BRIC of falsehoods – in response to Kapil Komireddi
An article appeared in the New York Time’s Opinion section, written by the Indian freelance journalist Kapil Komireddi. In it, the usual stereotypes and falsehoods that have been appeared in the Indian press about the Syrian Revolution were rehashed and repacked for the sake of the New York Times; namely, that the Syrian revolution has been hijacked by Saudi funded Salafis, whose only goal is a bloodthirsty pogrom against Syria’s Christians etc etc etc. Kapil Komireddi quotes Christians in Damascus, and remarks that 80,000 Christians from Homs have been “purged” from the city.
Putting aside for a moment the fact that the Christians of Homs hardly need shadowy and unnamed Salafi groups to force them out of a war zone in which the Syrian regime makes no distinction between neighborhoods, and has indiscriminately shelled and bombed all and merry, or that for every Christian fleeing Homs, there are twenty non-Christians who have become displaced or refugees in the country, or the fact that the real number of “Salafis” or “Jihadists” in Syria don’t come close to the number of Free French army troops with the British in World War 2 (which is why no one has been calling the invasion of Normandy “the Gaullist Counter-Attack”), one major question rears its head with regards to Komireddi’s piece.
Namely, how the heck did he get into Syria to report from Damascus?
There are two ways journalists can report from within Syria. The first is to be helped by the Free Syrian Army, sneak in and hook up with one of the revolutionary groups. Journalists who have gone down this road have undertaken the riskiest reporting since the Bosnian war. And they have always confirmed the narrative that the revolution has been telling the world for 18 months.
The other way is to get a visa from Assad regime, and dully present oneself at the Lebanese border or Damascus airport, and then spend the rest of one’s days being “escorted” by thugs with side arms aka “government minders”, who will vet every person the journalist speaks to and interviews.
It is highly doubtful that, in the wake of the regime’s recent military offensives in Damascus, any FSA group would have made the effort to help an Indian freelancer like Komireddi get into the country. Komireddi doesn’t mention it (who can blame him), but there is no way he could have gone across Damascus without being accompanied by the regime’s mukhabarat. It calls into question the credibility and integrity of the people he was allowed to talk to.
One Syrian Christian Komireddi doesn’t want to mention, lest it ruin his narrative, is the amazing late citizen journalist and camera man, Bassel Shahade, who was killed in Homs in May 2012, a victim of the regime’s indiscriminate and savage shelling of the city. Bassel was on a Fulbright scholarship at Syracuse University, when he did the noble thing and went to Syria to document the regime’s atrocities.
But even killing Bassel wasn’t enough for the regime that Komireddi holdsup as a defender of secular values. Regime thugs tore down death notices announcing Bassel’s death, and made a show of force at the church where his funeral was held. Some funeral goers were arrested, and the regime surrounded Bassel’s family home, and randomly dragged people away.
Yep, Syria’s pluralism is indeed crumbling, but the cause is one the Indian press, with its infantile attitude of “stick it to the Americans no matter what”, would rather ignore.