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Egypt: Going Hungry to Draw Attention to the Plight of Syrians

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011/12.

Syrian activists and artists abroad have been on hunger strike for almost two weeks, to draw attention to the atrocities being committed by the Syrian regime against their people.

In Cairo, six women, including prominent Syrian poet and writer Lina Tibi, have been camped outside the Arab League headquarters for a week today [September 10, 2012], vowing that they will not end their hunger strike until their demands are met.

Tibi tweeted yesterday [ar]:

اضراب النساء السوريات في القاهرة يدخل يومه السادس وبشار يطلق عنفه ووحشيته واجرامه الى عنان السماء..
@LinaTibi: The hunger strike of the Syrian women on hunger strike in Cairo enters its sixth day and Bashar unleashes his brutality and criminality to reach the sky
 Syrian women protesting in Douma in April, 2011. Photograph from Syriana2011 photostream on flickr, used under  (CC BY 2.0)

Syrian women protesting in Douma in April, 2011. Photograph from Syriana2011 photostream on flickr, used under (CC BY 2.0)

And on her Facebook page, she writes [ar]:

يسألوننا لم الاضراب عن الطعام ونخبرهم انه تم بخيارنا الكامل تضامنا مع شعبنا الذي أضرب عن الطعام اجبارا لا طوعا
أضرب لانه لم يعد بوسعه ان يجد قوت يومه ولان لا طعام في مدن عديدة في سوريا ولان الغلاء الفاحش صار بمنزلة الشرف الكبرى
لمن ينادينا بفك الاضراب نسأله اولا ان يفك الاضراب عن شعبنا
They ask us why are we on hunger strike and we tell them that we are on hunger strike by choice in solidarity with our people in Syria who are forced to go without food because they cannot earn their livelihoods. There is no food in many towns across Syria now and the rising costs of living is enormous. For those of you who are asking us to give up our hunger strike, we ask them to first stop the strike on our people.

Among their goals are:

@Mou2amara: One aim of #StrikersForSyria hunger strike in #Cairo is for closure of #SuezCanal to #Iran & #Russia ships supplying arms to #Assad. #Egypt

The Cairo protesters are part of a huge group of activists off food to draw attention to the plight of Syrians.

On Twitter, former Syria resident Donatella tweets:

@donatelladr: Many #Syria artists & activists living in #Egypt #France #Lebanon #Turkey #Germany #Spain #Jordan #KSA on hunger strike since Aug 26

Meanwhile, on Facebook, the Local Coordination Committees of Syria page posts [ar] a statement on the hunger strike:

خمسة عشر يوما مروا على بدء الإضراب المفتوح عن الطعام الذي أعلنه ناشطات و ناشطون سوريون في عواصم العالم المختلفة في محاولة للفت نظر العالم لما يتعرض له شعبنا السوري من مجازر وتنكيل يومي على يد النظام الهمجي.و قد وجه المضربون رسالة إلى السيد الأخضر الابراهيمي توضح مطالبهم، و هي مطالب الشعب السوري الثائر المنكوب بجرائم نظامه الدكتاتوري، طالبوا فيها بضرروة التحرك الفوري لاتخاذ اجراءات حقيقية لوقف المذابح في سوريا و عدم الاكتفاء بالتنديد و الشجب
Fifteen days have gone since the beginning of the open-ended hunger strike announced by Syrian activists around the world in a bid to draw attention to the massacres and daily carnage our people in Syria are facing at the hands of the barbaric regime.The protesters have sent a message to [United Nations and Arab League peace envoy to Syria] Lakhdar Brahimi which spells out their demands, which are the demands of the revolting people of Syria who are suffering from the crimes committed against them by the dictatorial regime. They have called for the immediate implementation of real action to stop the massacres in Syria and not limit it to issuing condemnations.

The statement names some of those taking part in the hunger strike and appeals to them to stop:

ولا يزال معظم هؤلاء النشطاء مستمرين في إضرابهم حيث تدهور الوضع الصحي لعدد منهم.و إذ توجه لجان التنسيق المحلية في سوريا التحية و تثمن موقف الأحرار[....]

فإنها تتمنى على المضربين عن الطعام فك إضرابهم، باعتبار أن الرسالة وصلت، ويكفينا الموت القادم من كل صوب
على أيدي آلة حرب النظام ومرتزقته. فمعركة انتزاع الحرية لوطننا طويلة ومريرة و تحتاج جهود الجميع، و لاينبغي أن نخسر المزيد من الأرواح كيف يلتفت العالم إلى معاناتنا، التي باتت أوضح من الشمس الساطعة

Those activists are continuing their strike, and some of them are in deteriorating health conditions. The Local Coordination Committees of Syria sends its regards to those freedom fighters and appreciates their gesture.[....]It also hopes those on hunger strike will stop their actions because their message has reached those it was intended for. We have had enough death coming from all directions, at the hand of the war machine of the regime and its mercenaries. The war to extract freedom for our country is long and bitter and will need all our efforts and we shouldn't risk more souls for the world to pay attention to our plight, now that it has become clear for all to see

For more reactions on Twitter, follow the hash tag #StrikersforSyria in English and #مضربات_لاجل_سوريا in Arabic.

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011/12.

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