Syria: Prominent Blogger Disappears in Damascus

Syrian blogger Hussein Ghrer left his home in Damascus on Monday, October 24, and has not come back. He is a thirty-year-old married father of two and has blogged and participated in numerous solidarity campaigns for Palestine, as well as the blogger campaign against the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights, and campaigns for solidarity with victims of honor crimes.

The most recent post on Ghrer's blog focuses on the arrest earlier this year of now-released Syrian blogger Anas Maarawi in the context of freedom in Syria. The post includes references to the situation bloggers face in the country:

كمدونين لا نملك غير قلمنا لنعبر عن جزء يسير جداً مما يعتمل في قلوبنا من خوف على الوطن من هذا الوحش الذي يسمى فساداً والمحمي بقوة القانون الأمني الذي لا يعلوا فوقه قانون

“As bloggers, we have nothing but our writing to express a very little part of what hurts us so much. Our hearts ache in front of this monster that's called corruption, protected by the force of security law, which is above any other law in this country.”

Activists have put together a Facebook campaign calling for his release and a blog in which they call for Syrian authorities to disclose information about Ghrer and release those detained in violation of the law and human rights (full statement in English here):

We demand the immediate disclosure of the fate of our friend and fellow blogger Hussein Ghrer and the release of all prisoners of conscience, since their detention is against the law and universal human rights. We also demand the end of persecution against freedom of speech, because blind force, no matter how strong it is, will stay blind, and will stumble until it falls for good.

 

Bloggers from all over the world have already joined the campaign, which is growing rapidly fueled by the buzz created over twitter:

Omniya: Hussein could be you , could be me. could be anyone walking down the street . # FreeHussein #Syria

Syriangavroche:الحرية لحسين غرير!! # freehussein#Syria

 

Amid the Syrian government's crackdown against all forms of opposition, Ghrer's words on his latest post seem now more meaningful than ever:
Silence doesn't serve us after today. We don't want a country where we get imprisoned for uttering a word. We want a country that embraces and welcomes words.

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