Former Syrian MP working as street vendor in Canada

Former Syrian MP working as street vendor in Canada

3 min read
29 Sep, 2016
Images have emerged showing a former Syrian MP who fled to Canada now working as a street vendor. The pictures sparked heated debate among pro and anti-opposition Syrians.
Homsi was imprisoned for five years in 2000 for protesting government abuses [Facebook]

A former Syrian lawmaker and longtime opponent of the Damascus regime is now selling coffee, tea and the popular Middle Eastern drink sahlab on the streets of the Canadian city of Vancouver.

Images of Mamoun al-Homsi, who defected to Canada in 2010, serving hot drinks at a street stall in Vancouver have been widely shared on social media this week.

The former independent MP was imprisoned for five years in 2000 after he went on a hunger strike to protest against human rights abuses perpetrated by the regime.

Pro-Assad Syria Channel Today posted the images of Homsi on its Facebook page with the caption: "Here is Homsi on the streets of Canada selling coffee. This type of work is not shameful, however, we have this to tell him: 'look at where you were and what you've become."

"The likes of you do not deserve God's grace. This is the result of your 'freedom'. The question is where is the Saudi king, who backed your revolution? Why have you not gone to a Muslim country and instead chosen to go to the infidel West?" it added.

Opposition activists have attacked the regime supporters, saying there is nothing shameful about Homsi's job and he sacrificed riches for his principles and dignity.

Homsi himself lashed out at his critics on Monday saying that he and his young son Mustafa had been photographed by someone without their permission, and he was simply trying to support his family.

     
     

Homsi has vowed to continue his work selling
cakes and drinks [Facebook]

"I am going through tough times similar to many of our ill-fated people. After much effort trying to find a job, which has been hard because I am still mastering English, I decided to start baking cakes and making sahlab with my wife to sell in the street," he said in an online statement.

"As I was at work with my son Mustafa, I was approached by a pro-Assad whore with no sense of shame or humanity who began to ask questions and trying to take pictures. Me and my son urged her not to and she left."

Homsi added that the woman then covertly photographed him from a nearby building and sent the candid snapshots to "vile, insolent and immoral" media outlets back in Syria.

He said that he would not be deterred and would continue his work on the streets of Canada.

He signed the statement as "street vendor of Syrian sahlab and Arabic coffee, Mamoun al-Homsi".

In 2006, Homsi was released from prison and fled to Lebanon with his wife where he lobbied foreign governments to support democracy and human rights for Syrians.

Homsi was reunited with his two eldest sons last December after 15 years of separation when they were granted asylum in Canada. His eldest son Yasin was detained in 2011 for seven months by the Syrian regime due tohis father.

Homsi has come under fire for sectarian rhetoric against Alawites, the sect of Shia Islam Assad belongs to.

In 2011, he said he would turn Syria into "the graveyard of the Alawites" and called for the downfall of the "despicable political Shia".