Love for Syria

Tonight, it is absolutely clear. When the stats on my blog spikes unusually high, it has nothing to do with me or what I say or think.

Each time this happens, based on the articles viewed and keywords that led them here, I can see that they have Iraq / Libya / Syria on their mind.

Lately, the name Anhar Kochneva or анхар кочнева has been appearing a lot under the search engine terms. I am finally seeing why.

So sad to know she’s been kidnapped and is still missing.

…Syria is in a real bad shape people. And it’s not even what we think it is. Especially the bulk of what is reported on mainstream media…

Regardless of who or what you believe, as a human being witnessing the destruction of another fellow human being, it is never easy.

Let the anger burn, as surely as sadness is cold. The point is that you care. Don’t ever forget that and never allow hate to drive out love.
May the next 5 minutes of Syria (watch video below) fill your heart with wonder at its beauty, and Love for its people. And if you find it in your heart to do so, Pray For Syria.

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

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Power of Truth in Syria, Libya– NYTimes Interview with Lizzie Phelan

Author: Lizzie Phelan

Irish free-lance journalist Lizzie Phelan shares her recent interview by New York Times reporter Robert Mackey, discussing the skewed Western media coverage of Syria and Libya. Phelan says  “grasping a complex reality does not depend on the amount of information accumulated in favor of any one side, but on the diversity of informed points of view reflecting a given situation.” 
Otherwise, as Phelan says, the first casualty of war will always be truth.

Robert Mackey : Since your impressions of what is happening in Syria seem to be strikingly different from those of many foreign reporters who have worked there recently, I wanted to ask you about how you found your sources and what you think accounts for the different picture painted of the conflict by other journalists.
 
Lizzie Phelan : First of all I hope that you will give me the opportunity to answer all of your questions in full, so that the context which is always lacking can be provided. I also hope that you will ask all the questions that you proposed when I agreed to do this interview. If not I will myself publish the full questions and my full answers. 
 
This question is flawed, because what you really mean is that my impressions of what is happening in Syria seem to be strikingly different from those reporters from the NATO and GCC countries which have a vested interest in destabilising Syria. Of course my impressions are actually shared by the majority people of this world, from those countries outside of NATO and the GCC and particularly those which are victims of these powers. But because they do not own a powerful media their voices are drowned out by the impressions of the minority reflected in the mainstream media of the NATO and GCC countries. 
 
So in relation to my sources, I find my sources through a number of different means, but my main means is I talk to ordinary people every where I go and in Syria this is not difficult because people are really keen to speak about the crisis in their country, especially to foreigners who they feel strongly have a false impression about their country and current events. This was overwhelmingly, but of course not exclusively, the point of view that I encountered. And this is reflected in my reporting. 
 
In fact, like in Libya, I was so overwhelmed by the volume of people that wanted to talk about their anger at the fabrications in the media of the NATO and GCC countries that my colleague Mostafa Afzalzadeh and I decided to make a documentary so that we could reflect what ordinary Syrian people are really saying. This documentary will actually expose how if it was not for such media the crisis in Syria would have been over before it started and the people of Syria would be living in peace now. 
 
The difference with journalists from mainstream media in NATO and GCC countries is that they come with an agenda, and that agenda is to cover what they call is a “revolution” happening inside Syria and to give substance to the false claims that the Syrian government is a threat to the Syrian people. So if for example they walk down the street and they have 10 people telling them there is no revolution happening in Syria and actually the people want the army to protect them from the terrorists that are flooding the country, and then they have one person who tells them that there is no democracy in Syria, they will discard the 10 as government spies and run with the one person who said something different, I witnessed this myself.
 
If they were to do the reverse and reflect the majority view on the street, then this would undermine the coverage of their media organisations over the previous 10 months that have painted a picture of a government hated by its people, and in turn it would undermine their own credibility as journalists working for those organisations. 
 
But in time they will not be able to supress the truth. However, like in Libya the danger is that the truth only comes out when it is too late, when a country has been successfully destroyed by the NATO and GCC countries, with the vital help of their media. Then the western media can afford to be more honest, although never entirely, because the aims, for example of regime change, of their paymasters have been achieved. 
 
I on the other hand am not concerned about towing a line in order to “make it” as a journalist working for one of the world’s most respected media organisations, I became a journalist in order to reflect the truth at whatever cost that may come. The only thing I am loyal to is my conscience. 
 
