To Razan, with freedom & love!
by beautiful Leil
Razan Ghazzawi, or Razan Razaniyyat as I refer to her in the activist/bloggers´ circle, is everything but the quiet type despite her sweet shy smile and her observing eyes. If she doesn´t like the food, she would say it to your face or right at the waiter´s. So she did the last time we went eating out together in Cairo a few months ago. This is Razan, outspoken and knows quite well what she likes and what she doesn´t like. No wonder the Assad regime went after her. All of us kind of knew it was a matter of time. Those who knew Razan or followed her blog knew that she is not the kind of person to keep shut, whether it is a blogger she disagrees with or a terrorist regime she courageously wants to see destroyed. And this is what many of us admire Razan for.
Before Razan came to Cairo she was in Beirut. From there she was continuously bombarding Twitter and Facebook with information about what is happening inside… inside Syria. That´s how she called it back then, “inside”. Razan is one of my main & trusted sources of news about the Syrian revolution. If there is a piece of news about Syria that I doubt, Razan is the first person I´d write to. This might explain a bit of the sense of disorientation I feel now. My main trusted source of news about Syria is detained by the brutal Assad regime.
In Lebanon, like many Syrian and (few) Lebanese activists making noise about the Syrian revolution, Razan was harassed and intimidated by the Lebanese secret services and the Syrian secret police who are extremely powerful and active all over the country. In May she wrote me to tell me she was coming to Cairo, and I was very happy. I didn´t tell her back then, but I was happy because I was feeling guilty for putting all my attention on Egypt and I felt that having Razan there would be like having a chunk of the Syrian revolution right there in front of my eyes. And so it was.
She didn´t leave Lebanon because she feared for herself or because she crumbled under pressure. No, she left because she wanted to have more space to support her people´s rebellion for freedom. It is not a hidden fact that Beirut recently is not the most fertile ground for political activism, especially on the Syrian revolution.
Together with other friends we ran back and forth around and in Tahrir Square. On June 28th Razan helped defend Tahrir under US-made teargas & rubber bullets, and was there when we took the square back. All through her stay in Cairo she never stopped spreading news about what is happening in Syria and looking into ways to help and support. She was/is two revolutions in one.
Razan isn´t only passionate about overthrowing oppressive regimes, and she is not just another blogger. She is passionate about overthrowing all equations of exploitation, repression, oppression, discrimination and injustice. She is a fighter for vegetarianism and animal liberation; a fierce activist on the LGBT/Queer front; a feminist guerrilla; a tornado for a free Palestine, against Israeli Apartheid and on the plight of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and elsewhere; an anti-colonialist anti-imperialist Arab Syrian; and an ever rebellious anarchist.
For all of the above reasons, I know that Razan wants us to fight for her freedom but without forgetting the thousands others in Syrian jails. She would want us to use the spotlights shed on her detention to speak up about the thousands others, those same thousands she spent night after day tweeting & disseminating information about. She wants us to support the Syrian revolution that she wrote much about, and did much for.
Razan´s face at the moment she told me she is going back to Syria is vivid in my head ever since I heard of her detention. So is her answer when I asked her “Razan, are you sure?” “Yes I am” she replied. I don´t usually try to deter friends from heading to a crucial battle, but having lived under the Assad secret services and army in Lebanon I knew what Razan was risking. We both knew. So I asked her again “are you sure? What about …..” then and there in one of the Bursa cafes in downtown Cairo the answer came again decisively, determined and full of longing; “Yes I am”. There I wished her a safe trip and a successful revolution.
Razan left Cairo to Syria, and from there I slipped back into the Egyptian revolution and she slipped into the Syrian one. Our contact has been minimal, very few quick are-you-oks from the distance. And now from the far distance I wait to read another of her amazing blog posts. I wait for her to see how many people support her, love her and admire her work. I wait for her to join us again and see how her detention have brought so much attention and support to one of her most important causes, the Syrian revolution.
The attention Razan´s detention is getting should incite us to join forces and punch back the Assad regime and support the revolution Razan is detained for. We have a responsibility towards Razan and the thousands others to make noise, and by this I don´t only mean tweet and re-tweet! Action is what is needed, ACTION everywhere!
Yes Razan does hold a US passport, yes she is a US citizen, and yes she opposes the imperialist and capitalist politics of the US government. She speaks loud and clear against their politics of war and exploitation. But is her US passport a card Assad would care about? I don´t know. Will this card make Razan happy? I don´t think so! But pardon me dear comrade, pardon all of us. We know that this wouldn´t make you happy with our efforts to free you, but try to understand our position dear Razan, we want you out, at any cost, and sometimes people resort to desperate measures. Your presence and your free voice are way too important for us. The brutality and viciousness of the Assad regime leave us under no choice but to play any card we have, no matter how desperate it is or how dirty it will get our hands.
Dear comrade and dearly-missed friend, it has been two long days since you were taken away only to be put in the spotlights and hearts of many worldwide. Many are waiting for you… many are tweeting, blogging, launching petitions and calling embassies to secure your safety & return home. We promise you we will not stay still till you are back with us… and then we will continue the fight for a free world. Maybe now we would all wake up and put more effort into giving the Syrian revolution the support it deserves and badly needs.
For a free Syria, for the freedom of all detainees, for a #FreeRazan
Here is how you can help #FREERAZAN