More From Alder's Ledge

August 23, 2012

SS Reborn In Hungary

"You Will Die Here..."

As Western Europe continues to embrace the dead religion of Nazism those in Eastern Europe perfect its jackboot past. It was a dark chapter in Hungarian history that the "white" locals readily backed the invading Nazis. Designing their four point flag, the Hungarian Nazis were just as vicious and rabid as their German counterparts. These Hungarian fascist were ruthless in their attacks on the "undesirables"... the Roma being one of their favorite targets.

Today the Jobbik party has taken back up the cause of the fascist who came before them. Winning 16% of the vote in their last election the party has doubled its presence in the Hungarian government. But none of that matters to the foot soldiers the party puts out on the streets. These are the hired guns the modern Nazi movement relies upon to do its dirty work.

In Hungary these black uniformed scum organize marches through Romani neighborhoods and in front of Jewish houses of worship. The two targets are treated with equal vitriolic hatred. But it is the Roma who are readily attacked when the Hungarian racist get the opportunity to do so. For these animals the front door to a Romani family's home is not much of a barrier to be overcome.

In a recent march through Devecser, Hungary the Jobbik supporters were heard shouting in unison "You will die here..." while tossing stones and bottles at the Romani homes. The small town is barely 5,000 strong so it was blatantly obvious that the 1,000 plus mob was mostly bussed in. Yet this display of blazon racism has received absolutely no condemnation from the European Union or even Hungarian politicians alike.

The Romani community in Devecser were fortunately left without any deaths or reported injuries when the Jobbik thugs left. Damages to their impoverished homes were all that remained when the mob got back on their buses and left town. Damages that the poor Romani community don't have money to repair.

All the while we here at Alder's Ledge remember that Hungary is one of the places that France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Holland, England, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, and Austria want to send their Romani populations to. France being the leader as of late in their harsh stances on deportation and expulsions of French born Roma and recent immigrants.

Hungary is a place where the socialist refer to themselves as "the real Hungarians" and the Roma as "invaders". It is a place where Roma have had their homes torched and their children shot while trying to flee attacks. It is a place where Roma women can not trust doctors to give them proper medical attention without the threat of forced sterilization. Yet once again... this is where President Francois Hollande wishes to expel France's Romani population.

May G-d have mercy on the Rom, for it is clear Hungary will not.

August 20, 2012

Screamers Wanted

What It Means To "Scream"
(Part of the Screamers post)

For a few months now I have been asking for people to share these post on their Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. The nickname given to doing this simple act was called "screaming". It was the easiest way to be a "Screamer". Yet I have found it impossible up till now to actually define what a screamer is or what it means to be a screamer.

The term came to me after stumbling across a video by the rock band System Of A Down. Their movie entitled "Screamers" obviously gave me the terminology. And the reason to use it in connection with Alder's Ledge. But if you haven't seen this movie than you don't understand what I'm talking about. And that is where this post comes in...

The members of System Of A Down are Armenians and their ancestors are often remembered here on Alder's Ledge as the victims of the Armenian Genocide. Thus the movie Screamers focuses around the education of the general public when dealing with the Armenian Genocide and genocide in general. Yet even this most direct explanation for the term and the motivation doesn't really explain what it means to be a screamer.

A Screamer is a person like anyone else. We don't have some desire to gain anything from our actions. Not all of us are bleeding heart liberals who just need another cause to flaunt or make ourselves look bighearted by "carrying" about some fad. We are simply people who have seen genocide either firsthand or through other accounts of the events. Our eyes have seen the images, our hearts felt the pain, of these tragedies. And it is somewhere between seeing and believing that we find it in our souls an inability to remain silent.

Maybe screamers are just naive. Perhaps it is foolish to believe that our voices can actually change the way the world thinks about genocide and crimes against humanity. Yet a true screamer doesn't stop. We never forget.

So how do you go about "screaming"?

