Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Coverage of Aleppo on social media

I follow and read people I strongly disagree with, both on twitter and Facebook and blogs.  This was striking in the last few days: in Western social media in English, there is only one sentiment: the same sentiment (and often expressed in the same words) which echoes the sentiments of those Syrians who support the Syrian rebels.  But in Arabic, you see two diametrically opposed sentiments about Syria: those who support the Syrian rebels and who are (often by orders and often for fake political reasons: I mean, you believe that Fu'ad Sanyurah and the Phalanges really care about Aleppo and its people?) in mourning, and those who support the regime and who are (reprehensibly) gloating--just as supporters of the Syrian rebels (in East and West gloated back in 2012 when Aleppo fell to the Syrian rebels).   But this is the war whose coverage has been partial in the West: for every fallen city, there is a side which gloats and a side which mourns.  Both sides engage in it.   People who identify as Christian Syrians have been quite jubilant in the last few days out of their detestation of Jihadi rebels, and that does not get covered in Western media.  Western correspondents in Beirut merely carry the sentiments of the Syrian rebel supporters on social media.  A Western consensus has set in.  Should not critical thinkers avoid falling into consensus especially when the consensus is manufactured and peddled by a US-EU-GCC-Israeli alliance?  Should not the task of critical thinkers (of all professions) be to avoid a consensus not rooted in a progressive agenda?  Just as supporters of Hizbullah act as if their project does not entail the preservation of a repressive regime, supporters of "the revolution" act as if their project does not entail the preservation of repressive (and Jihadi) rebels.  Pressures coming from the wrong quarters is a pressure that should be resisted.  In Arabic, Qatari and Saudi regimes are leading the chorus of moral outrage.  Those regimes?