DATE CHANGE: Wednesday, April 23, 4:10 PM (Room 122)
Rising Up Against Assad's Warcrimes: Citizen Journalist Qusai Zakarya Reports on Syria
A Man Who Witnessed a Massacre and Survived a Chemical Weapons Attack and a Starvation Siege Ordered by Syrian Dictator Bashar al-Assad Tells His Stories.
Qusai Zarkarya lived under siege for over a year. He watched his friends, family and neighbors run out of food and medicine. They began the slow and painful process of starvation as the regime employed a “kneel or starve” policy. Vulnerable civilians – particularly children – now suffer from malnourishment and several have died of starvation. Zarkarya lost over 30 pounds. In August 2013, Moadamiya was hit by chemical weapons, and Zarkarya was exposed to the sarin gas.
Zarkarya: “I was up performing my early morning prayers when I heard the missile alarms coming from Damascus and within seconds it hit our town. One of the missiles fell about 150 meters away from me. I tried to awake my friends but I wasn’t able to scream or talk. My chest felt on fire. I punched my chest very hard to be able to talk, and after several hits on my chest I screamed and was able to wake them."
Kassem, using the pseudonym Qusai Zakarya, and a borrowed cellphone, succeeded at bringing the story of besieged Moadamiya to the world. Because of his English language skills, he was able to provide western media with many interviews and constant updates about the fate of thousands of civilians living under brutal siege in Moadamiya.