“Little Gandhi”, a film about the life of Syrian activist Ghiyath Matar, went on display in the Turkish city of Istanbul on Wednesday. The event was organized by the Syrian Coalition to pay homage to the prominent peaceful activist who was detained and tortured to death by regime forces September 10, 2011.
The show had scenes documenting the early days of the anti-regime peaceful movement in Ghiyath’s hometown of Darayya, west of Damscus, and the hardships the town faced. It also described the reasons that pushed the peaceful movement into militarization, after it began with distributing drinking water and flowers to regime’s soldiers.
At the opening of the show, Secretary-General of the Syrian Coalition Mohammed Yahya Maktabi said that “the Syrian Revolution came as a natural and inevitable result of the regime’s decades-long denial of people’s rights and legitimate demands. These demands eventually culminated in a popular uprising by various segments of the Syrian society.”
Maktabi added that “the Syrian people declared the peaceful revolution for freedom and dignity in the streets of Syria’s cities and towns, making olive branches as a symbol of this revolution and chanting: The Syrian people are one.”
Maktabi continued: “As the Assad regime met the peaceful protests with unspeakable violence, unleashing the forces of its security and military to crush it, soldiers and officers began to defect and declare their support for the people. The regime’s brutal crackdown on the peaceful demonstrations prompted army defectors to organize themselves into groups to defend the demonstrations.”
Susan Matar, Giyath’s younger sister, said that their father used to advise Ghiyath to be cautious during the Friday demonstrations, to which he would replay: “Either freedom, death or detention.”
Susan called upon Syrian opposition politicians to live up to the burden left by the fallen heroes. “It is not enough to celebrate their actions and perpetuate their memory; we should remember that they left behind a burden and a message that we should remain faithful to. We also need to rise above self-interest and think of the Syrian people as a whole.”
Susan urged the attendants “to take especial care of the families of the fallen heroes, especially regarding education, and to not stop at honoring their names.”
“Despite all the odds, the Syrian Revolution gave birth to symbols and icons that will live forever. Tending to the families of the fallen heroes undoubtedly serves the revolution and will eventually pay off,” Susan added. (Source: Syrian Coalition)