Huffington Post: At first look, Farouq Al Habib would seem an unlikely revolutionary. He wears thick, round glasses and speaks with a distinguished and professional air. A banker by trade, he is fluent in Arabic, French, and English. He holds a BA in economics, an MA in international business, and a doctorate in business administration. And in 2011, he founded the Homs Revolutionary Council and helped to lead the Syrian Revolution.
Habib doesn’t look like the “Syrian rebels” depicted on TV or in newspapers. He is not dressed in military gear, and there is no gun strapped to his person — but Habib is quick to note that the Syrian Revolution did not begin with guns or war cries. It began peacefully, with protesters marching unarmed through the streets, with Syrians in the wake of the Arab Spring demanding their own democracy.
Thinking back to the beginning — to 2011, when he stood with “hundreds of thousands of Syrian people marching in the streets, peacefully, carrying the flags of the independence of Syria and calling for freedom and democracy” — that, Habib said, “is the Syrian people. That is the real Syrian people.”
Habib was forced to flee to Turkey in 2013 when the Assad regime threatened his life, he said. But he is still active in helping those inside the country. Today, Habib is the coordinator and program manager for the White Helmets, a search-and-rescue unit operating to save civilian lives inside Syria. The more than 1,000 volunteers who make up the White Helmets are trained by the Red Cross, and the Syria Campaign, a nonprofit registered in the U.K., coordinates fundraising efforts for the group. [Continue reading…]