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Free Razan Ghazzawi: Syrian blogger, feminist, and activist

on 11 Comments
Razan Ghazzawi
Razan Ghazzawi
(Link to statement in Arabic)

Authorities in Syria arrested Syrian blogger, feminist, and activist for free expression Razan Ghazzawi on December 4, 2011. She was at the Jordanian border, traveling to attend a conference on media freedom in the Arab world. She was representing the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), where she works as a coordinator.

Razan, a poet and critic as well as an activist, studied English literature at Damascus University and comparative literature at Balamand University in Lebanon. Since 2009, she has blogged on human rights, international solidarity, and Syrian politics at She is one of very few bloggers in Syria who writes under her own name; and she has consistently spoken out for women, for ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities, and for all victims of discrimination or abuse.

For many of us in Egypt, in the region, and around the world, Razan is a mentor, an ally, and a personal friend. Her principled commitment to human rights has been an example to us. Her courage and her willingness to face danger head-on have been an inspiration.

In one of her last blog posts before she was arrested, Razan wrote: “I do not believe in a ‘national consciousness,’ I don’t believe in nationality …Once we drop hyphenations, we become as one.” In that spirit, we say: Razan’s struggle is our struggle. The Syrian people’s battle for freedom is our battle. Now we ask you for your solidarity and support.

What can you do?

1) Contact Syrian diplomatic representatives in your countries immediately. In faxes or phone calls, urge:

  • that Razan Ghazzawi be released unconditionally;
  • that she be protected from torture or ill-treatment while she remains in detention;
  • that all political prisoners in Syria be released;
  • that Syria end arbitrary arrests, torture and ill-treatment of detainees, and violence against protesters and opposition members.

A list of addresses and phone numbers for Syrian embassies and consulates can be found here, or here.

2) Organize peaceful vigils or demonstrations at Syrian embassies or consulates calling for the release of Razan Ghazzawi and all political prisoners in Syria.

Additional resources:

Facebook page “Free Razan Ghazzawi” (Arabic):
Twitter: freerazan#

This statement is signed by:

  • Ahmad Ragheb – Human rights activist-Executive director (Hisham Mubarak Law Center)
  • Dalia Abd El Hameed – Human rights activist – Gender officer (Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights)
  • Mona Seif – Human rights activist (No to Military Trials)
  • Mozn Hassan – Feminist, human rights activist- Executive director (Nazra for Feminist Studies)
  • Scott Long – Human rights activist (Human Rights Program, Harvard Law School)
  • Tarek Moustafa – Feminist, human rights activist (Nazra for Feminist Studies)
  • Yara Sallam – Feminist, human rights activist (Nazra for Feminist Studies)
Scott Long

Scott Long, a visiting fellow at Harvard Law School, served as founding director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. He has been a human rights activist campaigning for sexual rights for over twenty years, working in countries including Albania, Egypt, Hungary, Iraq, Jamaica, Romania, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and the United States. He blogs on human rights issues at

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11 Responses

  1. kalithea on December 5, 2011, 1:19 pm

    I really hope this isn’t propaganda or another American posing as a Syrian blogger. If indeed this is legitimate, then I do hope she’s released but I’ll add this caveat: DOES SHE REALLY THINK THE SALAFIS WILL SUPPORT HER EFFORTS???

    She’ll be very disappointed with the incoming devil she doesn’t know.

    • on December 5, 2011, 2:07 pm

      you are right ,kalithea ,”the incoming devil that she doesn’t know”, but is looming ominously over Syrian’s head”.

    • Rusty Pipes on December 5, 2011, 5:11 pm

      I too hope this isn’t more pink-washing or distraction from America’s or Israel’s Misdeed of the Day. I’d take American diplomats’ statements of concern about people abused or tortured by the Syrian regime more seriously if our government would acknowledge Maher Arar’s grievance.

  2. Avi_G. on December 5, 2011, 5:59 pm

    This is most likely a disinformation piece. In the last few days I have noticed a concerted effort against Syria by various media outlets. Even a technology blog weaseled a piece of anti-Syria propaganda by mentioning an alleged recent ban on iPhones.

    You know how companies diversify and expand into different areas of the market by manufacturing everything from lawnmowers to dental floss? Well, the anti-Syria propaganda has been just that in the last few days.

    An attack on Syria, it would seem, is imminent.

    • Rusty Pipes on December 5, 2011, 6:38 pm

      Slow news days, like right after Christmas, have been popular timing in the past.

    • Rusty Pipes on December 5, 2011, 6:50 pm

      Did you see Rashid Khalidi’s take on Syria in Ha’aretz?

      Q. What is your take on the situation in Syria?
      A. I am most concerned about a civil war and sectarian violence, which could be terrible. There are elements that are pushing to that. That would be a catastrophic outcome for the whole region. External intervention is a very bad thing, but sectarian war would be terrible. I lived in Lebanon, and it hasn’t yet recovered from the sectarian conflict twenty years ago.
      God help the Syrians if that happened. I blame the regime, first and foremost but I also blame the opposition forces, who are supported, I am sure by the outside, particularly the Gulf countries, which are turning this into a sectarian direction.
      This is a regime that has always had a preponderance of minority representation, including Sunnis who were outsiders, Ismailis, Druze, Kurds, Christians, people from the Jazira, people from outside the centre. It was the outsiders and the minorities against the Sunni bourgeoisie in the cities and over time this situation unleashed these sectarian forces, also because of the Syrian involvement in Lebanon. …

      • Citizen on December 6, 2011, 6:45 am

        Looks like Khalidi’s take is right on the money, as far as it goes–here’s an in depth look at the players, going farther:

        It’s fair to say the Syrian people have had enough of Assad, but also that they don’t want a civil war instigated by this giant blend of foreign intervenors–the only thing not mentioned is the obvious, who benefits most from divide and conquer? Will the Russian fleet and US fleet circling the area have a volleyball match?

      • Rusty Pipes on December 6, 2011, 11:51 am

        Thanks. I saw that article a few days ago at counterpunch, one of the few sites that has been following the developments in Syria and spin about the “nonviolent” opposition for several months.

  3. on December 5, 2011, 10:52 pm

    In the meantime, Europe is failing, as it was planned all long.
    Here is a video of a crying Italian Welfare Minister, who did not have a heart to tell the public, that it has to prepare for the Big Sacrifices.
    Hunger , Misery and Poverty are knocking loudly on the door of Italy.
    Thank you corrupted politicians, thank you greedy, ruthless bankers and economists, thank you deceiving, manipulated mainstream media, thank you all the people, who led the brainwashed massess into financial/economical ruin.
    You did a great job. You must be very proud of yourselves.
    Hopefully , you will pay for it, somehow, somewhere, sometime.

  4. DanMazella on December 6, 2011, 10:43 am

    Khaldi then says, the Kurds had rights in Syria.
    Really, thats pretty interesting.
    Campaign for the international recognition of human rights of half a million Kurds “Buried Alive” in Syria

  5. DanMazella on December 6, 2011, 11:27 pm

    kalithea, then why did you want Mubarak overthrown?
    Who exactly did you think would take over?
    As you said, you’ll be very disappointed with the incoming devil you doesn’t know.

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