Campaign: Free Bassel

I added the following comment to Hisham’s post (global voices) regarding


My comment:

Dear Hisham,

thank you for your blogpost.
I believe it will bring a smile on Bassel’s and Noura’s faces.

I just came back from Syria and I met Noura, Bassel’s wife and we’ve had a long conversation. Noura is a very brave, warm and intelligent woman. Bassel can be very proud of her. They see each other twice a week. The Syrian government has lifted her travel ban – but she will stay in Syria and take care of Bassel and many other political prisoners for whom she volunteers. Bassel himself seems to be in OK condition regarding his physical and mental health. For now.

Together with Bassel there are currently 30.000 (estimated number) political prisoners in Syria’s government prisons. The prisons seem to be not necessarily controlled by government, the prison security apparatus has become an institution of its own during the war. And arbitrariness is what we see. Hardly anyone of the detained is facing a trial, many of them disappear – and no one knows where. The number of requests sent to the officials is countless, relatives very often have no idea what has happened to their loved ones.

It is very, very difficult to identify those in this system who need to be addressed in order to help and in order to achieve something. This is hard and above all long lasting work. And you never know what the outcome will be. But this is THE crucial point. Without them nothing will be achieved.

It can’t be done over night. And it can’t be done with campaigns who don’t reach into this system. And just imagine if they would be heard within this security system – what would be the effect? Frankly speaking – it’s hard to imagine that the effect will be a positive one for the specific person. Unfortunately.

So what can we really do ?
What will have a positive impact on Bassel’s situation?

We were discussing this on a panel at re:publicca14 where two Bassel campaigners from San Francisco presented Bassel’s case. And I’d like to take the chance here with this audience to discuss our options … and I hope you will allow this.

The most promising option from our discussion was to create a win-win-situation for all sides involved: the government, the security people, the prisoner. Imagine a delegation of “high Western officials” would travel to Syria handing over a list of prisoners’ names to government / security officials. If the prisoners would be released everyone would become GOOD PRESS … positive media awareness. Could be one way … still the question remains how to identify those who are really controlling the prison.

Any ideas, comments, suggestions are welcome … !
Please start this discussion and keep up your great work. It is essential.



Additional remark: What came into my mind after I posted the comment (which is waiting for moderation), that if one would look deeper into the process of reconciliation in Homs, Syria, one could learn about strategies how to approach this complex issue, how to set up a network which could launch an effort.