[Marxism] Robert Fisk reporting from Daraya

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Sep 1 06:06:56 MDT 2012

On 9/1/12 3:48 AM, anas abdelrahim wrote:
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> http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-inside-daraya--how-a-failed-prisoner-swap-turned-into-a-massacre-8084727.html


     Daraya Coordination Committee

     Press Release

     Robert Fisk’s report about the massacre of Saturday 25/08/2012

     On Wednesday 29 August 2012, Mr. Robert Fisk of The Independent 
wrote a report on the Daraya Massacre that was perpetrated only 4 days 
earlier. Mr. Fisk is a world-famous journalist known for his balanced 
opinion pieces and ground-breaking reports especially from the Middle 
East. The people of Syria especially remember Fisk for being the first 
foreign reporter to enter the city of Hama after the 1982 massacre and 
relate to the world the horrors he saw there. Thus, we were absolutely 
astonished by the above-mentioned report and would like to make sure 
that certain points in it are not left uncorrected. We do this out of 
respect to the fallen heroes and to make sure the voice of the victims 
is heard.

     Anyone who watched the infamous and insolent report made by the 
state-favored Addounia TV, would notice the obvious similarities between 
the two reports.

     One major concern that would invalidate any statement taken from 
the victims is the presence of army personnel as admitted by Mr. Fisk 
himself. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of the Syrian regime would 
know the degree of intimidation this would incur in the hearts and minds 
of witnesses. The army does not need to spoon-feed the statements to the 
witnesses as fear is more than enough to make them repeat the narrative 
propagated by the government about armed militias and radical Islamists.

     Moreover, the article is headlined and predicated on the 
government’s unbelievable prisoner-swap story. The question that begs to 
be asked is the following: Even if there was a prisoner exchange and it 
failed, does the Assad regime have any grounds at all for this level of 
retaliation? Were there similar failed rounds of negotiation before the 
massacres of Muaddamiya, Saqba etc. In fact, what has been happening in 
the towns of the Damascus Countryside Governorate, and indeed all of 
Syria, follows a similar scenario that begins with shelling and ends 
with massacres of civilians.

     A seemingly strong point in Mr. Fisk’s report is his mentioning of 
real names of people telling their real stories. However, the 
Coordination Committee of Daraya has been in touch with some of these 
people and the following corrections need to be made.

     1- The story of Hamdi Khreitem’s parents. The witness must have 
been too intimidated to identify his parents’ killers. Our reliable 
sources from the field hospital of Daraya confirm that both of them were 
targeted by a sniper (from the Assad army of course).

     2- The story of Khaled Yahya Zukari. The witness was actually in a 
car with his brother and their wives and children. They were shot at by 
government forces and his wife and daughter (Leen) were hit. The baby 
girl’s head was almost split in half and a bullet penetrated the 
mother’s chest. The mother became hysterical as a result of the shock. 
Later she died as the field hospital had to be evacuated prior to an 
army raid. The Assad army told the people that the FSA raped and killed 
the woman.

     The fear and intimidation of witnesses is reflected sometimes in 
their refusal to name a guilty side. Moreover, Mr. Fisk should know 
better than reporting conjecture such as this: ‘Another man said that, 
although he had not seen the dead in the graveyard, he believed that 
most were related to the government’s army and included several off-duty 
conscripts.’ The implicit accusation is of course directed against the 
FSA and this method of reporting resembles Syrian state propaganda par 
excellence, something that we wish Mr. Fisk had not done.

     The revolution committee would finally like to stress also that Mr. 
Fisk did not meet any member of the opposition in Daraya and that he 
merely depended on the narrative of his ‘tour guides’ in reporting on 
such a horrific massacre, the ugliest Syria has seen in the 17 months of 
the revolution

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