzawi; to cease holding her incommunicado and allow her immediate access to her family, legal counsel of her own choosing, and any medical attention she may require; and to ensure that she is protected against torture or other ill-treatment.


I thank you for your urgent attention to this matter.




Your Name







الآن باللغة العربية….



بيان مشترك | مدونون سوريون | حول اعتقال المدونة السورية رزان غزاوي :

بالكاد تنفّسنا الصعداء بعد الإفراج عن زميلنا حسين غرير قبل أن يعود اختناق الغضب والحزن ليذكّر صدورنا بواقع القمع والكبت وعبادة الصّمت الذي نعيشه.. وردنا خبر اعتقال زميلتنا رزان غزّاوي.

رزان غزّاوي سوريّة بامتياز.. سوريّة بعملها المحموم للمرافعة عن القضية الفلسطينيّة وﻻجئيها في وسائط الإعلام اﻻجتماعي باللغتين العربيّة واﻻنكليزيّة، سوريّة بالتزامها بكل قضايا التقدّم والعدالة اﻻجتماعيّة والمساواة، سوريّة بوقوفها مع الأحرار في طريقهم لنيل الحرّية والكرامة.. رزان صوتٌ ﻻ يريد له الصمت إﻻ أعداء الحقّ والكرامة والعدالة والحرّية.

نطالب السلطات السوريّة بالإفراج الفوري عن رزان غزّاوي وعن كلّ معتقلات ومعتقلي الرأي والضمير والكرامة، ونحمّلها مسؤوليّة أي أذى قد تتعرّض له، كما نطالبها بكف سياسة القمع الإرهابي الرعناء بحق المواطنين السّوريين، وندعو جميع أنصار الحقّ والحرّية للتضامن مع رزان غزّاوي، معنا، مع سوريا..!

نرجو من الصديقات والأصدقاء المساهمة في نشر النص في المدوّنات والصفحات والشبكات اﻻجتماعيّةهاش تاغ

فلسطين 3

انا لسّة ما عشت بأرضك دقيقة وحدة

شفتك إكتير من فوق وعلى جووجل إيرث، و من الضفة الشرقية، موطني

تخيلتك من قصص تيته

شُفتك بعيونها، وبعيون خالتو و عمّو

شُفتك بدموعهم، بغضبهم، بذكرياتهم

شُفتك وإنتي عم تتلاشي من عيونهم بالأفق، لما تركوكي

بيسان، طبرية و صفد

انا لما بقول أني أردنية، بقول اصلي فلسطينية

بعض الناس بتفهم، و بعضها لأ

أنتي قضيًّتي، من لما تعلّمت إسمي.

عطيتيني وجود مختلف .

انا و ملايين غيري بالبلاد و بالشتات

يمكن عشان هيك مابيفهمو هنّه

لأنو مفكرينو موضوع جنسية، موضوع وطني، موضوع سياسي، موضوع دول و استقلال و مجلس امن،

كانو إمارات و صارو دول الا انتي

محوكي او أجّلوكي

وهللأ بدهم يقنعونا، انو انتي جاي عالطريق بمشروع هالدولتين

طب وين بيسان، طبرية و صفد؟

تاريخ عائلتي وين راح؟ انا وين تاريخي؟

هي القصة شقفة ارض وبس؟ علم، رئيس، حكومة، جواز سفر، سفارة وأمم متحدة؟

يعني بصير أقول اصلي من فلسطين التاريخية؟ من امارة فلسطين؟ اللي إسمها إسرائيل؟ اللي هجّرت عائلتي؟

فلسطين، انت قصة وجود

فلسطين، انت ووجودي إشي واحد

هادا الوجود ما بتخلى عنّو ابداً

Where I stand 13

For those of my friends who understand any call for reform as calls to bring the Islamists to rule.

For those of my friends who understand any call for reform as calls to bring the monarchy down.

For those of my friends who want to give the government a chance to do the reform for them.

For those of my friends who got excited about Egypt and Tunis so much that they wish NONE of it touches their home or themselves.

For those of my friends who want to refuse reform in order to protect the status qua with all the well/fear they’ve got.

Can we get more conflicted than this?

What you and me should do, is make our voices as loud- if not more- than the Islamists if we are to win them in the next election. Rather than conspire to create yet another failure of an election law just because we don’t want more Islamists to win or more Palestinians or more tribes.

What you and me should do, is form independent movements and new political parties that can win in the next democratic elections so we might get and limit the win of the Islamists if you and I fear their rule the most.

What you and me don’t want in Jordan is not March 24 movement or Friday protests or online news sites, what we don’t want is our government silencing peaceful protesters by force and allowing ignorant thugs to hit them by bricks. What we don’t want is security forces that interfere with our freedom of speech, assembly or organization while we need them to focus more on protecting us, citizens of Jordan.

Whether the March 24 movement chose a good or bad location, or a right or a wrong day is just the details. Its easy to say they are Islamists or Palestinians or even thugs, if you only listen to hearsay and rumors yet not investigate information yourself.

Focus I think should be on what they wanted, they wanted to put more pressure on your government to act faster. Why?

Because you and me should ask yourselves, does it need THREE months to come up with a new election law? Does it need THREE months to come up with a new party law? Do you think these laws are artifacts that need such time and deliberation to be innovated out of vacuum?…etc.

Do you and me like to  have the big elephant of who is your or my origin from to be forever in the room? Or Should we talk more about it? Remove the suspicion from all sides and focus on citizenship with its rights and obligation as our uniting factor?

