DAMASCUS, Syria – A high volume of Western media coverage has been showing horrifying footage of civilians being killed and wounded in East Ghouta by Syrian government and Russian airstrikes.
East Ghouta, in the eastern countryside of Damascus province, is only a stones throw away from Damascus center. This has been one of the most consolidated areas of Syria controlled by terrorist organizations and a base for them to rain rockets and missiles on innocent civilians of government-held Damascus.
Reports have emerged that hundreds of civilians are being killed in Syrian and Russian airstrikes. However, what is the main source for these reports? Literally an ISIS supporter based in East Ghouta who has been photographed posing with an ISIS flag and doing the infamous Salafist finger salute.
Seen in the above photo is Ahmad Sweida, director of a hospital in East Ghouta, and used as a source for the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations, who the mainstream media are quoting for their “hundreds killed by Syrian and Russian airstrikes.” One must question, would anyone really trust such a source?
However, this is not to say that civilians haven’t been killed in East Ghouta by pro-government airstrikes. The very unfortunate reality is that civilians always die in war. This is not said to justify the death of civilians, but this poses two questions.
Let’s deal with the first. Why have the mainstream media only been covering on side? We have seen the horrifying footage from East Ghouta, but what about that from Damascus after the so-called “rebels” have rained hell on civilians. Why didn’t the mainstream media report that a few days ago the “moderate rebels” targeted a school in Damascus that killed three children? The footage of this can be seen here
Or what about other innocents being killed from these indiscriminate shelling, such as yesterday’s events
The mainstream media are yet to make a single report on civilians in Damascus being killed by the so-called rebels, evidently showing a clear bias and propaganda mechanism at play.
This also leads to the second question. What is the main difference of Damascene civilians being killed by “rebels” from East Ghouta, and civilians in East Ghouta being killed by Syrian and Russian airstrikes?
The “rebels” in East Ghouta are deliberately hitting civilians in the government-held areas, while Syria and Russia are making every precaution so they do not.
The rebels at this point realize they are in a losing war. Their religious ideology tells them that the reason for losing are the strong Takfir tendencies of the people – that god does not deem these people fit for salvation.
This allows them on the ground to blame the people they once sought to govern, for their own military losses. If there is to ever be a theocracy, they reason, it will be built with fewer but more observant people.
Contrary to the left-cover with a palatable ‘people vs. power’ narrative that numerous first-world apologists for Western (and illegal) foreign intervention have been pushing, Salafists blame first and foremost the apostasy of the people for giving rise to the heretical, secular, socialist government of Syria. This is because for the Salafist, religion begins and ends with the people, in terms of the individual.
There is no sociological dimension in their reasoning, they invert the logic, or turn it on its head – the ideology of the people becomes the ideology of the rulers. An apostate cannot rule over the righteous. The lack of fealty to Islam is the fault of the people – governments only reflect this.
This is why we have seen the countless thousands of beheadings and exterminations of whole villages and towns. This was far from limited to ‘government forces’ or ‘pro-Assad politicians’.
Furthermore, at the level of US policy, we can see a different reason. The US also realizes that there is no winning the war at this point. Therefore, any increase in the death and destruction in general only leads further to a failed state and a nearly impossible rebuilding process.
Economic concerns, or issues of historical development are not on the radar screen for Salafist medievalists, whether we see them under the banner of the FSA, or the banner of ISIS or an Al Qaeda affiliate. Reality for them is a-temporal, and disconnected to questions of development that can be measured via secular institutions and matrixes like the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI). Rather, they are seeking a return to a world long-lost, and the quicker an apostate can be expunged from the world, the better.
So we find an intersection of US and Salafist reasons for targeting civilians. Cynically, the US also knows it can deploy its media to blame pro-government forces for all civilian losses, as it has done since the start of this conflict which to date has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands.
We can contrast this with the reasoning of the Syrian government, and its own aims. It seeks to govern a post-war Syria picking up and continuing its developmental policy of the last sixty plus years. Under this matrix, identical to that found in both socialist and market economies, human beings are a resource. This requires several things – human beings who are alive to begin with, and also some modicum of trust and mutual respect between the government and the governed.
What is the practical evidence of this?
The Syrian government used helicopters to drop leaflets
over East Ghouta explaining to civilians how to escape the battle zone, and guaranteed them food, medicine and shelter, and explained how to safely leave from a humanitarian corridor.
The Syrian government has generally shown a tremendous effort to be duly diligent, and given they are trying to build towards a functioning post-war society in which it is understood that population is the basis for legitimacy, development, and wealth-creation, it is an irrational claim to insist that the Syrian government has had a general impetus or tendency to wantonly eradicate civilian population centers.
In contrast, the terrorists in East Ghouta deliberately hit civilian areas killing children and civilians – whereas the Syrian government are offering civilians free passage with all essentials.
Therefore, if civilians and children are unfortunately killed in East Ghouta, it is for two reasons:
1. The parents of the children are terrorist supporters and refuse to evacuate, or
2. The so-called “moderate rebels” are refusing for civilians to leave.
At the same time, we should be suspect of footage that contains the tell-tale signs of White Helmets fakery, where civilians are being irrationally rushed to and fro with the hallmark fake white pancake powder mix covered on the faces, for no apparent reason except to mimic images seen historically from tragedies like earthquakes, etc. These have been long debunked, and frame analysis has on any number of times revealed that the same ‘crisis actors’ were used in ostensibly unrelated incidents, in geographically and chronologically separated ‘attacks’.
Western media continues to lie and distort the truth about the White Helmets, and calls them ‘Syrian civil defense’ or ‘Syria’s civil first responders’. They are neither, and not a governmental institution. They are a private organization, comprised solely of Salafists who have also been noted as members of fighting brigades, and funded by US-AID and similar.
Now, these same “moderate rebels” in 2015 openly and arrogantly showed them caging women to be used as human shields, which the mainstream media surprisingly did report.
With this in light, would any reasonable person really be willing to trust the mainstream media on its reporting of East Ghouta?