The Republic of Fear
09-Apr-2011 (one comment)

His name is a pseudonym, adopted when he ran afoul of the secret police, his movements and whereabouts similarly a secret. The photo he uses for public consumption evokes an eerie sense of familiarity, but isn’t real. A computer-generated amalgam of many men, it is everyone and no one at all. Even his virtual presence is a specter, concealed behind encryption.

In a country where people have lived under surveillance and emergency law for decades, such precautions are necessary to stay out of prison, says Malath Aumran, a Syrian dissident who leads a phantomlike existence, trying to elude the government’s spies. The secret police, he says, “approach me in so many ways.”

Darius Kadivar

Syrian President Bashar al Assad's Iron Fist

by Darius Kadivar on

Recent protests in Syria have brought brutal government crackdown—and renewed paranoia among dissidents.