[Thanks to Mohammad Alkaysi for the images]
The Syrian revolution that began on the 15th of March 2011 has taken a lot of our loved ones including children, university students, doctors, lawyers, farmers, architects, engineers, teachers, pharmacists, politicians, soldiers and even those unemployed. People who decided 40 years were enough.
But there are specific youth who weren’t just sat at home, or even didn’t just attend protests. Youth who went out of their way to expose the Assad regime in ways that would have led them to severe torture in Assad dungeons and death.
Mazhar was one of them. Mohammad Mazhar Mohammad Omar Tayyara was born on the 21 July 1988 and was an inspiration to many, and a life saver to some. Mazhar was a Civil Engineering student in the infamous city of Homs, the centre of the current Syrian uprising. He was known to the outside world as Omar Astalavista.
Mazhar was one of the 1st to attend demonstrations in his area and he was one of the few who consistently put efforts into uniting different sides and different beliefs. He organised one of the first Muslim-Christian protests in Homs against Bashar Al-Assad and continued to preach unity and equality until his final breath.
He continued to protest for around 6 months, only then to pick up a camera and take on one of the most dangerous job in the revolution, filming and also documenting Assad crimes. When told by his friends they had university, he would question “how can we study? How can we attend university? When people need us, people are dying”.
His close friend Ayman quotes “Mazhar went to the 1st protest without me, he then took me to the next one, he held my arm to make sure I was okay, when the security forces began hitting onto us, we were separated. Mazhar then ran back to find me and held me close, he was my brother, my best friend, he told me he thought I had got hurt, and we left together, we did everything together, but he had a passion for this revolution like no other, he was loved by his parents, he was loved by everyone, always happy.”
Another friend Medya from Homs said “Mazhar did not choose death, he chose to expose the truth, he was always happy and positive, he loved sports and always saw the best in people”.
Mazhar and a few friends formed a group to work on the revolution, dividing themselves so some covered media, some covered internet work, some covered on the ground events like filming protests and others would go to shelled areas and collect the weapons used and document what they saw and found.
According to his friends, Mazhar covered most areas of work. He built contacts with English speaking and French speaking media outlets and set up live filming through the internet for protests in his area. He also worked on documenting crimes that Bashar Al-Assad’s forces had committed on the area. He worked on helping the injured and collecting donations for those struggling in the revolution.
On the 4th of February 2012, the city of Homs was shelled by the Syrian Assad army that led to over 202 confirmed deaths mainly in the neighborhood of Khaldiyeh with homes demolished and bodies underneath.
Upon hearing Khaldiyeh in Homs was being shelled, I remembered Mazhar was there. Mazhar was from the neighborhood Insha’at that borders the unstable area Baba Amr. He moved to Khaldiyeh as he spoke French and English and wanted to help cover the events there as there weren’t many bilingual people in the area.
During this night, the regime used all forms of heavy weapons on unarmed civilians, and as expected Mazhar took to the streets to help the injured. However, God chose him to die with the over 202 martyrs that night. He was hit by bomb shrapnels.
I never met Mazhar personally, but I worked closely with him for months, and he was one of the most positive I had seen. Anything I’d ask for, it was a straight “yes!” he wanted to live, breath and die for freedom, and he did. Reading over our conversations, I wish I had checked up on him that morning, or even as I was at the Syrian embassy on the night of his death, watching young men break in, I wish I had spoken to him, heard his voice one last time or just asked if he was okay.
His friends loved him, the amount of people across the world who knew him is phenomenal. Journalists, TV, Radio shows, Human Rights organisations and more… all mourned his death.
But, he chose to leave this world because he believed there was a cause greater than all, he believed in the fight for freedom, he believed in the right to live equally and without fear.
Since his death dozens of banners and posters have been held for him through Syria itself, America, Canada, Europe, Asia and the Arab world. He has had donations given in his name and over 2 ummrahs in his name.
A young man, a student, who gave up everything to live, breath and in the end die for freedom.
You can find some of the pictures/videos he took in Homs, here:
A few articles on the martyr:
A page made by his friends:
Will always work to make you and all the martyrs of Syria proud.