Safouh Al Barazi to Orient Net: Syria is burning while the world is watching

  • 1Orient Net – Yasser Ashkar

Safouh Al Barazi to Orient Net: Syria is burning while the world is watching

Mr. Safouh Al Barazi left Syria for the US in 1973 to avoid being detained by the Assad regime which was planning to destroy his city of Hama for its efforts to politically oppose the dictatorial stranglehold Assad had on the country.  

As a politically active immigrant, Al Barazi became well known to the Syrian community in the US who affectionately referred to him as the “son of the people.”

Long before the revolution began in March of 2011, he was campaigning for Syrians to re-adopt the independence flag that had been officially adopted as the national flag when Syria gained its independence from France on April 17, 1946. 

The flag had been designed as a part of the Syrian constitution drafted in 1928 by a parliamentary committee led by nationalist leader Ibrahim Hananu. 

“[The] Syrian flag will be as follows: length double width, and is divided into three parallel and equal colors, the highest green, white then black, that the white section contains in a straight line three red five-pointed stars”.  (Article IV, Part I, Constitution of the Syrian Republic)

Green represents the Syrian upbringing, white represents the peaceful future of Syrian creatures, black represents oppression and the present reality in Syria, and three red stars represent three past revolutions for freedom in 1920, 1925, and 1928. 

At first, French authorities refused to allow the constituent assembly to ratify the constitution — but faced with a prolonged public outcry by the Syrian people, the French finally agreed.

The flag was first flown in Aleppo on January 1, 1932 and was officially hoisted in Damascus on June 11, 1932. It was used as a symbol of independence for Syrians to rally around when France reneged on its agreement to leave the country and was officially adopted upon their withdrawal in 1946.

In 2011, Al Barazi helped to organize the first demonstration in support of the Syrian revolution in Washington DC and continues to be responsible for preparing the independence flags, banners and logos for demonstrations as he waits to be able to return to his childhood home in Syria.

Al Barazi sat down with Orient Net during a recent visit to Istanbul, Turkey, and shared his views about the current situation in Syria:

Q: The slogan “We were living” has been raised again lately by Syrians on social media and in other platforms. What do you say? 

A: This is a shameful slogan! We were living in full humiliation and disgrace — such a shame for those who say that! A man without dignity and freedom is nothing. I once asked Mustapha Hamdoun [Arab Socialist leader] to define for me the meaning of country and he said it’s where we live and stay. I told him: “No, it’s where you find security. This is the place where your identity and dignity are preserved.”

Q: What is your vision in regard to the idea of the coexistence of Syrians after the toppling of the Assad regime?

A: For many years we were coexisting with each other and we didn’t believe in discrimination. I am astonished when some try to talk about Syrian minorities and I always say “Syrian people are one.”

Q: Which of the following is most important — dignity, democracy, justice or freedom? 

A: Freedom.

Q: What is your message to Syrians in general at this critical time?

A: I would tell the Syrian people since the first day of the Syrian revolution — which is the best revolution in the world — that nothing can save us except our unity and faithfulness.

Q: Which is worse, Assad regime or ISIS?

A: Each of them is worse than the other. We want them both out.

Q: You settled in the US. What do you think about the less than satisfactory number of Syrian refugees that are being allowed to resettle in the US?

A: I am against the resettlement of Syrians as refugees. We need them in the new Syria and I have been calling since the beginning for a free zone. It’s a torture for Syrians to be refugees all over the world.

Q:  Your nostalgia for Syria is so obvious in the way you’re connected to Syrians and roam through Syrian shops during this short visit to Istanbul. Do you miss Syria?

A: I am thirsty and nostalgic and I long to see Syria free from all of its brutal enemies. Syria is my oxygen and such a dear part of me. My feelings for my lovely country of Syria cannot be described. I miss the soil of my country.

Q: Are you still optimistic and having hope for tomorrow?

A: The hope is always big. Our holy revolution is the best revolution in all of history and it keeps moving forward. 

Q: In closing is there anything else you would like to say?

A: Yes, I want to address a call to the international community and the UN and tell them that you are part of this world. This lack of concern for Syria and Syrians is shameful! Syria is burning and they are watching as spectators. Unfortunately, I feel disappointed by the international community and their haplessness.

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