Freedom is priceless

We should never take our freedom for granted.

As events are unfolding across the Middle East it has become abundantly clear that what we have in this country is so precious.

Imagine what it would be like to have the very basic freedom of peacefully saying what you want to say thwarted by an unimaginable amount of violence. Well that is what is going on today in the Middle East. Hundreds upon hundreds are getting killed in many Middle Eastern countries all because they are taking to the streets,demanding freedom, and they are suffering.

The protests have always been close to my heart because I can’t stand to see people suffering in such an inhumane way, but now it has hit closer to home. My family is originally from Syria, so now I personally experience the struggle in many different ways.I experience it when my uncle tells me that he can't go to the store and get the basic necessities of life because there are military tanks in the middle of the road. I experience it when I hear my grandmother who is crying on the phone because she is so afraid, she is afraid of what is going on, she is afraid that one of her children will get killed or maybe even worse get detained in government custody, she is just afraid, she cries and I cry with her.

I feel so helpless and I don’t know what I can do to make a difference, even an act as small as posting something on Facebook can have dire consequences on my family and friends in Syria.

There is one thing that I know for sure, this has got to stop. We can no longer sit back and watch people being shot at by a gunman who looks like he is hunting birds instead of human beings,or discovering the mass graves of men, women and children,or children between the ages of 8-15 getting detained, beaten and tortured all because they were spraying anti government speech on buildings.

I’m sure many of you have heard about the young boy, Hamza al Khateeb who was only 13 years old when he was taken into custody because he was partaking in the protests. The little boy was returned to his family dead, his body mutilated with signs of torture he was only 13 years old.

This horrible act has sparked outrage across Syria and has become a defining point that has united the protestors with a common goal. NO MORE, this type of brutality is no longer accepted, nor can it be hidden. In the 1980’s the Syrian regime under the rule of the current president's father, Hafez al Assad, had a similar type of violent reaction to protestors who wanted change in the government. Over 40,000 people were killed, tens of thousands were detained, the whereabouts of some of these detainees is unkown to this day. Again, my grandmother witnessed these events and narrates to us how the government would pull out all males from the neighbor's homes, line them up outside and shoot them execution style. But that was over twenty years ago, many had not even heard or knew what was going on. That was then, before the age of communication, Internet, smartphones, Facebook and Twitter.

Regardless of what these brutal regimes are doing to hide information and the truth, regardless of the fact that journalists are not allowed into these countries. The world does know. The world knows by citizen journalism, videos on YouTube and posts on Facebook and Twitter.

My hope is that the world will start to take action against the inhumane behavior of these regimes and stop the suffering.

We need to remember to always appreciate freedom because it truly is priceless.

Here are some links to what is going on in Syria:

I just graduated with a degree in Journalism. I currently work in the Online Ed department with the Media Mafia. The atmosphere is great in this office! I love to write, obviously, cook, bake, play tennis and spend time with my family. I hope to be able to bring a different perspective into the media world with everything I learned here at UK.


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