I woke up early. When I opened Twitter I was paralyzed. I read a BBC tweet that chemical weapons had been used in the rebel controlled suburbs of Damascus – and literally within less than an hour, Twitter was swamped with tweets blaming Assad for having used chemical weapons against his own people. And many of my likeminded friends from around the globe were pushing the message. Horrible videos and pictures of dying kids, women and men were circulating in cyberspace. Dead bodies everywhere. Everybody was blaming Assad.
I asked myself – where is the evidence that these chemical weapons were used by Assad? All we saw were videos and pictures … not a single source was quoted to proove that it was the Assad regime!
Only speculations! It drove me crazy …
For the last few weeks – since we knew we were traveling to the Middle East – I was watching the reports about Syria even more closely than before. I looked for other than western sources because I wanted to get a more balanced view of what was going on. I’ve learnt that video footage which was held against Assad, and that you see around the whole world, is prepared in editing rooms of Amman and Turkey; scenes of killed children were reproduced from Afghanistan and Kosovo; hit Syrian planes were reproduced from the Russian invasion in Afghanistan (same plane models ).
Only the BBC and The Guardian (who later implemented a live blog of the unfolding events) on the Western media front were hesitating to accuse Assad – both of them wrote that there is no evidence it was him. It could have been done by the insurgents equally as well. BBC even went so far to question if there was a chemical weapon attack at all. In a TV report aired by the BBC later the same day, many videos and pictures had been investigated to make sure where they had originated from, what they really prooved, and where they had been produced. No final conclusions were reached and there was no concrete proof that, firstly, a chemical attack had happened at all and, secondly, that if it did happen it was executed by Assad.
I couldn’t help myself, I had to write to my friends from the social networks and ask them why they acted like this. And I asked them for evidence – unfortunately they couldn’t proove it was Assad. And, by the end of the day, I was happy that they had changed the headline of their coverage. 2 days later I met one of the “Tweeters” in Ramallah and put to him those same questions. All he could say was that he didn’t have evidence … He, like many others, followed the crowd blindly. This is dangerous!
We need to check sources and if we don’t have evidence, we should say it! We should point out clearly that we ASSUME … even if we don’t like it! If we walk down this path our “network news system” which we are trying to build up – beyond mainstream media – won’t be worth a penny.
Below is a list of sources which provide a slightly different view on Syria from that which we have been told in the West. Western media, including online activism, is biased, just as biased as other media around the globe. Syria and the entire Middle East region is a battlefield of interests. These sources might help you to get a more balanced view of what is going on.
Franklin Lamb – ex legal advisor to the US Congress (just read his latest article: Why is Obama declaring war on Syria?)
Georges Gallaway – British member of parliament and activist on explaining whats going on in Syria
Thierry Meyssan – french activist living in Beirut
Orient Tendencies – in English, French and Arabic
Haytham Manna, head outside of the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change (Syrian unarmed opposition)
www.Press TV.ir (in English)
Syria 24 English
Hala Jaber, Journalist Sunday Times
To follow blindly and uncritically Tweets, Google search results, Facebook status updates, Youtube videos and instagram picts can’t be the only way. Especially when we learn at the same time more and more about the role that the above mentioned companies play in the NSA affair. Read this essay by Julian Assange. It takes an army of idiots to believe that all this is NOT linked.
And PLEASE, don’t get me wrong, I am NOT saying Assad is a good guy. NO! I am perfectly aware that his regime suppressed people, and put them into jail when they spoke up against the government, and against the ruling mafia. Assad was a dictator. But what I am saying is that one should at least try to get a more balanced view.
For me, western media AND western governments – once the embodiment of the enlightenment – are failing badly and loosing all the credibility they’ve built up over the past 200 years.