Syria is not under lockdown, is not the dystopian society of war propagandists
After seeing a pathetic propaganda piece on life in Syria during Covid, shared by a Beirut-based representative for the Canadian regime…I decided to both address the shoddy article and add my own thoughts on life in Syria nowadays.
Basically, the piece claims people are cowering in fear and under lockdown here (we/they are not, there’s a partial curfew, people still on the street, in markets, etc), claims the government denies any cases of Covid (not true), claims:
“Now, this silence alone roams Damascus’ streets and alleys, interrupted only by the sounds of marching soldiers, armed to the teeth as though for a firefight with the virus.”
That’s one of the more laughable/infuriating lines in his laughable propaganda piece.
Soldiers are *always* in the streets (but not “marching”, idiot) because Syria has been under a foreign war for nearly a decade, because terrorists love to suicide bomb themselves and murder swaths of civilians while doing so (see: The confessions of terrorists: We detonated cars in Damascus and its countryside for money).
That said, in all of my encounters with soldiers in Damascus (and elsewhere), the are *not* intimidating, usually quite friendly, often joke with me, and otherwise professional. And carrying a rifle isn’t exactly “armed to the teeth”. For example, this AFP photo:
Armed to the teeth would be this: Israeli soldier terrorizing Palestinian child.
And this: US occupation soldier.
The author is clearly a propagandist (looking at his other articles) and wants to paint a dystopian image of life in Damascus and Syria now. The irony, of course, is his idiotic line actually pertains to countries in the west: replace soldiers with police…
Another distorted line: “Fear of the pandemic prompted Bashar al-Assad to issue a general amnesty for crimes committed before 22 March of this year..”
Actually, President Assad has issued countless amnesties over the years (see here ), in an effort to get armed men without blood on their hands to lay down weapons (also criminals wanted for crimes not involving murder, as well as military deserters) and re-join society.
Also see my 2014 interview with Dr. Ali Haidar, Minister of Reconciliation (who I also interviewed anew a month ago, waiting for transcript of that interview).
More from the propaganda rag:
“A ring of worry and suspicion encircles us like a halo. ”
Oh really? People I meet are not as the propagandist described. They are, however, worried about the economy, ravaged by the war on Syria and criminal western sanctions on Syria and inflation…and they’re worried about when life will go back to normal, but not worried in the way the pathetic propagandist tries to portray. Just look at my photos and videos, you see people smiling, walking casually, couples strolling holding hands, kids playing, people jogging and lifting weights…
He writes about “electricity rationing”, but does not address the attacks by terrorists on Syria’s oil fields, and the US theft of Syria’s oil, and the impact that has on electricity here.
-“Khaled Samir al-Khudeir, a leader of a reconnaissance group, said that several groups equipped with sophisticated weapons and drones have been trained under US supervision in al-Tanf area to attack Syrian army positions, Syrian oil and gas fields as well as infrastructure facilities.” (source)
He writes of a “lack of medical equipment at public hospitals”, but doesn’t bother to mention that the criminal Western sanctions on Syria are the sole reason for any lacking. (My related: Western leaders, screw your ‘Sanctions Target the Regime’ blather: Sanctions KILL PEOPLE
More on the sanctions:
–Al-Jaafari: Syria calls for putting an end to the economic unilateral measures imposed on the country
I know the author is a nobody, as is the Canadian representative who re-tweeted him, however this kind of twisted propaganda still angers me.
In my personal opinion, Syria has taken a moderate approach to dealing with Covid, in a lose-lose situation: if the government had taken no measures at all, the Western regimes and their propagandists (like Ken Roth, the Guardian…) would rain hell & accusations on the government. And also, the population might actually be angry with no measures being taken. However, I stress again that from 6 am to 7:30 pm, no one is preventing us from walking, even walking for hours as I do, all over the city.
I’m extremely fortunate to be in Syria during these strange times. The moderate approach includes a partial curfew, not a lock-down; all but only essential stores were closed for some weeks–but are now re-opened in day-staggered shifts; encouraging people to practise good hygiene; encouraging people to stay home–but not mandating it, not police-enforcing it, not social-shaming it.
The Syrian government also took measures so that people who chose to stay home could do so, including ensuring the ridiculously inexpensive bread (50 Syrian pounds a bag of 7 large rounds) was distributed to neighbourhoods and then on to homes/apartments, which I’ve witnessed myself, and been told about by residents, in various Damascus areas.
Even yesterday, high up the side of Qasioun Mountain, in the district north of Arnous and Afif, people I met told me they were receiving the bread (I need to stitch my videos together and subtitle so it’ll take some days).
