24 July 2013

Syria

A Syrian girl at a refugee camp in Jordan
Is it just me? Earlier this year, news bulletins were constantly and continuously informing us about the awful events unfolding in Syria. Reporters crouched in body armour and helmets while rebels peered round street corners with machine guns. Diplomats squirmed about why the rest of the world was just standing by while weeping families crossed borders to become refugees. The night skies of Syria were filled with deadly fireworks as bombings imitated thunder in the far distance. We heard about it all. After a while it seemed as if nothing else was happening in the world - just the internecine troubles in Syria.

But now...test matches and royal babies have taken over. Cameron squirming about plain cigarette packets. Labour's relationship with the trade unions. Beyonce's hair caught in a fan. Where is Syria? It seems to have vanished. You might imagine that peace now reigns in that troubled land . Bashar Hafez al-Assad in exile in Dubai while the freedom fighters sing songs of victory, rebuilding their shattered towns and villages, calling the refugees back home to build a new Syria. But no - that hasn't been the way. Day after day the strife continues. Assad is still looking at his weasely face in a palace mirror each morning and the refugees are still living like tinkers in tents, queueing for water.

It's as if the world media got bored with it all - telling the same old stories, over and over - so they decided to move on and leave Syria behind to stew in its own lethal body juices.Or was the decision to massively reduce coverage taken elsewhere - by politicians and Arabian kings in faraway places? Perhaps they thought the 24/7 coverage was inflaming the Syrian situation. Who knows?

This kind of thing seems to have happened many times before. Afghanistan? Very little reporting nowadays. Egypt? Let's put it on the back burner. Suppression of Muslim minorities in Myanmar? We've done one big news splurge - let's move on. 

The selection of news items has a random quality to it. Like strolling through a supermarket without a shopping list - just filling up your trolley. Editors probably talk about it in planning meetings - "Syria? Oh God is it still going on there? We've done it to death. May I propose we just move on. The last news crew we had out there were scared shitless anyway and refuse to go back and there's virtually no internet coverage any more...So what about Wayne Rooney? Do you think he'll move on from Manchester United? And what's the latest on the new prince's name?"

Syria - it's not over. The little girl in the top picture is accusing us all with her eyes.

7 comments:

  1. I feel the same way, YP

    I came to Angola and caught the last decade of a three decades long civil war and was perplexed to note there was absolutely no coverage of it in the international press yet many more prople were dying here than are doing so in Syria. Yet another civil war in Africa just wasn't 'news'.

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  2. I too was wondering at the lack of coverage. Last time I heard Putin had told Dithery Dave to shit or get off the pot.
    It has one up side I don't have to listen to William Hague droning on about what he might do or send to Syria. We all know he will do nothing.
    The Royal parasi...whoops prince will be called Kevin. I told you that just the other day.

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  3. Hippo hits the nail on the head - Syria has ceased to be news because the situation is pretty much the same as it was months ago.

    Sad to say, the only way Syria will make its way back to the top of the news agenda is if there is military intervention and it is English or American troops that are being killed.

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  4. There isn't a simple answer, We all sit in our ivory towers and do nothing.

    Brace yourselves... My idea is, each country's President or Prime Minister, who at the first whiff of argy-bargy, is sent to slug it out with their enemies equivilent. United Nations can referee with the words 'We want a good clean fight!'
    The dispute is settled without the loss of life and innocent children being affected. The funny thing is, war would become a thing of the past overnight.

    LLX

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  5. Lettice Leaf, I couldn't agree more and have expressed similar sentiments. If politicians noses were going to get squashed they would think twice about committing tthird parties to murder by proxy

    Bring back Jousting and proper moral values.

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  6. If I may borrow a concept from Karl Marx, mainstream media reporting is the opiate of the people.

    Fortunately (or not), we have Rupert Murdoch's Fox Network (which is now the most watched Cable network on American television but is still not considered mainstream) to straighten all of us out.

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  7. I agree with you all! Luckily, off the beaten track of Big Media, there are still people and smaller media interested and trying to explain what's happening in the world.
    On Syria, one of my students, a journalist has just come back from a 3-week stay there preparing a documentary on the situation of the Kurds stuck between Syria and Turkey. Hopefully, they'll get it edited and somehow into the public domain. It's hard to fight against the royalbabiesfootball syndrome, but possible!

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