Scoundrels & gangsters at UN: Silencing the Syrian narrative

Feb 4, 2015, published at

-By Eva Bartlett

*blog version longer than original; additions noted in red font

“Welcome to the United Nations. It’s your world,” reads the UN logo. Apparently, however, there are limitations as to just how “welcome” some of its representatives are.

Syria’s Ambassador to the UN, Dr. Bashar al-Ja’afari, was sworn in as Permanent Special Representative in 2006. Yet, in spite of his thirty plus years as a diplomat, his being highly-educated and multi-lingual, and the fact that he is the UN’s official Representative of the state of Syria, the United Nations has little interest in hearing what he has to say. Not only do they lack interest, since the Western-NATO-Israeli-Gulf war on Syria began in early 2011, they actively work to silence him or distort his words.

The UN has pulled endless stunts on Syria’s Ambassador, with the obvious intent of distorting reality and prolonging the proxy war on Syria.

Ambassador al-Ja’afari maintains that he is routinely assigned the worst translators, to convolute his message. “Every time I speak at the Security Council (SC), they choose a bad interpreter who is not able to fully interpret what I am saying,” he said. On one occasion at the SC, the Syrian Ambassador said he saw a staff member signal to the interpreters to switch the adept interpreter for the inept. “I saw it with my own eyes. They changed the interpreter to a poor one.”

Ambassador al-Ja’afari is one of the only—if not the only—ambassadors to the UN to repeatedly over the years have his microphone and/or video feed cut when he speaks.

Correspondent Nizar Abboud has been an invaluable source of footage of the Syrian Ambassador’s speeches otherwise unavailable thanks to cut UN feeds. Abboud says the cuts are not due to “technical problems,” but instead often done “by senior officials at the United Nations.” Of one such incident, Abboud said: “The journalists were furious about it, they wanted to hear what the Ambassador was saying and suddenly he went off air.”

Distorting the story of Syria’s Heritage destruction

Smashed altar of Sts. Sergius et Bacchus, Ma'aloula. Dating  from early 4th century AD, it was unique in its half-circle, rimmed (vs rectangular and flat) design.

Smashed altar of Sts. Sergius et Bacchus, Ma’aloula. Dating from early 4th century AD, it was unique in its half-circle, rimmed (vs rectangular and flat) design.

Feb 3, 2015, Crescent International

[re-published at: Global Research, Dissident Voice, Counter Punch]

-By Eva Bartlett

Much has been written about the destruction and looting of Syria’s heritage sites. Syria’s Directorate-General of Antiquities & Museums (DGAM), as well as UNESCO, have documented the vast damage and looting as extensively as possible in this time of proxy-war-manufactured crisis. In July 2014, the DGAM issued a statement and plea regarding the critical situation of Syria’s heritage under attack.

A year has passed since we last sent an international call out to all those concerned with defending Syria’s heritage. At the time, we warned against a possible cultural disaster that might be inflicted on an invaluable part of the human heritage existing in Syria,” the DGAM statement read. It noted, “Much of what we had feared happened…vast regions extending along the geography of Syria are now classified as ‘distressed cultural areas’ due to the exacerbation of the clandestine excavation crimes and deliberate damage to our historic monuments and cultural landmarks in those regions…”

As for UNESCO, it noted, Syria’s exceptional archaeological, urban and architectural heritage has been considerably damaged during the conflict, and has affected all six World Heritage Sites in Syria and eleven sites inscribed on UNESCO’s Tentative List.”

The six UNESCO-recognized sites are: The Ancient City of Damascus; Palmyra; The Ancient City of Aleppo; Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din; The Ancient villages of Northern Syria, many of which have suffered intense digging and looting, as well as various acts of intentional destruction.

Yet, in spite of DGAM warnings and UNESCO confirmations, as we near the start of year five of the war on sovereign Syria, the Axis-of-Interventionalists continue to arm terrorists within Syria, and train and funnel still more terrorists into Syria, terrorists who are not only murdering Syrians and Palestinians, but destroying Syria’s heritage, as they have been doing since the beginning.



Syria’s President Speaks: A Conversation With Bashar al-Assad

The president in Damascus, January 2015. (Media and Communications Office, Presidency of Syria)

The president in Damascus, January 2015. (Media and Communications Office, Presidency of Syria)

Jan 26, 2015, Foreign Affairs

I would like to start by asking you about the war. It has now been going on for almost four years, and you know the statistics: more than 200,000 people have been killed, a million wounded, and more than three million Syrians have fled the country, according to the UN. Your forces have also suffered heavy casualties. The war cannot go on forever. How do you see the war ending?
All wars anywhere in the world have ended with a political solution, because war itself is not the solution; war is one of the instruments of politics. So you end with a political solution. That’s how we see it. That is the headline.

You don’t think that this war will end militarily?
No. Any war ends with a political solution.