My other examples of this:
–On Bread Distribution in Damascus (VIDEO)
Since I’ve been here (from a month and a half ago), because the government did not prohibit people from going out of their homes, walking in the streets, I’ve daily walked for hours, for exercise and to maintain my sanity in an increasingly insane world (where in some countries hotlines are set up for people to inform on neighbours or strangers walking outdoors.
See this clip for interesting ways people have responded to the idea of snitch lines).
Lately, I walk all over Damascus. And in doing so, I see people here act/interact more like normal life, I see the sense of community that prevails here–after over 9 years of war, with volunteers helping those who might need help, other volunteers disinfecting streets. But its especially the small details: the friendly intimacy in greetings, comradery, laughter and a prevailing lack of panic.
This VIDEO depicts exactly what I’m saying, as does this one I took in a crowded market, and this one of a family enjoying their Friday and inviting me to join, and this one as I walk through Damascus streets interacting with people, this one as I’m taught how to play Tawle, and finally this one of a handsome young man singing upon my request.
Relatively normal life has carried on here, and yet calamity has not struck here. It supports my belief that the global lockdowns are counter-productive, and dangerous.
As I’ve written many times now, in my walks I encounter people, people I already know and mostly people I don’t know. Many are surprised to see a foreigner here at this time, we have chats about the situation and Corona. And honestly, and I write this not to disrespect government efforts and preparations around Covid, but many I meet are 1. not afraid of it, 2. joke about it (Macarona, I hear that a lot).
I’m glad & grateful to be here now, on a personal level. But also, whenever I come across the propaganda, whether written by some punk who perhaps is shooting to be published in a despicable rag like HuffPo or Al Jazeera, or by some sleazy war propagandist based abroad, I can easily refute it, *precisely* because I walk all over the city every day, not just in Bab Touma, but all over.
Yesterday, for example, I walked from Bab Touma to the simple homes on the mountain just above Arnous and Afif… Another day I was in Barzeh al-Balad and walked on through Ruken el Din and back to Bab Touma…Another day, to the busy market in the Salhiyeh/Mouhajareen mountainside area. Another day, to and around Dweila.. So, I’m seeing a cross-section of society in my walks, and no where do I see chaos, no where do I see the dystopian fearful society this crappy author depicted, I see the contrary.
Regarding Syria’s preparations around Covid:
-“…all steps and procedures taken to reactivate the service and economic sectors and the continuation of the production process should agree with the highest degrees of responsibility and awareness by citizens and committing to personal cleanness and health safety provisions.” (source)
Finally, an anecdote, with the caveat that while this is an anecdote about my day the other day, this is not *about me* and, although people might want to express good wishes, it isn’t necessary (but thanks anyway!).
My point in relating this is to consider the issue of the current, global, full-on lockdowns (under the pretext of saving people from a virus) and the harm these lockdowns are causing.
[By the way, one definition of lockdown is thus: “A lockdown is an prison protocol that usually prevents people or information from leaving an area.”]
The other day, I went to a specialist to see whether an abdominal issue troubling me for some weeks was serious or not. After internet searches it is easy to imagine worst scenarios… The specialist did an ultrasound on my various abdominal organs, and the answer was a negative, nothing serious, followed by suggestions of foods to avoid and mild prescriptions to take.
However, imagine you have some serious condition, chronic or sudden, whatever it is, and you *can’t even get to* a doctor, let alone a specialist, because your government has ordered you to stay home, only potential Covid patients are to come to hospital.
How horribly things could go, and have gone, for people really needing medical care but unable to get it because of lockdowns, due to something even the head alarmist himself, Fauci, belatedly decided was akin to the common flu…
March 11: “Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: “The flu has a mortality rate of 0.1 percent. This has a mortality rate of 10 times that.” (source)
March 26: Fauci & co:
There are enough experts (silenced/ignored/mocked by MSM) speaking out about the futility of lockdowns, or that they should at least by now be ceased due to the long-term damage they will inflict–again, related to health issues but also issues of suicide, domestic abuse, depression, and of course not being able to provide for one’s family since work it out…(See one of my previous posts on this, with many links)
Please do not think I dismiss the impact on elderly and vulnerable. To the contrary, I’m acutely aware of the threat of any viruses and flus on those with weakened immune systems or serious health conditions, as mentioned at the start.
I shudder at the tragically common reports of elderly dying due to lack of care in long term care facilities, a product of the lock-downs, the fear porn and the individual care facilities’ policies. Conversely, I thank the universe that my own mother, in the vulnerable sector, has safe, professional care.
I know people with serious health conditions, and I worry about them, their ability to see the specialist they need in order to stay healthy, not die. I worry about people who have locked themselves indoors upon governments orders and are consequently not doing what’s best for their immune system and can suffer in so many ways in the near future.