The siege of Homs, the Guardian, and the flight of the humanitarians.


The feckless response by the Arab League, UN, many human rights activists and Western opinion leaders in the face of Bahsar al-Assad’s continuing onslaught on the city of Homs, part of a year-long assault throughout the nation which has killed over 6000, is truly shameful.

The ferocious attacks, with tank and rocket attacks indiscriminately targeting residential neighborhoods, appear to be getting bloodier by the day.

Food is running low, and Doctors Without Borders, which is barred from working in Syria, said in a statement that the Assad regime was denying urgent medical attention and using medicine “as a weapon of persecution.”

Snipers are on all the roofs in Baba Amr, shooting at people,” Abu Muhammad Ibrahim, an activist in Homs, told The Associated Press by phone.

Yet, the Guardian’s Seumas Milne – Associate Editor of a paper which has published 169 reports or commentaries since 2010 overwhelmingly supportive of the “Gaza flotilla” - has not only argued against international intervention under any circumstances, but even opposes creating a humanitarian corridor to siphon aid to the besieged city!  

So, it seems fair to ask those humanitarians who have spent the last couple of years planning, and carrying out, with various degrees of effectiveness, flotillas to a Gaza, despite the absence of anything approaching a humanitarian crisis in the territory, why they aren’t advocating vociferously on behalf of humanitarian aid to Syria?

There seems to be no moves by groups such as Free Gaza, and their political allies, to facilitate humanitarian aid to the besieged city of Homs, and, let it be known, the next time a mission to Gaza is coordinated, that the protagonist in their continuing tale of Israeli villainy, Hamas, continues to show unwavering support for the butcher in Damascus.

The sensitive souls who coordinate aid to Gaza are nowhere to be seen, their voices mute in the face of a coordinated, and supremely disproportionate, assault by a Middle East despot on a densely populated civilian area.

Such professional humanitarians, those moved to political activism against every suggestion of Palestinian suffering, are largely AWOL. 

To place the silence over the increasing civilian death toll in Syria in perspective, the total number of Syrians killed in less than a year is roughly equal to the total number of Palestinians (including terrorists) killed in clashes with Israeli security forces in over 11 years. 

Moreover (to provide some historical context to Bashar al-Assad’s brutality) in 1982, the Syrian army, under orders of president Hafez al-Assad, (Bashar al-Assad’s father) conducted a scorched earth operation against the town of Hama to quell a revolt by the Sunnis against the regime – a vicious assault which killed tens of thousands, and was characterized as one of “the single deadliest acts by any Arab government against its own people in the modern Middle East”

A couple months ago, I saw the following tweet

While the Hama massacre could largely be hidden from the world, given the regime’s control of the media, the modern era’s satellite TVs, cellphones and the Internet has ensured that no such thing can happen today.  Nobody can say, they didn’t know.

In his book, The Flight of the Intellectuals, Paul Berman conducts an examination into the intellectual atmosphere of the moment and shows how some of the West’s best thinkers and journalists have fumbled badly in their efforts to grapple with Islamist ideas and violence – a dynamic acutely present at the Guardian which this blog continually attempts to dissect.

One day, after the violence in Homs and elsewhere in Syria has ended, and the tragic plight of the thousands of victims have adequately been accounted for, perhaps a similar examination can be conducted: an inquiry into the stunning moral abdication, by professional liberal advocates of the oppressed in the Middle East, in the face of a massacre against helpless Arab civilians.

The flight of the humanitarians – those who evidently are only capable of summoning their righteous moral voice when the antagonists fit a certain profile – is indefensible, and will only serve to embolden those malevolent political actors (such as Bashar al-Assad) shrewd enough to exploit such gross double standards. 

8 comments on “The siege of Homs, the Guardian, and the flight of the humanitarians.

  1. Look, it doesn’t involve Jews. If Jews were involved (so long as they/we are not the ones being murdered) then of course the world would be involved – if only to castigate the Jews. No one gives a hoot about the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Iraqis, the Afhanis – any Arab – so long as it’s Arab on Arab slaughter. Once the Israelis are involved, even after years of rocket attacks, then of course the world is interested. I have to say though, having seen a photo of a Syrian woman holding a sign that said ‘Assad point your guns at Israel and not at Syrians,’ then I thought – well, there you go…

  2. Adam, although I agree with you on the deafening silence of the bleeding heart for Palestine brigade, I can’t concur that this is just a despot slaughtering “the people”.

    This is sectarian civil war, à la Iraq. Alawites and allies vs Sunnis, including al-Qaeda elements. Each slaughtering so as not to be slaughtered,

    The west can only do one thing – stay out.

  3. Why should I care about muslims killing each other. Whichever side wins, they’ll still be our enemy.

  4. The announcement by Al-Qaeda of their support for the Syrian ‘opposition’ is the kiss of death for them.
    No Government, that is in its right-mind, is going to want to be seen standing on the same side as Al-Qaeda.

  5. Yeah, where are all those “outraged” euro-scum? Bunch of moronic hypocrites that don´t give a drek to human rights. They just like to whine and moralize their eternal obsession, namely, the Jooooz.

    And, YES, I´m generalizing, so spare me the BS about “hey, not all europeans are scum”. Thanx in advance.

  6. Arab lives are calculated in two currencies by Western ‘peace activists’ of a certain sort. If Israel is involved, deaths are shocking and mobilizing. If Israel’s not involved, it’s ‘complicated’, and ‘we need to understand the underlying causes’, and effectively, life is a lot cheaper.

    It’s revolting, but it’s a fact.

    I wish I thought I had a clue how to fix the situation in Syria.

  7. ‘[The] protagonist in their continuing tale of Israeli villainy, Hamas, continues to show unwavering support for the butcher in Damascus’.

    This is what Hezbollah is doing, but Hamas has not come out in support of Asad, and appears now to be breaking ties with Syria. I’d put this down to opportunism on their part, and they’re still theocratic scum … other than that, this piece is spot on.

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