It is simple. It is almost ironically easy in comparison to the suffering and misery endured by the very people we scream for. After all, all we do is lift our voice so that not a soul will ever be allowed to deny the deaths of those who have suffered the horrific crime of genocide.

Here at Alder's Ledge that means writing this very blog. In using our words, written and spoken, we bare witness. In using our lives we stand as a living memorial to all who have perished. And that is why we wish to invite all who read this to join us.

If you would like to be a screamer here on Alder's Ledge we would like to invite you to leave you contact information below. All comments on this blog have to approved so you can rest assured your information will not be published. But you will be contacted and we will discuss what it takes to write for Alder's Ledge. For the rest of you, please share these post on your social media sites. Together we can lift our voices so loud that not a soul could possibly ignore us. Together we can scream.

Why Did God Even Create Us?

French Roma Going Into Hiding
(Part of the Screamers post)

Hollande has once again began to cleanse France of its "Gypsy question". Like the Vichy who came before, this socialist has plans to purify his country and rid it of the "undesirables". And oddly enough... he hasn't had to hide those evil intentions while running for office. And why should he? Sarkozy was allowed to drive the Roma out and even kill some without reprisal.

The simple fact is that there just isn't anywhere left for the Roma to go. France, Germany, Britain, and the rest of Western Europe have no tolerance for the Roma anymore (as if they ever have). The Roma who have lived amongst the Western Europeans for generations are being deported to Romania and Eastern Europe without a second thought. The Roma who have recently moved to the West have no intention of going back east. After all, times are tough back east and only going to get worst as global dept grows deeper.

But that hasn't stopped the socialist in Western Europe from grabbing their pitchforks and torches. Instead the French have shown that they are more than ready to take back up their 33rd SS mentality when the "Gypsy question" is brought up. Instead of tanks the new French socialist use bulldozers to wipe the Roma camps from the map of France. And once again the Romani take to the woods to hide until the coast is clear.

"Respect for human dignity is a constant imperative of all public action, but the difficulties and local health risks posed by the unsanitary camps needed to be addressed," the French Interior Ministry assures us. In the next breath the French government goes on to state, "In no case did the removals take the form of collective expulsion, which is forbidden by law."

And it is in that last statement that the French government admits where its crimes lay. The very act of demolishing the homes and evicting a people based upon the ethnicity of the targeted population is in fact "collective expulsion". But for the French the redemption for their actions is found in the fact that this time around they did not "expel" or deport the targeted population. Instead Hollande's regime has simply demolished their homes and burned what was left.

In essence the socialist are just trying to make life unbearable in France so that the Roma will leave on their own. After all, the Roma are not allowed citizenship or even to immigrate to France. They are not legally allowed to work due to being banned from obtaining proper identification. And without access to schools, medical attention, or proper employment... well life in France is just about as meaningful for the Roma as it would be in Bulgaria, Romania, Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia, or Croatia.

So why in hell would the Roma leave France and go clear across Europe just to suffer a little worse a life than they could have in Paris?

"Why did God even create us," a Romani man was quoted as the bulldozers moved into his camp on August 15Th, 2012. These few words epitomize the very essence of what it means to be a Romani in France today. When the government finds your home to be less than livable they don't just toss some money at it like they do with other French citizens... they bulldoze it. When the French government sees that there is no running water, electricity, or proper cooking areas in your living area they don't follow European Union laws stating that Roma and travelers must have access to camp sites with water and electrical hookups... they evict you and threaten deportation. When French authorities see that your elderly and children have no access to medical attention they don't let you go to free clinic or see a doctor for free like other French people... they tell you to leave and go back to where you came from (for many Roma France is where they came from).

In the past the French nearly solved their "Gypsy question". Under the socialist regimes of old France they sat up camps for the Roma. From these camps the Roma were treated with the same regard as was shown for the Jews, homosexuals, and mentally handicapped. Under old France the Roma had access to one form of medical treatment... euthanasia.


