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Posts Tagged ‘Syria

So Difficult: “Independent Info from Syria”

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Clock Tower

All the atrocities are coordinated and conducted from this clock tower. Of course, that's just my assertion (I thought it up), it may not be the clock tower's fault at all, and anyway, I have nothing to back the allegation up, but it sounds good, doesn't it? Besides, a number of people was hanged there by the regime, in 2007.

It is still extremely difficult to obtain independent information from Syria”,writes ARTE, a Franco-German television station. “Now, for the first time”, a journalist, Sofia Amara, succeeded in shooting pictures with a hidden camera, in Syria. Her project was supported by the oppositional “Syrian National Council”.

Yes, it must be extremely difficult to obtain independent information. In June this year, Jürgen Todenhöfer, a German politician, travelled Syria. A video journalist accompanied him and took pictures, too. Not as spectacular – but then, Todenhöfer didn’t need the “Syrian National Council’s” support – and that makes his report much more trustworthy than the one ARTE is mongering, on television, and online.

How did she verify the atrocities reported? How can she tell who commited them? At least on the video shown, ARTE didn’t ask her such questions. A German newscast (ZDF, simply took this into its evening news on October 14, and asked no questions either.

Sure – the Assad regime has failed. How to do business with Syria in the future – or how not to do business with Syria any more – is a legitimate question. Military action should be discussed as an option, too.

But for this kind of journalism, I prefer reading a big German tabloid.

For some more quality, see this interview, conducted by NPR (yes, ARTE, that’s an AMERICAN station).

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Written by taide

October 15, 2011 at 8:41 am

Web Critic: a Website about Aleppo

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The best way to experience Aleppo, other than going there, is to view the pages of this website, Historische Alepposeife, which means Aleppo soap in English. The authors are clearly overweening, but their rambles through the city, its history and its specters is entertaining enough.

This is true for the North Arabian Diary in particular, from 2007, with words and pictures, and occasional ideological quarrels between Germans and Arabs, some news (more frequent updates there wouldn’t hurt), and an overview over Syria’s foreign-language media.

Written by taide

November 19, 2010 at 9:39 pm

From Tehran, for a Clearer Picture

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Iran has supplied sophisticated radar to Syria that can monitor Israeli air force sorties and threaten its ability to attack Iranian nuclear targets by surprise, Reuters quotes the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ quotes – unnamed by Reuters – Israeli and US officials.

A spokesman for the Syrian embassy in WashingtonAhmed Salkini, denounced the allegation as “classic Israeli PR stunts aimed at diverting the world’s attention from the atrocities they are committing in Gaza and other occupied territories”.

The tech transfer was reportedly carried out about a year ago. In 2007, Israeli fighter jets bombed a Syrian site that the Israelis said housed a nuclear reactor in the final stages of construction. The BBC points out that there has been a UN ban on Iran since 2007 to sell or supply weapons to other countries.

Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad travelled Venezuela, Cuba, Brazil, and Argentina last week. MercoPress (Montevideo) writes that Syrian communities are very strong and economically influential in Venezuela, Brazil, and Argentina, advocating the establishment of “a new and more just international order” by including Brazil in the U.N. Security Council.

On June 29, Radio Damascus, in a commentary, noted that

The countries currently visited by president al-Assad – Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, and Cuba – all adopt stands that support the just Arab cause. At the same time, their stands confront the policies of hegemony, war, and terrorism in the whole world. Those states have suffered a lot from the American policies and interference in the affairs of states and peoples. The previous American administrations supported dictatorial regimes, and supported them against their peoples.

Now, Damascus apparently believes, it is time for America to support Syria’s dictatorial regime. And no more distractions, please.

Written by taide

July 1, 2010 at 2:30 pm

How Israel screws its Reputation

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Israel’s government press office passed on a link to a youtube video – by “Caroline Glick and the Flotila Band” –  to journalists on June 4, five days after the IDF raided the Turkish cruising ship Mavi Marmara on May 31 which was on its way to Gaza to “bring in humanitarian aid and supplies”, defying the Israeli blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory.

"Caroline Glick and the Flotila Band"

youtube video: "Caroline Glick and the Flotila Band"

The video, “We con the world”, had been posted on youtube on June 3, produced by the Latma website. Maybe the “joke” could have worked if it had lasted up to twenty seconds – but “We con the world”, based on the 1980s song by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie, takes painful five minutes, too long even if it had been a good skit. Israelis act as “Arab” and “Turkish” activists (or gangsters?), and with strained attempts to produce funny lines: “The greatest bluff of all”, “We’ll make them all believe that the Hamas Is Momma Theresa” (by the way, the old nun spelled her name Teresa) are not really funny.

The press office apparently had second thoughts about the “fun”, too. Der Spiegel quotes Dutch  news agency BNO as reporting that the office had contacting them with the intention to retract the email with the link.

The main problem with the video isn’t that it is using stereotypes. That could still be funny. The real problem, I believe, is that Mrs Glick and the Flotila Band didn’t enjoy their own show. It was a hasty propaganda measure, and the Israeli government’s press office dived for it like for a last straw.

