If Homs falls, everyone will fall: Protest signs from the capital of the revolution

30 July 2013

“If Homs falls, everyone will fall, everything will fall.”

This message was first written on a sign by activists in Homs in May, and was shared on their Facebook page again in late July, when Khalidiya neighborhood was under heavy attack by the Syrian military.

Following a month of very intense shelling, Khalidiya fell to the regime on July 29. But the Syrian Revolutionary Youth Group in Homs, the city that was known as the capital of the revolution during the peak of the nonviolent movement, has not been silenced by the attacks against the area.

The activists say it is their duty to prove to the world that Syria is much more than a war zone, and that they will continue to resist until the end, regardless of how much death and destruction there is in Homs and its suburbs.

On Friday, July 26, activists in Al-Waer neighborhood raised a sign at their weekly protest that said, “When good and evil reach their peaks, resistance itself is victory.” Other signs raised at the protest said, “The revolution is in need of two revolutionaries; One who says the truth, and one who understands the truth,” and “Our revolution against oppression will continue until we attain our freedom and establish a just society.”

صورة لمظاهرة في مدينة خمص ... لمصدر صفحة الفيس بوك
Protest in Al-Waer, Homs on July 26, 2013. Source: Syrian Revolutionary Youth Facebook page

Even in old Homs, which has been under heavy attack for the last month as the regime tries to drive out the armed opposition, activists search for opportunities for nonviolent resistance. When the shelling calms, they go out into the streets and raise signs condemning the regime’s siege on the city.

At this point in the uprising, protest signs are one of the most effective methods in which residents of Homs can express themselves. Activists share messages denouncing not only the regime, but also political groups that have offered not much more than empty promises. “Members of the National Coalition are fighting over political positions, and have left Homs to die,” one sign said.

Protest signs also deliver messages reminding people of the early days of the nonviolent movement, when “The Syrian people are one” was one of the most common chants. In Al-Waer, activists wrote, “We warn all revolutionaries - the opportunists among them and the ones being taken advantage of - that the Syrian revolution is for all Syrians.”

And, despite everything Homs has gone through, its people constantly remember their brothers and sisters in other Syrian cities. For example, activists have held signs in support of the Yarmouk camp in Damascus home to the largest Palestinian refugee community in Syria, which has witnessed shelling.

It has become extremely dangerous to hold protests in the streets of Homs. Activists, however, have not given up on delivering their messages. Rather, they gather indoors, raise their signs, and take pictures, that they later share on social media platforms.

Homs has been under siege for more than a year, but the Revolutionary Syrian Youth say to the world, “We are alive despite the killing, free despite the arrests and steadfast despite the destruction.”

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Illustation by Dima Nechawi Graphic Design by Hesham Asaad