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March 25, 2012

Amal Hanano :The Real Me and the Hypothetical Syrian Revolution

Nine months ago my daughter, Tal Malouhi, a student in high school, was arrested by one of the branches of the security for reasons we do not know until this moment and I do not know anything about her fate. Sir, I knocked on the doors of all the security agencies and the presidential palace and all the official channels possible in order to be assured about my daughter or know anything about her fate or the cause of her arrest, but to no avail. Finally, I received a promise from one of the security authorities that my daughter would be released before the month of Ramadan starts. But, Ramadan is about to end now and Eid will come soon after, while our family is still suffering for our lovely daughter. Mr. President, I cannot describe to you after this disaster on our family, the amount of suffering caused to all of us. Your daughter Tal is a smart student and she loves her country and its people. She writes what comes to her young mind in honesty and transparency and in line with her age. Sir, We have no one left for us, but to address you as the father of all the Syrians in order to save the life of my daughter as she is at a tender age and does not understand anything in politics. And may you long live for our country.

Letter to Bashar al-Assad from Ahed al-Malouhi, September 2010

In February 2011, Ahed al-Malouhi found out her daughter’s fate. Tal was sentenced to five years in prison by the State Security Court on charges of “disclosing information to a foreign country,” or treason, after being detained since 27 December 2009. Her crime? Blogging poems about Palestine.

Tal was seventeen when she was arrested becoming the youngest known prisoner of conscience in the world. In addition to enduring over two years in Assad’s dungeons, the innocent girl from a conservative family in Homs has been slandered by society and her reputation has been ripped to shreds.

Tal blogged in Arabic, under her own name. Sometimes I wonder, if she had known her fate, would she have chosen a pseudonym?

read on here

The Canonical “Arab Tyrant’s Manual”

These are the 80-something tweets that formed the original “Arab Tyrant’s Manual”. Although most were posted by me, I cannot claim exclusive credit for them. Many were “retweets”, as I collected and restated other people’s contributions. I include them here as-is, hash-tags included, only editing to correct typos.

For a (rather lengthy) introduction to the Arab Tyrant’s Manual, click here. The full manual  is here

> Help me compile an “Arab Tyrant’s Standard Revolution Response Manual”. What would be on it?”

> So an Arab Tyrant would, in response to revolution: Offer money like pay increases… #ArabTyrantManual

> Say: “This is not X” (where X is the country that had a revolution just before) #ArabTyrantManual

> Uniformed police, followed by plainclothes thugs, followed by the army. #ArabTyrantManual

> Blame Aljazeera, then attack it, then shut it down in the country. #ArabTyrantManual

> Blame it on “foreign agendas.”

> Blame it on a conspiracy. The more ridiculously bigger, the better. Our country is so awsome that everyone is trying to bring us down. #ArabTyrantManual

> Say “We support the youths” (while their own police force is beating the crap out of the youth) #ArabTyrantManual

> Blame it on Islamists. Start small (Muslim Brotherhood) then go all the way to the big boogie man, Alqaeda. #ArabTyrantManual

> Ignore events completely, realize late how serious things really are, and give a midnight speech to the nation. #ArabTyrantManual

> Warn of factionalism, sectarianism, tribalism, and many other scary “isms”. #ArabTyrantManual

> Reshuffle the cabinet. Then reshuffle it again. #ArabTyrantManual

> Get thugs out of jail, give them bludgeon type weapons, and let them loose upon the people. #ArabTyrantManual

> Burn down your own police stations and blame it on the protesters. #ArabTyrantManual

> Act surprised when suddenly, fire breaks out in prisons where political detainees are held. #ArabTyrantManual

> Make a teary, emotional display about how much you love your country and how you spent your life serving it. #ArabTyrantManual

> Insist that everything is fine. #ArabTyrantManual

> When things get bad, shut down mobile networks & social media. When they get really bad, shut down the internet. #ArabTyrantManual

> Claim ignorance. “I didn’t know that there were these problems, and I will punish those responsible for it!” #ArabTyrantManual

> Say that only a tiny percentage of the people are against me. The majority are with me. Cite the latest elections. #ArabTyrantManual

> Say that “Change must take place” and promise great and amazing things if those kids would just stay at home. #ArabTyrantManual

> Addition to #ArabTyrantManual: Promise radical change. Say that this regime that remained static for 40 years can reform in 9 months.

> Say that you were going to retire soon anyway and had no intention of running for the next elections. #ArabTyrantManual

> Say that you are planning to peacefully relinquish power at the next election, scheduled 12 years later. #ArabTyrantManual

> Get yourself a shameless liar and make him Minister of Information & head of state TV. #ArabTyrantManual

> Insist on following the constitution. Ignore them when they say you didn’t care about the constitution before. #ArabTyrantManual

> Complain on behalf of “average citizens” that normal life is being held up due to the protests. #ArabTyrantManual

> Say that you ruled the country out of love and service and you have no desire for power and have no money. #ArabTyrantManual

> Have a military parade. Say it’s for the nation. It’s actually to show them what’ll come at them if they revolt. #ArabTyrantManual

> Order the interior minister to kill them all. Then sack him for his heavy-handedness. #ArabTyrantManual

> Say that the kids were pure of heart, but were tricked by “foreign agendas”. #ArabTyrantManual

> Say that the kids were tricked into protesting through X (KFC, Nescafe, drugs, sex, etc.) #ArabTyrantManual

> Kill a thousand. And then say that you have no idea how they died because you haven’t used force “yet”. #ArabTyrantManual

> Stage demonstrations in support of your rule. But don’t give them flags & banners. Give them 50 bucks & an AK47. #ArabTyrantManual

> Say your country doesn’t need a revolution coz it already had one. Cite the year you came to power. #ArabTyrantManual

> Let your thugs loose on the protesters. Say that these were unfortunate clashes between pro- and anti- demonstrators. #ArabTyrantManual

> Bring in the boogie man of your grandfather’s generation: Colonialism & imperialism. #ArabTyrantManual

> Call your favorite brown-nose celebrity (singer, dancer, soccer player, etc.). Ask to talk on TV in your support. #ArabTyrantManual

> Use religion. Call your state mufti and promise him a pay raise for the proper fatwa. #ArabTyrantManual

> Hold a press conference to suck up to journalists. Then, send thugs after them to punch them and smash their cameras. #ArabTyrantManual

> Say that the protests started as a pure youth movement but were “”hijacked”” by a foreign agenda. #ArabTyrantManual

> Foreign agenda X (where X can be: Islamism, Zionism, Israel, Iran, USA, colonialism, imperialism…) #ArabTyrantManual

> Have a charming interview with a famous journalist. Amanpour would do. #ArabTyrantManual

> Say that your people are not ready for democracy. You have to pave the way to it, by acting like a complete asshole. #ArabTyrantManual

> If foreign nations criticize, blast them for not understanding your culture. “In our culture, I rule. They obey.” #ArabTyrantManual

> Don’t allow funerals. Hold the bodies. Funerals become demonstrations. #ArabTyrantManual

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