“Al-Assad’s tanks won’t stop us, the revolution will go on until there is a democracy” states a Syrian exile in Catalonia

Mowafak Kanfach asks for the Syrian regime to be taken to the International Criminal Court. He is living in Barcelona because he was forced to leave his country because of political reasons.

CNA / Maria Fernández Noguera / Marc Navarro

June 8, 2011 01:03 AM

Barcelona (ACN).- The Syrian regime’s repressive measures against pro-democracy protesters has caused more than 1,200 casualties. According to witnesses and videos on the Internet, Syrian tanks have rolled into cities, such as Daraa and Damascus, and have fired at protesters. However, Syrian exile Mowafak Kanfach, who, due to political reasons, currently lives in Barcelona, believes that violence is not going to change the will of the people. According to Kanfach, “President Al-Assad’s tanks won’t stop us, the revolution will go on until there is a democracy. The 40-year dictatorship of the Assad family has gone on long enough. “We won’t wait for freedom for another 50 years”.

When he was still a minor, Mowafak Kanfach was taken to a military prison in Syria. He was accused by Hafiz al-Assad’s regime (father of Bashar al-Asad, the current president) of collaborating with the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic political organisation. He strongly denies it and stresses that, back then, there was a witch-hunt against anyone suspected of being a fundamentalist. The Assad family feared that the fundamentalist movement was going to snatch their power. After 48 hours behind bars, Kanfach managed to “miraculously” escape and cross the Lybian-Egyptian border. He considers himself to be very lucky because there are political prisoners who, like himself, were arrested in the eighties, but are still in prison.

Kanfach fervently criticises the bloody repression that Hafiz al-Assad exerted against the Sunni community in the city of Hama in 1982, an episode that has gone down in history as the Hama massacre, where some 20,000 people were killed. Is al-Assad’s son Bashar capable of doing something like that? Kanfach believes that due to the recent wave of Arab revolutions, new communication technologies and international pressure, that extreme scenario is unlikely: “Bashar has no choice but to give up and leave. That’s what the people want”.

Mowafak Kanfach lives in Europe since 1985. After first coming to Spain, he then moved to Germany and lastly, in 1995, he settled in Barcelona, where he established the Casa del Llibre Arab (the Arabic Book House), a cultural centre in the Raval neighbourhood, near Les Rambles. He didn’t get his first permit to return to Syria until 2008 in order to attend his mother’s funeral.

Fear of repression

Exiled Syrians in Catalonia have not created any association or organisation for fear of repression. They fear not only repression against them, but especially against their relatives in their country of origin. In Syria, “inflation is very marked and people live in abject poverty, they can survive thanks only to contributions sent from abroad by their émigré relatives”. As a result of the protests against the government and its subsequent repression, the situation has worsened in the last two weeks. Kanfach, who is always in touch with his compatriots, assures that in the city of Daraa there is no light, no water and no milk for the children.

Furthermore, Kanfach denounces “there are injured who are not seen at the hospital because they are against the government” and “in the hospital of Homs city, they not only kill the wounded, but traffic with their organs”. In view of the regime’s atrocities, Mowafak Kanfach demands that Catalan politicians and jurists publicly defend the rights of the Syrian people and denounce the Syrian president and his regime for crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court.