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The following is an open letter from artists, academics, and writers condemning the assassination of Raed Fares and Hammoud Jnaid of Kafranbel and Radio Fresh. It has been reprinted here with permission from the letter’s organizers.

We, the artists and writers who sign this statement, condemn the murder of Raed Fares, the man behind the banners of Kafranbel, which became a phenomenon in reflecting the Syrian Revolution’s true essence. We appeal to our fellow academics, artists and writers around the world to stand by us in shedding light on the continued and renewed injustices against the Syrian people.

The phenomenon of Kafranbel’s banners began in one marginalised Syrian town, to let the world know that the Syrian countryside, which has been neglected for decades, would give birth to the new culture. A culture led by Raed Fares and his companions, in which they dreamed of a democratic multi-ethnic Syria, a civilised state belonging to its people and their future, rejecting prisons, killings, censorship and obscurantism.

We raise our voices today, addressing the free people of Kafranbel, who have themselves expressed solidarity with many movements in our world (as expressed in their banners). Fighting all odds, resisting all forms of oppression. Whether local or global forces, Iranian, Russian or ISIS, whether it be at the hands of factions supported by Al Qaeda, which have come with a backward mentality to attempt to defeat the free minds of the Syrian people. The people of Kafranbel have demonstrated to the world that with eight years of confrontation with such enemies, they have shown a rare high example of a popular revolution that can not be reversed or defeated and that they will certainly not be erased from the historical record.

On the 23rd of November, unknown gunmen purported to be al Nusra carried out the assassination of both Raed al Fares and his colleague Hammoud Jnaid. Protests erupted in the town of Kafranbel and in other parts of Syria — and the world — condemning the act and in solidarity with Raed’s message of free thought, justice and respect for human rights. We stand by them firmly.

(Signatures below Arabic statement)

بيان حول اغتيال الفنان والناشط رائد فارس

نحن الفنانين والكتاب السوريين الموقعين على هذا البيان، إذ نستنكر جريمة اغتيال الفنان والناشط المدني السلمي رائد فارس بطل لافتات كفر نبل التي تحولت إلى واحدة من أبرز الظواهر المعبرة عن سلمية الثورة السورية، فإننا نناشد رسامي العالم وكتابه وأحراره تسليط الضوء على ما يتعرض له شعبنا السوري الحر من ظلم متجدد ومتواصل، وهو الذي انتفض ضد الاستبداد ورفض الظلاميين وكل أشكال الاضطهاد الفكري والمعنوي والمادي

إن ظاهرة لافتات كفر نبل انطلقت من أحد الأرياف السورية المهمشة، لتؤكد للعالم أن ذلك الريف الذي تم تجهيلة وعرقلة تنميته على مدى عقود من الزمن إنما كان يخفي خلف فقره وحاجته أنبل الثقافات وأرقاها وأطهرها، ثقافة حملها رائد فارس ورفاقه حلمت بسوريا دولة ديمقراطية متعددة الهويات، دولة متحضرة تنتمي إلى المستقبل وترفض السجون والقتل والرقابة والتعتيم على الكلمة والريشة والأحلام

ونحن نرفع صوتنا اليوم مخاطبين ثوار كفر نبل الذين قادهم رائد ورفاقه للمشاركة ليس فقط في الثورة السورية، بل في كل انتفاضة وحركة مدنية عالمية من الشرق إلى الغرب (وهو ما عبرت عنه لافتاتهم). والذين خرجوا أخيراً في مظاهرة صامتة جديدة شيعوا فيها شهيدهم رائد فارس ورفيقه حمود الجميل ملفوفين بعلم الثورة السورية التي كانت سبب انقضاض كل قوى الشر والظلام على الأحرار. سواء كانت قوى محلية أو عالمية، إيرانية أو داعشية أو روسية أو من فصائل النصرة والقاعدة الإرهابية التي أتت تحمل تخلفها وجهلها لتعمّمه على شعبنا المتنور المعتدل. الذي علّم العالم كله أنه بصموده ثماني سنوات في وجه ذلك كله، إنما يقدّم نموذجاً رفيعاً نادراً لثورة شعبية لا يمكن محوها من تاريخ الإنسانية جمعاء. أكثر ما يعبر عنها هو ذلك النتاج الفني والثقافي البسيط والعميق معاً الذي قدمته كفر نبل وأخواتها في أرياف ومدن بلادنا سوريا الجريحة

بتاريخ 23 نوفمبر مسلحون مجهولون (يرجح أن يكونوا من جبهة النصرة) نفذوا جريمة اغتيال بحق الناشط رائد فارس وزميله حمود جنيد. المظهرات انطلقت في مدينة كفرنبل وبلدات سورية أخرى وفي بعض مدن العالم استنكارا للاغتيال وتضامنا مع رسالة رائد المطالبة بحرية الفكر والتعبير والعدالة واحترام حقوق الانسان