RM : Since you have appeared on Press TV and Russia Today, as well as Syria state television, do you have any concern that you might seem to be endorsing the governments that finance those channels, or do you see your role more as that of an activist, opposing the policies of the US and UK, than as a neutral reporter?
 
LP : This question in itself is a very deceitful and loaded question, and it is taken out of all context. It implies that BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera etc and the journalists who work for those organisations are independent from their financiers. If I worked for BBC does that mean that I am endorsing the British government which funds it and that government’s centuries long and present abuses across the world? 
 
Why is the NYT concerned about my work for Russia Today and Press TV? I challenge you to find me specific examples of journalists that work for these organisations that have engaged in bad journalistic practise. Why are you not concerned about journalists who work for Al Jazeera that is funded by and reflects the foreign policy of the Qatari emir and royal family. Al Jazeera has been proven many times over in the past few months to have published false reports about events in the region, not least Libya. 
 
How can their journalists be neutral when their employer hosts the largest US military base in the region, and has been responsible for sending thousands of fighters, weapons and a lot of money to kill and destroy in Libya and is now doing the same in Syria in addition to having called for Arab troops to invade the country. Likewise, I have yet to hear the NYT question the “neutrality” of journalists who work with the British state funded BBC, or journalists who work for the Murdoch Press which is well documented to have strong connections with all the major western powers which are responsible for the greatest violations of international law. 
 
So the question should start from the premise that no news organisations are neutral, and each represent a certain ideology. So if you ask me if I feel more at peace working for news channels which reflect the ideology of states that are defending themselves from constant attack by the west, that is an ideology that opposes foreign interference in their affairs and promotes their own independence, or would I feel more comfortable working for media organisations that reflect the arrogant ideology that western civilisation is superior and should be imposed across the world by any means necessary, then I think any person with the slightest understanding of global politics and at least recent history would say the former. 
 
An additional deception in this question is that there is such a thing as neutrality and that journalists are able to separate their own beliefs in what they choose to cover and how they cover it, or indeed the pretence that journalists do not hold an opinion. 
 
As I said, I am not concerned about others perceptions of these things, because anyone who perceives that because I have worked for Russia Today or Press TV it means that I am in someone’s pocket, whereas if I was working for a western organisation I would be “neutral,” is deceiving themselves and choosing to look at a tiny portion of a whole picture. 
 
Incidentally, when I was stuck in the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli with those 35 other journalists, one of the days, two American journalists rushed into the hotel and swiftly exited when they realised that the hotel was being defended by Gaddafi supporters. Actually one of the two in particular was worried about the Gaddafi supporters harming him, but they requested that they just leave. Why was he so worried? Because he said he was related to somebody senior in the NTC no less. I have never seen his neutrality being called into question by the mainstream media. 
 
Finally, what is an activist? If it means that the role you play has the effect of agitating events, then I would say that we are all in some shape or form activists. For anyone to think that their actions are benign and have no repercussions, is at best naïve. This is particularly true for all journalists, whose actions as reporters have greater repercussions than other ordinary citizens of this world. And this is of course because their voice is afforded a special platform, and when you study journalism you are taught that a reporter should act as the eyes and ears of the general public, and thus you have greater influence than the ordinary citizen. 
 
So you either use that platform to promote justice and the principles of international law which are fundamental for everyone’s well being, or you bury your head in the sand about the responsibility that comes with that platform and you use it to promote your own personal career or interests. 
 
RM : I also wanted to find out more about your reporting from Libya, and ask how you respond to allegations that you supported the government of Col. Qaddafi? All in all, I’m trying to get a better understanding of what drives you to speak out against Western governments but apparently lend your support to governments, like those in Iran, Russia and Syria now, that have been accused of serious human rights abuses.
 
LP : Again this is another deceitful question and epitomises the manipulative approach of the world’s powerful media, such as newspapers like the NYT. 
 
Here you are asking me this question because the west’s major powers and media criminalised Muammar Gaddafi, Iran etc by accusing them of abusing human rights. 
 
So you are trying to put me into this trap by saying that if I support Muammar Gaddafi, and Iran I also support abuses against human rights. 
 
But first of all this question of human rights is an absolute fallacy and is at present the number one stick used to bash leaders of independent developing countries in order to provide a moral justification for the imposition of the western system upon those countries. 
 