In the picture above these children that appear to be playing "Ring Around the Rosie" are Roma children playing in a French concentration camp called Jargeau. With the way the Europeans regard the Roma today it makes me wonder just how long it will be before images like this one reemerge in modern France. How long can the Western world tolerate the injustices we are seeing the Roma suffer under this new wave of socialism? How long can we stomach the inhumanity we have allowed the Roma to suffer in France and the rest of Europe? 

Some may say it is a far stretch to compare bulldozing flea infested camps to the likes of the Nazi Holocaust. In their minds it is to hard to imagine a civilized world being dragged into the darkness of socialist tyranny like that which Hitler unleashed. To these I say that you are only dreaming. With your eyes closed so tightly even the worst the world has to offer can feel as if it were just a dream. And in your sleep the nightmares socialism has to offer can be made a fantasy comparable to paradise itself if only in your dreams. 

For those of who are awake however... the familiar sounds of jackboots are tapping away the minutes. The familiar victims of socialist greed are already being offered to its flames. And the spread of a ever to conversant darkness has sprawled itself out before our eyes. We have seen this night for what it is once before. And seeing as how we did not learn from its mistakes it appears we are damned to repeat it again. 

August 16, 2012

Shut Your Eyes And Seal Your Lips

Disappear Into The Dark Night
(Screamers Post)

A muted sound, a painful plea for sanity... we wait and watch as the world we loved burns to the ground. This thing that haunts us grows all around us. Engulfing us, it devours our senses as we become numb. A scream... a bloody cry for help... as our original sin claims its prize.

When Bosnia erupted the world sat back and said it was simply civil war. The great western powers placed their bets and hoped their horse won the race. Nobody dared to lift a finger to stop it. Instead we watched as the barb wire was rolled out once again. Concentration camps were built on European soil and we did nothing. Thousands were slaughtered as snipers picked their pluck from the roost of Srebrenica. Serbian dogs began to devour the bones as we closed our eyes. Bosnia's incessant cries for help could not even merit a simple movement of our stiff upper lips as we slept the night away.

Now we face Syria in much the same way. This time the world covers their eyes with both hands as if not let even a glimpse of the violence in. The media hacks have taped our lips and plugged our ears as the flames of Damascus scorch our souls. The blood of thousands pours at our feet while our patient politicians place their bets and once again hope their jackass wins the race.

For nearly my entire life the world has watched Darfur burn itself into the depths of Hell. We have sat back and cheered the Burmese on as they rape and pillage the Rohingya. And all the while we try ever so hard to forget and deny any past wrongs we ourselves may have committed.

Deep inside I have always felt that blood curdling cry as it has clawed at my throat in an attempt to get out. I have never understood how a world so plagued by death and genocide could find any solace in looking away as it happens at our doorstep. It is almost as if we just deny anything has ever happened when we are faced with the victims in the light of day. We literally treat them as the battered wives who wear sun glasses to cover their blackened eyes. Let alone the fact we do nothing when we can hear them being savagely attacked or witness it with our own eyes.

Perhaps the need to scream is what gave birth to Alder's Ledge.

Whatever the reason, whatever the end goal might be... it is here. A faded light in the darkest night. A simple metaphor of what we would like to be... what we wish to become.

I'm writing this post because I can no longer find it in me to report the things I've seen. My eyes feel as if they could bleed as I dig up the images that haunt me. My heart has broken more times in this past year than it has in the rest of life thus far. And my soul needs relief.

It is in times like these that I find it impossible to imagine what life is like for the victims of these things I only read. That is why I have decided to write this post today. I'm going to ask this one time and one time only...

Alder's Ledge is looking for new writers. People who can honestly and accurately report on human rights abuses and genocides both past and present. There isn't any monetary reward for your labor... there isn't any gratitude from those who pass through this page and read your work. Alder's Ledge is looking for people who want to write from the depths of their soul. People who need to scream.

If this describes you please comment below. Your information will not be posted since comments have to be approved before they are posted.

