CAIRO: Among the stage and tents set up in Tahrir Square where thousands returned to mark the anniversary of the Jan. 25 uprising are a stage and tent erected by Syrian youth and activists.
A stand bearing a commemorative, three-pointed star flag of the Syrian National Council – on which passersby wrote messages to the Syrian people – occupied the square’s entrance from Qasr El Nil Bridge, while another unfurled across the square.
A platform next to the tent, activists and prominent members of Syrian opposition groups and figures were chanting and calling for the fall of the incumbent Assad regime in Syria.
Amongst those invited to speak by the organizers, the Syrian National Justice Current, a Syrian group in Egypt, was Ghassan Najjar, founder of the Islamic Democratic Current movement in Syria and an elected member of the National Council of the Damascus Declaration, an opposition front calling for “gradual and peaceful change” in the Syrian regime in 2005.
“I only arrived to Egypt a few days ago. I fled from Syria, not in escape or fear. I only escaped from God’s providence in one place to His providence in another,” Najjar spoke to a cheering Egyptian crowd.
Najjar knows the horrors of the Syrian regime blow by blow. He was subject to numerous arrests, unwarranted house searches, and abuse and transgressions by the Syrian regime since he first called for reform in Damascus in 2000. He was subsequently detained for 12 years under the rule of Hafez Al-Assad.
“On February 5, I declared the start of the Syrian revolution,” he told Daily News Egypt, “I asked the Syrian people to take to the streets, to all the public places and squares [in order] to express their rejection of the Syrian regime and to call for its downfall.”
“The authorities then forcibly entered my house, and I was taken captive and imprisoned for 12 days. At the time [earlier days of the Syrian uprising], I was taken alone [to prison]. I went on a hunger strike. My health state deteriorated and I was released,” he recounted.
Najjar then moved from Halab to Damascus, where he reached out to Syrian revolutionaries and provided them with medicine and other means of aid.
“People [at the stage] are chanting from their hearts. I hope God will help our revolution so that both Egyptians and Syrians might weld and solder together,” he said, reminiscing about the days of Gamal Abdel Nasser when an economic unity was forged between both nations.
“One of the messages we wanted to send was directed to the Egyptian people,” Molham Al-Khan, a Syrian political activist and organizer said, “we wanted to tell them ‘we support your revolution despite mush pain and hurt that you had to face.’”
Al-Khan supports revolutionary and political activity in Egypt that aims “to pressure the Egyptian parliament through its people to fulfill the demands of the Syrian people.”
He cites the removal of the Syrian ambassador in Egypt as one of such demands who, according to Al-Khan, pursues and impedes the political work of Syrian activists in Egypt, along with the ending of ties with the Syrian regime.