Archive for the ‘Media Monitoring’ Category

Photo by Anas Qtiesh

I had the opportunity to attend a presentation by the brilliant Palestinian journalist and photographer Mohammed Omer which was properly named Welcome to Hell. He demonstrated the the situation in Gaza, the Israeli war crimes, and his experience as a journalist working under the Israeli occupation in Gaza and the abuses and assault he was subjected to by Israeli soldiers.

Omer shocked an awed the audience with striking photos and videos almost never seen by a “western citizen” and he recounted tales of horror of families killed; homes demolished over the heads of its residents; children risking their lives to go to a bombed house looking for a bicycle, or to see whether their favorite school bag survived; and elderly women cooking grass to survive. Needless to say that’s all a result of the Israeli siege on Gaza that has been going on for years now while the international community stands silently on the sidelines.

What really amazed me was his talk about the fluffy names of Israeli operations in Gaza: Rainbow; Summer Rain; and, if I remember correctly, Plucking Flowers where Israeli soldiers would walk around randomly shooting civilians (children included) point-blank.

Looking at Omer’s Wikipedia page you’ll find out that “in 2008, Omer was awarded the 2007 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. In the award citation, Omer was honored as ‘the voice of the voiceless’ and his reports were described as a ‘humane record of the injustice imposed on a community forgotten by much of the world.'”

On his return to Gaza after winning the award, he was assaulted by Israeli Soldier’s at Allenby Bridge and received severe bodily injuries including broken ribs and spine damage. He is still receiving treatment for these injuries till this day. But that’s not the worst of his problems: in 2003 his 17 year-old  brother was killed by sniper bullets as he was going to school. Three years later his mother sustained severe injuries as she jumped out of a house window to escape with her life as an Israeli Army bulldozer was tearing down their 2-story house with no prior warning. Almost all of his younger siblings were injured by the Israeli army at one time or another.

After all he went through, he stood at Harvard advocating a nonviolent approach to end the suffering in Gaza. He asked the people to spread the message and pressure their congressmen to cease blind preferential treatment for Israel. He pointed out a small yet significant progress: The Congress condemned the Goldstone report as biased with a vote of 344 to 36. While the aggression were taking place the Congress overwhelmingly voted against condemning Israeli actions with only 2 in opposition. This counted as a success to a slowly, yet steadily, growing BDS Movement (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) against Israeli occupation.

Mohammed Omer will go on with his tour before going to the Netherlands to resume medical treatment for the aforementioned injuries. His work is available on his website: http://www.rafahtoday.org .


Read Full Post »

Karim Arbaji has just been sentenced to three years in prison for defending human rights in Syria. Meanwhile, the Syrian blogosphere is bustling with posts advocating admirable and worthy campaigns. There’s the astounding campaign against masturbation, the noble Blogging Week for Moral Decay, and the enlightening campaign for Blogging Against Fossilized Thinking.

The background of this story is this post by Abu Fares, a response ridiculing the infamous call for a campaign against masturbation. The commentators on that post eventually came up with their own ideas for  random blogging campaigns. In essence to further mock that blogger, and the perceived religious bloggers he’s associated with.

I have to say that upon reading about the anti-masturbation campaign I cracked up. Also, I posted about it on Global Voices, sans-sarcasm. Some people were amused by the idea and tweeted the link of the article and a friend of mine wrote to me saying that the campaigner is likely to have a crowd supporting his campaign that you could fit in a phone booth. So, many people find – me included – that idea outrageous, But does that warrant the ridicule of the blogger? Does that make it ok to put aside all the great words and thoughts I’ve seen many Syrian bloggers write on each of their blogs to combine forces to fight this supposed “common enemy” called religiousness?


Read Full Post »

United States of America President George W. B...

Image via Wikipedia

Gregory Levey suggested in the Newsweek today that President Obama should appoint George W. Bush as his Mideast envoy to gain the trust of Israelis in order achieve the American “wish list” with the Israeli Government. The “full-court press” wishes are the following:

They want Israel to stop expanding settlements; to stop building Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem; and for hawks in the government to chill out while the U.S. is negotiating with Iran.

So Mr. Levey suggests that the U.S. needs to acquire Israeli trust in order to stop the illegal settlements, illegal Judaization of Jerusalem, and to have Israeli permission to have talks with Iran. The absurdity of his suggestion is only matched by a fact he mentions to justify his outrageous suggestion:

In the history of U.S.-Israel relations, probably no president has earned adoration and unequivocal trust from Israel like Bush.

It strikes me that the U.S. President that was considered by the rest of the world as the worst (and most stupid) U.S president in history was the most popular among the Israelis. His achievements were: dragging the U.S. into two pointless wars and promoting anti-American sentiment in the world like never before, and right before his second term was over he practically destroyed the American economy to the extent they had to borrow astronomical sums of money from CHINA to keep the economy going. Of course he was rewarded by a flood of jokes on his expense by late night comedy shows and a sewage plant that was honorably named after him.