We need screamers here at Alder's Ledge. Millions of people around the world need someone to scream for them as well.

August 11, 2012

Peace be with you Syria

What a beautiful land you will be for our enemies...
(Part of The Darkness Visible post) 

When we think of Syria we do not usually take time to think about the roots of Christianity. Yet it was in Damascus that Saul became Paul. It was here in Syria that the world of Christianity ceased to focus on converted Jews and shifted to the rest of humanity. And in spite of all this the history of Christianity in Syria seems forgotten at best.

Just a century ago a fifth of Syria's population were Christian. Today only about five percent of Syria's population is Christian. And it is this tiny community that is falling into the darkest chapters of Syria's rebellion. Soon the history of Syria's Christians could be more than just forgotten.

Assad has been a cruel dictator. His ruthlessness has made him a villain in the eyes of the civilized world. His tactics have made him a war criminal. And his supporters are just as extreme as their opposition. Yet it is both the brutal regime and the rebels alike that are putting the squeeze on Syria's Christian community.

The armed [rebels] in Syria [have] murdered more than 200 Christians in the city of Homs, including entire families with young children. These gangs kidnapped Christians and demanded high ransoms. In two cases, after the ransoms were paid, the men's bodies were found,” according to a priest in Homs.

It is clear to many outside of Syria that the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is not as pure as some would make them out to be. There are extremist within the rebel movement that are attempting to spread the violence beyond politics and into the realm of genocide. And there are those in the FSA that have perverted the ideals of freedom with their radicalized versions of Islam itself.

As for Assad and his Alawite following, the killing of Christians and the destruction of Christian holly sites has been accepted since the beginning of the the uprising. Assad's loyalist have long been skeptical of the Christians and have often accused the Church of supporting "terrorism". These accusations have long been tucked beneath the socially acceptable charge of "Zionism" due to the belief that all Christians are sympathetic to Judaism and Israel.

For the Christians in Syria the lack of understanding and tolerance within the Muslim communities has simply reached its boiling point. The extremist on both sides of Syria's conflict are now armed with the tools to bring about their wicked goals. Unarmed communities like the Syrian Christians thus find themselves surrounded by snakes with no way to defend themselves. And that is where we find Syria's Church today.

Persecution for their beliefs has long been part of being a Christian in Syria. However in the past 17 months life has become almost unbearable as the fighting becomes more and more sectarian in nature. Entire families have been killed in many attacks while in some attacks entire congregations have been targeted. These brazen attempts at "cleansing" Syria of its Christian past point to a genocide the world dares to overlook. They also leave many asking if Christianity can survive within Syria?

Some within the Syrian Christian community have supported Assad in hopes of keeping the tyrant they currently have for not knowing what kind of monster might replace him. Others are supporting the rebellion in the belief, if hopeful at best, that democracy might actually be snagged from this brutal uprising. All are waiting to see if they will be able to weather this storm.

So as I have ended these post for weeks now I invite you to pray for Syria. Today I ask that you might pray for the Syrian Christians as they face one of the darkest chapters in their long and colorful past in Syria. May G-d show them mercy and guide them through this dark night. May their faith only be strengthened during this storm. And may we never forget their suffering... their contributions to Syrian culture... their dedication to their G-d even in the darkest hours.

August 9, 2012

And The Flames Go Higher

Falling Further Faster
(Part of The Darkness Visible post)

Since about midday Wednesday the Syrian military has been shelling the city of Aleppo with greater ferocity than has been seen since the standoff began. Jets have been dropping bombs nonstop for nearly a day now as their target range from Aleppo to towns north of the city. Artillery's deafening roar has not stopped since Assad ordered his hellish assault. And the tactics being reported are nothing short of barbaric.

Carving a crescent shape behind the civilian neighborhoods the bombings are being used to pin the innocent in while the army attacks head on. Helicopters are being used to patrol any routes of escape while the shabiha roam the rebel flanks. Every living soul in Aleppo seems to be the target.

