On August 21, 2014, concerned citizens gathered to read the names of over 1300 Syrians who were killed on August 21, 2013 in the sarin attack in the Damascus suburbs of Ghouta.
The reading took place in front of the White House in protest of the international community’s failure to protect Syrian civilians after over three years of indiscriminate attacks by the Assad regime. Protesters displayed a symbolic red line to protest President Obama’s failure to enforce an appropriate response to the Assad regime’s violation of his “red line.” The names of those who died in the sarin attack of Ghouta were written and read off of the symbolic red line. Over 300 yellow cardboard coffins were laid out on Pennsylvania Ave in front of the White House, representing the hundreds of children who died in the attack, along with a red coffin as a tribute to James Foley who was killed by ISIS just the day before.
“The chemical weapons attack was a gross violation of international law and President Obama’s ‘red line.’ Over half of the victims of the Ghouta attack were women and children who died in their sleep,” said Lina Sergie Attar, an organizer of the event. “We believe that we must remind the world that no man, woman, or child should fear to be gassed to death by their government.”
One year later, as the August heat beat down upon the small group assembled before the White House, it was at times a struggle to hear the names being read-off of the length of symbolic red paper — meant to signify the “red-line” Obama laid down against chemical weapons being used.
“I think my duty, so the world will know someday how brutal and terrifying that day was,” he [(CW survivor Qusai Zakarya)] said.