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Syria's dilemma - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Despite his bandaged and bruised face, a Syria citizen did not hesitate to give an account of the severe beating he received in Doma city [in the suburbs of Damascus] at the hands of a group of security elements from outside the city. According to his account of events, even a high-ranking police officer was not safe from the batons and sticks wielded by this group.

The Syrian citizen’s testimony was recorded by the Syrian satellite channel; however it was not broadcast in full, just as the Syrian citizen being recorded said it would not be. His testimony was only broadcast in part by Syrian television, namely the portion of his testimony that dealt with a high-ranking police officer being assaulted. As for the rest of his interview, which dealt with the assault he suffered at the hands of this security group, and in particular the brutal actions of this group, this was not broadcast. However the full uncut version of this interview, recorded simultaneously as the Syrian satellite channel’s recording on mobile phones by those present during this interview, has spread across the internet, and has been uploaded onto a number of websites.

Syrian official media has mishandled the manner it dealt with the protests over the past week. This could be seen in a number of different events, including the dismissal of the Editor-in-Chief of the Tishreen newspaper Samira al-Maslameh, after she issued a statement blaming the security forces for the deaths of protestors. In addition to this, there was the Syrian state television’s poor story and grainy footage of alleged militants who it claimed were firing upon the protestors, as well as the horrific images of security elements mutilating dead bodies in the streets and severely beating protestors. Of course, Syrian state television declined to broadcast or even mention many of these stories. This is where the official Syrian controversy regarding the existence of a “conspiracy” and “[foreign] infiltration” becomes meaningless, especially with the spread of video clips and images that show Syrian youth being brutally beaten and tortured [by the Syrian security]. What is the deal with this regime and its torture of youth?

The aforementioned events were not isolated events, and the Syrian regime continues to have a tight grip of the media regarding its coverage of events in the country. This ongoing news blackout reveals how regimes of this sort tend to disdain facts and fool people not only by concealing the genuine reality on the ground, but by attempting to deceive people, intimidating them into accepting, and indeed publicizing, such deceptions. These practices would definitely affect an individual’s ability to judge matters fairly because all facts would be uncertain, thereby making it impossible to raise public awareness [of what is really happening].

Those of us observing the situation in Syria sincerely want to see the differentiation between those who voluntarily adhere to the government, and those who submit to it out of fear and intimidation. However this is something that will not happen as long as the Syrian regime continues to approach events in this manner, frustrating any objective media coverage of what is happening in the street. Thus, the same stiff faces of the regime continue to appear to justify the killing and imprisonment of demonstrators by repeating pretexts that contradict logic, morals and the reality on the ground.

Day after day, the Syrian street continues to possess the courage to confront the regime in spite of its cruelty and oppression of demonstrations. Those protesters are able to make their voices heard despite their limited capabilities. They are fully aware that the Syrian hegemony ensures only one thing for the future, namely that there will be no future, if the situation continues in this manner.

Diana Moukalled

Diana Moukalled

Diana Moukalled is a prominent and well-respected TV journalist in the Arab world thanks to her phenomenal show Bil Ayn Al-Mojarada (By The Naked Eye), a series of documentaries on controversial areas and topics which airs on Lebanon's leading local and satelite channel, Future Television. Diana also is a veteran war correspondent, having covered both the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan, as well as the Israeli "Grapes of Wrath" massacre in southern Lebanon. Ms. Moukalled has gained worldwide recognition and was named one of the most influential women in a special feature that ran in Time Magazine in 2004.

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