What information is coming out of Aleppo lends itself to a massacre larger than any seen as of yet in this 17 month rebellion. The use of jets to bomb from the air has made it harder for innocent civilians to escape the barrage of artillery and tank fire. Machine gun fire erupts on the streets leading north out of Aleppo whenever people are seen trying to flee. It appears that Assad will hold to his promise to burn Aleppo to the ground. And he may be making sure that nobody will get out alive.

Of the original 3 million citizens there is an estimated 2.5 million still trapped in the city and its outlying neighborhoods. Most have been without running water or electricity since Assad's siege of the city began. All have been having a hard time trying to find food. And nearly everyone has been under the regime guns for the last 24 hours.

News agencies are reporting that Assad's forces have taken at least one of the key neighborhoods and are pushing toward the north side of the city. We are also hearing that Assad's regime is threatening to use "unconventional" weapons to win the fight in Aleppo. These weapons could include chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction. On the lighter side of the spectrum Assad could also be referring to napalm or high explosives to level larger areas of the city. In any case the dense population in the neighborhoods of Aleppo would spike the death toll sky high if Assad gets even more desperate.

In previous weeks Assad has threatened to use chemical and biological weapons on foreign troops if any nation or the UN tries to intervene. It appears now that the ever more desperate situation of the regime is pushing the use of these weapons closer to reality. Yet the West continues to only worry about the use of these weapons on their troops and against their interest. Apparently the helpless citizens trapped in Aleppo are not a Western interest.

On the rebel side of the battle news has come forward that the Syrian rebels have killed a Russian general who was working with the Syrian army in Damascus. The Syrian rebels produced his military id and several other sources of identification in addition to video of his body. In response the Russians have produced a man on video in Moscow who claims to be the dead general. The flaw in the Russian video is the fact the man in the video was told from a man behind the camera what to say... including his own name... and stumbled through the scripted video. In addition to not knowing who he was supposed to be, the Russian puppet also didn't look anything like the dead general in Syria.

So as I have suspected all along, Russia is doing more than just providing Assad the weapons, helicopters, tanks, and ammunition to kill his own people with. Putin's interest in keeping Syria oppressed has brought Russian military leaders to the battle field where they are reported to be directing the Syrian offenses. And yet despite an invested interest in the battle for Syria, Russia continues to be allowed to vote on the issue in the UN.

For now we still are forced to wait to see what is really happening in Aleppo as the rebels fight on against ever growing odds. So for now we will pray for the safety of those innocent civilians now trapped in the crossfire. May G-d have mercy on them seeing as how Assad will not.

August 7, 2012

With The Dawn Of A New Day

News of Another Massacre
(Part of The Darkness Visible post)

As Aleppo's battle rages the government forces in Syria have taken to spreading out their forces across the country. It appears that Assad's regime is attempting to force the rebel forces to fight a war on multiple fronts. And in Syria, this war seems to be being fought on countless fronts. It's wildfires pop up in nearly every city, town, and village. Not a single person's house is safe as the two sides are forced into combat in people's backyards and living rooms. All the while Assad's forces commit massacre after massacre where ever they go.

In Harbnafsa, in Hama province, the forces loyal to Assad are reported to have laid siege to the town for five hours. Troops and shabiha surrounded the town while artillery and tanks were ordered to fire upon the neighborhoods. The 8,000 plus citizens of the town were trapped as shells and bombs fell on their homes, schools, and businesses. And when the bombs stopped, the shabiha came storming into town.

Local citizens who fled the town were the first to report that around 40 innocent citizens were killed and over 120 more had been wounded. Those who fled reported that shabiha had chased citizens out of town while firing upon them and running them down with knives. Troops loyal to Assad tried to turn fleeing citizens back into Harbnafsa where they would face certain death.

By luck, through hiding, and by the grace of G-d the number of dead seems to be hovering around 40 and 120 wounded. But the terror that was spread over Harbnafsa will not clear any time soon. It is not clear to those who survived whey the government attacked. And it remains to terrifying for many to return home.