Your country is increasingly divided into three ministates: one controlled by the government, one controlled by ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, and one controlled by the more secular Sunni and Kurdish opposition. How will 

you ever put Syria back together again?
First of all, this image is not accurate, because you cannot talk about ministates without talking about the people who live within those states. The Syrian people are still with the unity of Syria; they still support the government. The factions you refer to control some areas, but they move from one place to another—they are not stable, and there are no clear lines of separation between different forces. Sometimes they mingle with each other and they move. But the main issue is about the population. The population still supports the state regardless of whether they support it politically or not; I mean they support the state as the representative of the unity of Syria. So as long as you have the Syrian people believing in unity, any government and any official can unify Syria. If the people are divided into two, three, or four groups, no one can unify this country. That’s how we see it.

call from Latakia under terrorists’ attacks: “Call your US congressional rep. Tell them to STOP giving missiles to the FSA. Please stop funding terrorism.”

Very sad day in Syria, with terrorists attacks hitting Damascus, Latakia and elsewhere.

video on FB post, from Lattakia News Network

Latakia resident Lilly Martin Sahiounie reported:

“Latakia Update: Jan 25, 2015: 5:00 pm. 3 missiles struck Latakia, Syria. 2 of them hit the city center of Latakia, the traffic round-a-bout called Hotel Harroun. 2 persons dead , and 9 injured, some are children. 2 taxis were burnt up, and 14 cars were damaged. The third missile hit Al Thawra Highway, no injuries there. The Free Syrian Army, which is 100% supported by the US Obama government, recently sent 6 million dollars of additional aid the FSA, and previously allocated up to 600 million dollars of the US taxpayers money to weapons inside Syria.

The missile attacks have been going on 1 year in Latakia. The Free Syrian Army, US sponsored troops, were given a GRAD missile system. It is basically a big TRUCK with a battery of missiles cylinders on the back. It takes a few minutes between loading to shoot. Because of this, the FSA drive from Turkey into Syria, set up the truck, load the first missile, shoot it at a random target, then set the second missile, shoot it, and the drive back to Turkey. This prevents the Syrian air force from bombing them from the air, since by the time the sir force knows their location inside Syria, they are already long gone and safe inside Turkey. Of course, Syrian could never bomb inside Turkey, because they are a full NATO member, and if Syria bombed Turkey, then USA and the rest of Europe would be just dying to KILL everyone in Syria. This is their dream come true. We won’t play their game.

Aleppo Photographer Brings Syrian Reality to the United Nations

Hagop Vanesian's exhibition, “My Homeland,” ran at the United Nations Headquarters from January 8-16.

Hagop Vanesian’s exhibition, “My Homeland,” ran at the United Nations Headquarters from January 8-16.

by Eva Bartlett

[re-published at: Dissident Voice, Rabble]

Twenty-six distinct photos, in black and white. Scenes of a ravaged city and the human beings within struggling to exist, let alone to find hope for the future. Gravestones of rubble. Homes looted, trashed. Civilians defending their country. Children aged beyond their years by the horrors they’ve lived.

Hagop Vanesian, a 44 year old Syrian-Armenian photographer from Syria’s second-largest city, Aleppo (Halab), was meticulous in his choice of photographs for the exhibition, “My Homeland,” which opened at the United Nations Headquarters on January 8 and runs until January 16.

“I chose the photographs showing the destruction, and children. I have many photographs of children, maybe 25-30 percent are of children, these little angels suffering. They are innocent, they don’t understand about politics, they suffer a lot.”

Vanesian, a silversmith by trade, started taking photos twelve years ago, and very early on started documenting his city, building by building.

“Before the war, I was doing documentary photography all over Aleppo. Everyday, I took my camera and photographed people, how they were living,” Vanesian said. “When the war started, I decided to document it. It was very hard at first. For the first couple of days, I couldn’t take a single photograph. This was my birth place, where I grew up. I have memories there, but even my memories were destroyed, especially in Old Aleppo.”

Iman Tahan, from Aleppo, spoke of her feelings after seeing the photos. “These photos, I wish they weren’t real, I wish nothing like this had happened to my country. I remember every street in these photos. I feel so sad, a lot of memories there.”

One of the memories she spoke of was the murder of her father, in his home, by terrorists.

“We have a well in our house, and since there’s no water—because the ‘rebels’ broke the pipes—my father was giving water to neighbours. He was in his house when a sniper entered the garden and shot him, killed him. Those ‘rebels’ don’t represent the Syrian people. Syrian soldiers aren’t fighting against normal people, they’re fighting against people equipped with the most advanced weapons and trained just to come to Syria. They destroy our homes, churches, mosques. But what makes me happy, our people, because they love Syria so much, decided not to leave. Even my dad, he knew he lived in a very dangerous area, but he decided not to leave, and he paid for it with his life.”

