Saturday, 13 June 2015

If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed

The subtitle of yesterday's piece by Robert Fisk - 'Our Man in Syria' as the Independent calls him - is, "One glance through the broken windows of this famous old cafe illustrates the Dresden-like ruins – all that remains of Homs." Nobody would think of talking about the destruction of Dresden without mentioning the cause was massive Allied firebombing, or the horrors of Auschwitz without placing responsibility on the Nazis. Fisk however does not see fit to refer to the shelling and bombing by Assad's army and airforce that has reduced Homs to rubble.* Instead we get a suggestion that this was all the rebels' fault, "Many of the streets are roofless facades, the houses undermined by the tunnels which the rebel Farouq Battalion dug amid their ever-shrinking ghetto."
When a Muslim does something wrong in this country, Muslims are collectively expected to condemn it. When a white person does something wrong, it is the action of an individual. This is the method Fisk takes to Syria. His government-supporting interviewees are just people, although I might guess that Elias sounds like a Christian name, and Rani Khoury is from the Alawite-majority (even more so given the Assad régime's ethnic cleansing) city of Tartous. But the invisible rebels are Islamists, even though they drank and smoked. And that they preserved old newspapers where you can find columns saying that Islam is better than Christianity, and it's bad if people insult Islam, means they are the cause of sectarianism and civil war in the Middle East. Robert Fisk isn't a reporter, he's a racist and colonialist apologist for oppression.

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