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Syria, The Death of a Country?

Damascus

An eye catching title. Undoubtedly!

The title on the front cover of The Economist magazine dated February 23rd-March 1st 2013.

And this is where it stops!

The content of the article is surprisingly meager and has nothing to offer the reader either by way of information or in analysis.

Indeed the very first sentence is misinformed. It says, “After the first World War Syria was hacked from the carcass of the Ottoman empire.” Syria is of course much older than the Ottoman Empire and there is no need to hack off something that already exists.

The article goes on – and the picture it paints of what is happening in Syria is far removed from reality. It describes the terror of what is happening as a sectarian war. It says, “By getting his Alawite brethren to massacre the Sunni majority, he has drawn in jihadists and convinced Syrians from other sects to stick with him for fear that his own fall will lead to terrible vengeance.”

What is happening in Syria isn’t a war of the sects – it isn’t all the minorities against the Sunni majority. After all the Syrian army which is doing the fighting is composed of all sects of which the majority, as indeed it should be are Sunni. To simplify the issue and wrap it all up as Alawites fighting Sunnis shows a complete lack of comprehension of the mosaic in Syria – of the different sects all Syrians belong to, that have forever lived together enriching their lives by the presence of others.

What is sadder are the things that the article didn’t mention. The article never mentioned the theft of Syria’s antiquities and artifacts. It never mentions how this” revolution” looted the museums of Idlib and stole from archeological excavations. How at least 18 ancient mosaics depicting scenes from Homer’s “The Odyssey “ have gone missing from northern parts of Syria. The article doesn’t mention that the UNESCO has launched an appeal for the protection of Syria’s cultural heritage.

Another fact that the article misses while describing the misery of Syrians is the American led sanctions against the civilian population. It doesn’t say why targeting civilian populations has turned into a foundation stone of American Foreign Policy. It doesn’t talk of the defective” unintended consequences “argument used to justify civilian targeting sanctions. It doesn’t talk of vital medicines that have gone missing (like the treatment for cancer) or of the much needed funding that Syrians require for education, construction and indeed self- improvement that have now been denied them.

What is striking about the article is that it could have been written a year ago and most of it would have passed. It is much a regurgitation of old rhetoric with no insight into how things truly are in the country.

No new approach or insights are offered or have been adopted for the article. Rather it has adopted the same old approach that aims at discrediting whatever the government says or does and given this attitude there isn’t much hope that the west and the USA will one day see the situation with both eyes.

Reem Haddad can be reached c/o reem.haddad@gmail.com

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