Syrian activists read names of the dead: "Silence only keeps the killing machine going"

Jun 4, 2014

Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The conflict in Syria has faded from the headlines—but the country’s brutal war continues.

Protesters in Detroit and cities across the globe tried to get that message out Tuesday, by reading aloud the names of 100,000 people killed in the conflict.

Members of Michigan’s Syrian community and their supporters chose the Underground Railroad monument on the Detroit Riverwalk for their remembrance.

Jihad al-Harash is from Damascus, but has been living in Michigan since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in 2011.

Al-Harash says he regrets not being in Syria when “the revolution” started. He doesn’t like it when people call the conflict a “civil war.”

“They are Muslims, they are Christians, they are all kinds of Syrians,” al-Harash says of anti-government forces. “The regime is trying to say it is civil war. It is not.”

Muna Jundy says Syria has gone from “crisis” to “problem” on the world stage—and “problems are something you can live with for a long time.”

“So we try to do these things, to keep the spotlight on the fact that it’s not just a problem,” Jundy says. “People are dying, and continuing to die. And silence only keeps the killing machine, Bashar al-Assad, going.”

The name-readings were also timed to coincide with Syrian elections this week.

Assad is expected to win another term easily. But critics dismiss the elections as a “farce” and a “parody of democracy.”