"The fight against racism is a human and universal cause that affects us all.” These are the words of artist Aziz Asmar, who along with his friend Anas Hamdoun painted a tribute to George Floyd on a destroyed building in Binnish, Syria.
Binnish is in the province of Idlib, which has become the last refuge for anti-authoritarian Syrians over nine years of brutal counterrevolution by the fascist Assad regime and its international imperialist and jihadist partners. Since rising up for freedom and dignity in 2011, everyday Syrians have been systematically slaughtered, disappeared, tortured, and displaced — yet they continue to resist.
Idlib is now home to three million civilians, over half of whom fled there from other parts of the country. The province has been facing brutal aerial and artillery bombardment by the Syrian regime and its Russian ally for years, while reactionary religious militias have repeatedly attempted to co-opt and crush the grassroots democratic structures and survival programs Syrians have painstakingly established there.
Despite all this, upon receiving news of George Floyd's murder by MPD cops, Asmar and Hamdoun created a tribute. “We also wanted to draw attention to the suffocation here in Syria,” Asmar said, referring to the repeated use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime against the civilian population. “We have not been able to breathe here for a long time."
"We do not intend to compare what is happening here with what happens in other places," emphasized Asmar, "but for us it is important not to lose sight of what happens to the rest of humanity."
Efforts are underway to do a mural in Minneapolis in solidarity with the struggle in Syria.