How could you verify the authenticity of tapes leaked from Syria? How can we know the truth of what’s happening there?
This question was posed by a Western journalist and he is not the only one who feels confused about what has been happening in Syria since the start of the revolution. He, therefore, decided to play the journalist’s traditional role: doubting the information before verifying it.
Who is the killer in Syria? The regime or the opposition?
Isn’t this the core of the propaganda campaign which was launched at the expense of 60,000 victims who lost their lives in the most brutal manner and in which the controversy over the identity of the killer and the killed has become similar to questions about existence and the universe.
Last week, 90 students from Aleppo University were killed. Were they killed by an explosion and in this case al-Nusra Front should be held accountable? Or were they killed by a missile so that the regime is responsible? It is very easy to feel like a coward when it comes to Syrian blood because as journalists we have to remain objective until we verify what is happening there.
Now two years later, the world is getting used to the images of Syrian murderers and victims and the death of 50 or 100 or even 200 on daily basis is no longer news, for we are still not sure of the identity of the killer.
It is now easy to start asking questions about who the perpetrator is or to say that all parties are now implicated, which provides key countries with an excuse to abandon duties they should have performed since the first day of the revolution.
After the Aleppo University massacre, there was a video that featured students running away while a plane hovered above them right before hearing the sound of a rocket and see the explosion. But what is the value of images? Aren’t Syrians exerting every effort to take pictures of their victims and their killers and we are still doubting? Killers sometimes brag about leaking pictures of them as they torture and kill their victims.
As if those videos do nothing except add to the YouTube archive.
In the Aleppo University incident, the same ridiculous game was repeated. Official and pro-regime media claimed al-Nusra Front carried out the attack while opposition media held the regime accountable.
Western media, on the other hand, needs to remain detached from both sides so that it would not be accused of bias.
This might work on the theoretical level, but reality is different and an ethical stance needs to be taken after all the reluctance of the past two years.
It seems like Syrians are required to document the way they are killed and verify the identity of their killer and how they are being dragged to their death. How can we know that this man who was tortured and humiliated and whose wife was threatened to be raped is a victim of the regime? Maybe he should have recorded his testimony and posted it on YouTube right before he died so that we can study the possibility of being on his side.
No bitterness surpasses that of seeing those who know very well who the victim and the killer are, but prefer to remain silent and wait.
This article was first published in Arabic Jan. 24, 2013 on the London-based Asharq al-Awsat.
Diana Moukalled is the Web Editor at the Lebanon-based Future Television and was the Production & Programming Manager with at the channel. Previously, she worked there as Editor in Chief, Producer and Presenter of “Bilayan al Mujaradah,” a documentary that covers hot zones in the Arab world and elsewhere, News and war correspondent and Local news correspondent. She currently writes a regular column in AlSharq AlAwsat. She also wrote for Al-Hayat Newspaper and Al-Wasat Magazine, besides producing news bulletins and documentaries for Reuters TV. She can be found on Twitter: @dianamoukalled.