What is happening in Eastern Aleppo? and to a larger extent Syria. Many see only two predominant answers to such questions,: it is either a victory of Syrian Arab Army’s secularism or a grow of the Jihadi threat. Syrian activists have another story for you.
In reality, “tens of thousands of people are trapped in Aleppo. The Assad regime & Iranian militias, with Russian air support, are attacking the remaining civilians who had hoped to be evacuated today. Cluster bombs are raining down on around 80,000 people stuck in a 1.5 km² area. Amongst those still trapped are the heroic White Helmets, doctors and journalists who all remained to continue to protect and serve.” read the full thing at What the fuck we can do about Aleppo? A starter guide.
However, many foreign journalists, scholars and other war tourists who have been roaming Western Aleppo and the “liberated”1 Eastern sides to inform you about “the truth”, “the fight against Jihadists” perceive this as nothing less than a “victory” of the Syrian army’s secularism over the barbarism of the uncivilized others. Simple and crystal clear as it sounds this is a common dehumanizing narrative.
Foreign journalists, scholars and other war tourists who have been roaming Western Aleppo and the “liberated”1 Eastern sides to inform you about “the victory ” are part of the systematic dehumanization of civilians in Eastern Aleppo.
Tragically, there is another important dimension foreigners’ analysis can’t grasp that international visitors to Syria are strictly escorted by regime forces (reasonably, for their own safety) , but also following a strict guidelines of censorship. There is no room for interaction with survivals and witnesses in a safe environment. In fact, under the presence of regime forces, implicitly Syrians know that they cant share whatever they want. The country a.k.a “the Kingdom of Silence” has a long history of repression and lack of freedom of expression, way before the Jihadi threat became THE buzzword.
On the 15th od December 2016, Swedish Radio Foreign correspondent Cecilia Udden was expelled from Syria because of “untrue reporting”. This is a polite phrase for “reporting that does not fit Assad’s world view”
Read the statement of the Commission for the Protection of Journalists about the expel of Udden from Syria
BUT Putting the analysis of the superb Western experts aside. Here you a list of 4 prominent voices informing the world about the situation in Eastern Aleppo.
With hear captivating stories about living under siege; Lina Shamy is video blogging the brutal daily life of Eastern Aleppo.
“I know I might die or get arrested, and I know that the regime (…) will continue the genocide they started but this won’t stop me from telling the story”
“You have elected your government (in the West) talk to your MPs, talk to the White House, don’t stop”
Lina told Al jazeera English.
7-Years Old Bana Al Abed
One of the most followed Twitter accounts (284.000 follower). Bana, together with her mom, have been documenting the plight of living under siege in Eastern Alepp. Bana was called the era’s Anna Frank .She embodies what children endure under Assad and Russia attacks across the country.
A recent analysis by the highly regarded Bellingcat shows that all indicators: language, geo-location and other patterns show that the account is most probably authentic. The analysis says that “using the open source information available to us we can draw several conclusions about Bana and her Twitter account, 1) Bana Al-Abed is a real 7 year-old child who resides in East Aleppo. 2) Her Twitter and Periscope accounts have consistently posted videos from the same locations in East Aleppo 3) Her accounts are run by her mother, Fatimah. 4)Fatimah has experience of journalism and appears to be very social-media savvy. 5) Bana and her mother have come under sustained attack from critics using lies, misinformation and deliberate misunderstanding in order to delegitimise them”.
English speaking activist from besieged Aleppo. Monther is also a journalist,artist,graphic designer, media trainer and photographer.
Zouhir is a freelance journalist based in eastern Aleppo, contributor to AJEnglish, MiddleEastEye, The_NewArab , TheNatWorldand & other regional publications. Mother has been video blogging the siege experience.
1- I experienced liberation firsthand when I was in Yarmouk Camp for Palestinian Refugees summer of 2012. Surrounding areas were extensively bombarded because of the presence of armed opposition. Liberation here stands for scorched earth policy, in which collateral damage could amount to hundreds of civilians.