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Its Not Grief when its Someone Else

A small group of journalists went to Syria to ask the people about what they saw happening. The title, credit, and links to this video which has aired on NTN in Europe are at the end of the article. This is a narrative of the interviews from the original Russian. Most importantly, they asked the Syrians the one question no one else is asking, or cares about; What do the Syrian people want? Syria has always been marked as a place of tolerance among its people even when its political life has been in upheaval. The Orthodox Bishop in Damascus has remarked that his church would not leave and abandon their neighbors regardless of what happens. Syria is home to an ancient Christian population which has grown into many representations of the religion for two millennia. Syria also converted to Islam right after the death of Islams prophet Mohammed. The two populations have lived side by side as neighbors and friends. They have lived intertwining lives since that time. Their national culture goes back to almost the beginning of recorded history.

The Syrians, both Christian and Muslim live like adopted family to each other. The Bishop made the point that the national history and culture binds all Syrians. The familial ties go back generations. Common themes from the people interviewed consist of a few continual and overlapping points; they all have satellite dishes and see the news from around the world. They are horrified at the news the world is getting because what is happening in Syria is entirely different. Another condition is they would only agree to be interviewed if the footage went unedited and their faces were shown. The obvious reason was to prevent dub-over. The Syrians interviewed stated that all the media coming into the country were broadcasting something different than what was occurring. This included Al Jazeera, Al Arabia, BBC, and France 24. Why werent they showing the peace demonstrations? Would Qatars President even let two people protest him? College students when interviewed stated that they had not asked for an opposition army. It was not the way things are done culturally in Syria. No one has asked the opinions of the elder population whose opinion would have legitimized the war. In Syrian Islamic culture that type of justification is the norm. The largest worry is the daily terrorist attacks and they want to express what they see going on outside their own windows. They watch the cameras being set up ahead of the bomb being planted. The bomb goes off and the footage is shown everywhere from YouTube to the different media outlets. Assad has struck again. Its difficult to understand how foreign journalists seem to know exactly when and where the next explosion will be. They hear the bombers yelling Allahu Akbar. This exclamation is among the growing proofs showing the bombers are more than likely Wahhabi Islamists. While I realize the current reporting says they are Salafi it is starting to gain traction as being shown unfounded. The Salafi Muslims are also complaining the Wahhabis are borrowing their religious identity again. Muslim articles around the web are showing a historical trend of this. The suicide bombings happen daily. In the interview a widow that lost both a husband and an older daughter to a bus bombing had this to say; We wont hate the bombers. We are taught not to hate. God will bring them to justice. We saw the bombers on TV after the bombing, we wont curse them. Her middle daughter added we just wish the violence would stop. Its like being in a bad never-ending TV series where every hero could die at any moment. After the bombing one of the perpetrators was captured and confessed Al Qaeda links to the planning. His confession was shown on local stations. He said the men in the group made phone calls and got their orders from Al Qaeda.

The neighborhood where the above family was interviewed is Jaramana which is a suburb of Damascus. It has been targeted 7 times. Both Christians and Muslim families are targeted, all are Syrian. The Muslims dont agree with the Syrian Free Armys idea of freedom or direction. Jaramana is a mixed religious neighborhood and the families of all faiths look after each other, and especially each others children. A Muslim man named Hassan said in an interview that his best friends son was kidnapped by the Syrian Free Army and they wanted 2 million Euros for the ransom. When the man who was poor and unemployed could not pay, they executed his son. This went up on YouTube. One man interviewed, Kamal Samaan said We Syrians are a people of 1000 generations. We can distinguish the wheat from the chaff. We wont be fooled. Syrians are a peaceful people both Christian and Muslim. After the bombing a news crew from a popular Syrian TV station was going to a story location when they were stopped at gun point. Yara Salek, an investigative reporter was kidnapped with her crew. The camera man was killed right away. Of the 15 men who held them only a few had Syrian accents. She recognized the rest from both language and dialect. The rest were from Libya, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. While she was in captivity they argued over whether they would torture her, ransom her, or dismember her. The Syrian Free Army put her kidnapping up on YouTube. She heard her kidnappers call both Turkey and Saudi Arabia for a decision about her. She and a co-worker were freed by the Syrian Army in a raid. After the ordeal she said before her kidnapping she understood only in theory what was going on. These men came across as fanatics. The only thing they understood was that they could not wait to die and be with the virgins. What she saw did not jibe with a Free Syrian Army. They werent Syrian and they didnt want freedom. The only thing they talked about was killing and dying. Syrian Army Major Ali Ali stated from his hospital bed There is no fight for democracy going on here. They are trying to set us against each other. Under a smoke screen they come in and take over the country. We have NOTHING to hide. They use women and children as shields. Ask anyone in any hit area. We DONT KILL OUR OWN. Bassam Abu Abdullah, Director of the Damascus Center for Strategic Studies stated- This is the Islamic Blackwater. There is a company called Black Water; murderers for hire. Now we have an Islamic Blackwater; killers for hire. Give them money and they go and kill. The Syrian Free Army to date is made up of irreconcilable fractures. According to Dr. Abdullah the Blackwater component is Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is both used and targeted by the US. When Al Qaeda was

