The single most deadliest act over the past 60 years by any Arab regime took place 30 years ago this week (February 1982) in the city of Hama, Syria.
Ordered by Hafez Al-Assad, and carried out by his brother Rifaat, the inhabitants of Hama were systematically massacred in response to an uprising by those within the city. As Rifaat later bragged, more than than 38,000 Hamwis (of a city of 150,000 people at the time) were slaughtered – whole family lines were ‘erased’. (This total doesn’t account for the countless Hawmis murdered leading up to the main massacre, nor the thousands imprisoned and missing after it)
The ‘incident’ as it is called, forever changed the psyche of the Syrian people, creating a culture of fear and resentment towards the regime and distrust of one another. It also enabled the Assad regime to continue their stranglehold on the nation – until of course the revolution.
It must also be noted, that the muted response and silence of the Arab and international community in 1982 only emboldened the regime’s brutal behavior in dealing with resistance to their absolute rule – only now, the slaughter occurs not just in Hama, but in Homs, Deraa, Idlib, Baniyas, Deir Izzor and across every corner of the nation.
This week, for the first time in 30 years, there will be coordinated public commemorations around the world for the victims of the ‘incident’. (In NYC an exhibit is being planned for this Friday).
Please take a moment to support these efforts, say a prayer for all those lost, and for those who will sacrifice themselves in the struggle for a new Syria.
RIP Ammo (Uncle) Omar and Ammo (Uncle) Khodr Shishakli, and all those in Hama who, 30 years ago where taken from us too soon. Even though most of us never knew you, your sacrifice will never be forgotten.
Note: Read the report from the Syrian Human Rights Committee on regime abuses. Page 46 and on specifically detailing Hama.