The American “Center for Security Policy”, a conservative organization, is a major donor to latma.tv, Der Spiegel wrote on June 5. Caroline Glick, who took part in the “Flotila Band” production, moved from Hyde Park, Chicago to Israel in the 1990s and is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the “Center for Security Policy”. Yesterday, she posted another “funny” one: “The Three Terrors”, i. e. Ahmadinejad (Iran), Erdogan (Turkey), and al-Assad (Syria). The comments to her post don’t suggest that the viewers really had fun either. It’s fear, loathing, and little else.

It is obvious that the “Free Gaza” movement gives a rat’s ass on how life and Hamas are treating the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip. The only thing that matters is what Israel does to Gaza. The “Free Gaza” movement wouldn’t have cared either if Hamas had taken the cargo from the Mavi Marmara and distributed it among the Palestinian people there in accordance with their allegiance to the Hamas regime.

But that doesn’t change the fact that the IDF raided the Mavi Marmara in international waters, and that the operation took the lives of nine “activists” who, after all, may have carried lots of knives and clubs – but no guns.

Sometimes, it would be nice if people like Mrs Glick and her Flotila Band would just shut up.

Their recent activities show that their mouths are no smaller than those of the people they fear and hate. Maybe they know each other only too well.

Written by taide

June 19, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Syria: A Celebrity and a Politician

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You can parade your decadent dog in Syria if you are one of the country’s affluent folks (if you aren’t, you can’t, because it’s costly, and besides, your family would never talk with you again).

You can visit locations like the Narranj in Damascus, and watch Syria’s vice foreign minister Faisal Mikad and Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov  dining there.

And – hey! – you can connect with Baladna, a very modern newspaper, on Facebook now. Asma al-Assad and her husband, Bashar, have done so, too, as Baladna’s network friends. (Homie Bashar even appears twice there, as a celebrity, and as a politician.)

An Awkward and Stiff Penalty

An Awkward and Stiff Penalty

If you are the country’s first lady, you can also surprise the world with highly original and innovative peace plans.

But don’t publicly say stuff like 

Syrians enjoy no protection from arbitrary authorities and the state apparatus’ encroachments.

You can’t say that in Syria. Not without going to jail right away, like Haitham Maleh, after reportedly making the above, too-true-to-be-inoffensive statement.
__________

This post is based on information from an article published by Der Tagesspiegel in Berlin on November 25, unless linked otherwise.

Written by taide

November 27, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Swine Flu: Lower Saxonians can put their Mind at Rest

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Now I can put my mind at rest: my pater patriae (the father of our state of Lower Saxony), prime minister Christian Wulff, won’t die from swine flu, and his benedictory doings won’t be compromised by the bothersome infection, not even for one day. He got his shot on Thursday on 08:23 Central European Time, and according to the Hamburger Abendblatt, the vaccine is called Pandemrix. At first, he had a slight rise in temperature, but now, he could virtually feel the protection in his body, he informed us.

It would be nice if I, a humble servant of the State of Lower Saxony, could virtually feel that protection in my body too, because I had decided to get a shot, given my job as a teacher, meeting hundreds of people every day. But while Mr Wulff’s former minister for economic affairs, and now minister of health in the federal cabinet in Berlin, appeals for everyone going and have themselves vaccinated – the more people participated, the better the general protection from the disease, he is quoted -, many people in Lower Saxony will have to wait for weeks, and will be lingering on waiting lists until then.

I’m sure that Asma al Assad and her awkward and stiff, but also-very-young-as-well husband and president of Syria, will have had their shots, too (but of course, I’m not sure).

Anyway, for most Syrians (and maybe for Mme al Assad and His Excellency, too), the vaccine will reportedly be available in December.

And so it will reportedly be for many Lower Saxonians. But after all, we can put our minds at ease. Our pater patriae and supreme boss of Lower Saxony’s civil service is on the safe side now.

Written by taide

November 5, 2009 at 8:16 pm

Syria: H1N1 Vaccines “available in December”

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Syria reported its first confirmed case of swine influenza or A-H1N1 on July 4, according to the Voice of America. Syrian health officials said that the case was detected in a Syrian woman who flew to the country from Australia.

The first death from H1N1 was confirmed on August 26. Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) quoted the Health Ministry as saying a Syrian man had died of the strain.

Street Cleaning, Aleppo

Useful, but no Drug replacement: Street Cleaning in Aleppo, Syria

Syrian News Station, a news website frequently quoted by international newspapers, reports that vaccines should be available in Syria in December. Syrian health minister cited safety reasons for not starting large-scale vaccinations earlier. The country recorded 122 infections by October 20.

According to Taiwan Today (quoting the China Times), Taiwanese drug manufacturer Adimmune was approached by Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern countries which were unable to purchase H1N1 vaccines from other nations, but the company’s ceo Ignatius Wei said that Adimmune’s main concern was the welfare of Taiwan’s citizens.

Adimmune did not specify which countries were among its Middle Eastern contacts. While Syria’s infection numbers have risen since June, it may still be in a more comfortable situation than most of its neighbours if the trends have remained the same. As of June this year, Syria’s number of confirmed infections was much smaller than those of most of its neighbours.

Written by taide

October 31, 2009 at 7:06 pm

Posted in government, Syria

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