A reader writes:
I want to bring to your attention the detention of my friend and Middlebury College classmate, Pathik "Tik" Root, by the Syrian government 13 days ago. Tik is, like myself, an Arabic student, and after being evacuated from his study abroad program in Alexandria, Egypt in January, he returned to the Middle East to continue his language studies at Damascus University. On March 18th, Tik was heading across the Old City to meet a friend and it is believed that while on his way he was arrested by Syrian authorities in the vicinity of a protest at the Umayyed Mosque. Tik was not participating in the protest, nor is he a political activist, he is simply a 21-year-old student who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
For almost two weeks no word has been heard from Tik.
He has been denied contact with his family, no consular or international aid workers have been allowed to confirm his well-being, and the Syrian government has released
no specific information as to his location or health. He has been charged with no crime, and no reason has been offered for his initial arrest or the continuation of his detention. Such treatment is in direct violation of the Geneva Protocols and international standards of conduct, and on a more human scale, has been a source of immense concern for his family and friends. His parents have hit dead end after dead end in trying to confirm anything about their son's status and the possibility of his release.
Thus, I'm writing to ask you to use your power as a member of the press to raise awareness of Tik's story. As a fan of your blog and writings, I know how many others like myself check in with The Dish regularly and depend upon it for important updates and perspectives. To have you call attention to Tik's plight would immensely help the cause of an American citizen who has done nothing wrong and yet is being held without any sign of release in sight, and whose parents and siblings just want to him to come home safe and sound.
Here is a link to the Facebook page, where the articles and updates about Tik are getting posted, in case you want more information or want to check out some of the coverage. His mom is posting on the site as well - Andi Lloyd - and her posts have the most up-to-date and specific information, since so very little on Tik's situation is getting through.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.