Lies But Answers.

Contributed by Jade Harcourt-Harrison (2nd place, U14 Amnesty International Journalism Competition, Thailand)


In Syria it is not difficult to find victims of felonious detention and torture. The conflict between the rebels and the Assad regime has had a massive impact on the country’s citizens. Thousands upon thousands of victimised people go missing in Syria: activists, opposition fighters, journalists, civilians and humanitarian workers. The government’s security police are persistently submitting innocent, harmless people to egregious detentions. These people are not political terrorists; they are not actively rebelling against the regime; they are simply helping people in this war torn environment.  However, because of these selfless acts their lives are destroyed. They all endure inhumane, unacceptable, violations of their human rights. The list of atrocities is shocking.

These victims are…

Snatched from society

Dragged into the depths of prisons

Thrown into rotting cells, darkness swallowing them, concealing them

Shackled to the floor, like animals

Tortured, tortured and tortured

Beaten, whipped, sexually harassed

Pushed into water, no air, burning in their chests

Hung from the ceiling by their hands and legs

Finally, they speak … lies… but answers. They will say anything, to stop the unbearable pain.

An example of these horrific crimes against humanity is an anonymous victim who reported to the BBC about her terrible experience in Syria. She was at a peaceful protest when the army started to open fire; which led to a bloody massacre. She bravely stayed to treat the injured protestors and later fled the city. During her escape the regime’s security police captured her.


“I was subjected to torture, atrocities, insults… They were focusing on the psychological element – insults, humiliation – as a punishment because of what I had done.”

Her ordeal was far from over…

“I was subjected to beatings, whippings, electric shocks. I was detained in a single cell, it was a horrible place under the ground. There were three floors – and I was kept there for one and a half months.”

After these horrendous actions had taken place, she was confirmed innocent in a trial in the country’s terrorism court. She then managed to escape to Lebanon to a refugee camp, continuing to endure hardship and suffering. She applied for a resettlement in England and luckily, this was granted.

Facilitating Debate

Facilitating Debate

However, masses of Syrians are not as fortunate, despite the continued efforts to resolve the conflict and eradicate these crimes against humanity.

We must continue to support humanitarian organizations that are working tirelessly to help these victims of torture. We must not let these abhorrent regimes camouflage their guilt in deceptions and denials.  We must ensure that the plight of these people doesn’t leave the media spotlight.  As the old Chinese proverb states: “it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

Jade Harcourt-Harrison

St. Andrews International School – Green Valley, Thailand



Congratulations to Poppy Mulford on achieving the Global Catalyst Award

Learn to know, Learn to do, Learn to be, Learn to live together

To see Poppy’s portfolio of targets and reflections for the Global Catalyst Award please follow: Poppy’s blog

Poppy being congratulated by the Chairman of Round Square on receiving the Kurt Hahn Medal for contribution to service

Poppy being congratulated by the Chairman of Round Square on receiving the Kurt Hahn Medal for contribution to service

Comment from Poppy:

I first set out to do the Global Catalyst Award in Year 7, and this took me two terms to achieve. In Year 8, I set out to do a specialist  award called the Global Athletic Award, building on the achievement and activities of my Global Catalyst Award.  Doing the Athletic Award was very different to the Catalyst Award as all of my activities for the Athletic Award were focused on one main goal – to improve the life of my young deaf friend by raising money to improve her hearing. This was a great challenge which was quite hard since I had to cycle 459 km but it was worth it because now I feel good about the fact that I have helped someone less fortunate than me.

Poppy was also awarded the Brittany Tang Bursary for Outstanding Global Citizenship and will be awarded the Kurt Hahn Medal for commitment to service from the Round Square organisation in Jordan in October at the global conference.  This award is only presented to one student from all the Round Square schools each year and only if someone has met the criteria set out by the awarding committee.

Congratulations Poppy on being an amazing global citizen.  We look forward to hearing about your progress and achievements in becoming a Global Entrepreneur.