My colleague Dan Glazebrook did an interview on Russia Today last week following the decision by Doctors Without Borders to stop their work in Libya in despair at the appalling torture against tens of thousands of pro-Gaddafi Libyans by those rebels who have been cheered on for the past year by the western media. He reminded the public that according to HRW reports from the past 5 years, there were three possible cases of deaths in custody in Libya over 5 years, which is really exemplary, but in Britain there were 4 cases last month alone. So I would be far more concerned about being associated with the British government and thus its appalling human rights record. And that is just Britain – the rest of the NATO countries, particularly the US and also Israel and the GCC countries fare no better. 
 
Factually speaking Libya was a paradise for human rights and Muammar Gaddafi was due to receive a human rights award prior to the NATO onslaught. And of course Libya had the highest standard of living in Africa and much of the region, including a much higher standard of living than Saudi Arabia which hardly ever is in the spotlight in the mainstream western press. 
 
Nonetheless, you wouldn’t dream of implying that a journalist who works for the Sun or the Guardian in Britain, both of which take a position of supporting one way or another the Conservative party or the Labour Party, of supporting abuses on human rights because they work for papers which support parties that have committed some of the greatest injustices known to man throughout history all across the world and up until this present day. Injustices which far outstrip any injustices that have occurred at the hands of any leader of a developing country. 
 
So why the two-faces? This is all part of the prejudice in western media that western civilisation is superior to anything else and therefore those responsible for the injustices committed by the west need not be held accountable, and anyone who speaks out against that should have their name dragged through the mud. 
 
Malcolm X famously said “if you are not careful, the media will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the oppressor”, and that quote rings true more than ever today most recently in the way that the western and GCC media has covered events in Libya and Syria. 
 
But to respond to your question directly, as I have stated, what I support is respect for international law, and the most important principle in international law, and one of the main stated aims for the body that was set up to uphold international law, the now redundant UN, is respect for the sovereignty of nations and non-interference in the internal affairs of states. Recent history shows that the root of the greatest injustices known to man is the violation of these principles and so anyone who violates these principles is a criminal and should be treated as such, and anyone who is a victim of such violations should be defended. 
 
Now not only these principles, but all relevant international laws and norms were violated in the case of Libya and the west’s treatment of Muammar Gaddafi, and this has been well documented. The same violations are playing out against the Syrian government. 
 
How is it that one can moralise about human rights, but not give a second’s thought to the fact that a senior member of the US government, Hilary Clinton called for the death of another head of state, Muammar Gaddafi, just two days before he was assassinated. I hope I don’t need to tell you that that was entirely illegal and abhorrent. 
 
I am wholly against such violations, just as anybody who believes in international law and justice would be, and therefore I will support the right of anyone to defend themselves against this violation by any means necessary. 
 
I have been accused by some of being a mouthpiece for the Libyan government but now the truth is coming out, we know that the essence of the former Libyan government’s analysis has been proved correct, whilst almost everything reported by the mainstream Western media has been proved wrong: 
 
The rebellion WAS indeed armed from the very first day of the uprising (this was confirmed in Amnesty’s in-depth report from late last year) – not a peaceful movement 
 
The rebels WERE working hand in glove with Western intelligence agencies to facilitate a NATO blitzkrieg 
 
The NTC ARE disunited and incapable of governing the country. 
 
The rebels DO have a racist, even genocidal, policy towards sub-Saharan African migrants and the third of the Libyan population is dark skinned 
 
Gaddafi’s government WERE NOT conducting aerial attacks against protesters or mass rape (or indeed ANY rape, according to Amnesty) 
 
There HAD NOT been 10,000 people killed in Benghazi by Gaddafi’s government during the uprising (as the NTC claimed), but 110 (Amnesty figures again) killed on both sides prior to NATO’s attack 
 
etc… 
 
On every major issue, the Gaddafi government’s analysis and figures have been proven far far closer to the truth than the NTC’s and the western media’s initial and unequivocal position. So ANY journalist telling the truth about these issues would have “sounded like a mouthpiece of the regime”, because the government’s analysis was essentially correct, and has now been proven correct. 
 
Lizzie Phelan

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

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The West’s Greatest Fear

Author, Dan Glazebrook – The West’s greatest fear 

Western attempts to destroy Syria have not been going to plan, revealing that what the West fears most is a peaceful resolution to the crisis, writes Dan Glazebrook 

The strategy was simple, clear, tried and tested. It had been used successfully not only against Libya, but also Kosovo (in 1999), and was rapidly underway in Syria. It was to run as follows: train proxies to launch armed provocations; label the state’s response to these provocations as genocide; intimidate the UN Security Council into agreeing that “something must be done”; incinerate the army and any other resistance with fragmentation bombs and Hellfire missiles; and finally install a weak, compliant government to sign off new contracts and alliances drawn up in London, Paris and Washington, whilst the country tore itself apart.

