Syrian Activists Using Carrier Pigeons to Communicate?

Very nice story (French) to share. But I looked at the YouTube video and something felt wrong. I finally realized what it is: It’s really weird to use a cellphone camera to take a video of a message being sent by a carrier pigeon, and then upload that video to YouTube. Why not send the message using a cellphone in the first place?

I’m not saying it’s fake, I’m just wondering. Perhaps the receivers don’t have internet access because they’re being bombarded? But would a pigeon fly into an area that is being shelled?

Lebanese Shias Who Support The Syrian Revolution

They have formed a Facebook group. In Lebanese code-speak, “Lebanese from the south” is a euphemism for people who live in majority-Shiaa areas that overwhelmingly vote for Hezbollah.

Such initiatives are helpful because, although small, they form symbolic and important stereotype-breakers. Like Egyptian copts who protected Muslim revolutionaries while praying in Cairo and Fadwa Suleiman, the pro-revolution Syrian Alawit celebrity, they are useful counterpoints to people who see the revolutions in purely sectarian lights.

Read more about this group in English here. (Thanks Imad)

"a clarifying moment" In the Syrian Conflict

Randa Slim on what the Chinese and Russian vetoes mean:

The Syrian conflict is no longer just about a brutal dictator repressing peaceful protesters [...] The Syrian revolution is now the fault line in Middle Eastern politics, through which U.S.-Russian competition, the U.S.-Iran conflict, the Iran-Saudi regional rivalry, and the Shiite-Sunni ages-old conflict will play out.

Remember when Lebanon was that fault line? Marc Lynch is now calling Syria “Lebanon on steroids”, but to me the larger question is: Are we in the Levant destined to choose between being under a dictatorship or being the playing field of meddling foreign powers?

❊ When is Donating Arms the Ethical Thing to Do?

Let’s say someone somewhere set up a website that allows you to buy guns that will be sent to the resistance in Syria. Forget for a moment that this is a brilliant idea for a scam and imagine it’s a legitimate site. Would you donate to it with a clear conscience?

This is a hypothetical situation but it raises some interesting questions about war, propaganda and morality. Would you pay money for a weapon over which you have no control, that can possibly kill children and innocent bystanders?

What about in situations like the one happening in Syria right now. A powerful army is indiscriminately shelling a city to stamp out an insurgency, killing hundreds of innocent bystanders, and the world is proving incapable of intervening. Would you make an exception to save innocent lives? What if you were guaranteed anonymity? What if that same army has killed members of your family when it shelled your own city during the Lebanese war? Would revenge be a better motivation for you?

If you believed that it was ethical to donate guns to Lebanese southerners during the Israeli assault and occupation, would you be a hypocrite if you respond no to the questions above? Does it really make a difference if the assaulting army is made up of people who speak your language?

For the Lebanese who need a bit of mental torture, please try to honestly answer these questions.

What about me? Would I hypothetically donate money to send guns to the Syrian resistance? I’m still grappling with an answer.

In Iran, Arab Spring Propaganda Backfires

Fascinating report from Robert Worth:

It was meant to be a crowning moment in which Iran put its own Islamic stamp on the Arab Spring [...] As delegates flooded into a vast auditorium next to a space needle in western Tehran, a screen showed images of the Iranian revolution in 1979, morphing seamlessly into footage of young Arab protesters in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya and Yemen.

But there was a catch. No one was invited from Syria [...] That inconvenient truth soon marred the whole script. As the conference began, a young man in the audience held up a sign with the word “SYRIA?” written in English. Applause burst out in the crowd, followed by boos.

I would Imagine the same would happen if Saudi Arabia attempted to organize such an event and didn’t invite anyone from Bahrain. But Unlike Iran, Saudi Arabia never pretended to be a supporter of the oppressed and a champion of democracy. That Iranian Hypocrisy is at the heart of why its influence is diminishing today..