[Marxism] What’s at issue in the siege of Madaya: Mass starvation, or a few fake pics?

Michael Karadjis mkaradjis at gmail.com
Thu Jan 14 06:36:17 MST 2016

What’s at issue in the siege of Madaya: Mass starvation, or a few fake 

By Michael Karadjis


Throughout the world, people have been shocked by the scenes of starving 
people in the Madaya concentration camp in southern Syria, besieged by 
the Assad regime and its allied death-squad Hezbollah (which has invaded 
Syria from Lebanon). Some 40,000 people are trapped, besieged and 
starved as a weapon of war by the dictatorship which has used every 
conceivable means to maintain its power over the last five years; people 
are reported to be eating grass, insects and cats and dogs.

Yet it appears that the main task confronting leftists – ie, opponents 
of exploitation, oppression and injustice, advocates of a “another world 
is possible” – is once again to find whatever excuses, whatever 
obfuscation, whatever mitigation they can on behalf of the tyrannical 
fascist regime responsible.

Perhaps not unexpectedly, though, they are often as incompetent as they 
are mendacious. I am referring to a number of allegations about several 
false images that have published in some media. As examples, I will just 
use three links that were sent to a list-serve I am involved with, the 
GreenLeft Discussion Group:

1.    From the Baathist organ El Akhbar: ‘Fake Images of Starvation in 
Madaya Surfing the Web’ 
http://el-akhbar.com/en/Fake-Images-Starvation-Madaya-53082/ (while 
obviously media connected to a fascist state is not leftist media, it is 
being spread by leftists)

2.    ‘Madaya: BBC caught recycling footage from Yarmouk’ 

3.    ‘West Media Starves Truth in Syria’, by the indefatigable defender 
of the Assad regime, Finian Cunningham, on the oddball conspiracist site 
‘Information Clearing House’ 

Before looking at the charges, we need to underline a couple of 
important points.

Starvation siege is real

First, the starvation siege is real (like a host of other medieval 
sieges, accompanied by massive aerial bombing, throughout Syria). 
Reports from Doctors Without Borders (MSF: 
Amnesty International 
the Red Cross 
the United Nations, the Syrian-American Medical Society 
among countless others, testify to this.

The UN humanitarian chief, Stephen O’Brien, said about 400 “are in grave 
peril of losing their lives” if not evacuated immediately 
and MSF has reported that 23 patients in the health centre it supports 
have died of starvation since the beginning of December. MSF Director of 
Operations, Brice de le Vingne, claiming this “is a clear example of the 
consequences of using siege as a military strategy,” laid the blame 
squarely on the Syrian regime:

“Madaya is now effectively an open air prison for an estimated 20,000 
people, including infants, children and elderly. There is no way in or 
out, leaving the people to die. The medics we support report injuries 
and death by bullet and landmine wounds from people that tried to leave 

Thus, even if every image published were fake – which would be a 
problem, certainly, and call into question motivations etc – it wouldn’t 
alter the facts of what is going on.

The issue of false images

Second, the overwhelming majority of images would appear to be genuine. 
According to chief official of the UN representative for the Office of 
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Yacoub El Hillo, “It was at times 
difficult to determine whether what we were seeing was actually 
fabricated or exaggerated,” but after stepping foot in Madaya, he 
confirmed, “It is not. It is not. I am sad to say it is not. These are 
true stories coming out of Madaya” 


More information about the Marxism mailing list