For the Free Syrian Army it is a little more obvious just why Assad attacked Harbnafsa. The town is mainly Sunni and is thus assumed to be loyal to the rebels' cause. Yet no weapons were in the town and rebel fighters had not been near the town for some time. So for those working with the rebellion it is obvious that the Alawite militias wanted to drive out the Sunni population. After all, this is a civil war based on Assad's hatred for Sunni Muslims and his desire to keep the Alawite establishment in power.

In this campaign to spread the battle across the country Assad has claimed victory in Damascus even as rebel bombs continue to explode in Damascus. He has spread the war from Lake al-Assad in the East to the Mediterranean Coast in the West. Yet the rebel movement has shown this fight can't be drawn into battles on Assad's terms. This fight will continue to be played out on the terms drawn up by the Free Syrian Army. This will continue to be a guerrilla campaign in which Assad's forces will be made to defend their strongholds.

In the meantime the massacres continue. Assad's militia thugs spread the fear and terror they claim their opponents stand for. The hatred for Assad only grows as the blood continues to flow. And in all this we still wait to see what will come of Aleppo. Will the main battle field of a city turn into a massacre of unprecedented proportions? Or will the Free Syrian Army be able to hold out against unbelievable odds?

Please continue to put pressure on your state representatives in Washington to get the United States government to act more directly in Syria. The people of Syria are fighting for their lives. And we need to act now to help save those still trapped under Assad's tyrannical rule.

August 6, 2012

A View of Shabiha Slaughter

First Hand Account
(Part of The Darkness Visible post)

Bound with zip-ties like so many others who came before him, Mahmoud was taken from his cell with ten other men. None could be directly linked to the rebel movement. None had any crimes for which a death sentence was usually applied... that is until now.

Assad's feared shabiha have been using the technique Mahmoud suffered. Blindfolded, Mahmoud was taken with his comrades in a truck to a contested neighborhood of Aleppo. It was there that the shabiha unloaded the men and lined their prisoners up against a wall. Put on his knees Mahmoud could hear his captors cock their weapons. And for a moment the shabiha's victims there is silence.

Then all hell erupts.

Mahmoud felt the shabihas' bullets rip into his feet and legs as the bullets climbed up his body. When Mahmoud felt a bullet hit his head he told the AP that he thought right there that he was dead. But by a miracle the bullet did not kill him.

When the shabiha left they thought they had sent a message to the rebels. It had been their goal to use this tactic to demoralize the rebel forces ahead of the planned "massive assault" on Aleppo. Mahmoud's would be killers didn't realize that they had left a witness.

Now the world knows that Assad's forces are using war crimes to try and break the rebels' fighting spirit. Now we know that Assad's forces are killing prisoners of war. Yet it seems only the rebels are learning from this new revelation.

Western media seems reluctant to post stories like this one. Some post it with the safety words like "not independently verified" to cover their butts. Others try to speculate while the facts lay right out there in the open. But most just simply hide the stories from Syria behind everything else from the Olympics to Obama.

For Mahmoud the story of Syria's conflict are far to real. The tales of war crimes are now permanently engraved in his flesh. The abuses of Assad will forever be with him whenever he looks in a mirror. And for his family... the horror of Assad's wrath is still a reality as the shabiha continue to threaten their lives.

It is time for us here on the opposite side of the world to act. We need to speak up and tell our representatives in Washington that we don't want people like Mahmoud to die at the hands of Assad's thugs. We need to put pressure on Obama's White House to do more than just use tough talk when dealing with Assad, Russia, China, and Iran. We don't need a boot licking president bowing down to Putin and Assad. We need a president that speaks softly but carries a big stick. We want action when it comes to Syria... the Syrians need action from the West right now.