(fr Sep 2014): Ambassador al-Ja’afari: israelis/qataris/jordanians…setting the stage for further terrorist infiltration into Syrian territory

“Jehbat al-Nusra terrorist fighters, which as you know, according to the Security Council resolutions, is an off-shoot of al-Qaeda, affiliate to al-Qaeda. These terrorist fighters of al-Nusra Front have succeeded—with the help of the Israeli side, and the Qatari intervention and assistance and involvement—succeeded in occupying almost all the Syrian side of the line of demarcation. Meaning that the terrorists have replaced the UNDOF forces deployed on the Syrian side of the line of demarcation. Almost all of the UNDOF forces deployed on the Syrian side have moved now to the Israeli side. And reduced their mandate given to them by the Security Council disengagement forces agreement of 1974 to only observing these alarming developments on the Syrian side.

Meaning that, they withdrew to the Israeli side and accepted to play the role of only watching what’s going on on the other side, which is supposedly the headquarters of UNDOR on the Syrian side and the UNDOF’s locations and positions along this line of demarcation. Unfortunately, the UNDOF forces evacuated suddenly its positions on the Syrian side of the line of demarcation, in violation of the mandate, and without prior consultations with the Syrian government. This act paved the opportunity for the terrorists to take over UNDOF forces’ positions, materials, equipments, and created by doing so a kind of ‘safe zone’ for the terrorists to operate against the Syrian army, departing from the UNDOF positions they occupied.

Interview: Syrian Ambassador to the UN, Dr. Bashar al-Ja’afari on Sovereignty, Terrorism, and the Failure of the UN

DSCN6744Dr. Bashar al-Ja’afari, a veteran diplomat and Syrian Arab Republic Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Al-Akhbar English/Eva Bartlett

By: Eva Bartlett

January 17, 2015, Al-Akhbar     [republished at: Global Research, Medhaj News, Counter Punch, Consortium News,, Oriental Review]

*in Arabic

**note: blog version includes prelude slightly longer than, and worded differently than, published Al-Akhbar version. Changes in my preferred terminology or reflecting Dr. al-Ja’fari’s words as he said them are made in red.

I have been the only Ambassador at the United Nations since 1945 whose speeches were cut off, or not recorded at all.” -Syrian Ambassador to the UN, Dr. Bashar al-Ja’afari

On January 8, in his sparsely-furnished New York City office, the Syrian Arab Republic Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Dr. Bashar al-Ja’afari, granted me a personal interview. During his work at UN sessions, the Ambassador maintains a poised and articulate manner. In person, he is just as articulate, but with a warm, charismatic personality.

A polyglot fluent in four languages, recipient of three Doctorates, diplomat for three plus decades, the Syrian Representative to the UN had much more to say than the generous half hour allowed. What follows are the words of a highly-educated diplomat—now restricted to a 25 mile radius of the UN Headquarters—mainstream media news seemingly doesn’t want heard.

We began by speaking about the exhibition of photographs by an Aleppo-based, Syrian photographer which opened the same day at the United Nations Headquarters.

Al-Akhbar: How did this exhibition come about?

Ambassador al-Ja’afari: This is the first breakthrough we’ve had at the level of the United Nations since the beginning of what is commonly called “the Syrian crisis.” For four years, I have been trying very hard to do something inside the UN. Every time we attempted to do something, we were confronted by a huge amount of bureaucracy, excuses, apologies (sometimes), denial of our rights (sometimes), negligence, etc.

I’m very glad that we finally succeeded in organizing this exhibition — which doesn’t address the whole, dramatic picture of the Syrian crisis, but only focuses on what happened to and in Aleppo, the second-largest city in Syria, after the capital, Damascus. It’s about Syria, it’s about the Syrian people. It’s not about the Syrian government or the Syrian opposition or the Syrian coalition thugs or Da’esh (ISIS). It’s about Syria, about what happened in Aleppo, through undeniable photos.

The exhibition is the work of a highly-professional Syrian photographer of Armenian origin, who is himself a citizen of Aleppo. He is an eyewitness to the terrorist rampage that hit this beautiful city, Aleppo, which has always been a cradle of civilization. He is suffering greatly. He lost his home, his family. He will show only 26 photos, but he has an archive of thousands of photos. He has complete archives of Aleppo, before and after, building by building, how it was before and how it became.

AA: Why do you think that the UN has allowed this exhibition now? You mentioned you’d wanted to sponsor exhibitions in the past but hadn’t been allowed.

Ambassador al-Ja’afari: The Saudi mission, the French mission, the Danish mission, the British mission, the German mission… they have done counter-Syrian government activities in the UN.

Every time we complained about it they said, “You can do the same.” Today we said, “We have an exhibition.” They were cornered. They couldn’t say no (chuckles), because they kept telling me “You can do the same.” We are not attacking Germany or France or others, we are showing the reality in our country.