We go to Syria to speak with human rights activist and attorney Razan Zaitouneh, who provides us with an update of the violent government crackdown on pro-democracy protest movement across the country. “We want the whole world to know what’s going on,” Zaitouneh says. “We all know the truth. We all know that the only terrorist group in the country is this regime, who has been killing its own people for more than four months, who has been arresting dozens of thousands of people only because they want their freedom.” [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: We have just gotten someone on the phone within Syria, and it’s very difficult to do this, so we want to go right to Razan Zaitouneh, who is the lawyer, a human rights activist in Damascus, who’s been reporting on the recent protests for various online networks.
Welcome, Razan. Right now, what is happening where you are?
RAZAN ZAITOUNEH: As you know, yesterday there was 24 people got killed in different areas around Syria, from Homs to Hama to Latakia and some suburbs of Damascus. There’s people who got killed in Erbin, in the suburb of Damascus. Five people got killed, one in al-Madamiya, one in Al Kiswah, and 14-years-old child in Zabadani, also suburb of Damascus. So today there will be funerals of those people. One funeral has started in Erbin. There was more—more than 40,000 people who participated in this funeral, which turned to a protest, a huge protest, chanting against the regime and for freedom. And we got the news now that the security and the army shoot against the protesters and used tear gases and arrested many people in attempt to end this protest.
AMY GOODMAN: What do you think needs to happen, Razan? And thank you very much for joining us. First, why you’re willing to risk your safety simply by speaking on the phone, since I know a number of people have been tracked in that way?
RAZAN ZAITOUNEH: We have a message. We want the whole world to know what’s going on. It’s really—I cannot believe it, that after all this time, after about more than four months, international society still deal with no seriously with the situation in Syria, in spite of what we all sacrifice to make the information reach, to make the world know what is going on on the land. About 2,000 civilians got killed during last four months. Until now, no real reaction from the international society. But we insist we will go on to make the world know what’s going on, to put pressure on the world to do their duty to the Syrian people.
AMY GOODMAN: There are no foreign journalists allowed inside. The Syrian government claims they’re attacking armed forces with guns. What is actually taking place on the ground, Razan?
RAZAN ZAITOUNEH: About the first point, yes, there is no journalists on the ground. The Syrian citizen, he is doing the whole thing. He is the one who protests on the line. He is the one who work—the journalist who take photos, who shoot videos, who sends this information to the media. He is doing everything by himself.
About the criminals or armed groups on the line, we all know the truth. We all know that the only terrorist group in the country is this regime, who has been killing its own people for more than four months, who has been arresting dozens of thousands of people only because they want their freedom.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break for 30 seconds, then come back. Razan Zaitouneh, lawyer, human rights activist, speaking to us from Syria. Many have turned off their cell phones, not wanting to be tracked. We also want to thank our guest, Ziad Majed, who joined us from—assistant professor of Middle Eastern studies at the American University of Paris, who works on Lebanon and Syria.