We are in the middle of a big wave of change, you and me can get stuck in fear and stay in the backroom behind closed doors or go out honk our cars in an empty show of loyalty that is a given to most or we can help lead this change to where we want it to go.

When your kids, nephews and nieces ask you in 20 years where were you in 2011, you better have some great story to tell!

Its your choice, but I guess you have figured out where I stand from all of this.

Screen-shoting the moment, world media on Egyptian victory Feb 11th, 2011 1

الشعب أسقط النظام

Viva Egypt! The happiest moment that redefined my generation.

Thought i wanted to “screen-shot” the moment! So I took snapshots of several websites of major media from around the world.

12 – 02 – 2011 at 2:30 am, GMT+2


Al Ghad


Al Ghad


Al Sharq-Alawsat








AramramTV: Social media for social change 0

Part of AramramTV coverage commemorating one year since the Israeli Assault on GAZA winter 2008/2009 was this video containing interviews with me, Ali Dahmash and Ghassan Yonis.

Funny that they called the feature “Electronic Jihad” not sure i would call it that. Would call it of course Electronic Activism instead!

A call to blog/tweet about the upcoming Gaza Freedom March 2

The International Coalition to End the Illegal Siege of Gaza  an organization formed after the 22-day assault on Gaza in winter2008-2009 is holding and coordinating the Gaza Freedom March which will take place on Dec 31 to mark one year since the assault through mobilizing an international contingent for a nonviolent march alongside the people of Gaza to end the illegal blockade.

Though participation is now closed, this post is to call on everyone who supports this effort to blog about it on Dec 31st as well as to to tweet and try to make #GAZA a trending topic on Twitter on that day.G

For more information please add a comment to this blog post so I can arrange for us to meet one of the participants and activists who’s a fellow Jordanian. Together we can find the best way she can update us about the march as its happening.

Graph of the day, Iraqi civilian deaths since 2003 [BBC] 0

Just saw this graph while reading about the tragedy of the car bombings that swept Baghdad/Iraq earlier today on BBC with 127 killed and over 400 wounded  :-(

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words, this graph is about thousands of lost lives…[RIP]


BBC News - Baghdad car bombs cause carnage

BBC News - Baghdad car bombs cause carnage

UK Jewish MP: Israel acting like Nazis in Gaza 1

Warning: video ID not specified!

Gaza, the Momentum 1

The following post is a result of several conversations I had first hand with friends, facebook status messages I read, twitter messages I received. News articles I read. YouTube videos I watched…

From calls for for bloody Zionist Israel to stop its genocide in Gaza, to calls to Egypt, Jordan to cut their ties with Zionist Israel, to calls to Arab states to open the borders for Jihad in reflection upon news reports of children murdered, to innocent civilian life butchered for 22 consecutive days (till date), after years of blockade over Gaza.

From hundred of rallies walked, all sorts of flags risen, all sort of chants cried, all sort of boycott calls, of strikes, of prayers.

The momentum created by this new Zionist Israeli massacre should be carried not for days or months or years.

But for as long as it takes.

To save this momentum, action needs to happen. This same obsession over the past three weeks should result in grassroots actions. Forget our governments, forget the US, European officials. We need to bring our message to the masses around the globe.

Those were the words of many people around me.

What’s happening today in Gaza is the new deir yassin, the new sabra and shatila and the world needs to know the details of what has been happening. The gory details. Every story should be told. Those who died. Those who were injured and those who got the shock of their lives.

“I don’t want to forget what’s happening and how it made me feel a year from now…” – Ola

“We need to continue to donate to save more lives over there…” – Diala

“we need lawyers to start preparing a law suit against the murderous Israeli government.” – Ahmad

We need people to better brand this massacre, we need to launch hundreds of  websites to  put faces to all those who were killed & injured and collect each and every story, with any kind of media we can use.

Let’s have an action plan…

Review of "The Iron Wall" 0

I went to Daret Al Fonoon yesterday to watch “The Iron Wall” a documentary about the aprathied wall Israel has been building in Palestine since 2002, a project architected by Ariel Sharon.

The documentary was excellently done, I found the images and stories told heart breaking but a story well told and a message delivered by both sides, mostly by Israelis against the idea of settlement and of course the wall.

The most hearbreaking story told was of a palestinan farmer, where settlers accompanied by soldiers of the IDF were barbarically cutting his olive tries one by one while he was screaming out “my olives”. I get a bad feeling in my stomach whenever i remember that scene that shows utter violence of an occupying power trying it best to break the hearts of its vitims.

I encourage you to watch and promote this documentary http://www.theironwall.ps/ directed by Mohammed Alatar and produced by Palestinian Agriculture Relief Committees and Palestinians for Peace and Democracy.

Are we that mute? 1

The following is something I wrote 5 years ago, around the Israeli invasion of the West Bank in 2002. Reflecting on the disaster in GAZA I just had to say the words to myself again…


They got you “Mute”,

the “how” and the “why” are loads of theories

you can’t choose from,

but you sense it mute along with the rest of you.


Saddened by your state, you bleed silently from within,

your wounds are growing and you sense more of the pain, the pain of despair.

You cling to hope yet when you give it another thought you know that hope is not the next thing in line.

Hope is there for you to survive and who says you can’t?

The expectations of a better tomorrow become dreams with no vision;

since you think you have no control…then again you are on mute.

Proud of others down in the line of fire,

is all that you think you can do who does this help? Only you.


You do care, you care so much to the degree of despair

But what more do you need to see, to happen

for you to scream, to rebel to finally act and be LOUD?


Are you that “Mute”?

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