August 5, 2012

The War On Childhood

Used as Shields and Tortured to Death

The war in Syria has had many casualties. The world has watched as all signs of humanity in Syria have been wiped out. We have seen as Syria has deteriorated into a hellish reality we dare not look upon for any length of time. And perhaps that is why we have been able to miss seeing just how much this battle has cost the most vulnerable of Syria's population. The children.

In Homs and Houla we witnessed countless children being laid to rest. They had been beaten and slaughtered at the hands of the shabiha. Many had had their hands bound by zip-ties and then executed like war criminals. Everyone who was honest enough with themselves knew what had happened. We were the few who looked at the images and read the stories. Yet most of the world looked away.

Now we know that the Syrian army has gone beyond simply abducting children and killing them. They have done more than just rounding up children and massacring them. We now know that Assad's military has been using children as human shields. The soldiers have been forcing children to set on their armor and tanks while the army creeps into contested neighborhoods. The goal is to prevent rebel soldiers from using their dreaded RPGs to disable or destroy the Syrian armor.

In Aleppo we can not tell yet if the Syrian military has used this tactic. But it is not beyond belief seeing as how the streets are narrow and the tanks are unable to engage their targets easily with buildings surrounding them. This urban conflict has left the Syrian tanks exposed to rebels and their mobile weaponry. Thus we are almost certain to see more children being used as shields.

Syrian infantry has been known to force children out ahead of them so that the rebels line of fire is blocked temporarily. The Syrian soldiers on the other hand have no fear of shooting through the children to gain the upper hand. To Assad's troops the children are "expendable".

We all know that this a crime against all humanity. We know that the intentional killing of children is a war crime we can not and should not overlook. So why is the world trying to discuss this sin as though it didn't happen? Why are we asking nicely, timidly, that Russia stop supplying Assad with the ammunition and weapons to kill his own citizens? And why are we not expressing outrage over the killing of children no matter where it is happening?

I don't have the answers for this. I can't even start to assume the answers for these questions. They just haunt me day and night. Every time I find myself with some free time... Syria's children are on my mind. The faces of those who have perished are stained upon the backs of my eyelids. And till this senseless slaughter ends... my goal is to engrave their faces upon the eyes of all those who pass through Alder's Ledge.

And that is where we leave things tonight. We are still waiting to see what Assad has in mind for Aleppo. His troops have been tied up trying to stop the guerrilla combat in Damascus. But we know for certain that soon he will be forced to launch his promised "all out assault" on the rebel forces in Aleppo. And when that time comes we will have to see just how many of the 2.5 million innocent civilians will be killed in the fighting.

As for now we wait, we watch, and for the love of G-d... please pray for Syria and the children currently in harm's way.

Sources Used (note that not all sources used are listed)


Turkish Weekly

The Telegraph

The New York Times

BBC News


The Guardian

UN News Centre

Gulf News

August 2, 2012

Another Massacre... Another Day in Syria

Shabiha Go Door To Door In Damascus
(Part of The Darkness Visible post)

In a town on the outskirts of Damascus, Jdeidet Artouz, the Shabiha have committed yet another massacre. Nobody knows if this is in response for the rebels' killing of four police officers yesterday. But what is clear is that the "ghost" went door to door to round up what they called "terrorist". And as a result somewhere between 30 and 60 innocent civilians were butchered so that Assad's regime could satisfy its need for fresh blood.

In addition to the tension in the capitol of Syria another massacre was carried out in a neighboring suburb of the city, Yalda. In this slaughter the Shabiha again were seen going door to door looking for their "terrorist". And again the innocent civilians who happened to still be in their homes hiding were rounded up and taken away. Lined up in front of brick walls the 20 to 30 men, women, and children were shot and left to rot in the summer sun.

All the while the nearly hundred dead bodies in these too attacks are supposed to be ignored because some human rights groups were "appalled" by the four dead police officers the rebels produced. Nobody seems to be able to realize that the four police officers were armed and fighting back before they were captured. Nobody seems willing to admit that the four officers were used by the Assad regime to oppress the people of Aleppo. But we can't deny that the civilians butchered at the hands at the Shabiha were unarmed and no threat to Assad's tyrannical rule.