ونحن نشاركهم في ذلك

ورغم حزننا نقول لأنفسنا ولشركائنا في معركة الحرية والكرامة: لا وقت للحزن، ولكن للعمل                            

Signees: (in alphabetical order)

Abdel Rahman Bseeso – Former Palestinian Ambassador / Palestinian Critic

Ahmad Barqawi – Palestinian-Syrian Philosopher

Ali Farzat – Syrian Cartoonist

Amarnath Amarasingam – Postdoctoral fellow, University of Waterloo

Dr. Amr Al-Azm – Professor Middle East History and Anthropology Department of Social Sciences Shawnee State University

Andrew Berman – Distinguished Member of Technical Staff, Bell Laboratories

Asem al Basha – Syrian Sculptor

Aubin de la Messuziere Yves – French former Ambassador

Aubin Florence –  French Artist (Painter)

Azza Bahra – Syrian Actress

Bernus-Taylor Marthe – French Honorary General Curator of Heritage, Louvre Museum

Bronwen Griffiths – Author

Brooke Binkowski – Journalist and debunker, truthorfiction.com

Charles Lister, Senior Fellow, Middle East Institute

Danny Postel – Middle East and North African Studies Program, Northwestern University

David L. Williams – Retired Librarian, former Middle East History Bibliographer, social activist in Madison Wisconsin

Elizabeth Tsurkov – Research Fellow at the Forum for Regional Thinking

Fares al Halu – Syrian Actor

Felipe Aranda – Poet

Francesca Borri – Italian Author and War Correspondent

Frieda Afary – Producer of Iranian Progressives in Translation, member of Alliance of Middle East Socialists

Hani Abbas – Syrian Cartoonist

Hala Mohammad – poet & filmmaker

Haytham Hsein – Syrian Writer

Ibrahim al Jabin – Syrian Writer

Ignacio Guitierrez de Teran – Spanish Arabist, Author

Jason Schulman – American, Lehman College, City University of New York

Joey Ayoub – PhD student at University of Edinburgh and MENA editor at IFEX, Global Voices

Johannes Waardenburg – Dutch Historian (Orientale University Naples, Italy)

Jose Miguel Puerta Vilchez – |Spanish Arabist

Joseph Bahout – Non-Resident Scholar, Middle East Program Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Kelly Grotke – PhD, Writer

Khaldoun al Shama’a – Syrian Critic

Khaled al Nasri – Palestinian-Syrian filmmaker, publisher, poet

Koert Debeuf – Belgian Director Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy Europe & Writer

Leila Nachawati Rego – Spanish-Syrian professor of communications at Carlos III University

Lina Tibi – Syrian Poet & Writer

Lydia Wilson – research fellow, Centre for the the Resolution of Intractable Conflict, University of Oxford

Michael Karadjis – Western Sydney University

Michael Weiss – American Journalist & Writer / Co-Author, ISIS Inside the Army of Terror

Molly Crabapple – American Artist & Writer

Mufeed Najm – Syrian Critic

Mohammad al Rumi – French-Syrian Archeologist and Photographer

Dr. Muhammad Idrees Ahmad – British Pakistani Writer & Academic

Murhaf Jouejati – Ph.D., Professor of International Relations, Emirates Diplomatic Academy

Muwaffaq Qat – Syrian Cartoonist

Nouri al Jarrah – Syrian Poet

Odai Atassi – Syrian Artist

Oz Katerji – British-Lebanese Syria policy advisor, Help Refugees

Patrick Hilsman – Journalist, New York

Pignon-Ernest Ernest – French Plastic Artist

Rami Jarrah – Syrian Journalist & Photographer

Randa Slim, Lebanese-American, Senior Fellow,  Middle East Institute

Riad Na’asan Agha – Former cultural minister of Syria / Syrian Writer

Robert S. Ford – American former ambassador to Syria & fellow at Yale University Jackson Institute

Rohini Hensman – Writer and independent scholar

Salman Shaikh – British-Pakistani Shaikh Group founder and facilitator of Syrian dialogue

Sara Afshar – British Iranian Journalist & Filmmaker

Shadi Hamadi – Italian Syrian Writer & Journalist

Simon Mabon – Director of the Richardson Institute, Lancaster University

Stefan Tarnowski – PhD candidate in Anthropology, Columbia University

Stephen Hastings-King – PhD, Writer

Stephen R. Shalom – William Paterson University of NJ, USA

Steven Heydemann – American Ketcham Professor of Middle East Studies Smith College

Thaer Mousa – Syrian filmmaker

Yasser Munif – Assistant professor of Sociology, Emerson College

Yassin Haj Saleh – Syrian Writer

Ziad Majed – Lebanese Associate Professor at the American University of Paris

 

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