Nothing but a gratification of the appetites and wishful, distorted, speculative,futile thinking: this sums up my opinion of the International Media in its reaction to the chemical attack in the Ghouta of Damascus which took place on 21 August and killed 1400 victims so far
The Dawn of the chemical weapons, By Alisar Iram
What if all the media all over the world published pictures of the chemical massacre? For most of them it has been news, sensational, not to be missed news. Besides, the pictures (alleged, unverified or faked) are such a great opportunity to attract readers, better than the sexy pictures and the semi naked girls. Forgive me for being so sceptical, only it seems that there is nothing more attractive than gruesome death. In addition, it must be added that those Syrians are great actors and producers: nobody handles scenarios and footage of death and suffering as authentically as they do. Why is the main stream journalism publishing these pictures if they even doubt the cause of death? The BBC, for instance, is so reluctant to state that a chemical attack can be the cause. It has to be almost dragged out of the mouths of its news presenters.
How can hundreds of people die at the same time in various parts of Ghouta, wide apart, with their bodies intact and with no signs of injuries save those identical with a gas agent contamination (like breathing difficulties, convulsions, bleeding from the nose and ears and foaming at the mouth) but by exposure to a lethal gas attack? Such were the severity and deadly consequences of the attack that members of the medical team and doctors died in the attempt to save the victims. To this present day, 3 days after the attack, people are still dying when they come in contact with the survivors, or they need treatment. I heard a first aid worker say: We rushed to save the victims and in the attempt some of us contracted the symptoms ourselves, even died, then people rushed to save the second wave of victims, the medics, paramedics and first aid workers, only in order to die themselves or contract the symptoms. An activist, Razan Zaytouna, who visited the scene reported: The same stories and images are repeated across each medical outpost in Ghouta towns, which welcomes those martyred and wounded [sick]. Medics, the majority of whom have been affected by the poisonous gases, tell over and over again how they yanked doors open and entered houses where they found children sleeping quietly and peacefully in their beds. A few reached medical outposts and benefited from first aid. But the most pressing image is that of whole families dead: a father, a mother, and all of their children who were taken from their beds straight to mass graves.
How can these images help the Ghouta and the people of the Ghouta since the media refuses to acknowledge the responsibility of the regime and claims that the responsibility rests equally with both sides or that, against all established military convictions, the rebels might have done it to themselves. Was it a mass suicide then? And why should the Jihadists choose an area outside the control of Assad instead of choosing Assad controlled areas? It seems that the rebels have acquired very mysteriously invisible jets that can launch missiles with chemical warheads or it seems that they have reached such a high level of sophistication that they can manufacture long distance surface-to-surface missiles or super rockets carrying chemical war heads that can cover the Eastern and the Western Ghoutas alike, hitting the areas where they fight from and where their families live. Suppose the Nusra Front is behind it. If they have such capabilities why not launch chemical attacks against the army barracks of Assad scattered all around the Ghouta?
Here I must add, does it really matter who did it in view of the terrible loss of life among the civilians specially the children? The innocents died in their hundreds and the children never stood a chance. This terrible, savage, ruthless, barbaric massacre of the Syrian people must stop. If infiltrators, foreigners or some factions of the rebels have allegedly turned rogue and insanely, against all possibilities, dared to commit such an act, then they should be brought to justice and stopped too before it is too late. The massacre of a nation should come to an end.
It defies understanding this logic which the Western TV stations are wallowing in. Every day the commentators and correspondents get more inventive, incoherent and lost in semantics and false deductions or far-fetched absurd analyses.
I counted three stages of Western and American official and media reaction to the chemical attack (or is it?):
1-A shocking insistence that the alleged video footage and the posted pictures by the activists of the massacre could not be verified and that some of the pictures might belong to previous incidents. It is an insult to the dead to be so debated and exposed to the compassionless absurdities of global indifference , scepticism and apathy.
2. Under the deluge of the horrific images of the massacre, published by the world press, they relented enough to state that the rebels might have did it to themselves.(This accusation was unverified by them despite the Russian hilarious satellite attempt at doing so).
3. Where is the evidence? Who should be collecting the evidence? With whom does the burden of proof rests? Is it with the helpless West or with the experts among the rebels whose evidence should be suspect no matter how impartially they might collect it? The UN experts and none but the UN experts! But the regime is not allowing the UN experts into the affected areas.
Even if it does allow them access their mandate would be so limited and fettered as to be useless. The debate continues with mounting absurdities and cloying sophisticated nonsense.
But let us return to the pictures. They are too great an opportunity to miss publishing. The media wouldn’t mind publishing more of this unverified, probably faked, kind. This is shameless in my opinion, immoral cheap indulgence in the tragedies of others. It is nothing but a gratification of the appetites. They can only be justified if they are believed and act as stimulus to world consciousness and conscience. What is taking place in Syria has to be stopped. Most of the victims are children and most of the victims will always remain the children. They are the most vulnerable and they are about half the population of Syria. One million child refugees are scattered all over the refugee camps, many of them without the adult members of their families, awaiting a future without hope, without education, without love, without homes.
PS: Yesterday I included in this post an image showing rows of corpses which is not related to the chemical attack. I deleted it as soon as I realized my mistake. For some technical reason it keeps appearing as a thumbnail. Please ignore the image and accept my apologies.
Please see the report and testimoney of The Syrian Center for the Documentation of Violation: Special Report on Use of Chemical Weapons in Damascus Suburbs
The Medical point in Jobar in Al-Ghouta reporting the chemical attack
Doctors Without Borders have just announced that they had treated 3300 patients in Al-Ghouta suffering from the symptoms which killed hundreds.
“the reported symptoms of the patients, in addition to the epidemiological pattern of the events—characterised by the massive influx of patients in a short period of time, the origin of the patients, and the contamination of medical and first aid workers—strongly indicate mass exposure to a neurotoxic agent. This would constitute a violation of international humanitarian law, which absolutely prohibits the use of chemical and biological weapons,” said Dr Bart Janssens, MSF director of operations.
Attention must be drawn to the fact that Doctors Without Borders were only referring to the patients they treated where they were receiving the injured in their field hospital. This does not apply to the thousands of other affected people whom no sufficient information about their fate has reached the organizations concerned. The total dead in their field hospital of the MSf reached 355 out of the 1400 known now to have died of the neurotoxic agent in the rest of Ghouta..
World organization for the Defense of Human Rights
Total dead: 1772+
Received with symptoms in hospitals: 6210 patients
The article included below was added on 27 August. It is the testimony of a journalist who visited the scene of the crime
For information about Al-Ghouta please see my post:
The historic Ghouta is the farmlands and orchard surrounding Damascus like a green belt. It is the lifeline of the city and it feeds millions. Its gradual systematic destruction by the regime will create a terrible ecological and environmental disaster. The two images below express my sadness at what is happening to the trees, the orchards and the land which sustain Damascus.
The images below are made by me to express what I feel as an artist about the systematic destruction of the garden of Damascus: the Ghouta