found to be terrorizing Syria, the US distanced itself from it. Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey took over its support. Another faction is the Wahhabi element. They dont recognize any other Islam; all different Muslim sects are heretical and must be executed. A quick look at writing across Islam, even across the Web shows that they are seen as ultra violent and in the words of Orthodox Muslim sects; Wahhabis are rabidly violent. Regardless where you look the view is close to static. It is estimated that these two factions compose 70-80% of the Free Syrian Army. The Free Syrian Army has been compared to water and oil with regard to its ability and intent to come under any government. Some are professional mercenaries, and others are professional jihadists that want their place in a martyrs heaven. For them it is to death.- Its from the Wahhabis we know of 70 virgins for a martyrs death. Uniting with wahhabis is impossible until they completely abandon wahhabism. Without that Muslims are still a mushriks in the eyes of wahhabism and its permissible to shed muslim blood and the books of the wahhabi elders are filled with this. Wahhabism would continue to be influenced by these elders unless they abandon it completely and uniting with these people are dangerous as you don't when they will go mad like a rabid dog and kill you.Here The accomplishments of the Free Syrian Army to date include; burning down 1550 schools, raiding and destroying hospitals, churches, mosques, kidnapping and murder- especially among the Muslim population. Lets not forget suicide bombing of buses and population centers. News reports show they are crossing the Turkish border and kidnapping Syrian refugees. They recently announced the demand for weapons or they will become TERRORISTS! Their own video of kidnappings and murders can be viewed on their YouTube and Facebook pages. It is evident that most of the targets right now are Christian in neighborhoods such as Jarmana. The reason is simple. The Wahhabi faction needs to take care of the enemy that wont convert first. They can then focus on the Muslims who wont agree with their direction and also wont convert to Wahhabism. The frightened will agree with their direction. This religion is not natural to Syria and it is non-negotiable. They have no interest in a representative government. In a parting statement the last Syrian interviewee stated Dont let the worlds care for the Syrian people destroy the Syrian people. Six days ago I was fortunate enough to see this Documentary Entitled Syria-War and Faith. This narrative was translated from that. It was prepared by the Department for External Church Relations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the TV channel NTN, which is part of the media group "Inter."The documentary team consisted of producer and director Uri Molchanov, producer Victor Frolov, Vadim Revuna, accompanied by Fr Zacharias Kerstyuk.

They set out to find the origins of the Syrian Free Army, and find out what life is like for ordinary citizens who are most affected by the bloodshed. If you have Russian language skills or know someone who does it can be seen here I emailed NTN for a transcript and have not received a reply yet. When listening to the sound bite interviews that are conducted in major media if you listen the new common thread is I want peace. I wish things were as they were before. The reports even on Al Jazeera today are saying at Aleppo the people throw broken glass at the Syrian Free Army and called on Assad to free them from their revolutionaries. As I post this another reporter has been kidnapped. She is from Ukraine. She is being called a spy. Her kidnapping is also on YouTube. This is a Free Army? I dont see the difference between the Mexican Drug Army and this army Americas politicians love. The only upside to the Free Syrian Army is their insistence on recording the evidence. Both they and their collaborators can be charged with war crimes at The Hague; the rogue elements that sold them weapons and provided material support for the cause of terrorism. The very media that whole heartedly embraced them are along with the European and American governments taking a step back from their freedom fighters as word of their atrocities gets out for fear of being forever tied to them in history. It is not a matter of politics. It is a matter of humanity. If it is grief when it is someone else then there is a chance we are human too. If not then it is our humanity collapsing with the rest of our world.