I am Not Just a Number campaign

11 October 2013

No one really knows the exact number of people arrested, kidnapped or killed in Syria, which makes it hard to follow and campaign for all such cases. The stories of very few of these people have actually been told, thereby minimizing people’s knowledge of the regime’s dark actions. Many detainees have become numbers that tend to show up on the news as a numbing statistic. However, every one of them is a story, and every one of them is a person who belongs to a family and has friends and interests. They might have pets, or a favorite TV show. But because there is too much to cover, the detainees have became numbers. Amid increasingly numbing media coverage, Syrians themselves are trying to counter this trend through social media sites, especially Facebook. One example of such initiatives is the I am Not Just a Number campaign.

The Facebook page created for the campaign on Aug. 31, 2012 called for people to participate in different events that were taking place around the world in support of Syrian detainees.

Every Sunday at a specified time, Syrians living abroad gathered to take part in initiatives to honor the detainees. Some examples are candlelight vigils, flash mobs, art exhibitions at galleries or in the streets, and sharing posters reflecting the way the detainees are treated inside the regime dungeons and the different types of torture. These initiatives aimed to pressure Western governments to use their diplomacy to stop the massacres against the Syrian population.

Later on, groups in Syria joined the campaign, including the group A Revolution and a Half, which held a graffiti campaign calling for the release of detainees. The graffiti campaign took place alongside a protest under the name of “Damascus and its suburbs, blood flows and no one cares about children who are tortured.”

In order to help turn the numbers into names, thereby accomplishing the goal of the campaign, the organizers created a form that could be used by Syrians to report on stories of people or groups of people who had been detained by the Syrian regime. The form allowed friends and relatives of disappeared individuals to record and archive their detention.

The forms were passed on to the France-based Syrian European Human Rights Organization, managed by lawyer Qusai Moslamani. The forms will provide the following:

  1. An archive and record of all the crimes committed in Syria that violate international laws and human rights standards, for current detainees and those who have been released.

  2. An easier way for activists and lawyers to keep track of detainees.

While Syrians continue to struggle for Freedom, the I am Not Just a Number campaign remains a collective responsibility. Help us support those who are detained and disappeared behind bars with no real charges against them.

I´m Not Just a Number on Facebook

I´m Not Just a Number on Twitter


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Illustation by Dima Nechawi Graphic Design by Hesham Asaad