Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Suicide! Live on Air | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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It seems that the communications revolution continues to surprise us and even shock us!

After busying ourselves with the continuing controversy on the televised messages of suicide bombers and the beheading of hostages on screen and on the internet, reality is once again forcing us to address how intimately connected our daily lives, in public and private, and the media have become. Has our fascination with the media and our reliance on it caused some individuals to perish because of it or through it?

The fallout from the death of Syrian Interior Minister, described, as the “governor of Lebanon” for the last twenty years, General Ghazi Kanan, is ongoing. He surprised the people of Lebanon and Syria by deciding to speak to Warda al Zamel, a journalist at the Voice of Lebanon radio station, a mere two hours before he was found dead after shooting himself in the mouth. His farewell remarks were intended to show the Syrian minister was angry at rumors he had received bribes from murdered former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, as New Television had mentioned on Tuesday October 11 th, the day before he died. He rejected these allegations as wrong and insulting and ended the interview by requesting this last statement be distributed to other Lebanese media outlets!

Throughout his presence in Lebanon, Kanan rarely spoke to the media, making his last interview, before killing himself, epic and dramatic!

Many who decide to take their own lives leave behind a suicide note. Paradoxically, a politician as secretive as Kanan shared his last thoughts on air and demanded they be disseminated. Everyone remains gripped by the minister’s remarks with many analyzing his every word in an attempt at discovering their true meaning.

Statements made in the wake of the suicide paled into comparison to the minister’s tumultuous death. Incredibly, Syrian officials and some Lebanese politician blamed the media. Are some quarters trying to draw parallels between the suicide of a minister and the death of Princess Diana, after being hoarded by the paparazzi?

Of course, we ought to continue question the allegations made by New TV and the source of the leak; what was its motivation and why act now? This is especially worrying given that a number of media outlets that transmit propaganda for a political group or figure.

Many have been keen to hold the media responsible. Did Kanan commit suicide because of information transmitted on television? Did Kanan really kill himself?