Tuesday, January 28, 2014

touting Syrian officials in Sitzwerland

This is one of the silliest articles I have read on Syria all week.  Ms. Barnard is jubilant that some members of the Syrian opposition in Switzerland has be touting Syrian officials in Geneva.  She says:  "New encounters — some cordial, some not".  Ms. Barnard is celebrating the fact that some opposition folks are hounding Syrian officials but she does not tell you: 1) that the hounding includes yelling obscenities at them. 2) Syrian regime reporters, just like Syrian opposition reporters, also hound and tout Syrian opposition figures.  It is not a one way streak.  3) This is not the first time this has happened--as she claims--and it has happened in Cairo.  4) She does not tell you that the Syrian opposition "reporters"--as she calls them--have also yelled obscenities and beat up and spat on representatives of the internal Syrian opposition of the coordination committee (people like Haytham Al-Manna`).  5) Would the New York Times cover with amusement when leftist activists in the US hound officials of the US government, and would the paper write about them in admiration?  Hardly.  6) The article is filled with stories by one side only without any verification or substantiation by the other side.  Look at this story here:  "An opposition member said that when he approached a former girlfriend, a state media journalist, no one was near, but she shushed him, he said, as if they were being recorded."  I mean, is there anything that Ms. Barnard does not believe if told to her by March 14 of Syria or Lebanon? Fore sure, her reporting from Lebanon thus far revealed not an iota of skepticism toward March 14 of Syria and Lebanon.  7) Regarding this passage:  "So for them to sit across from Haitham al-Maleh, an opposition delegate in his 80s who is a former political prisoner, is “historic,” the journalist said, “as if people from the Stalinist system suddenly sat down with Solzhenitsyn or Sakharov.”"  Did you forget to tell readers that this fellow is a pro-Saudi Ikhwan Islamist, or is that not convenient for the propaganda cause?   8) Most importantly: she (and others in the Western press) have failed to report what even supporters of the opposition have complained about: the representative of the Syrian opposition in the negotiations came across as extremely incompetent and inarticulate especially in comparison with the trained spokepeople and propagandists and officials of the Syrian regime.  Many in the opposition wondered why people like Burhan Ghalyun, for example, was not asked to head the delegation and to speak to the press.  If you are studying the Middle East and rely on the New York Times for your daily knowledge of the region, I truly feel sorry for you.