Interview with Fares Shehabi, an Aleppo-based member of the Syrian parliament, Chairman of the Syrian Federation of Industry.
Follow Fares Shehabi:
-on Twitter @ShehabiFares
-on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/fares.shehabi
An interview on The Last American Vagabond, November 18. Please do check out his other videos and support his work! Follow him here:
In his introductory remarks, he writes:
“In a time of universal deceit, telling the Truth is truly a revolutionary act, and that has never been more apparent than in today’s hyper-partisan climate, where facts no longer hold sway, and one’s opinion is now only as strong as the crowd that surrounds it. It has been conditioned over many years into the masses that the way they feel, is now more important than the facts at hand. Now some may say that is a good thing, that information is so manipulated today, that all we have is the way we feel, our gut instincts. But once we realize that our feelings have long been programmed and manufactured by way of news media and entertainment, the very feelings we are now being told to trust, we begin to see the long-term agenda at play — the manufactured consent of the masses. So it has never been more important to question everything, to trust in facts, to trust in what we can prove, as we in the independent media must do better, we must be better, or we will wake up down the line, and realize that we have become the very thing we once despised. And no one embodies the journalistic integrity that is all but absent in MSM today, more so than Eva Bartlett.
Eva is, in my opinion, one of the last surviving investigative journalists, she has made a name for herself as an independent writer and rights activist by traveling to places such as Gaza, Syria, and North Korea, and revealing to the world the stark contrast between want we are told is happening there, and what is actually taking place.”
In the last year, the Syrian cities of Aleppo and Madaya have become familiar to the international community as they have become subjects of heavy propaganda amid corporate media coverage to justify a so-called “humanitarian” war. Another area used in the war propaganda was al-Waer, a district of Homs occupied by the Western armed and financed “moderates” of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), al-Nusra (al-Qaeda in Syria), Ahrar al-Sham, and terrorists showing allegiance to Daesh (ISIS).
When I again visited Syria in June 2017, Aleppo, Madaya and al-Waer had been restored to peace, following the evacuation of these armed groups. I was able to visit these areas and speak to residents about the reality of life under the rule of these factions.
In Part I of my coverage August 2017 article focused on Aleppo and the life of civilians there under “rebel” occupation — which included many dangers, deprivations, and horrors, not the least of which was susceptibility to extra-judicial trials and executions.
Here, I look at Madaya and al-Waer, again from on the ground, to give a voice to Syrians who have been marginalized by the Western corporate media, which has instead glorified the insurgency.
By Eva Bartlett
In early 2016 the hillside town of Madaya, just northwest of Damascus, was the focus of sudden Western and Gulf media campaigns featuring harrowing photos of emaciated elderly and children splashed widely across print, online and social media. Throughout 2016, these stories continued in Madaya, as well as in al-Waer, Homs, and in eastern-Aleppo areas.
The Syrian government was accused of not allowing in food and medical aid, of deliberately starving its people; the terrorists’ presence was largely unmentioned. On Madaya, The Telegraph ran a headline, “Starving Syrians in besieged town of Madaya are reduced to eating cats and dogs,” and subheadline, “The people of Madaya outside Damascus – besieged by regime forces and Hezbollah since July – are surviving on boiled leaves and street animals,” with no mention of al-Qaeda or Ahrar al-Sham.
Even the corporate media reported on it, including: “The girl’s dress, covered in red paint, was what caught the attention of a police officer driving by, the ministry said.”
The incidences of fakery and hoaxes, however, does not end there.
Also in December, the scene of a ‘Girl running to survive after her family had been killed’ was said to be in Aleppo. In reality, it was a scene from a Lebanese music video, which someone at some point clearly chose to depict as in Aleppo, for the same anti-Russian, anti-Assad vilification purposes.
In November 2014, a clip dubbed ‘Syrian hero boy’ went viral, viewed over 5 million times already by mid-November. The clip showed what appeared to be a little boy saving his sister from sniper gunfire, and was assumed to have been in Syria.
The Telegraph’s Josie Ensor didn’t wait for any sort of verification of the video which she cited as having been uploaded on November 10, the next day writing: “…it is thought the incident took place in Yabroud – a town near the Lebanese border which was the last stronghold of the moderate Free Syrian Army. Experts tell the paper they have no reason to doubt its authenticity. The UN has previously accused the Syrian regime of ‘crimes against humanity’ – including the use of snipers against small children.”
On November 14, the BBC brought on ‘Middle East specialist’ Amira Galal to give her expert opinion on the clip. She asserted: “We can definitely say that it is Syria, and we can definitely say that it’s probably on the regime frontlines. We see in the footage that there is a barrel, it’s painted on it the Syrian army flag.”
Once again, the so-called ‘experts’ got it wrong. The barrel which Galal referred to had a poor imitation of the flag of Syria painted on it, the flag’s color sequence out of order. The clip she was so certain had been filmed in government areas of Syria was actually produced in Malta by Norwegian filmmakers.
We had the honor to interview Eva Karene Bartlett. She is well known independent writer and rights activist with extensive experience in Syria and in the Gaza Strip, where she lived a cumulative three years (from late 2008 to early 2013). She documented the 2008/9 and 2012 Israeli war crimes and attacks on Gaza while riding in ambulances and reporting from hospitals.
Since April 2014, she has visited Syria 6 times, including two months in summer 2016 and once month in Oct/Nov 2016. Her early visits included interviewing residents of the Old City of Homs, which had just been secured from militants, and visiting historic Maaloula after the Aramaic village had been liberated of militants. In December 2015, Eva returned to old Homs to find life returning, small shops opened, some of the damaged historic churches holding worship anew, and citizens preparing to celebrate Christmas once again.
On her 5th visit in June-August 2016, she went twice to Aleppo, also visiting Palmyra, Masyaf, Jableh, Tartous, and Barzeh district of Damascus, as well as returning again to Maaloula and Latakia. On her sixth visit to Syria, in October and November, she visited Aleppo twice more, as well as areas around Damascus. The testimonies Eva gathered in Aleppo starkly contrasted narratives corporate media had been asserting. Many of her published Syria writings, videos, photos can be found at this link.
GLOBAL CIR: You come from Canada, a country which is in relation to the US a symbol peacefulness and regulated country. What was the decisive influence for you to begin with the social activism and independent journalism in the most turbulent and bloodiest part of the world, the Middle East?
-Actually, while Canada is portrayed as a benevolent and peaceful country, not many people realize the extent to which Canada has: supported the Zionists’ ethnic cleansing of Palestinians while also turning a blind eye to the murder of Palestinians; taken part in the NATO alliance war on Syria; sold weapons to the despotic Saudi regime (latest deal: US$11 billion), including anti-tank cannons and combat vehicles with machine guns; and ethnically-cleansed and slaughtered the indigenous people.
With regard to Canada’s role in the war on Syria, it includes imposing criminal and crippling sanctions on Syria; supporting and funding (millions of dollars) the so-called armed ‘opposition’ in Syria and their propagandists; closing Syrian embassies in Canada; demonizing the legitimate Syrian government and Syrian army; and legitimizing the illegitimate, Saudi-backed, so-called ‘Syrian National Council’.
Growing up in Canada, I was completely ignorant to world politics. In my late twenties I started to become aware of some of the most basic continuing atrocities, like the Zionist colonization of Palestine, and was moved to learn more first-hand. I did so as a solidarity activist and volunteer in occupied Palestine, seeing over a period of six years some of the worst crimes by Zionist soldiers and colonists against Palestinian civilians, including children.
When the criminal war on Syria physically began in early 2011, I was equally ignorant about that country, and was at that time living in the Gaza Strip. However, very quickly I became suspicious of what corporate media was alleging was happening in Syria, and began researching via independent sources, ultimately going to the country to see for myself.
I used to think that Palestine was one of the most difficult issues to talk about, with so much media distortion and whitewashing in the favour of Israel. However, I now believe that getting the truth out on Syria is one of the most difficult things to do, as nearly all in the Western world, as well as the Gulf states and all corporate media, have conspired to lie about events in Syria and about the will of the Syrian people.
Canadian state and corporate media is as guilty of war propaganda as American, British, and Gulf media. Canada’s politicians and corporate media have Syrian blood on their hands.