Not to argue that the crimes of the rebels is justified by the deaths of the innocent. But how can we compare the beating, tormenting, and killing of four police officers (most likely loyal to their government since they were still armed and fighting when captured) to the savage massacres of innocent civilians?

The answer is that we can't.

As the fighting in Aleppo heats up we are almost guaranteed that we will be seeing more massacres and more humanitarian crises coming out of Syria. The fact that food and water are becoming scarce in the embattled city isn't helping the civilians trapped inside to stay out of the crossfire. Taxi service is actually still up and running in Aleppo as the cabs charge around five times the usual fare. Citizens scramble across streets and flee inside as bullets zip down the streets. Children search for food as jets dive bomb their neighborhoods. And all this happens as the death toll ticks upward despite the fact nobody is counting it.

Now we will have to wait to see what happens next. While it hurts to hear of another massacre... let alone two... we are waiting to see what happens in Aleppo. All the hallmarks of a humanitarian tragedy are there. All the parts for a massacre are lining up. So let us pray that what appears to be just over the horizon does not come. Pray for Syria.

August 1, 2012

An Eye For An Eye

House to House Fighting in Aleppo

What would you do if you were told that somebody you knew had attacked and maybe even killed your family and friends? How would you feel if the person was free to do this sort of thing over and over again? And if you had the opportunity to kill this person would you?

For the Free Syrian Army this seems to have been the case when they captured a police station in Aleppo today. The rebel fighters were led to believe that the police they had taken prisoner as a result were shabiha. And that appears to be the reason these police officers were not just executed but beaten and publicly humiliated before being butchered.

Some believe that the police officers were taken to a near by school where they were gun down. The video shows the four officers being lined up and put on their knees. Then the rebels yell out "G-d is good" and commence to firing into the police. For about a 30 to 45 seconds the gunfire and screaming are all you can hear. The riddled bodies of the prisoners collapse under a hail of bullets. Then the video ends.

This is not a simple execution. This is retaliation. Reprisals for what the hated shabiha have done all across Syria. And yet nobody can confirm that these police officers were actually Assam's militia. No one can tell us for sure that these poor prisoners weren't just the target of the rebels' collective frustrations.

No matter what the case it is still wrong by our Western standards to savagely beat prisoners of war. It is blatantly wrong to execute them... let alone with a barrage of bullets that last long enough to kill the prisoners 10 times over.

Human rights groups that have had sympathy for the rebels' cause now find themselves squeamish when it comes to supporting a fight as brutal as that which Assad himself has fought. Of course it is hard to compare 4 prisoners to 20,000 plus casualties Assad's campaign has racked up. And nobody can say that this is on the same level as slaughtering innocent children to terrify their parents (Assad's favorite method of oppression). But none the less it is the first step toward a bitter end where both sides fight a war with the idea of "an eye for an eye... a tooth for a tooth".

Meanwhile Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary, has noted that Assad is absent from the fight.

"His recent remarks show him for the coward that he is," Jay Carney referencing Assad. "He hides out of sight, encouraging the heavily armed Syria military to continue slaughtering civilians in his name."

Other Western governments have been noticing the same thing as the White House this past week. The Arab League has decided to go to the UN and make an official call for Assad to step down. One can only assume that Assad's lack of courage to come out into the open has spurred this unprecedented course of action onward. After all, since a bomb attack killed four of Assad's top officials on July 18Th the cowardly leader has been missing in action. And it seems that even the Arab League's request may not bring him back out into the open.

So now the world will wait to see what comes of Aleppo.

While Assad's neighbors plead with the West to force him to step down the commercial hub of Syria burns. This decisive battle the West wants to see in Aleppo appears to be a fight that could last weeks. For the the countless number of civilians trapped in the cross fire this battle may end in a humanitarian disaster not seen since Srebrenica. And all we here on the other side of the world can do is wait, watch, and pray.