Result: the heart torn out of the “axis of resistance” between Iran, Syria and Hizbullah, leaving Iran isolated and the West with a free hand to attack Iran without fear of regional repercussions.

This was to be Syria’s fate, drawn up years ago in the high- level planning committees of US, British and French defence departments and intelligence services. But this time, unlike in Libya, it has not all gone according to plan.

First, there was Russia and China’s veto of the “regime change” resolution at the UN Security Council in October 2011, followed by a second veto in February of this year. This meant that any NATO attack on Syria would be denied the figleaf of UN approval, and seen instead as a unilateral act of aggression not just against Syria, but potentially also against China and Russia as well.

Vicious and reckless as they are, even Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama do not necessarily have the stomach for that kind of a fight. That left the burden of destroying the Syrian state to NATO’s proxy forces on the ground, the “Free Syrian Army” — a collection of domestic and (increasingly) foreign militias, mostly ultra-sectarian Salafi extremists, along with a smattering of defectors and Western special forces.

However, this army was not created actually to defeat the Syrian state; that was always supposed to be NATO’s job. As in Libya, the role of the militias was simply to provoke reprisals from the state in order to justify a NATO blitzkrieg. Left to their own devices, they have no chance of gaining power militarily, as many in the opposition realise.

“We don’t believe the Free Syrian Army is a project that can help the Syrian revolution,” said leader of the internal Syrian resistance movement Haitham Al-Manna, recently. “We don’t have an example of where an armed struggle against a dictatorial regime has won.” Of course, one could cite Cuba, South Vietnam, and many others, but what is certainly true is that internal armed struggle alone has never succeeded when the government is the only party in the struggle with any significant mass support, as is the case in Syria.

This reality was brutally driven home in early March in the decisive battle for the Baba Amr district of Homs. This was supposedly one of the Free Syrian Army’s strongholds, yet they were roundly defeated, leaving them facing the prospect of similar defeats in their last few remaining territories as well. The opposition groups are becoming increasingly aware that their best chance of meaningful change is not through a military fight that they will almost certainly lose, and which will get them killed in the process, along with their losing their support and credibility, but through negotiations and participation in the reform process and the dialogue that the government has offered.

This prospect — of an end to the civil war and a negotiated peace that brings about a reform process without destabilising the country — has led to desperation amongst the imperialist powers. Despite their claims to the contrary, a stable Syrian-led process is the last thing they want, as it leaves open the possibility of Syria remaining a strong, independent, anti-imperialist state — exactly the possibility they had sought to eliminate.

Hence, within days of Kofi Anan’s peace plan gaining a positive response from both sides in late March, the imperialist powers openly pledged, for the first time, millions of dollars for the Free Syrian Army: for military equipment, to provide salaries to its soldiers, and to bribe government forces to defect. In other words, terrified that the civil war in Syria is starting to die down, they are setting about institutionalising it. If violent regime change is starting to look unlikely, the hope instead is to keep the country weak and on its knees by sucking its energy into an ongoing civil war.

At the risk of making the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) appear even more out of touch with ordinary Syrians than it does already, its Western backers have increased the pressure on it to fall into line with this strategy, leading to open calls from the SNC leadership for both the full-scale arming of the rebellion and for aerial bombardment from the West.

This has caused huge rifts in the organisation, with three leading members defecting last month, because they did not want to be “accomplices in the massacre of the Syrian people through delaying, cheating, lies, one-upmanship and monopolisation of decision-making.” The SNC, according to one of the three, Kamal Al-Labwani, is “linked to foreign agendas that aim to prolong the battle while waiting… for the country to be dragged into a civil war.”

This month, one of the few SNC leaders actually based in Syria, Riad Turk, called on the opposition to accept the Anan peace plan, “stop the bloodshed” and enter into dialogue with the government — a call not echoed by his fellow SNC colleagues abroad. Likewise, the main peaceful opposition grouping within Syria — the National Coordinating Committee — has fallen out with the SNC over the latter’s increasingly belligerent role as a mouthpiece of foreign powers.

NCC leader Al-Manna spoke out against the Free Syrian Army recently, saying “the militarisation of the Syrian revolution signifies the death of the internal revolution…We know that the Turkish government is playing an important role in the political decisions of the Free Syrian Army. We don’t believe that an armed group can be on Turkish territory and remain independent of Turkish decisions.”

