Lebanon

Those Who Transmit Syrian Voices Are Russian Propagandists? Monitors of ‘Fake News’ Negate Syrian Suffering

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*In the old city of Homs, June 2014, speaking with Zeinat and Aymen al-Akhras who endured years of hell under the rule of militant factions. In May 2014, an agreement saw the reportedly 1,200 militants bussed out of Homs (as recently happened in Aleppo), bringing peace to the neighbourhoods they’d occupied and terrorized. Excerpt from my article on this visit and interviewing residents of the old city of Homs: “I dropped to 34 kilos. Aymen told me to weigh myself. I got on the scale and said, ‘What’s 34 kilos?’. A ten-year-old weighs more than that! And Aymen was 43 kilos. For a man, 43 kilos…”
“We were twelve siblings with eight houses in the area, and the family house. We all had stores of food.”
“Thirty-eight times they came to steal our food. The first couple of times, they knocked on the door, after that they just entered with guns. The last things they took were our dried peas, our cracked wheat, our olives, finally our za’atar (wild thyme). We started to eat grass and whatever greens we could find in February, 2014, and that’s all we had till Homs was liberated,”–Zeinat al-Akhras. Read: Liberated Homs Residents Challenge Notion of “Revolution”

Russian Propagandists?

Since it is a theme that those who report differently than the MSM war propaganda on Syria must therefore work for either/both Syria or Russia, I’ll address that in this brief post, drawing on some interviews and related material, since I continue to be incredibly busy.

Some excerpts from: ‘If I write in line with Russian media, it’s because we both tell the truth’ – Eva Bartlett to RT, 17 Dec, 2016, RT

Some people have taken issue with the things I said because I was basically criticizing much of the corporate media reporting on Syria, and instead of actually digesting what I said and criticizing the details of what I said, people have gone to the usual tactic of trying to smear who I am and imply that I am an agent of either or both Syria and Russia,” Bartlett said, adding that it’s been openly implied she is on the payroll of the Syrian and Russian governments. The fact that she is an active contributor to RT’s op-edge section has also been jumped all over.

The fact that I do contribute to the RT op-edge section apparently, in some people’s eyes, makes me compromised. I began contributing to the RT op-edge section when I lived in Gaza, and this was not an issue for people who then appreciated my writing,” she stated.

What I am writing, and what I’m reporting, and who I am citing are Syrian civilians whom I’ve encountered in Syria.

“If people do not wish to hear the voices of Syrian civilians and if they want to maintain their narrative which is in line with the NATO narrative – which is in line with destabilizing Syria and vilifying the government of Syria and ignoring the overwhelming wishes of the people of Syria – then they do this by accusing me of spreading propaganda,” the journalist stressed.

The fact that my writing is in line with the Syrian people… in some respect aligns with Russian media reports, does not mean that I’m reporting Russian propaganda, and it does not mean that what Russian media is reporting is propaganda. It happened to be that I report the truth as I see it on the ground, and some Russian media happen to report the truth as they see it on the ground.

“Why do we not see these accusations when a BBC journalist goes to Syria and reports what I often believe to be not the full story? Why are they not accused of working for the State of England? Why are Al Jazeera journalists not accused of working for Qatar?”

My Related Comments:

*Please note, I do not have ‘my own blog’ on RT, as written in the RT overview of an interview I gave to the site (and as also alleged by a factually-challenged ‘fact check’ by Channel 4 News, the debunking of which will be out soon). In fact, the RT disclaimer at the bottom of Op-Edge contributions is clear: “The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.” How did the fact checkers at Channel 4 miss that?

CONTINUE READING

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Appreciate the difference between Resistance and takfiris

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Tim Anderson graphic

The wise words of Professor Tim Anderson:

Appreciate the difference between the Islam of Hezbollah and Iran, on the one hand, and that of the Saudis, Qatar, ISIS, FSA etc on the other – and no, it isn’t mainly to do with Sunni and Shiia …”

some Palestinian refugees’ stories of exile and longing

One day M, a Palestinian refugee living in Lebanon, told me his story, one of discrimination, humiliation, pride, patience and dignity… and of samoud (steadfastness). M is a very charismatic and intelligent 20-something Palestinian refugee living in Lebanon’s northern city, Tripoli (Trablus). During my brief 2-day stay with his family I was greeted with that hospitality so prevalent in Palestine, Lebanon, and surely other Shams countries I’ve not had the fortune to visit…down to the last kaik, (tasty, doughnut-shaped sesame bread baked in Lebanon, Palestine, …) M wouldn’t allow me to pay for anything. I also glimpsed M’s dedication to justice and humanity, and his love of life: he has travelled in many countries via the choir he has sung with for years; he organized a group that meets every other Sunday to walk and photograph, or clean up litter, or show their pride for their city and their country; he campaigns for all walks of life and against injustices, having travelled to Bahrain to expose the media-silenced atrocities occurring at the hands of the government.

One of his life-stories:

I got the highest marks in my class in high school, so I was awarded a trip to France, a one-month stay with a family in a small town.

When I arrived, I watched as other international students met their host families. Everyone was so happy, I was so happy. Finally, as the numbers dwindled and only my host family remained, I saw their faces change from shining to stony when they realized their guest was an Arab. continue reading

Mleeta: Lebanon’s Resistance Museum

Late afternoon sun highlights the oak trees I stand amidst, the utter quiet broken only by birds’ chirping. It is easy to forget that the southern Lebanese hilltop I’m walking on was once the base of intense resistance against the Zionist occupation forces with their bases on surrounding hilltops and occupying villages below. From 1985 to 2000—when prolonged Hezbollah resistance eventually defeated the ZOF causing their retreat from Lebanon—Mleeta was one of the most important sites of the Lebanese resistance. The Mleeta guide and website report that from the Mleeta hilltop, over 7000 resistance waged attacks on surrounding IOF sites.

As our car crawls up the road, ascending into the beginning of the day’s thick fog, M points out the thick mesh of oak trees and rock, reminding me again of the resistance’s tactic of moving slowly uphill under the cover of fog. The blanket of trees was vital, but nonetheless the going would have been tough. “It snows in winter up here, it was an extremely hard life. They carried everything they needed on their backs…including anti-aircraft weapons—they carried them in pieces and re-assembled them at their site,” he notes. continue reading