On March 5, a weekly program on the Syrian public TV called “Watchful Eye”, aired the confessions of a “terrorist group” consisting of three young people who admitted to have been dealing with armed gangs, getting paid with bags of weed, and giving misleading news about Syria to tendentious and biased TV channels, conspiring against the country.
The program that often portrays Syrian intelligence as on top of their game, mighty warriors who never sleep watching over citizens, has arisen the fury and astonishment of anti-regime activists, instead of the ridicule and mockery it is usually help up as an object to.
Maryam Hayed, Shiyar Khalil and Hazem Wakid, the three people who were in the show, are all “civil activists who have consistently worked against sectarianism, how in hell can anyone believe they are terrorists!.” says Maissa Saleh, a former detainee and a friend of the three young people.
The renowned actor and anti-regime activist “Fares Helou” shares Maissa's shock and speechlessness: “The criminals working in Syrian regime's media once again perpetrate their own sleaziness, by forcing detainees into confessing crimes they have never done. What distinguishes this degenerated tape from any other, is the fact that the three activists are known for their peaceful activism and rigorous fight against sectarianism and militarization!!” then adds with angry denunciation “Under torture, the confessors have even given the names of few other activists, young men and women, whose only crime is a belief that toppling the regime is mandatory for building the Syria we all deserve.”
Activist Mohammad al-Attar on the other hand, went even deeper to analyze this incident “With all due respect to those trying to prove the recent video tape as false, I believe they are disregarding the core issue, which is that the regime shows indifference and apathy in dealing with its audience. It is obvious now more than ever that presenting a coherent story is not as important, what matters to the regime is: openly demeaning detainees and forcing them to be submissive and obedient.”
Others, who have had personal contact with the group over the years had a different reaction, a mixture of sadness and disbelief.
Mustafa Haid, brother of detainee Maryam tweeted: “Out of a sudden I watched my detained sister giving forced confessions on the Syrian TV, where she was presented as a terrorist who takes money to fabricate protests in Damascus. What happened to my sister happened to hundreds of detainees. This is the regime we want to topple. Freedom to the detainees."
While activist Yamen Hussein notes in disdain “airing video tapes of detainees, in which they are forced to say whatever the regime pleases, is torture not only for them, but also for their families and loved ones. Take pride in your frail faces and frizzy hair, it's a recognition that you stood up against a tyrant. Freedom for you all.”
Mohammad Sami al-Kayyal, a Syrian journalist and a friend of Hazem's wrote: “This is a gray version of Hazem, his broken eyes, his now washed-off face seen usually in governmental offices, prisons or army divisions. Hazem, I belong to the smell of hash cigarettes you confessed upon and to all of these colors you carry in one hand!”
Syrian Red Crescent volunteer Maryam, civil activist Shiyar, and artist Hazem are suffering an unknown fate in Assad prisons, after being used as a pawn in a mind-game the regime is playing, to warn those who dare to oppose it: FEAR ME!