So, there is a growing perception, even amongst the Syrian opposition movement itself, that both the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National Council are working in the interests of foreign powers to prolong a pointless civil war.

Western policy-makers are playing a dangerous game. Short of a NATO attack, their best option for the destabilisation and emasculation of Syria is to ensure that the ceasefire fails and the fighting continues. To this end, they are encouraging their proxy militias to step up their provocations: the purpose of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé’s statements about “other measures” still being on the table is to keep the idea of a NATO attack alive in the heads of the rebels so that they continue to fight.

Indeed, many more foreign fighters have been shipped into the country in recent weeks, according to The Washington Post, and these have been launching devastating bomb attacks in Damascus and Aleppo. US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford is a protégé of John Negroponte, who organised Contra death squads to destabilise Nicaragua in the 1980s; he will almost certainly have been organising similar groups in Syria during his time there last year and for similar purposes.

Nevertheless, the destabilisation agenda is not going according to plan.

The internal opposition in Syria is becoming increasingly frustrated with the way things are progressing, and a clear split is emerging between those based outside the country, happy to see Syria consigned to oblivion in order to please their paymasters and further their careers, and those who actually have to live with the consequences.

The reckless attacks carried out by the armed militias are increasingly alienating even those who once had some sympathy for them, especially as their foreign membership and direction is being exposed ever more clearly. Having been proven unable to win and hold territory, these militias are turning to hit- and-run guerrilla tactics. But the guerrilla, as Mao put it, is like a fish that can only survive in a sea of popular support. And that sea is rapidly drying up.

* The writer ( Dan Glazebrook)  is a political analyst. Source: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2012/1096/op8.htm

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

What do we know about Libya?

To answer the question, let’s be honest: Not a lot. Some of us didn’t even know of the existence of Libya before the invasion.

And now that we think we do, what else do we know besides the name Ghadaffi, his flamboyant style, his platoon of female bodyguards and the label “tyrant”?

The media knows that sensationalism sells. So have we been buying it, lock, stock and barrel? Are we content with flipping channels on tv and pages on newspapers or have we tried to see Libya through the eyes of Libyans?

What do we know of this land not our own, whose people look different from us, dress different from us, talk different from us and live different from us?

Let’s be honest now: Not much and not nearly enough.

But this much we do know, Libya didn’t need a “humanitarian mission” to bomb their University, Hospital, Clinic, Residentials, Food and Water Supplies and City, causing death to massive innocent civilians in the name of  “peace”.

I am surprised and disturbed by the silence all around regarding the plight of Libya.

I’ve also been called many things for having an opinion of my own, and labeled “pro-Ghadaffi” and “pro-Saddam” and “not knowing what I’m doing” and “making a fool of myself” and “not thinking properly” for posting up videos and articles that shows the other side of the story not shown by mainstream media.

How about this. I am pro-Humanity and pro-Justice and pro-Life.

At least I do not claim to know all there is to know about Libya and Ghadaffi and NATO’s true mission for invasion–even though it stinks of greed.

I only know that my heart bleeds at the sight of Libyans crying over the dead bodies of their babies, children, brother, sister, father, mother and fellow Libyans.

I only know that I do not wish to see that look of Fear and Terror that is so apparent on the distressed faces of Libyans, on my own family’s face one day.

I only know that if this can happen to Libya today, it can happen to us.

When it does, do not be surprised by international apathy, as we are now so guilty of. Our tears and rage and loss will just be another foreign conflict in a foreign country–far, far away.

A convenient flick of the TV channel and it’s out of sight and out of mind. A flip of the newspaper page and it’s on to the next headline. A change of YouTube channel and it’s back to Worst Dressed and Best Dressed Celebrities of the day.

I can imagine this to be the natural response by observing our current response to Libya.

But because this blog is about Inspiring a Loving Way of Living, I’m not here to point fingers at anyone but to point out to you, the power that is in your voice.

Speak up for the weak and the powerless–it’s the least YOU CAN do, right now.

SHARE this post or many other posts like these on your facebook / twitter.

“On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” And Vanity comes along and asks the question, “Is it popular?” But Conscience asks the question “Is it right?” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.” – Martin Luther King.
~
Marvel at the life-enhancing possibilities of Libya’s Great Man Made River,  a vision birthed by the “tyrant” Ghadaffi to provide precious water for the African region by 2015, turning the desert green and producing food where there was none. The Libyans calls it the “8th Wonder of the World” and with well deserved pride. Believe it or not, a country can do well without foreign intervention. I have said my Peace.

Love Libya,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture