Monday, September 22, 2014

Anne Barnard on Shi`ism

Anne Barnard never studied the Middle East and that shows in particular when she delves into religious issues of the region.  Look at this passage:  "Hezbollah supporters argue that only it, along with Mr. Assad and Iran, can be counted on to fight extremists, in part because they are Shiites, and vulnerable as a minority Muslim sect. Pro-government fighters from the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiism that forms Mr. Assad’s base, are also increasingly rallying around Shiite identity, using Shiite religious symbols and slogans alongside Syrian flags."  First, Hizbullah never ever used such a blatant sectarian language.  They don't even use words like Sunni and Shi`ites. But here is the deal: Western correspondents in Beirut all rely on stringers and handlers who are Syrian supporters of the Free Syrian Army: some (as in the Times and Post) write for the paper now but their political affiliations are never revealed to the readers (especially the interpreters).  As a result, people like Barnard simply produce the polemical accusations that are carried on the pages of Syrian exile opposition, and she even carries their polemical tricks when they can't find something sectarianly damning in the rhetoric of Hizbullah so they attribute sectarian language to "supporters of Hizbullah" which is exactly what Barnard did above. She would never ever be allowed to attribute racist discourse to unidentifiable "supporters of Israel", for example.  Also, Barnard is quite ignorant of the deep religious differences between Shi`ite twelvers and `Alawites and always confuse the two together thinking that they are the same.  And what are the Shi`ite religious symbols, Ms. Barnard? Tell me how you can identify it?   Was it she who once wrote about "Shi`ite flags"? Oh, no: that was Liz Sly in the Washington Post.