By Zena Khorfan
On Saturday, March 3rd, Michigan hosted the most prominent English-speaking citizen journalist straight from Homs â€“ the epicenter of the year-old Syrian revolution â€“ Danny Abdul Dayem. Danny is known for his videos exposing the crimes and atrocities of the Assad regime in Homs, appearing several times on CNN and other news organizations. The fundraiser, organized by the Syrian Expatriates organization, was held in West Bloomfield High School and featured musician Sameeh Shuqair.
After a performance by a group of young girls and a tear-jerking video montage by director Samer Kadi highlighting the main events of the Syrian revolution, including the February Baba Amr massacre in Homs, Danny spoke about his experience in Homs, his plans to return, and the brave heroes with whom he has faced the regime. Homs, the â€œCapital of the Revolutionâ€ as it came to be known, has been under constant shelling and gunfire by the Assad regime forces for over a month, with February being the deadliest month since the start of the revolution. â€œBashar Al-Assad made a mistake by hitting Homs hard, â€œ said Danny, â€œHoms is going to hit him back harder.â€ The atrocities the people of Homs witness daily, claimed Danny, erase neither the smiles from their faces nor the passion and drive from their hearts. Danny ended by pleading to the audience to do anything they can to help raise awareness and stop the bloodshed. â€œWe will never go backâ€¦ This revolution isnâ€™t going to stop. What weâ€™re asking for is for you to show your support. The guys there need your support.â€
Dannyâ€™s speech was followed by a fundraiser for Syria, which raised over $525,000, including $40,000 for a working replica of the symbol of the revolution in Homs, the iconic new clock in Freedom Square. The event concluded with a moving performance by musician Sameeh Shuqair, known for his song â€œYa Hayf.â€