Twenty, or perhaps thirty, people were killed in Homs.
This is how news headlines appear when handling the Syrian situation. The number in the headline could be less or more, but this does not matter except when an incidental phrase such as “including three children” is added.
Slowly, but in a semi-systematic manner, news items about the revolution in Syria have shifted into focusing on figures and statistics, rather than details, names or stories.
Is there anything more inhumane than this?
The most dangerous thing a revolution or an ordeal - like that which the Syrian people are experiencing - can inflict is when its cause, tragedies or stories shifts into a mere accumulation of statistics. This is a situation whereby we become indifferent to what is happening, and seek only to have a brief and uninformative summary that does not even reveal what is really happening on the ground.
The manner in which we are covering and keep track of the situation in Syria has been shaken.
Isn’t it true that the majority of us turn our faces away from internet links of “cruel” footages and videos that contain images of injured people or even children dying in Syria? Here, we return to an essential point in covering the Syrian revolution; namely that these images that we avoid are images of real people with stories, tales and tragedies, not a mere accumulation of statistics.
Every Syrian citizen must have his own story; hence we can get away from the statistics regarding the number of killed and injured.
The child who was killed in Homs should have his own story told to the world, as should his mother and family. This also applies to the girl in Idlib and the child in Deraa.
This is with regards to the technology utilized in covering the revolution. As for the ultimate objective of covering the news of the revolution, we feel disgraced and disappointed in admitting that the Syrian regime is successful in remaining in power thanks to tyranny as well as to the world’s failure in alleviating the Syrian people’s suffering. It is an equation in which the media has been an utter failure; the media has shifted the news of the Syrian ordeal from a story about living flesh and blood into mindless statistics. The Syrian news item has become a tedious tragedy which we do not want to pay attention to for fear that it could befall us, as happened in the past year of the revolution.
In news, for example, it is said that “thirty-four people were killed yesterday, in an indication of the decrease in violence thanks to the presence of international observers.”
The revolution is becoming weaker with the more time that passes. This is the source of the evil Syrian regime’s success. Thirty deaths do not represent a drop in violence, but rather the regime’s persistence and clear determination to continue with the killing. To deny 30 victims their minimum right of equity by refusing to condemn the regime that has killed them means that we have entered a perverse stage where we are grateful that the killer was content with taken “only” 30 lives.
This is precisely the logic behind this statement that violence has decreased thanks to the presence of international observers. In fact, this represents a real injustice to the victims of those killed on the day that “violence decreased.”
What would you feel if it was your own family member who was killed on this day, and the media lauded the “decrease in violence”? Does this not truly represent a terrible injustice against the victims?
The writer is a prominent columnist. The article was published in Asharq Al Awsat on April. 28, 2012