Yet of course:, Levey continues with another gem:

During the Bush years, Israelis were consistently among the few foreign populations that gave the American president high approval marks—often in far greater proportion than Americans themselves.

It appears, according to Levey, that the measure of a good American president is how much the Israelis love him, regardless of the catastrophes he brings onto the very people who elected him. After all, voters are dismissible once the elections are won. A better alternative would be that Bush becomes the  honorary Israeli president since he has unprecedented approval rates there and they’re practically fawning over him, although I’m sure the trend would be reversed if this were really to happen . This alternative suggestion, though absurd, is a much superior solution to the Middle East problems than Mr. Levey’s well-thought-well-written plan.

Read Full Post »

Sitting in one of Damascus’s infamous Microbuses (locally known as Servees), A Pepsi Max ad plays on the radio. It goes like this:

Buyer: Give me Pepsi Max.
Shopkeeper: It has no sugar.
B: I know, but it has all the taste.
SP (in dullest most stupid voice imaginable): but it has no sugar.
B: I know! but it has all the tase, why would I want sugar? GIVE ME PEPSI MAX I TELL YOU!

I don’t know what the guys who created this astounding ad were thinking, but what I inferred from the ad was that those who sell Pepsi Max just don’t get it, and those who buy it are douche bags. Excellent selling point.

That said, the Syrian Advertisement industry is largely a national embarrassment. The examples are just too many. but to be fair, every once in a while an advertising agency does come up with ideas that are pure genius, fun, and original. Yet the trend is largely finding a great song or piece of classical music and butcher it by turning it to a bubble gum song or a floor cleaner brand. Ask any Syrian whether they know the Lavicera musical piece, you will be surprised.

Anyways, you would expect an multinational mega-corp like Pepsi with a huge advertisement budget to actually come up with ads that don’t suck. I guess Syrian advertising is still a guaranteed way for a company to shoot themselves in the foot.

Read Full Post »

Back to School, Gaza Style

Back to School, Gaza Style

Text Reads: “Martyr Student: Ahmed Ziad Al-Absi, 6th Grade”

Photo courtesy of Al Baath Newspaper.

Read Full Post »

من جريدة الوطن

بدون تعليق

من جريدة الوطن الصادرة صباح اليوم

The text reads: “A New Dawn For Humanity, 70 Days Till Bush Leaves the White House”

This was taken from the top of the front page of Al Watan Daily Newspaper.

Read Full Post »


عمر محمود العلي
جرائم انعدام الشرف
ليقرأ المتآمرون على الشرف الكلمات الأولى للمادة ويفهموا اللغة العربية والأخلاق العربيةقبل أن يتفضلوا بالنقاش والبحق وفق رغبات أمريكا ، ليس هناك تعدي على حقوق المرأة ولا استخفافا بوجودها وإنما هناك صيانة ولو بالتهديد لمن تسول لها نفسها بالانحطاط الأخلاقي
شب عتيق
لازم براءة
لازم الي بدافع عن شرفه مابينحكم ابدن لأنو البنت وقت تزني فهي ارتكبت جريمة قتل ل 100 شخص ع الاقل لأنواهلها وقرايبها كلهم رح يلحقهم عار منها ورح يكونو ضحية لنفسها الدنية الي خلتها تزني لذلك لازم تموت هي وكل شخص يزني ويلطخ اسم اهله بالعار
المهندس ابراهيم
سؤال لرجال الدين؟
لو فيكم ذرة دين كنتوا طالبتو برجم الزانية والزاني حتى الموت بدل من تغيير القانون
شي متل الكزب
لك عم يقتلو البنات والدعارة منتشرة متل الرز كيف لو مابقا فيه قتل؟؟؟ يعني حتى الي بدافع عن شرفه وعرضه لازم يحكموه 15 سنة ؟؟والله عيب
الله يهدي الجميع ويهديني اولهم
يا سيدي لازم اصلا ما يتحاكم منوب لأنو ماحد بحط حاله محل هل الرجال يلي عم يشوف هل الشوفة ئدامه الكل يحط حاله محله لا سمح الله شو ح يكون تصرفو اذا دخل على البيت لا سمح الله وشاف هل الشوفة هي رح يتفرج ؟؟ ولا رح يروح يخبر الشرطة ؟؟؟ اصلا اذا بدو يعمل هيك بكون مافيه شرف واذا كان مافيه شرف اصلا مارح يقتل حد والسلام عليكم

[جميع التعليقات مأخوذة من سيريا نيوز.]

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »